The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) is awarded to exceptional, independent community leaders who share their passion, technical expertise, and real-world knowledge of Microsoft Products with others. The Skype for Business Team values our Skype for Business MVPs immensely and appreciate the contributions of the almost 100 individuals who contribute to sharing Skype for Business with all of us through blogs, papers, forum answers, event representation, acting as public speakers, and social presence.
I thought it was about time we really got to know the Skype for Business MVPs. So, each month we'll put the bright Microsoft Technical Community (MTC) spotlight on one of our Skype for Business MVPs so you can do just that. And, each month, that MVP will nominate another MVP they feel you should get to know, too. These men and women have a wealth of knowledge and a come from all over the world. I have the utmost respect for their contributions to Skype for Business and hope you'll enjoy learning a bit more about them just as I am.
Introducing Tom Arbuthnot!Many of you likely know @Tom Arbuthnot, already. He's the most active MVP in the Skype for Business Community over the past couple of months so certainly you've seen his name. What I appreciate most about Tom is his dedication to bringing the SfB MVPs together. He's organized a monthly call for knowledge sharing and a bit of banter and, he's just an all-around good guy. Tom hails from London, UK and I think you'll see that he's made quite the impact within the Skype for Business Community.
Here's a bit about Tom in his own words:
Title: Principal Solutions Architect
Company Name: Modality Systems
LinkedIn Profile: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tomarbuthnot
Personal Blog: http://tomtalks.uk
Laurie: What does your typical breakfast look like?
Tom: Ha good question, I travel a fair bit for work so not sure I have a typical one. At home it's cereal but if I'm on the road it's Pret or Starbucks. Typically with a strong coffee to get me started for the day. Here is my breakfast from this morning at home.
Laurie: What do you do for fun when you aren't talking Skype for Business?
Tom: I have a 3 year old at home, so a lot of my spare time is spent entertaining her and trying to wear her out :smiling_face_with_smiling_eyes:.
I also like to get out on my bike when I can.
Laurie: What is your favorite Skype for Business Feature and why?
Tom: Federation is the big one for me. I spend a lot of time working with multiple customers and Microsoft, all being able to work together seamlessly in Skype for Business really speeds up communications and decision making. I don't know how I would work without being able to quickly chat with anyone.
Laurie: What is the biggest technical challenge you've overcome?
Tom: I've been lucky to be involved in some pretty complex global Skype for Business deployments with plenty of technical challenges. Deploying basic Skype for Business is pretty simple these days technically, when you're into gateways and PBX migrations, interop and multiple telco's, that's usually when it gets a little more interesting.
However, these days as a Solutions Architect I spend as much time on the non-technical challenges of helping large organizations move from traditional systems and processes toward Skype for Business and Office 365. I've been doing Skype for Business long enough to believe that most of the technical challenges can be met, but there is a lot more to making Skype for Business a success that involves cultural change and new ways of working. You can have the best technical solution, but if users are not using it I don't consider it a success.
Laurie: What do you love about the MVP Program?
Tom: I love that it's such an enthusiastic bunch of people. Everyone on the MVP program is pretty passionate about what they do and I think that shows. It's also great to have a community of people who know about Microsoft's technology but also spend their time in the real world and get a chance to give feedback directly to Microsoft.
Laurie: How does the Microsoft Technical Community help you in your role?
Tom: Having a forum that Microsoft directly engage with partners and customers is really great. Often, it's the actual product team owner answering questions. Also having all the news, blog posts and customer and partner questions in a single forum is great. It's a good place to keep hooked into for the latest news and questions.
Laurie: Who is another MVP who you respect and why?
Tom: It's hard to single out any individual, there is so much good stuff from the MVP community from blogs to podcasts to videos. Someone that really stands out for me in the Skype MVP community is @Jeff Schertz. If he has a blog post on something, that is usually my authoritative source of information on that topic. Check out his blog at http://blog.schertz.name/
Fun getting to know you a bit, Tom! Thank you for your commitment to the Skype for Business Community.
Jeff Schertz on deck - looking forward to August! If you are interested in being a MVP or have questions about the program, please visit: mvp.microsoft.com