What is your background?
I started working in Broadcasting technology as an apprentice for BT at 17 and have worked with computers ever since. I moved onto the Microsoft stack in 1999 and worked in windows server support before moving into consulting in 2005. That’s where I first came across SharePoint and found my true vocation.
Over the years this platform has developed significantly, especially with the rise in cloud technologies. As Office 365 has risen in popularity my skill set has had to broaden with it and I no longer consider myself solely a SharePoint specialist anymore having to increase my skills to encompass the rest of office 365 and the Azure identity and security platform.
How did you become a SharePoint expert?
Lots of self-study and exposure to the product. During my early years, I spent a lot of time attending the various events in the community and learning from trusted experts blogs. This was a time when Microsoft was not as good at documenting products as they are now and there was a distinct lack of information available. The community leaders supplemented this with their knowledge and it’s for this reason that I felt the need to get involved in the community and help others learn the technologies.
What has been your trickiest or most challenging SharePoint migration?
The trickiest migrations have traditionally been organisations that are resistant to change. With these organisations it’s important to focus on the delivery of adoption in line with the delivery of the technology, ensuring that users understand what is changing, why it’s changing and more importantly how it is going to revolutionize the way they work, providing them better access to the data they require and making them more productive.
What has been your most exciting or rewarding SharePoint migration?
As a Solution Architect within Trustmarque, I’ve worked closely with one particular client to help them upgrade their SharePoint to a new version and then taking them further to a fully cloud enabled organisation, utilising the Office 365 stack in its entirety. This has helped drive major changes to the workforce, increasing flexibility and agility and allowing them to move to a much more streamlined business model.
What are the insider tips on SharePoint?
I think as we move into Q1 of 2019 and we see some of the changes coming to the SharePoint platform in SharePoint Online it’s going to drive a deeper engagement in organisations. Some of the security updates that are due in Q1 will start to properly deliver user driven categorisation of data and site access policies, reducing the need for IT to be involved in the access control of Office 365 and putting the control in the hands of the users that understand the nature of the data that they are storing.
We’re also going to see a tighter integration of data into Microsoft Teams, potentially moving away from the traditional centralised Intranet model and delivering core organisation news directly to the portals and applications that the users are working in.
What are the key differences with SharePoint 2019 and why is it exciting?
The key focus for SharePoint 2019 is its close integration with the Microsoft Cloud. For organisations that are not quite ready to embrace Office 365 and Azure, SharePoint 2019 presents a great stepping stone to keep them compliant and supported, but also embracing the application development model that is used by the cloud. Hybrid technologies will allow them to stage the migration to the cloud, retaining workloads on-premises where needed.
What are you doing for Christmas?
Apart from Christmas Day, I’ll be doing a lot of painting. We’re in the final stages of extending and renovating our 1930s house and the builders will be moving out the Friday before Christmas. At this point I’ll be fitting a temporary kitchen and making the house presentable for guests! After Christmas, we’ll be back to painting the rest of the house!