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Rackspace and the Microsoft ProServe Partner Network

Rackspace and the Microsoft ProServe Partner Network

I have been a Racker for more than 2 years now and during this time I have found that Rackspace has always strived to maintain an amazing group of Microsoft Partners that do Professional Services (ProServe) work. We have phenomenal partners that we send work to today, however we want to broaden our knowledge base of who is out there doing great things in the Microsoft ProServe space. We no longer have teams that do ProServe work, save some migration efforts, but as their trusted advisors our customers ask us for recommendations of who they turn to in order to get their ProServe work done. This is where my ask of you comes in.

Are you interested in Rackers mentioning your company as a potential ProServe provider to our customers? If the answer is yes, then we need to know about you. My ask is that you fill out our 2 minute survey to let us know who you are and what is in your sweet spot.

A couple of caveats:
1.) This is the first of 2 surveys that we will ask you to fill out. The second will come after you have self identified and we have a reasonable number of responses. Additionally, we will reach out at least annually to validate that you are still pursing the same work as that which you have identified in the survey(s).
2.) Filling out the survey(s) does not guarantee that you will be referred business. It simply gives us an opportunity to do so and possibly reach out for additional partner conversations.
3.) We are not selling this list or doing anything nefarious with it. We just want to know who we can send our customers to when they ask for referrals and this is the best way I can think of doing that.
4.) PLEASE do not reach out to me asking (yelling at me about) why we haven’t done anything with your company yet. I will have no control over who our customers choose to reach out to. Think of this as a Rackspace ProServe Yellow Pages effort.
5.) Rackspace has a very well defined Partner Network Program which can be found at https://partners.rackspace.com/.  We will be providing some inputs from this effort to the team that runs that program, but this effort is independent of that. We are looking to identify (and keep fresh) a list of referral partners that we can tell our customers about when they ask. Plus the Partner Network is more focused on you help to sell our stuff than us sending you business, so feel free to go do that too! We would love for you to make money for referring us to your customers…

Closing thoughts, Rackspace loves Community. We went into hibernation for a while but are stirring back it life. Keep an eye out for us… in the meantime, please fill out this form: http://bit.ly/rackspace-msftpartners

May 16th is the new May 4th in SharePoint land

May 16th is the new May 4th in SharePoint land

Seth Patton started the event today by saying that today we are here to celebrate customers who are using using Office 365 to accelerate their digital transformations. He highlighted the Microsoft mission of empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. I was lucky enough to be invited, along with my fellow Racker & Microsoft MVP Randy Drisgill and several other community friends, to take part in the filming of this event. In addition to the excitement around all of the announcements I was especially thrilled that Microsoft had chosen to highlight Rackspace as a customer taking part in the aforementioned digital transformation.

As a part of the big announcement blog post that Jeff Teper put out today Rackspace was listed as one of the 9 customer success stories. This has been a labor of love here at Rackspace for me and I see our transformation daily in the way that we work together. From the migration to OneDrive, to our limited use of Microsoft Teams, and including our latest efforts to migrate to Exchange Online there is so much benefit to the people using the new functionality being brought to them via Office 365. You can read our Customer Story here: https://customers.microsoft.com/en-us/story/rackspace-professional-services-office-365

As for all of the amazing new things that Seth, Jeff and the Microsoft team share with us today, here is my recap:

OneDrive for Business

There were 3 big areas of highlight today:

  1. OneDrive Admin Center
  2. New Sharing Experience
  3. OneDrive Files OnDemand

OneDrive Admin Center

admin center

There are several really cool things that they showed today about the new OneDrive Admin Center, specifically the ability to set the default sharing policy for links. This will make it so that users do not have the ability to share a link that has no governance around it. The Admin Center controls override for all users and allow Admins to better control what is happening with their data.

The other great new feature that was demoed was the ability to limit sharing by domain. You now have the ability to either whitelist or blacklist domains. This will allow Admins to ensure that sharing can be done, however it gives them the ability to keep their users from accidentally opening access to the wrong element.

New Sharing Experience

sharing

I have written quite a bit on this for Microsoft, so I am going to limit my prose here and simply say that the new sharing experience is elegant, clean, and easy to use. I am a big fan. Once my article gets published and is out of embargo from being posted to my blog I will be sure to update this section and link it.

OneDrive Files OnDemand

files ondemand

My previous statement about embargoed content goes for this section too. My screenshot here shows a bit of the user experience we are expecting to see in the coming months once the Fall Creators Update for Windows 10 hits.

7 things to think about when attending Microsoft Ignite 2016

7 things to think about when attending Microsoft Ignite 2016

Ignite top banner - 03-17-16

Hard to believe that yesterday was the first day of Fall. It was 93degrees for the high here in San Antonio and there is no appearance of a season other than HOT anywhere.

Tomorrow I fly out to Atlanta for the Microsoft Ignite 2016 Conference and I couldn’t be more stoked. We are all primed to hear TONS of awesome new announcements from Microsoft this week and learn all about them from the folks responsible for bringing them to market. From Windows Server to Office 365, this week promises to be chock full of excellent stuff.

