Making your voice heard with the Microsoft Data Community Advisory Board
Published Jun 14 2021 05:30 AM 2,746 Views

When we announced the members of the Microsoft Azure Data Community Advisory Board, we promised to follow up with more details.  Today is step one making good on that promise.  We wanted to offer some details on what their role will be, how long they’ll serve and how they’ll be replaced.  Current members of the board are Wolfgang Strasser, Randolph West, Annette Allen, Monica Rathbun, Javier Villegas, Tillmann Eitelberg, Pio Ballistoy, Gaston Cruz and Kevin Kline.  They were chosen because they have a strong reputation in the community, are known as leaders, represent various cross sections from the community including small, medium, and large user groups, global regions and personal demographics.  Additionally, we’ve asked a larger group of members of the data community to serve as part of an Advisory Committee.  Those members are John Morehouse, Warwick Rudd, Raul Sarachaga, Oliver Engels, Josh Smith, Rob Sewell, Gianluca Sartori, Anupama Natarajan, Jody Roberts, Elena Lopez, Rodrigo Crespi and André Kamman. With a few open positions yet to be filled.


What does the Advisory Board do?

The Advisory Board’s job is to advise Microsoft on what the Azure Data Community needs, wants and what will maintain the health of the community.  The board is Microsoft facing and does not task or send edicts out to the Community.  Board members and Microsoft representatives meet to discuss community and user group efforts.  Moving forward, to be transparent, we will be publishing minutes from these meetings. 


What does the Advisory Committee do?

Advisory Committee is comprised of community members that are user group leaders, conference organizers and speakers, that serve as a broader group of eyes and ears. They have two jobs.  First, they will help inform the board on what the community needs.  Second, they’ll be tasked with helping the board execute the ideas, solutions, tasks and projects identified by MS, the board, and the committee.


How long do board members serve and how are they selected?

Board members will serve a 2-year term before stepping down.  For the current board, we’ll stagger these terms at 12 month, 18 months and 24 months, to avoid replacing the board all at once.  Since there are nine members of the board, these terms will be broken up in 3-3-3 for each.  We haven’t settled on HOW we’ll replace board members but we’re working on it.  The first set of replacements will likely come from the larger committee as they’ll be more familiar with the process and direction of the board.  


The current board was selected by the Microsoft Azure Data Community team and in consultation with a few members of the community.  Keep in mind, this entire initiative is Community Owned, Microsoft Empowered.  Microsoft isn't dictating what happens next.  One of their first tasks is building the road and guard rails for their future path.  They’ll define the rules for serving and codify how they’ll operate in the future.  Remember, the board members aren’t deciding things the community will do.  They advise Microsoft, not the community. They’re deciding on what they think Microsoft should do for user groups and the community.  They aren’t an elected Board of Directors for a professional association making decisions on conferences, money being spent, sponsorships, etc.


How do we define Community?

That’s simple.  We don’t. That’s not for Microsoft or the Advisory Board to decide.  We agree that it’s a discussion worth having, and it won’t be easy.  At its broadest definition, the community is anyone that uses SQL.  At its most narrow, it’s someone who attends a particular conference.  In between, there are user group attendees or registered members of a professional association.  We’ve learned this year that Community isn’t defined by one single thing or by an umbrella organization with a structured membership.  It’s much more.  What exactly that means is up to you.


How can I make my voice heard?

While you are welcome to reach out to individual members of the board or committee, we’ve set up a form for you to submit your questions and comments to them directly

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‎Jun 11 2021 11:29 AM
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