Name: Vishrut Bali
Organization Name: Microsoft
Project: Microsoft Social CSR
Microsoft was founded in 1975 and
since then it has become the worldwide leader in software, services, devices
Currently it is spread over 170
countries with specialty in Operating System, Entertainment Products, Hardware,
Home and Educational Software, Cloud Computing etc.
CSR stands for Corporate Social
Responsibility. Corporate interests have time and again shown to have caused
harm to the society, be it the local communities, environment etc.
With the rise of social awareness
and knowledge of the devastating impact created by various corporate activities
from setting up big industrial plants to business policies only focused on maximizing
profit without caring for the well being of the people and the environment,
companies moved their focus from money to operational impacts on society.
Thus, came in the need of CSR as a
policy not just to help improve the image of company but defining the company
ethics and at the same time helping the environment/society by incorporating the
national and international norms and ethical standards into their business
With Microsoft, the one thing that
they make very clear and state it repeatedly as part of their goals and mission
is the importance of “Empowerment”.
Microsoft’s goal is to empower the
society to achieve its best possible state. Most of the CSR initiatives from
Microsoft promote empowerment and celebrate organizations and people who do
their bit in empowering others.
Microsoft CSR works around the
citizenship mission of the company which states ” To serve globally the needs
of communities and fulfill responsibilities to the public”.
It maintains and annually releases
a Corporate Social Responsibility report thus keeping a track on their social
activities and their commitment to extend work for the society and not just their
products and services.
This annual reporting thus states clearly
how firm and how committed is Microsoft to work for the betterment of the
society. Some of the milestones as part of their 2017 reports were:
accessibility of both Office 365 and Windows 10 for blind and low vision users.
broadband connectivity in rural parts of America to eliminate the gap between
rural and urban societies and help billions of people to get affordably online.
software and services to non-profits and universities worldwide to promote
skill development helping people to earn a livelihood in their lives.
AI for Earth.
Datacenters by clean energy for sustainability.
These milestones exhibit that
Microsoft is focused on contributing to the social impact of underserved
populations which includes economic development to support various assets and
ownerships of these assets at grass root communities.
other CSR Initiatives in the Technology Sector
The technology sector has always
struggled with ways and means on how to give back to the society as CSR
activities with traditional manufacturing industries have a very clear picture
on the impacts they make environmentally and on the society as part of the
labor force but the same does not hold true for technology sector.
In the technology space, a
vulnerable factory worker is replaced with that of a well-compensated
programmer. Environmental concerns are confined to reducing carbon emissions. Thus,
conventional strategies and approaches do not fit well with the technology sector.
But latest practices are emerging
that are having a positive outcome as part of the work done by the technology
companies towards the society. Some of the successful applications have been:
Cloudera, a leading developer of big-data solutions, hosted a hackathon to
support AtrocityWatch, a
nonprofit working to prevent crimes against humanity through crowd sourcing and
Citizens Initiative for Technology and Innovation has supported pilot projects,
consulting efforts, and software development to improve how city departments
working on transportation and public safety collect and analyze data, thereby
improving their operational efficiency.
Finder Web Application – permits nonprofits and government agencies to
contribute and receive data. Eg. Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake,
Google shared mapping data with the United Nations and other relief agencies.
These strategies being adopted by
various technology industries represent the substantial gain that can be
provided and is required by the social sector as of now and that is of “Data
Analytics”. Thereby using an asset of one sector to tackle a common weakness of
the organizations working in the social sector.
When mentioning strategies to be
used as part of CSR activities, one of the important factor that helps to predict
the feasibility and usefulness of the solution is to study the SROI model for
the same. SROI stands for Social Return on Investment. It is ratio of impact
generated per client, to net cost per client where usually, impact is the
incremental profits from the programs, and net cost is the program expenditures
required minus the earned income from the clients.
But the actual SROI calculation is
based on various models and SROI analysis can take number of forms.
It can be:
Evaluative, which is conducted retrospectively
and based on actual outcomes that have already taken place.
Forecast, which predicts how much social value
will be created if the activities meet their intended outcomes.
Based on the two concepts of Social Capital and Community
Leadership to work on the engagement models as part of Microsoft and adapt it with
their Datacenter communities.
What are current engagement models that reflect how
organizations work together?
Can we learn anything from management models
(manager-to-employee / leader-to-follower) that we could expand up on to serve
a benefactor-to-community engagement?
Yes, one basic principle that a management model like that of a
manager-to-employee or leader-to-follower teaches is that of Accountability.
In a manager-to-employee / leader-to-follower relationship, the
manager/leader brings in the idea and the resources to complete a task and it
is up to the employee/follower to implement it with a level of perfection. But
in such cases the manager/leader does not end his/her job there and makes sure
the task is performed till the end with the best of efforts and in case if that
does not happen the full responsibility is taken by them.
This same model can be expanded into a benefactor-to-community
engagement and will definitely have a positive impact. A benefactor when takes
the role of being accountable and gets that sense of responsibility, he/she
will have personal connect with the community thus thinking more as per
community requirements and hence improving the social benefit outcome.
How would you assess a community to different engagement models?