3 Steps to Microsoft MVP!

“Be an expert, do lots of what you love, and let us know!” – Microsoft MVP site “What is takes to be an MVP”

A decade ago becoming a Microsoft MVP could be confusing.  While there were activities you could do there wasn’t a prescriptive way to become an MVP.  It actually seemed like wanting to be one would automatically disqualify you.  That is definitely not the case and it’s never been more accessible as the Microsoft MVP program has grown to over 2000 MVPs globally across dozens of technologies.

MVP award is something to aspire to.  It’s ok to ask other MVPs what activities they are involved in and how to be one.  In fact the Microsoft site http://mvp.microsoft.com has an entire section on how to become an MVP.  What it takes to be an MVP…

  1. Be an Expert – 10,000 hours is all it takes to become an an expert. Put in the time.  Learn the products and help your company or customers, and share what you learn.  Learn to love it if you don’t.  It will be much easier to share your passion and love for technology if your passion is your job.
  2. Get involved in the Community: Get involved in the community and do the things that you like doing best on this activity list and more. If you’re doing all this just to become an MVP you’re missing the point.  The MVP is an award that recognizes people for their contribution.  You should enjoy doing the activities you’re doing whether you are recognized or not.  These activities will benefit your career both ways and have a lot of satisfaction in doing them as you are helping others.
    1. Contributing code to Projects: Github, Community and Opensource projects
    2. In person speaking: Microsoft, Third party, and community Events and user groups!
    3. Helping others: Forums, Twitter, wikis, MSDN/Technet
    4. Creating Content: Blogs, books, videos, webinars, teaching and instruction
    5. Providing Feedback: Early access TAP programs, reporting bugs, User Voice, and connecting with Microsoft experts at the events like SPC, Ignite, Inspire and many more…
  1. Get Nominated by an MVP and Submit Your Nomination: A nomination referral must be first submitted on your behalf by either a Microsoft Full Time Employee (FTE) or Microsoft MVP. (Even if you can have someone else do it, this is the preferred method.) Many aren’t aware of this part in the process. Once you’ve spent a good year doing the community activities that would qualify someone to be an MVP you should approach an MVP and ask to be considered an MVP which ultimately means asking an MVP if they would consider nominating you.

    A very important part of the nomination is making sure to keep your data up to date.  You should put in the whole entire year of activities, and then keep it up to date.  That’s key.  The nomination is an active process that is ongoing after you click submit, it is not the end.  It may be months before someone looks at the nomination and keeping the data accurate and up to date is very valuable.

Bonus TIP get to know your MVP Lead and the MVPs in your region and don’t stop there: There are different MVP leads in different parts of the world.  Asking an MVP in your region will help you get to know who the person is.  They play an important part of verifying your efforts in approving and submitting the nomination to Microsoft.  It’s not unusual to get a request from the MVP lead to send a list of MVPs or MS employees who could vouch for you.  Who are these people and how is your relationship with them?  Continue to work on your relationship

Don’t Give Up We Believe in You, I Believe in You!

If you ever feel like you’re not getting anywhere and just want to talk.  Please reach out on social media.  I understand that feeling and am happy to coach anyone who sincerely wants to help the community and get more involved.  I’m happy to help you get more connected with the other MVPs and RDs in your area.  You may think you’re off the radar or off the map, but really there is no place on the planet that is off the radar.  Let’s connect.

Read more about the MVP Program and Regional Director program at:




Skype for Business Online Retirement Date Set July 31, 2021 – Prepare to Migrate to Microsoft Teams Now

Skype for Business Online is being sunset. The roadmap for this integration is now complete and the Skype for Business online services are now fully part of Microsoft Teams.  This is a retirement party you’ll need to pay attention to.  If you simply decide to ignore this you’ll find yourself in a pickle.  Just like any retirement, you need to be prepared.  This will impact those currently using Skype for Business Online and as I see it… this is the beginning of more… and more on that later.  Wake up!  There will be NO Skype for Business Online in less than 2 years.  This is a call to action to be prepared to migrate.

While this announcement only relates specifically to Skype for Business Online if you are using other editions of Skype you also should become aware of Microsoft’s focus on Microsoft Teams.

