A Microsoft Data Platform TSP’s Life: Stardate 2012

I haven’t taken the time recently here @ a TSP’s life to comment a little bit on the role of the data platform technology specialist here @ Microsoft. We are classified as “data platform” technology specialists even though we focus 90% of our time on SQL Server, because Microsoft creates a product taxonomy that cuts across multiple discrete products on our price list.

What I mean by that is that as a “technical specialist” or “technology specialist”, if you prefer, I must lean on my 20 years of IT experience in the operational and engineering trenches to help customers understand the best ways to utilize Microsoft technologies to their fullest based on their investments levels in Microsoft products and services. Many times, this includes integrating 3rd party partner services and tools as well, but at the end of the day, a Microsoft data platform TSP must focus on customer solutions based on SQL Server, SharePoint, Windows Server, System Center and Windows Azure.

This means that we’ll talk about business value and IT architecture that include all aspects of your data centers and Cloud investments. But I will focus on SQL Server on-prem and Cloud (both private & public, aka Azure). Microsoft also has many TSPs that focus on other Microsoft products and they are grouped into focus areas like productivity, security, app dev, etc. all based on different Microsoft product taxonomies.

OK, so that all being said, and now that you better understand what I mean by a “TSP’s life” at MSSQLDUDE blog, here are a few field notes that I have found most interesting, ironic and noteworthy from my first 2 years on the job. This is based on the 75% of my time spent with customers, while the other 25% is a combination of training and creating demos & POCs. Oh, yeah, and email of course. Enjoy! Br, Mark

  1. I spent 3 years as an IT consultant before moving into product management, and now pre-sales technical role as a TSP. I have found that learning how to be a “trusted advisor” as a consultant helps me with customer relationships in a pre-sales role.
  2. Learning and being able to articulate Microsoft’s product licensing is 1000x harder (for me, anyway) than explaining and learning Microsoft technology.
  3. I spent 2 years with another all-IT software & service vendor company (Oracle) before Microsoft. In both cases, businesses do not generally take well to this aspect of “specialization” when looking to you for ways to solve business problems with your products. It is important to add some breadth to that depth of understanding of architectural solutions.
  4. Having spent years in IT and network operations, engineering, product management, consulting and now pre-sales, my current perspective is still that seeing a project from brainstorm to envisioning to gut-wrenching development and deployment is great to be a part of. But nothing can compare to the solution getting implemented and producing tangible, measurable positive business impact.
  5. Let me know if you have any questions or would like add further insights into a SQL Server TSP’s life!

 

Complimentary Online SQL DB & BI Lunch ‘n Learns

My friend from Microsoft Sanjay Soni and I are putting together a series of free online Microsoft SQL Server database & BI lunch n’ learns that are going to run during lunchtime here on the East Coast. Anyone is welcome to join, just please register at the links below. Throughout this series, we will invite different Microsoft stakeholders, experts and partners. Enjoy! Thanks, Mark

Sessions:

Session

Date & Time

Link to register

Top 10 BI features in SQL Server 2012 (Denali) BI including Power View (Crescent)

Wednesday Dec. 7th,’11

12:00-1:00 PM EST

Click here to register

Top 12 Data management features in SQL Server 2012 (Denali) for DBAs and others

Tuesday Dec 20th, ’11

12:00-1:00 PM EST

Click here to register

BI for the masses – Microsoft IT Self-Service BI Story of 40,000 users

Wednesday Nov. 30th 2011

12:00-1:00 PM EST

Click here to register

PowerPivot: What you can do with it and how to get started

Friday Dec. 23rd, ’11

12:00-1:00 PM EST

Click here to register

Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services – Report Builder 3.0 Overview + Demo

Wednesday Jan 11th, 2011

12:00-1:00 PM EST

Click here to register

SharePoint 2010 for BI Overview and Demo – Top 10 features

Wednesday Dec. 14th, 2011

12:00-1:00 PM EST

Click here to register

Predictive Analytics for the Business using SQL Server technologies

Friday Jan 20th,’11

12:00-1:00 PM EST

Click here to register