Interview with a Community Ninja and Microsoft ML/Cognitive Services Customer Engineer - Rohit Mungi

Published Jun 08 2020 09:22 AM 2,181 Views

Please join me in thanking Rohit Mungi for all his contributions to the Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services community!


Here is our interview...




Who are you, where are you, and what do you do? What are your specialty technologies?

Hello, I'm Rohit Mungi currently working as a CXP customer engineer 2 for Microsoft. I am based in Hyderabad, India where I was also born and raised.


I am currently working with Microsoft's customer experience team (CXP) in the community area, which helps to answer customer's questions to anything that is related to Azure services whenever they post a query in the most popular community forums, like MSDN, Github for Azure Docs or StackOverflow.


My main focus is to help customers using the AI & Machine Learning services of Azure which are basically all services related to Machine Learning and Cognitive services. I have previously worked in roles in the DevOps area which helped me learn about cloud services and help customers move from on-premise infra to cloud based services.


Apart from work I am passionate about running where I try to participate and compete in any long distance race in and around Hyderabad. I also love to spend my evenings doing some gardening when at home or during the current lockdown :)




What are your big projects right now? 

My primary job is to work on various forums to look at customer queries, respond to them, analyze their sentiment, work with our product groups to provide customers feedback to push them to fix or push new features that can help our array of ML and cognitive services better.


Currently, We are working to launch our brand new customer experience and community forum called Microsoft Q&A which will redefine customer experience and provide them a wealth of documentation about services, troubleshooting and customer support experience on one platform.  In the past 14 months I have realized that these services help various customers in different ways to achieve their business goals and provide intuitive experience to their customers and I hope our new forum launch will close any gaps and help us redefine the community experience.


As part of my learning I am currently focusing on achieving the Azure AI-100 certification along with trying out some cool features for our product teams and providing feedback on them.


What Microsoft Forums do you participate in? What different roles do you play?

We currently support Microsoft Azure docs repo in github which is stacked with a wealth of knowledge about all documentation of Azure services which is constantly changing as new features or bugs are rolled out. This forum also contains all snippets or code samples which enable customers to use our services and it is our primary objective to ensure they are up to date so any customer looking to use them is not disappointed and in case something goes wrong for them where we are always available to respond and fix their issues.


We also look at MSDN forums for all services to answer questions posted by customers, moderate the forum and help customers in their client implementations by providing our suggestions where we also check with our internal expert teams for suggestions that can make all our customers Azure fans.


Currently, we are also working on launching our new community forum called Microsoft Q&A which will replace some of our forums from MSDN and provide a rich and intuitive customer experience.


What are the Microsoft Forums for? Have you ever seen them have a powerful impact?

Microsoft forums are the primary way for the customer to engage with other users using the same services who can help them achieve their objective by unblocking them from various scenarios by providing feedback and sharing knowledge. Since this platform is managed by Microsoft it helps us to get some insights on customer use cases and take that feedback to our core development teams which translate to features and improvements in our services. This cycle of interaction with our customers illustrates the importance of the forums we host and defines our course of action.


In what other sites and communities do you contribute your technical knowledge?

Another major channel in which we contribute is StackOverflow which is primarily used by many developers using our services with other integration endpoints. This channel helps not only other community members but also helps our developers to understand many issues where they can address a broader audience indirectly associated with a tag for a particular thread.


We also engage with local chapters of community development like the Microsoft Student community to help many college students and enthusiasts learning our services by giving them in person demos, share knowledge about using our services with some hands on workshops (see the photo below) and also share ideas through other channels like Linkedin and meetups.




On what forum threads have you collaborated with other community members to help answer a question?

Azure Machine Learning and Azure Cognitive services on MSDN are the primary forums I work on. Due to the nature of these services which are still an emerging space we have a lot of active issues that community members post for samples to work with an API or an error message which might not be documented or suggestions on how to implement a scenario with an Azure cognitive service or feedback related to the service and features that can help them in the future. Our goal is to ensure that every customer is heard and any thread that they have started has a response even if there is no community response so they are encouraged to post more issues which can help other users.