Here are some great resources to refer to:

Call to Action… Prepare Now: Don’t Just Mark Your Calendars: July 31, 2021.

What is the Skype for Business Retirement plan?

“…After that date the service will no longer be accessible. Between now and then, current Skype for Business Online customers will experience no change in service, and they’ll be able to continue to add new users as needed. However, starting September 1, 2019, we will onboard all new Office 365 customers directly to Teams for chat, meetings, and calling. Please note that the Skype Consumer service and Skype for Business Server will both be unaffected by this announcement.”

I’m working on organizing a number of Teams events across the United States to help with the transition.  I will be partnering with Microsoft and Perficient to set up events in Microsoft Technology Centers in Irvine, Chicago, Atlanta and more.

It’s Official.  I’m joining Perficient one of the Top Microsoft Partners!

“Dear Joel,

On behalf of Perficient, Inc., I am pleased to make you this written offer of employment for the position of Director with Perficient’s MSFT CS US (and Canada) team…

We are confident you will find Perficient to be an excellent company in which to invest your time, talents, and energies.  Perficient invests in our people through training, the opportunity to work with advanced technologies, and to work with other creative people.  You will make a great addition to the talented team that is building Perficient into one of the leading technology management consulting firms in North America.

Anticipated Start date: 6/24/2019″

Super excited to get started.  I will not be moving.  I will be working in their national or North America practice, and yes they support me in my global efforts as well.  I definitely see this as a great opportunity to help them and continue on the path of digital transformation for the world.  With their help, I’ll be able to do even more for the community.  This is a Win/Win/Win.

Over the past decade Perficient has grown through acquisition… you may recognize any number of the more than 30 acquisitions… here are few notable ones: PointBridge Solutions, Northridge Systems, speakTECH, Genisys Consulting Inc., Southport Services Group, Clarity Consulting, Market Street Solutions, and Enlighten. You probably know Blue Rooster (16 Employees and the Product Rise) which is one of the top Intranet in a Box solutions, they bought the product and the employees who came with it, but not the company or brand.

Who is Perficient?  They are the industry’s best kept secret, but don’t take my word for it.  Here’s some information I’ve clipped information below from the Perficient website and wikipedia to better explain the company and relevance to you.  You can read more about it on the Perficient site which I highly recommend.

“Perficient, Inc. is a consulting firm serving enterprise customers throughout North America. The company’s efforts include enterprise mobile applications, creative services, marketing, digital strategy, Internet of Things, information technology, management consulting, custom development, and platform implementations.

The firm primarily performs project-based work, a large portion of which involves business intelligence and portal collaboration. Perficient also has offshore capabilities.

Perficient is a Microsoft National Solution Provider (NSP),  Microsoft Gold Certified partner and has been recognized as U.S. Partner of the Year, Global Messaging Partner of the Year, U.S. EPG Office 365 Consumption Partner of the Year, and Performance Partner of the Year. Perficient employs more than 450 Microsoft-focused consultants including more than 125 certified Microsoft Cloud consultants. Perficient became known for its experience with cloud migrations and deployments related to Microsoft 365, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Microsoft SharePoint, Windows Intune and Dynamics.

Perficient has offices in North America, Europe, India, and China.”

Those asking… What does this mean?  I say, this is what it sounds like.  I’m going to be getting back more involved with the community, more speaking, more webinars, more community events and more customer experiences and outreach.


Type Public
Traded as NASDAQ: PRFT
S&P 600 Component
Industry Management consulting
Founded 1997
Headquarters St. Louis, Missouri
CEO Jeffrey S. Davis (CEO)
Revenue US$498.4 million (2017)
Number of employees ~3000

Perficient is in the Russell 2000 and S&P SmallCap 600

Picture: Property of Perficient.  This happened on the day I got my offer.  Perficient rang the bell at the close of the NASDAQ.

Microsoft Teams Doorway to the Microsoft Modern Workplace Infographic

Microsoft Teams Modern Workplace

Microsoft Teams is the Doorway to the the Modern Workplace.  It’s amazing how Microsoft Teams really pulls through SharePoint, OneDrive, Exchange/Outlook, Azure, Planner, Stream, Bots, Office Web Applications, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and easy integration with Yammer, Dynamics, so much more.

