Michael Jenkin is a SMB IT specialist and long serving community leader.
Michael Jenkin has been working in IT for over 20 years. He started his IT career completely by accident. Starting at University where he studied Electrical Engineering, he drifted into programming and building early computers. He was quickly swayed into IT and never looked back.
He brings real world computing to the table and takes in-depth looks at emerging technology and trends. His various associations have led him into providing training and giving presentations on behalf of Microsoft in New Zealand, Singapore, Redmond and in Australia. Michael was a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) from 2004 to the end of 2008.
Since retiring from the MVP program he has dedicated his time to other community outlets including an occasional talkback slot on the radio, writing articles for IT industry magazines and he represented millions of members of IT professional user groups as the Vice Chairman of pre-GITCA APAC. More recently, in 2010, he became the chairman in the APAC region for the Global IT Community Association (GITCA).
Michael runs his own community SMB IT website, participates as a volunteer in many programs to assist the less fortunate to get computer equipment, and is constantly on the lookout for any opportunity to help.
Michael was the IT Manager for the Australian National Scout Jamboree in 2004, Youth convention NCYC 2005 and other events which has led to an Australian Premier's Award and scouting merit.
Michael has been the technical reviewer for many IT books and has provided advice and reviews on many applications. In addition, his community projects have led him to be the Executive Producer of a South Australian short film and also the senior engineer for the philanthropist company, Digital Intermediately; all this whilst maintaining his role within his own IT company.
Michael started Business Technology Partners with his business partner in 2008 and considers this his biggest challenge. Michael is a Small Business Specialist and concentrates on Microsoft products and partners with other IT professionals to service other technologies.
Q: Michael, thank you for sharing your deep experiences with our audience. A: You are very welcome, thank you for this chance to share a little of my part in the technology world.
Q: What are your top 5 recommendations on virtualization? A: Virtualization is not always the answer. You need to first understand the required business services, software services and finally your client's needs. Virtualization helps to fill a noticeable technology gap and is certainly taking over the mainstream physical server roles; however, you need to achieve what is best for your client, meet their expectations, and keep to their budget. My top 5 recommendations are a mix of understanding your client first, and then IT.
Q: And your top resources on virtualization? A:
Q: What are your top 5 recommendations on Azure? A:
Q: And your top resources to find out more? A:
Q: What are your top 5 recommendations on the Private Cloud? A:
Q: What are your top 5 recommendations on Windows Phone Apps? A:
Q: Your top resources? A:
Q: What you are top 5 recommendations on Windows 8 and Windows 8 Apps? A:
Q: Please share your top best practices on SMB? A: I feel that there are two categories of best practices when working in SMB. Your business, which is likely an SMB itself, and your clients, who are likely in the SMB space. Best practice for you, as an SMB working in the SMB field, is to partner with other professionals. Don't take on everything, carefully pick your battles and have partnerships with those that can help you, and can work with that which you can't handle. Partner at a business level with those who are experts to help you run the business, including legal, accounting, planning and general support. Partner at an IT level to support products you don't normally handle. Leverage contracted engineers on jobs where you don't normally have the capacity and manpower. Networking and partnering amongst your peers helps you grow your business and your standing in the IT community. The SMB space is no place to be selfish, territorial or overly competitive. Work with your peers. Best practice with clients is to learn their business enough to appreciate their needs and desires. Listen to the clients. Be honest and helpful. Build long term relationships and let your client base build though the momentum of your contacts. The SMB world is large. There are many more SMB companies out there than large-enterprise companies. They all network together and plan strategies to be successful. Be a part of their strategy and you will grow with them.
Q: Can you profile recent wins concerning your business and what value you provide? A: We have had two recent large projects occur purely because their existing IT support did not listen to them. We have also acquired many small clients who were given bad experiences by managed service providers. One of the large clients needed cheap economical systems but within the guidelines that performance was important. Unfortunately the final virtualized solution gave very poor performance and the network design showed a complete lack of understanding of the business and the client needs. We have moved the client to a model that supports the business in its market and gives the performance it needs. The solution was not as we first expected, however came about from analyzing the business needs and listening to the client. As we took the time to listen and include them in the design process, they were very excited to implement our ideas and support us. The smaller clients (of which there were many) were using managed service agents on their workstations and servers. All have the same complaint. They hardly see the people who support their network and yet get billed for badly performing workstations. They get invisible support for the network and are ruthlessly billed monthly. Managed services is a great tool, if used correctly. The "set and forget" attitude of many MSP's is leading to the technology gaining a bad reputation. We again listened to the clients, discussed their needs and made sure we met their expectations.
Q: Can you profile your role with GITCA and what value does GITCA provide? A: GITCA is made up of groups of volunteers (in each region), who seek to support IT user groups and the wider IT community. My role is to look after the Asia Pacific Region, with my group of supporting volunteers. We assist in many ways including the promotion of user groups and their events, providing funding, resources and support. My role is to grow the membership in the APAC region and identify people with whom I can partner with and invite into the GITCA system. I provide support to those in my region and spend many hours answering questions including giving general advice. We have many Microsoft MVP's in the GITCA family and access to some of the brightest thinkers available in Information Technology. We have access to some of the biggest technology firms in the world and are able to provide connections between these firms and the members. Over the years we have been able to provide many benefits from Microsoft, and also provide online resources including training and seminars.
