Hello! I’m James and this fiscal year I’m your technology strategist at Microsoft. Since I’ll be working with a larger number of partners this year, and introducing myself many times, I figured I’d put this little intro together to answer some common questions…
You can find out more about me elsewhere on my blog, but in short I’ve been at Microsoft since 2010 where I started in the education team working on the forerunner to Office 365 Education and have held various roles customer and partner-facing leading up to me becoming a technology strategist three years ago. For the last two years I’ve worked specifically with Tech Data, Arrow ECS, intY and Wirehive on buildling world-class channel engagement and transformation programs. I’m proud that in both of those years my partners have won a Microsoft Partner of The Year award as Indirect Providers (Tech Data in 2018, Arrow ECS in 2019).
Personally, I’m father to two incredible little girls, and husband to an amazing wife. I live just outside Reading, and am primarily based at Microsoft’s UK HQ in Thames Valley Park.
What do I enjoy?
I enjoy connecting technology to the “so what?”. As a technologist, I’m fascinated by tech - that should go without saying. However, as much as I get a lot of energy from exploring how new technology can be used, I believe it’s important to link the excitement to clear outcomes. Not just technology for its own sake. I enjoy challenging my partners to consider the impact of their technology strategy, to tell the stories of how their engagements have had real impact, and to stretch them to achieve more. Check out the posts on this blog for an insight into my work.
How do I like to work?
I have a huge territory, geographically speaking. It would be very easy to spend all day in the car touring the country, but that wouldn’t be very productive! I firmly believe a lot can be achieved as a remote worker, and to that end I’m a big fan of video conferencing and making the very best use of services like Microsoft Teams, Kaizala, SharePoint Online, etc.
Although, I wouldn’t be a Microsoft employee if I didn’t have a packed inbox, and email is a valid way to work. However, I’d much rather exchange IMs or have a quick call than exchange countless emails. As we establish how we’ll work together this year, it’ll become clear how often we’ll meet in person (and I want that to be as often as practical) but please know that I’m available most quickly digitally.
What am I like to work with?
You’d have to ask my colleagues and partners for a true view, but I know I’m not perfect. I am very passionate about evolving to stay relevant, and sometimes that passion gives way to frustration at lack of progress - but I know change takes time. I live by the belief that it ultimately doesn’t matter what you do, your customers are transforming without you - it’s a slide I include in almost every keynote and presentation I give. Standing still on an opportunity is the same as giving it away, and I hate to see my partners leave any opportunity on the table.
I hope that over the coming months we can develop an open, honest, constructively challenging and hugely successful (and fun!) relationship. My committment to you is that I will always give my honest counsel as a ‘virtual CTO’, and I want you to do the same in return.
What else do you I need to tell you?
Don’t ask my about my shed project unless you liked to be bored for a very long time! I’m currently reading “The Art of Statistics” by David Spiegelhalter as part of my journey to learn more about data and the best way to represent its story.
I’m listening to “Black and White” by The Stranglers a lot at the moment. My favourite drink is Diet Coke. To an unhealthy degree.
I’m a pretty open person - anything else you want to know? Just ask!