One of the most powerful things is getting your head around Microsoft Teams and the power of the rich integration and modern workplace.


This infographic is shared with creative commons share alike.  Feel free to use it in your slides.

It shouldn’t surprise you that Microsoft is putting a lot of emphasis on Microsoft Teams.  Microsoft announced that 90% of the Fortune 100 are using Microsoft Teams.  What have they figured out?  I know there are thousands of companies still using Skype for Business and the pending migrations are at a critical time.  Many of you are wondering what’s in teams for you… I’m hoping this webinar helps you understand the vision of Microsoft Teams, the vision of Microsoft 365 and the Modern Workplace.

Working with Roger Taylor and Dionne Taylor from SkyeNets we put together this infographic to help simplify what’s happening in the interface and behind the scenes.  Microsoft Teams is your doorway to the Modern Workplace: An overview of Microsoft Teams dependencies.

Q&A and Recording from SharePoint Conference 2019 Panel

Thanks for joining me and my Expert, MVP and RD friends on the Panel.  Below you’ll find slides, recording, and the Q&A.

#SPC19 Recap Slides feel free to download:

events poll

SharePoint Conference 2019 Experts Panel Recap Video Recording

Questions and Answers from SPC Experts Panel:

Not sure I understand the difference between Home Sites, and the Communication site?

Home sites are a landing page for your Intelligent Intranet and there is only one per user per tenant.  You can have many communication sites and they don’t have all the new personalized webparts designed for this new homesite.

Is there any point to the Yammer Q&A if Yammer adoption has never taken off in your company? (v. QnA)

If you aren’t using Yammer, then the Yammer Q&A feature won’t mean much for you.  You need to decide what is right for your organization.


Our firm is not using Teams because we still have issues with the messaging component of Teams still does not meet our EKM or equivalent security requirements.  This really handcuffs us in a lot of ways and would love to know if and when these concerns will be addressed? 

Not sure what your security requirements are, but there is a lot more being done to focus on security and compliance for Teams and a lot was announced at SPC19.  I encourage you to track down your specific requirements.


Would like to understand what 90% of the Fortune 100 means – How they are using Teams and in what capacity?

We don’t have any additional detail on Microsoft’s numbers.  That’s a great question.


Just have issues with the design of the Home sites and what I perceived as limitations on what customizations we can make on them…

We have a lot of questions ourselves and this is also something Microsoft will be working out.  They have an advisory board that is helping them.  I encourage you to get involved in the prerelease if you can to provide your requirements or feedback.


Good day ! 99 % of Admins will be using SP2019 as migration path from SP2016 /2010, so my questions are

  1. My Site provisioning – at SP2016 Microsoft introduced site master fast provisioning using default template of site master. sp2016 uses template 9 or 10. Migrating to SPO2019 how can we keep same look ?

SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2019 have a new approach to branding with Modern.  When on premises you can absolutely change the master page, but in SharePoint online that’s not recommended if you can avoid it.


Will you have any tool to migrate MySite provisioning template from SP2016/2010 to 2019?

My sites have dramatically changed between the legacy versions of My site to the new 2019 OneDrive, but Microsoft just sent some updates related to their SMAT tool and mysites.



Next question : SP farm + mirroring DR farm

There is more redundancy in the Online services.  If you’re trying to do mirroring in on premises look at AOAG.  Yes, they do have guides to help you setup proper DR.


Any improvements will be done for SP 2019?

SharePoint 2019 launched last year.  There was a SharePoint 2019 session you should track down.


At 2016 we must break AG SQL to patch service applications DBs , did someone address those issue for SP2019 ?

I’m not familiar with this issue, but they definitely have improved in 2016 and 2019 over 2013.



Is there a link to a reference or quote on SharePoint being biggest consumer over azure.  I have an exchange fan boy I want to show.

SharePoint is the biggest consumer OF Azure not over.  It was mentioned in the keynote.  180,000 VMs.  Not sure how many VMs Exchange has, or if they are willing to share those numbers.

