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2021 Alexander Hamilton Silver Award in Risk Management: Microsoft

Credit risk management is a big deal for every business—and an even bigger deal for a company as large and complex as Microsoft.

“As Microsoft grew globally, each line of business had a different credit-and-collections team, with each of those teams doing risk assessments in its own way,” says Andrey Naumiuk, senior finance manager for the company’s Azure Data group. “Credit risk management processes were also fragmented by geography: Many business groups had separate credit teams in the major regions around the world. Their processes were not consistent, so large customers that buy products from multiple Microsoft business groups wouldn’t have the same experience across the different product lines.”

One issue was that credit risk managers for high-margin products were typically ready to take more risks than their colleagues in lower-margin lines of business. Another challenge was that groups used their own credit scoring models and based decisions on different data sources. “The data wasn’t completely consistent, so the decisions being made based on that information weren’t consistent either,” Naumiuk says. There were also discrepancies in processes. “For example, in some cases, we took a decision for each additional deal, but in other cases, we established lines of credit that customers could use, pay off, and use again, for years at a time.” Comparing results across teams was difficult because they all used different processes.

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Meg Waters

Meg Waters is the editor in chief of Treasury & Risk. She is the former editor in chief of BPM Magazine and the former managing editor of Business Finance.

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