What are your favorite forum threads you’ve contributed on? What are 2-5 of your favorite forum threads?

My personal favorites are threads from the cognitive services forum as we have many services in this space and has a variety of questions that help me gauge the impact of these services right from Vision to Speech services where users have queries on using these service from getting started with them, to complex use cases to integrate voice commands with speech to text and language understanding(LUIS) to understand a user’s intent from an utterance. Some of my favorite forum threads are related to LUIS and Computer vision where I get a chance to create some simple projects which enable customers to use them in a more complex implementation of their application. Here are some of the threads that intrigued me when I worked on them.


What forums need more attention? What could they use more of?

This is a very good question. I think the forum that needs more attention is the Azure Machine Learning Service primarily because the threads in this forum mostly deal with issues where customers post an error message while running an experiment either in the designer or classic studio or while using the SDK. Most of the issues deal with error messages that contain some PII information or subscription related information that customers should not be posting in a public forum but this happens pretty frequently where as a moderator our job is to remove such information as soon as possible to ensure privacy of customers and certain standards are maintained while answering such questions. While it is always great to provide as much information as possible customers should always ensure they don’t post sensitive information on public forums.


It is also very important for users to understand some of our existing forums do not have the ability to tag the question with different services which could help us get a centralized view for a solution from experts. So, in most cases users post duplicate questions in most forums which end up being moved to the correct forum which then get merged as duplicates. To avoid this we would suggest a user to perform a basic check or search of issue which is related to the service and post an issue in the most appropriate forum to get a timely response from the right people.


While our forums are also auto monitored for spams, abusive comments to automatically block such content we as a community can also report issues to ensure the platform is safe and credible to use.


What could we do differently on our Microsoft Forums?

I think with respect to Azure services we are heading in the right direction to move the forums from MSDN to Microsoft Q&A which has many features and integrations which will simply help the original poster with a wealth of information on known issues or documentation based on the question they are about to post which in my view would be a differentiator for the kind of issues we receive as customers will be encouraged to post issues with more complexity, information, tags and snippets with great readability experience to others to easily respond, comment and vote which ensures the right issues get higher visibility with quality answers.


What does success look like for Microsoft Forums?

To add on to my above response, If we are able to deflect customers with quality answers or content from our knowledge base of information from previous issues and documentation before posting the question then from a platform or forum perspective we can spend more time on responding to other issues with greater engagement and help more customers get quality responses.


Do you have any comments for product groups about the Forums that they moderate?

Product group presence on any Microsoft forum determines the level of confidence a customer has to repost a new issue due to the nature of responses they get from PG developers as their experience with issues help deflect issues faster for customers. While not all forums are monitored by product groups the ones which are moderated by them should ensure to provide a uniform experience to all users irrespective of the kind of issues posted by users on the forum.


Do you have any tips for people asking questions on the Microsoft Forums and Do you have any tips for people answering questions on the Forums?

My primary suggestion to every user on the forum is to be empathetic while providing a response to a user. As a original poster to a question please ensure you provide enough details to the user who is looking at your question as they would not have the same perspective while responding to your query. So, the more information you provide the better it is. 


As a responder to a question no question is complicated or simple so always ensure you provide your best response or ask a clarifying question if you are unclear about the question, This builds up a conversation and probably answers the users question in the process.


Do you have any tips for moderators of the Forums?

Having being a moderator for 4 forums in the past 14 months I really did not have a tough time dealing with ads, spam or abusive comments/questions, I believe this is because of the way the forums were handled previously where Microsoft has very good guidelines to deal with such issues. With respect to the quality of content in the forum it is very important that you have a good connect with your users in terms of quality and speed of response whilst ensuring the community answers most of the questions.




Thank you, Rohit, for leading our Cognitive Services community! Everyone, please join me in thanking Mohit for his advice he gave us, and for all he does for the Microsoft community!


   - Ninja Ed


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