Vlad has an ondemand page: https://absolute-sharepoint.com/sharepoint-virtual-summit-2019-keynote-on-demand-from-spc-2019


How is this different from hitting the “Sites” link in office 365, that shows you frequent sites, favorites etc.

Home sites has a lot of new parts.  Only the rail on the right side is the same as the SharePoint Home of today.


Would this be replacing the “sites” functionality?

No, but that that is evolving as well.



I work for the only company that is authorized to sell Hololens 2 in the US, and we are getting a lot of interest in using it with Dynamics. As those users start implementing their VR apps, they will begin showing in SPO also

They will integrate more and more.  The Dynamics Remote viewing app as an example allows you to choose files in OneDrive or SharePoint.  Teams also has connections to Dynamics and the new functionality in biz apps portals will provide additional abilities.  It’s pretty awesome to be able to show the integration.  There’s a great story and that will continue to get better when SharePoint spaces ships.


Where can I find info about PowerApps and doc library?

https://powerapps.microsoft.com is a good place to get started with PowerApps.


Good morning! Will the recording of this webinar be shared?

Yes, all attendees and here’s a link:


Please share the 12 blog posts link?


I think home sites helps to tie together all the hub sites

That’s a good analogy and one of the points.


Are any of these file storage performance improvements applicable to the on-prem SP2019 architecture, or are they purely cloud-based improvements?

Yes, many improvements in SharePoint performance overall.  Refer to Ignite for more on SharePoint 2019.  Not much said about already shipping products.


Can we have more audit logs for Flow? We need some administrator logs, like, who create data policies, environments…

Go to user voice and vote up or log your opinions.  There were a lot of new administrative features and controls that were added.  I recommend checking out the session on Office 365 Administration.  Many of the speakers who were not Microsoft speakers also shared their decks.


So this is the new ROOT site collection?

I wouldn’t go that far.  Microsoft recently released the ability to make a communication site your root site collection.  This is a new release.


There are SO many areas MS can focus on without this needed “spaces” app. i mean users can even integrate ToDo with OneNote with any consistency and Flow and PowerApps are still being dabbled

Lots of people don’t understand the need for SharePoint spaces.  Check out the keynote example.  It’s a good one.


In Toronto, we do need innovative soltions for the Health sector, (practicioners level), EMR, XRays, etc. with a high level of privacy within the context of cybersecurity. Is there some rodmap for segment of the ‘industry’, (Health)?

Looking forward for the private channels development. Please keep the team informed. For HEALTH ,otherwise, all these excellent features may not be applicable. Four our business, it’s very important.


Who was the person doing the Teams architecture blog series?



Was there anything notable, feature-wise, for Yammer @ SPC19?

Yes, Q&A Bot and marking a post as a question or an answer.  Refer to the Yammer session for more… yes there was a yammer session.


People don’t always agree on the insight to be imparted to the ML model.  Is there a ‘conflict resolution’ process envisioned?

In Machine teaching the answer is yes.  It’s about teaching.


Are they sharing some of the SPC19 conference sessions somewhere?

Yes, on the sharepointna.com site.  Wouldn’t be surprised.


Do we have a schedule of the events in the Poll? I would love to know about California Based SharePoint Focused events

There are industry events at https://www.cmswire.com/events/  Visit http://SPSevents.org for upcoming SharePoint Saturdays across California.


Are private channels ever coming to Teams?

Yes, they are in preview.


Does MS still throttle the upload speeds for the Mac version of the OneDrive client?  It was about 10x slower than the Windows OneDrive client in our tests last year, posing a problem for adoption among our Mac users.

There are some settings in the client to throttle the speed, but Microsoft doesn’t throttle the upload speeds.  There are a dozen reasons why one machine could be slower than another.  I’d highly recommend opening a support ticket if you can reproduce this issue.  I couldn’t find anything else reported on this and performance is definitely something that Microsoft is focused on.


How can we get rid of the :x/:r gibberish that Microsoft introduced in the SharePoint Online URLs last year?  So annoying for documentation.  We have to manually edit links every time.

There have been efforts to optimize the URLs and to be able to rename site URLs.  No other mention of URLs in the event.