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.

 

Perficient
Type Public
Traded as NASDAQ: PRFT
S&P 600 Component
Industry Management consulting
Outsourcing
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.

A Future in Gaming: I’m headed for Blizzard Entertainment!

It’s appropriate that early in my career in technology started with morale events based on network gaming found on a hidden share versions of Doom, then later it was Command and Conquer and WarCraft, StarCraft, Duke Nukem and Diablo.  Great memories, tons of fun and strengthened friendships.  We couldn’t wait for those moments when it got quiet with no one left around and the machines became available for something even more powerful than your average productivity tools.  Even early in my marriage we’d come to play networked games on battle.net.  I’ve always enjoyed gaming, in balance of course.  I gave my notice at Konica Minolta last week and start my new position at Activision | Blizzard Entertainment in Irvine on January 8 as Senior IT Operations Manager responsible for the End User Computing and Windows Core teams.

Activision Blizzard is the world’s most successful standalone interactive entertainment company. Our portfolio includes some of the biggest franchises in all of entertainment, developed by the incredibly talented teams at Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, King Digital Entertainment, Activision Blizzard Studios, Major League Gaming, and our independent studios, including Toys for Bob, Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games and Treyarch.” – Blizzard Careers page

For Christmas I got an Oculus and a gamer VR laptop that will support my new career.  Hope to connect with you on Battle.Net as I build new characters on WOW and Overwatch and whatever else may come along…  More details to come!  My blog will broaden.  You may have noticed I rebranded my blog and you’ll see a broader range of topics from VR to Games and tech gadgets along side the Office 365 and SharePoint content.  You’ll see further improvement in my blog navigation to support those changes.

FAQ

Will you still be working with SharePoint / Office 365?

Yes, I will be managing the team responsible for SharePoint and Office 365 including the collaboration platforms and productivity tools as well as Azure AD, Identity, Exchange, DNS, Patching, SCCM, and Apple and Macs.  I will be driving the strategy for SharePoint, Office 365, Collaboration and Intranet at Blizzard.  Big responsibility I know.

I do believe jobs will expand in Office 365 and contract in on premises SharePoint especially for developers. I posted 8 predictions for SharePoint in 2018.

Will you still be traveling and speaking at conferences?

Yes, in fact I will be speaking at a number of SharePoint Saturday’s, aOS, and Community Meetups and Industry events  in the first quarter of 2018.  This may change slightly, but at this point my management is supportive of my community work and has offices around the globe they’ve already said they’d like me to visit in Ireland, France, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea and they support me in my endeavors.  I’m already booked for my Madagascar trip in February and Ethiopia/Uganda/Kenya Central Africa Family trip this summer.  Hope you can come to #Blizzcon I’m very excited to add that event to my line up in 2018.

How many countries do you have left?

Not sure what this has to do with my new job, but about 30 countries (of ~197) after what’s already been booked.  I’ve been averaging about 10 new countries a year, but what’s left is getting increasingly difficult and more planning involved, so this may vary.  My priority is my family and work, so this should not interfere.

What do video games have to do with the future of collaboration?

It doesn’t have to, but I do see more and more… a convergence in real time and even near realtime for video, audio, chat, feeds, training, screen sharing and definitely the future of interfaces may have more of a convergence with gaming and collaboration and intranets.  We’ve already seen examples of gamification in Intranets.  I expect to see more culture and gaming represented in chat rooms, Intranet interfaces, and video as these experiences converge.  The future of AR/VR bring a lot of new possibilities to the enterprise by 2021 more than 10% of AR/VR will be purchased for corporate use.

How were things at Konica Minolta?

I have had a great relationship with my boss, and I had a fantastic team, whom I will miss dearly.  After about 3 years at KM, I’ve had a great impact on their practice. Together we’ve been able to accomplish a lot, but this is a fantastic opportunity I couldn’t pass up.  You should never burn bridges, and I can safely say this is amicable.

Have more questions? You can ask me in the comments or on twitter at @joeloleson or at the upcoming events such as #SPSUtah or #SPSSD

Dear Abby IT SharePoint Woes

Dear Abby IT, As SharePoint Expert What Should I Do Next in My Career?

I’ve had some fascinating career conversations recently, and just today one message came across Facebook that reminded me of a Dear Abby letter.  No offense to Miss Abby and her letters. I hope she doesn’t mind me doing a bit of a parody on her character.  In high respect…  All rights are hers.

image

Dear Abby IT,

I’m a SharePoint Admin of 10 years.  I’ve had a great career so far and great run as SharePoint Admin.  I’m feeling the pressure of the Cloud and not sure what I should do.  How do I transition or diversify my skills.What should I do?  I’m not getting a straight answer from Microsoft and it likely would be personal anyway.  While I still see plenty of SharePoint jobs, I question the longevity of my position what should I be learning next?  Azure? SQL? BI?

Thanks for your wisdom over the years,

Signed

Cloudy SharePoint

 

Dear Abby IT

 

Dear Cloudy SharePoint,

You are smart to be questioning the amount of IT Admin jobs around the SharePoint, Lync, and Exchange stack.  The writing is on the wall for many companies that are either in the process of moving or are working to move their data to the cloud.  Mail, Instant Messaging, Enterprise Social, and commodity storage and sharing solutions like SharePoint sites will be first.  You are also smart to be considering this before the mass migration of IT folks to new jobs begins en masse.

SharePoint is becoming a commodity.  Don’t get me wrong, it does seem to have plenty of good work for the forseable future as companies continue to deploy and push adoption, but the development and IT Admin needs are being saturated or becoming more steady state with less change.  There may be some who would disagree with some of this assessment, and I welcome their thoughts.  Respond in a blog post and I’m happy to link to it, or add your thoughts in the comments.

The IT Industry is going through a major shift.  The emphasis in this paradigm shift is Mobile, Social, Cloud, and Big Data.  This will create a lot of new jobs, and replace a whole lot of others.  For IT Admins, the Cloud shift will hurt the most.  These paradigm shifts happen every few years, and a smart IT person will stay on the edge of it.  Developers will also be retooling as a result of these major shifts.  Staying on the bleeding edge can get you cut, but the payoff is greater than the risk for sure… On the other hand sticking around until you’ve worked yourself out of a jobs is lame and that kind of loyalty is underappreciated.  I hope to see others in the industry be open about what these changes and paradigm shifts will do to jobs and give more visibility to what I see as monumental in this shift.  The sky is not falling, but it is shifting.

The shift for most SharePoint folks means ensuring you are diversifying.  Start picking up books, projects, and figuring out where you interests are that are incrementally the next step.  SharePoint is and will be a great career for many, but having a broad set of skills will make you easier to hire.  Companies should not just hire someone because they meet the needs of the position, but for what they offer over many positions in the length of the employment.  Diversity is good and this may mean learning Google Apps, Salesforce, Jive and so on.  Diversity on a resume is powerful and speaks volumes to your ability to adapt with change.  For a developer seeing HTML5, CSS 3 with JQuery, Angular (and a huge variety of other libraries),  REST, etc… app development on Azure development C#, SQL Azure, Agile/Scrum development, team based Gethub, variety of repositories in addition to a variety of open source projects on the side including community projects on Codeplex shows you have the ability to work with a virtual team.  Going cloud? Get experience across a variety of hosts on prem, private and public clouds… Citrix, Azure, Amazon E3, Google cloud, Rackspace, Cloudshare, etc…

So what to focus on?  Here are some ideas… in areas that will really be growing.  There are differences in salary, and I do encourage people who have been long in the industry to ensure the career path supports their financial goals.  Just because you can do migration work doesn’t mean it will be the most satisfying.

  • Enterprise Mobile Device Management (Engineering and Solution Management) / Mobile Development
  • Visual: Designers, Client Side Developers
  • Virtualization & Infrastructure/ Azure Development
  • Business Analysts, Scrum Master, Agile Team Manager, Project Managers, Technical
  • Enterprise Social Community Managers/Consultants/Marketing Social Media Management
  • BI Analysts, Data Analysts, Big Data Architects, PowerBI, Powerpivot
  • Cloud Consultants, Azure Development, SQL Azure, Hadoop, Big Data apps and skills
  • Workflow/Forms and Business Process Management Analysts and Designers

Beyond you can see incremental steps to CRM, AX, LMS, ECM, HR and Financial systems and a number of specialists as IT converges with the business.  More careers will shift to technical expertise within lines of business. If you can ease up on your politics you can find a number of interesting careers with partners, and even competitors that will round out your resume.  As Microsoft moves towards it’s Devices and Services strategy you may find your interests align in other ways.  Most SharePoint environments that will remain on premises will be integrated with LOB systems and in hybrid scenarios.  How are your powershell skills?

There is still a lot of money to be made and the IT field will be one that will continue to pay handsomely.  Don’t be driven by greed or you’ll lose your happiness, remember it’s important to find balance in your life… figure out what interests you and go for it!  See yourself as an Agile being, that is ever incrementally progressing and you won’t go wrong.  Learn the principles of course correction.

Don’t fret… just plan. The future is bright!

Abby IT