Friday Feature: Martina Grom

Community Manager




Martina Grom     


Job Title: Co-Founder and CEO

Company Name: atwork

MVP Profile





  1. What has been your biggest success, and biggest challenge, as Co-Founder and CEO of atwork?

To found a company and get into the risk of failure, lots of work, and always challenging situations was something which was very exciting and scary at the same time. I founded atwork in 1999 together with my partner Toni Pohl. In the beginning we worked in IT and did almost “everything”, like installation of computers and servers, fixing networks, and doing trainings, etc. After a short time, we learned to specialize and focus on things we are good at. This was mainly software development and consulting – finding IT solutions for businesses. When we started to employ people, this was a huge learning. A team is something that needs to grow, and everyone needs to find his or her space. As an employer you are responsible for good work, valuable teamwork, and a successful replication of your vision through your whole team. We grew a lot since then and each and every day I am proud about what we did and what we do: help our customers be successful. We still love what we do, and we are still excited about our projects.

We’ve focused for 10 years on Microsoft Cloud technologies, first starting with Office 365 and later with Azure and Enterprise Mobility + Security. What a ride! I started focusing on Office 365 at a time when most people in the industry did not believe in cloud technologies at all. In 2011 I was one of the first Office 365 MVP’s – and I’m so proud about that! This early focus on cloud technologies brought us an advantage in the market and let me learn that I am most successful when we can act as early adopters in new technologies. Learning about new things, adopting them, and talking about the benefits is one of the things I most love about my job today. It’s always a challenge but it pays off when you work in a job you love. Do what you love, love what you do.


  1. What are your company’s top priorities this year?

We continue to develop our Software-as-a-Service solution named Delegate365. This service helps companies in large Office 365 tenants use delegation management among domains or selected organizational units and offers automation tasks and auditing. We are currently investing a lot in supplementary features around this product.

Another focus is on security, governance, and compliance due to the new EU GDPR regulations which will become mandatory in May 2018. Additionally, we are excited to build solutions around intelligence within Azure and Office 365. With the help of Microsoft Graph we can develop valuable solutions for customers that help with their change management process. One of our current research projects is about knowledge: with the help of AI we will discover existing skills and hidden champs in a company and help them to shine as experts.


  1. How do you help clients move to the cloud and understand its value?

Our customers are pleased by our knowledge about the whole service architecture in Office 365. Our approach is to listen to our customers, build a good governance strategy for Office 365, prepare them for the move, and adopt the service. We integrate all aspects to it and start with building knowledge in the companies we work with, helping them understand security, finding the hidden challenges and pain points, and building a solution. Most of our customers go into a full or hybrid cloud solution after a short time. They understand the value of self service and they understand the benefits. We explore the service together, we integrate different departments of an organization, and help them to standardize and create workflows while learning about the advantages together.


  1. When did you first realize your passion for Office 365, and how does it affect your work?

My passion for Office 365 started in 2008. At a local Microsoft event a friend told us that Microsoft is going to the cloud and that this will be something very exciting in the future. I started looking at it (it was called BPOS at that time and the very first cloud services became public) and learned that the service solves a lot of business requirements. So, I started to onboard our e-mail hosted customers to Office 365 (so we gave up our business in that space and moved it over to Microsoft). I got a lot of feedback and heard things like “you will never earn money with that, no one will ever go into the cloud.” But my passion is not around money, it’s around a solution which everyone can benefit from and that brings value to real time business requirements.

Believe me, I learned a lot during that time. We were such a small group of people that we all literally knew each other: the support guys, people at Microsoft, us. In 2011, I was one of the first eight worldwide MVP’s for Office 365 – at a time where the product was not even released and available in Europe nor in Austria, where I live. My first MVP summit was one month later – and it was like a small family meeting for us eight, in person, in Redmond.

My passion is still here, because Office 365 is a service that is never boring or stays the same. It is evergreen and everchanging. This is the best option for me as an early adopter. I build my skills through the whole service, starting from e-mail, through collaboration, communication, enterprise social, security, and automation. And it is still exciting!


  1. What’s your favorite way to share your knowledge with others?

I am an introvert with a high passion for public speaking. I love conference talks and sharing my knowledge and best practices at conferences like Microsoft Ignite, the upcoming SharePoint North America conference, or our European collaboration summit – a community driven event. I’ve learned so much through my public speaking and it helped me grow and learn about different cultures, countries, and people. It is never the same and never boring. I like to get feedback and questions and love to see how excitement about technology can grow through inspiration and experience. Community brings incredible value. And I try to blog as much as possible about selected use cases, and how-tos. Also, writing books and training material is something I try to do as often as possible, but speaking, sharing background stories and knowledge, and getting direct feedback is still my favorite part.


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