Saturday, April 28, 2012

My first week at Microsoft

***non-techie - personal post***

For those who don't know, I recently joined Microsoft and work on the World Wide Windows Azure Centre of Excellence team - a small team of highly skilled technical people, many of which have been at Microsoft for a number of years in different organisations. We are known internally as "Azure COE".

The team is based out of Redmond, WA but I live in the UK and my responsibility is the EMEA region but no doubt, I will get involved in other regions as well once I get settled in. This is no doubt the best job I have ever had, I know it is early days but that is my feeling right now. I am no longer billable, so my responsibilities are to help customers, internal employees and partners be successful in deploying Windows Azure as a technology solution from an architectural and technology perspective.

It is up to me to define what I will take ownership of, this truly excites me. I will take a few weeks to determine gaps, strategic direction and areas where I can focus more of my time and this is what I find the best thing about this role.

It is also a very exciting time for anyone in our industry to be involved in cloud computing. Everyone that is, ISV's, SI's (System Integrator's), CIO's, CTO's should at least consider a cloud platform as a tool to be used in the vast tool set for any business problem that can be solved using technology today. It might not be the correct technology to use in all cases but it should be considered like any other.

My first day, I arrived in Reading, Thames Valley Park, UK (known as Microsoft UK). I was quite tired when I arrived after a 3.5 hr drive due to the M25 London orbital motorway (known here as the car-park) being congested as ever. I actually found myself watching BBC News 24 on my Samsung Galaxy S2 device while parked up on the motorway! It saved me from extreme boredom.

After checking-in, I met up with Tim Furnell who was acting as "host manager" to bed me into Microsoft nicely. Tim did a good job of getting all the things I needed and getting connected to corp net.

The next day I worked from home and did a lot of NDA stuff that I can't talk about but you will eventually hear about in the future. This is another cool thing about the job. I get to hear about, work-on technology before it's even announced publicly. This enables me to make better decisions for our customers and to be more well informed in what's coming. I also get to address what is known as "whitespace" areas which are gaps in Microsoft products.

That's another thing they love here - home-working, office-working, coffee-shop wherever, it doesn't matter where you work so long as you get your work done. Not a 9-5 person? - doesn't matter! They promote the use of on-line conference calls all the time. I have calls pretty much every day over Lync (internal VoIP).

Then the next two days I spent time with my colleague Dennis Mulder from the Netherlands. After these two days my head was rather full of information. You don't realize just how big and how much information is at your finger-tips until you work here.

Think of the biggest library you have ever set foot-in, multiply it by about 1000 then you might come close to the vast quantity of information available here at Microsoft.

Microsoft are very supportive in pretty much every area you can think of. But the most important to me is learning, they totally promote it. You'd think this would be the same for all companies, but many other companies are interested in your billable time first and foremost and not you as an individual and your aspirations and career goals.

I'm also finding everything highly efficient and smooth running. It's because everything is automated - where it can be. Example, applying for a AMEX corp card, I applied using //... (DNS) is used for everything there is a name for everything i.e. //training //sqlsvr etc... then after applying, the next day the card turned up!

Booking travel, hotels, cars is automated and billed to your cost centre to reduce admin expense claims. So far the next 3 months will be fairly busy and a bit of international travel for some really interesting events.

Dennis and I will be running the Tech Ed 2012 EMEA Pre-Conference Azure bootcamp workshop in June, so if you're going we'll see you there!

And finally, if you're from Microsoft reading this and need the Azure CoE's help within EMEA, ping me internally (note we are free - non-UBI).


Alberto Silva said...

Good luck, hope you enjoy your new job!

Oliver said...

Good luck in the job Simon, sounds like an excellent and exciting opportunity.