Q: What are the five top challenges in your current non-profit and business roles? A:
Q: What are the top 5 disruptive technologies and how will they have impact? A:
Q: What specific challenges and opportunities should IT practitioners and businesses embrace today and in two years and five years? A:
Q: Describe five areas of controversy in the areas that you work. A:
Q: What is the value in professional associations for computing professionals? A:
Q: What are your thoughts on computing as a recognized profession with demonstrated professional development, adherence to a code of ethics, and recognized non-licensing based credentials? [See www.ipthree.org and the Global Industry Council, http://www.ipthree.org/about-ip3/global-advisory-council] A: After seeing the mistreatment of computers and clients through 20 years of observation, I wholeheartedly support a code of ethics that is transportable from country to country. An understanding that a person meets a specific level and can be trusted is invaluable. IT professionals work around the clock, handle very sensitive information, and need to be held to the highest code of ethics and then be proud to be a valuable, respected member of the profession. The IT industry is very much a negative service industry. Let me clarify. It is a service industry where most people are contacting you in a negative light as something has gone wrong or is going to cost lots of money. They rarely call to say "something has gone right". They always remember the things that have failed. Being a profession with a code of ethics helps a client who is always finding fault trust the industry and let the professionals do their job. It will also help clients seek out those that have proven they meet the standards. It could help drive better training and support for those that are members, and partnership markets formed alongside the profession will hold it in high acclaim.
Q: Please share your deep insights and a candid discussion on emerging technologies — CIO vs CTO. A: In the SMB space, most clients do not have a CIO or CTO. Most often the accountant or owner of the business tries to fulfill the role of both the CIO and CTO with advice from their trusted IT consultant. They try and use existing technologies to solve business issues and see them through (similar to the CIO), and rely on the IT consultant to point them to any new technologies or provide the new technological advancement, much like a CTO.
Q: Please share your deep insights on Governance/Board and a candid discussion on what the board is really thinking. A:
Q: From your extensive speaking, travels, and work, please share three stories (amusing, surprising, unexpected, amazing). A: Story One: While representing Microsoft as an MVP and speaking at a not-for-profit gathering, I recanted the experience of running the IT for 11,000 scouts on the side of hill. We had built a small city from nothing. We had placed infrastructure across the site for IT and telephony. We had transported many buildings to the site and had many struggles. Many, many things had gone wrong and there were many moments when giving up was the easier solution. I was after all a volunteer, I was sure someone else could fill my shoes. I had given three years to the project and felt I had done my time. I did not give up. I pushed on, found servers that were sponsored and very cheap computers. I arranged free internet and established a well-run helpdesk and emergency system. I had achieved a fantastic result and was very proud. It was this that led me to speak. I was there to motivate other volunteers and show that these things could be done. After the speech as the room cleared, a wheelchair bound man who had lost the use of his limbs approached me. He said, "You have inspired me to volunteer. I will forget my own troubles and go out and find something to do. Thank you for speaking today." This is one of those moments that everything "clicked" and felt right. I felt that I had inspired one person and achieved my goal. This person has struggles but will overcome these and make big things happen. Story Two: On one trip to New Zealand, I presented on Small Business Server and remote facilities. I could sense the hunger for knowledge in the room and the session went many hours longer than intended. Walking back to the hotel room, delegates came with me to talk more on the subject. One particular delegate wanted to start an SBS users group and wanted to know what to do. After swapping business cards and promising to stay in touch I headed back to Australia. A while later, I was the technical reviewer on a book about Small Business Server. I sent the New Zealand contact a copy, to help him start his user group library. I thought not much more of it. More recently, the place I had visited in New Zealand was destroyed by the Christchurch earthquake. I had concerns for this person and his group. Oddly enough, he had been evacuated to Australia, to my home state of South Australia. Our chance meeting in New Zealand led to us sharing a walk around the South Australian Museum and a coffee. He paid for it and treated me like a guest in my own state. He put aside his troubles and thought it fit to show me his appreciation. It is strange how the people you meet and influence often come back to be a bigger part in your life. Story Three: I recall my first presentation on Microsoft Home server. It was the biggest group I had spoken in front of at the time. I had 220 pairs of eyes looking at me and I was very nervous. I was on stage to display the merits of the technology and the projector started playing up. I then found that the home server (Beta software) was failing and that the script I was following was not going to work. I had to cut short the demonstration by considerable time and throw to the crowd for questions ahead of schedule. I was nervous, shaking and worried. The questions and answers session went on for some time. Towards the end a person from the crowd came to the microphone and said, "Thank you for the best presentation on a Microsoft technology I have ever seen." I almost passed out in shock. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed the questions and answers and hardly realized anything had gone wrong. It goes to prove, communication is key. Keep it flowing and get everyone involved and it will be a success.
Q: If you were conducting this interview, what 3 questions would you ask, and then what would be your answers? A: