So about 30 of us were invited to Redmond to meet with the top brass in April. Exactly why each of us was invited was the biggest mystery but when you are invited to meet with Steve Ballmer and the senior staff of MS, why ask why? Once we arrived, the question of the morning was "Why me?". Nobody knew exactly why they were selected to attend and we only first saw the agenda that morning while clearing security at MS. The mix of community leaders was broad enough that the only thing we could determine we all had in common was that each person there was an IT Pro Community voice (in some form or fashion). Attendees included the likes of Mark Minasi, Jesper Johansson and our beloved Susan Bradley. They must have invited me by mistake but what the heck, since my name was on the list I prepared a couple of questions and at just the right time, let them fly. I never thought I would be so nervous. Below are links to the audio files from this event and the summary MS gleamed.
You can hear Bob Muglia and Ron Markezich forget my question, answer an unasked question then receive a verbal beating from Susan Bradley when they ask another question in Panel Discussion #3 at 23:38 (OK, it wasn'texactly a beating but he was left dumbfounded)
Steve's commitment to never under-invest in user groups in response to my question Keynote Speech and Q&A with Steve Ballmer at 40:45.
What MS heard us (the IT Pro community) say:
- You want a medium to continue these discussions and networking opportunities, not only with Microsoft but with the other community leaders at the event.
- You want focused breakout discussions for deeper discussions on topics like Next Generation of the Web, Community and Virtualization.
- You want additional future in-person opportunities to engage directly with Microsoft and other community leaders.
Key Topics we discussed:
- The importance of effective, consistent and relationship-based connection to Microsoft and other software vendors.
- The need for data center guidance and tools around interoperability, security, monitoring and manageability.
- The desire for more transparency and open communication with Microsoft around security, patching and licensing.
- The issues around emerging web technologies for the IT Professionals including information and data management and the security implications in the enterprise.
- The need for a centralized course curriculum for academia and the broader technology community around the evolving role of the IT Professional.
Links To The Recorded Audio Files
- Welcome and Opening Remarks (WMA, MP3)
- Panel Discussion #1: Next generation of the Web and its implications on IT Professionals; both as consumers and in the enterprise (WMA, MP3)
- Panel Discussion #2: The Evolution of the IT Professional Community (WMA, MP3)
- Panel Discussion #3: Data Center trends including Virtualization and Managed Services (WMA, MP3)
- Keynote Speech and Q&A with Steve Ballmer (WMA, MP3)
- Closing Remarks (WMA, MP3)