In addition all of the live breaking news, there are more than official 1400 sessions taking place throughout the week, including the 6 sessions that I am presenting,  PLUS hundreds of in booth sessions that companies like Rackspace are doing on their own.

For those of you who are lucky enough to have gotten a ticket before it sold out here are a few pointers that hopefully will help you make the most of your experience at this year’s event. Since my co-workers in Corporate Marketing tell me that its best to have a click-baity title with an odd numbered list, here are my “7 things to think about for Microsoft Ignite 2016”:

1.) Keep an eye on the weather before you go

Atlanta is not nicknamed HOTlanta for nothin’. While much of the US is starting to see cooler temperatures, the South is still pretty toasty. That said, at this time of year evenings can get cooler PLUS conference rooms are either boiling hot or iceberg cold, so bringing a light jacket is not a terrible idea.

2.) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Whether you are a wild child going out to every party that the week offers you or you are a hard studying, attend every session event goer this truth is universal. We never drink enough water. There is a reason that Microsoft is going to give you a water bottle. Yes, there are sodas EVERYWHERE but H20 is still critical to you surviving the week. This is a normal thing that we all think about at home, but when we get to big conferences our brains sometimes get left in our checked luggage.

3.) Have session backups

Pick multiple sessions for each time slot. Find that you are not enjoying a session that you have stumbled into? Make your exit and find your way into another session that might suit you better. As a presenter the last thing I want is for you to sit through an entire session of mine FUMING because I am not covering something the way you need to hear it. We all learn different ways and my if my style of teaching is like nails on a chalk board to you, PLEASE find a session that is going to be a better fit. Neither of us benefit from you being overly polite to a complete stranger. Our ego will recover from losing you in the room. Ok, maybe Todd Klindt’s, won’t but most presenters will survive. He is kinda needy, which is why he needs so many hugs.

…and oh by the way, if you end up not going to those other sessions in your list, they are a perfect play list for you to start with when the videos come online for watching after the event, thus making this a good practice no matter what.

4.) Get out there and meet people

The Microsoft Technology community is a fun one. We have some unique characters, especially in the SharePoint & SQL Communities. Don’t be shy, get out there and make some connections. For the most part people are open and looking to share & learn from each other. There are lots of opportunities, you just have to step up and take advantage of them.

5.) Visit the vendors

This is not just for the SWAG that you will inevitably fill your suitcase with, but more importantly to learn about what is going on in the ecosystem that you might not be aware of. Down every aisle there are gems of information, not just sales pitches (although there are plenty of those too), just waiting for you to discover. Worried that you are going to get Spammed? Stop worrying… it is GOING TO HAPPEN. That’s why there is Clutter & Junk mail filtering. There is also the “unsubscribe button”.

6.) PAR-TAY

There are events, cocktail hours, shindigs, parties, and merriment happening every night during Microsoft Ignite. See #5 to find out how to get on the invite list to most of them. If you aren’t being invited to things, you aren’t talking to enough vendors!

7.) Hassle the Microsofties!

Spend time in the Microsoft area of the Expo Hall. Microsoft spends a TON of money on this event with the intention of simply breaking even financially (which they don’t always do). They fly in experts from around the world to staff their dozens of booths with experience in everything that they sell. Bring your questions and find your expert. There will be an “Ask the Experts” session where all of the speakers are required to be on the floor and we are always happy to answer your questions, especially when there is free booze Smile

…a bonus #8:

There are going to be TONS of Microsoft MVPs of all backgrounds in attendance. In general we MVPs are a friendly bunch… its kinda required with the whole community award thing. As a breed we are about engaging with & helping people. When you see us stop & say hi. From Hillbillies to CatPainters, BinaryBrewers to DiveDowners, Wonder Women to podcasting *ick* Florida Gators*ick* there will be plenty of us kicking around this week.

Hopefully while you are there you can stop by the Rackspace booth (#521) and say hi. If you don’t find me there you can always come to one of my sessions during the week. Find all of those details here on the Microsoft Ignite site.

Last thing to remember, when you fly home at the end of the week with your brain all filled with awesome new knowledge and you don’t think you can take any more, the sessions (and decks) are all being recorded and posted to Channel 9 for consumption later.

Enjoy!

#SPSDFW Wrap up

#SPSDFW Wrap up

SPSDFW

Another great community event is in the books! Kudos to the #SPSDFW team for the triumphant return of this keystone event. It has been suggested that I will take any excuse to go back to Texas… guilty as charged… A weekend of BBQ, Shiner & phenomenal SharePoint folks.

You can find the deck for my session Business Intelligence in SharePoint 2013 here: https://www.slideshare.net/jasonhimmelstein/business-intelligence-in-sharepoint-2013-24452549

Next up for me is running #SPSRI this coming weekend with Joshua Cliff & Chris McNulty!