Introducing Tom Arbuthnot— Microsoft Ignite Community Reporter
I’m Tom Arbuthnot; a Principal Solutions Architect focused on Office 365 Collaboration, Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.
Tom Arbuthnot - MVP and Microsoft Ignite Community Reporter
I’m lucky enough to have been a Microsoft MVP for several years, I blog and run a user group in London in the UK, and I get to speak and work with international customers. At home, I’m kept busy by my wife and three-year-old daughter.
If you’re interested to hear more about me, I recently did an Interview on the Microsoft Tech Community here!
What do you think your most valuable skill is? Why?
Tom: My job really boils down to properly understanding technology then communicating what it is clearly and helping business understand how it can help them. I like to think my best skill is understanding fairly technical topics and being able to communicate them clearly as well as understanding the business value.
Tech communities are incredibly active. What role do these communities play in your career?
T: Tech communities are a big part of my career. I love that lots of people are so enthusiastic about their job that they make the extra time to collaborate together, be it in person at user groups and events like Microsoft Ignite, or online on platforms like Twitter, blogs, and the Microsoft Tech Community.
I run a Microsoft Unified Communications user group in London; I love the interactivity we have with that group. While I often present, it’s less a presentation and more of a conversation. I’m definitely a better consultant from my knowledge from and interaction with the various communities.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
T: Two things come to mind. My role has moved from of a hands-on role, deploying servers, tenants and gateways to more of a business consultancy and strategy role. However, I think to offer good strategy advice you need to keep some level of hands-on awareness of the technology. So making time for labs and hands-on work is a challenge.
Secondly, keeping up to date with the latest news and information at the pace of the evergreen cloud is a challenge I think everyone faces. I find blogging helps me keep up; it’s hopefully useful for the community and is my personal reference for news and updates. Other sources I find useful are the blogs on Tech Community and lots of the MVP blogs which tend to surface on Twitter if you follow the #Skype4b, #MicrosoftTeams and #Office365 hashtags. Be sure to watch the #MSIgnite hashtag for Microsoft Ignite week too!
What advice would you give to a first-time Microsoft Ignite attendee?
T: Microsoft Ignite is a massive show, with hundreds of great sessions. Don’t forget that the sessions are recorded, so catch as many as you can but prioritise ones where you might want to ask a question or interact. You can’t ask questions watching the videos later, though there are the Tech Community forums now to keep the conversations and questions going!
Try to catch a couple of sessions outside of your core competency/day job. If you’re into Office 365, take in an Azure session or a security session. Be sure to make the most of the show floor; there are lots of experts, product group, MVP’s and vendors eager to talk and help.
What are you packing for Microsoft Ignite?
T: My pro tip is to have a portable USB battery charger for your phone. You’ll likely be on it all day checking sessions, tweeting and using it to find people, and then often straight out in the evening to one of the parties or events. Also, if you flip your phone into its battery saver mode at the start of the day, it will last a lot longer.
Comfortable shoes are a must too; you’ll likely put in some good walking going from one session to the next and on the expo floor.
Why should people follow you for Microsoft Ignite coverage?
T: I really like to stay on top of all the Office 365 Collaboration news with a particular focus on Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. If you want to know all the key news and information in this area, it’s my job at the conference to cover it and let you know.