I just finished reading the article Microsoft Walks Away from UserVoice, and I cannot begin to express how disappointed I am with this announcement.
I am an IT admin at a 4,000-user organization where UserVoice has been a lifesaver. It has been the only thing that gets my users to leave me alone about obvious deficiencies in Microsoft’s youthful products. When people wanted more than four video squares in a Teams meeting, I pointed them to UserVoice to upvote requests to display more attendee cards. When my Slack users complained about 2 billion things Slack had that Teams did not, I pointed them to UserVoice to upvote those features. This gave me a way to redirect user complaints in a meaningful way. They felt not only heard by me but also by Microsoft.
The best part about UserVoice is that the product teams addressed the items (or most of them). Seeing votes increase, reading other people’s comments, and seeing responses from Microsoft product managers (PMs) made the time and effort I spent going through all the suggestions and adding detailed comments worthwhile. I always felt in the loop as the PMs addressed (or didn’t) an issue. Knowing where Microsoft fell on a UserVoice suggestion gave me insights I needed to plan.
The UserVoice alternative, which appears to be just a Microsoft Form for those UserVoice communities that have already closed, offers none of this visibility. Without public visibility and public commenting, product teams will be able to ignore user requests and don’t need to respond. As highly invested administrators in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, we need the ability to make suggestions and argue for new functionality in a highly visible manner. We need to be able to justify our requirements to our peers and to Microsoft. With UserVoice gone, we will have nowhere to go to hold Microsoft PMs and marketing accountable.
Frankly, the proposed alternative is NOT sufficient and is laughable as a replacement. I don’t care about UserVoice branding or even the platform, I care about the functionality it brings. You can’t remove something without replacing it with something equal or better. That is pure and simple IT 101.