We are excited to introduce this week’s Friday Feature— @Vasil Michev is a Microsoft Cloud Technology Strategist with QUADROTech. Read below to find out how he stays up to date with the cloud and how he handles those skeptical of the cloud.
Tell us a little bit about where you work and your role in the organization.
I’m currently employed with QUADROTech and my role is Microsoft Cloud Technology Strategist (you can blame fellow MVP Alan Byrne for that fancy title). What it means is that I keep a sharp eye on the things happening in the Microsoft Cloud, in particular Office 365. My role is to make sure we stay on top of the changes and new product announcements, so that our own products remain competitive and provide additional value in areas where the Microsoft tools might lack a thing or two.
The IT Pro community is a highly-engaged community. What role have these communities played in your career? What drives you to be so active in them?
The different Office 365 communities have been an invaluable resource for me over the years. Considering the number of users worldwide, it’s almost guaranteed that someone out there has already run into the issue you are currently working on, so stopping by one of the community sites and searching for (or asking for) an answer can often be helpful. What’s even better, you might spot some new or emerging issue that you were not previously aware of, or somebody implementing things in a way you haven’t even thought of. And then you ruin your afternoon in testing this and inevitably learning a thing or two along the way.
Then of course, as you become more active in the communities you start giving back and helping others, which is always rewarding. The more vibrant communities in turn attract the attention of industry leaders and even the folks at Microsoft directly responsible for the products. Being able to interact with them is an invaluable experience, as is connecting with professionals that share similar interests.
How has the transition to the cloud impacted your career and the skills required to be successful?
The reality of the cloud is that it’s ever-changing, and you cannot just rely on past experiences. The first thing you need to realize is that you need to be more proactive in terms of building your skills and keeping them relevant with respect to the current landscape. It can be frustrating at times – documentation is not always relevant or is simply non-existent. A lot of note-taking replaces the “traditional” approach of relying on that 500+ pages “inside out” book sitting on your desk.
If you want to stay on top of things, the number of resources you need to follow might skyrocket, especially if you account for the different communities as well. But in general, no drastic changes are required in order to ensure your success. You simply shift your focus to a somewhat different direction and you might actually get some improvement in the quality of sleep as part of the process. Let the Microsoft guys worry about that drive that decided to go bad at 3AM.
What do you say to those skeptical of the cloud?
Oh, that’s easy. Get a reality check. Of course, it always depends on multiple factors and you might be one of those organizations that are bound to stay in their isolated on-premises environment forever. But there’s no denying now that the Cloud model can be successful, and chances are that it might as well be a good match for you if you give it a proper chance. Security and Compliance in particular are two areas where major concerns have existed for the Cloud, however the real question you should ask here is whether you can afford to make the relevant investments yourself. The resources Microsoft pours into running and securing the cloud are enormous, and for the average organization providing the same level of compliance and control on-premises is simply not possible.
How do you stay up-to-date with all of the new technologies and updates?
Participating in communities such as the Microsoft Tech Community plays a major role in my “keep me up to date” routine. Getting the feature announcement on the official blogs is one thing, getting some real-life spin on it and removing the “marketing googles” is something else entirely. Seeing what others think on the subject, the questions and concerns they raze and the expectations they have around a new product or a change is invaluable, and makes it much easier to put things into perspective. What’s even more important, different members of the community often highlight changes that weren’t officially announced or simply appeared before the official blog post.
Other than that, I monitor some of the Microsoft blogs and the Roadmap, as well as some independent sites. Reviewing the slide decks or presentations from the major Microsoft and 3rd party conferences is also a great source of information, as are the various Microsoft Virtual Academy courses