Change to tagline

You may have noticed that I changed my blog’s tagline from “A TSP’s life” to “The life of a data geek” … That’s because I’ve decided to hang-up my Microsoft Data Platform Technology Specialist role and leave Microsoft after 5 great years with MSFT.

I’m starting a new role where I get to focus on 3 things are my sweet spot and near & dear to my heart: business intelligence, product development and big data. I’ll post a wrap-up to the SQL TSP role @ Microsoft shortly. But suffice it to say that I prefer building things and focusing on analytics and customer solutions as opposed to the requirements that come along with the SQL TSP role which was about 75/25 weighted toward traditional DBA work.

That being said, I’ll still be very active in the SQL Server community, just as a customer once again. And this time I won’t be a competitor like I was when I was with Oracle!

Leaving Microsoft will allow me to give a different perspective on things without feeling constrained by product roadmap and internal Microsoft constraints. In fact, I’ll probably start adding back in more Oracle perspectives as well as other BI integration techniques, so please stay tuned!

That’s it for now … Give me another 1-2 weeks to get established in my new role and then I’ll get back into a regular cadence here on the MSSQLDUDE blog. Thanks for reading and for your patience!!

All the best, Mark

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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!