Hello! I’m James and this fiscal year I’m your Azure Success Manager at Microsoft. Since I’ll be working with lots of different people this year, 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 customer and partner-facing roles, most recently as UK SMB Sales Lead for Azure. For the last three and a half years I’ve worked across Microsoft’s ecosystems - particularly with CSP partners - to build a high performing Azure business.

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. Or in my shed.

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 business outcomes. Not just technology for its own sake. I enjoy challenging partners I work with to consider the impact of their technology strategy, to tell the stories of how their engagements have made a real difference, 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?

In the modern world of work, I tend to be digital-first. Like many of us, I’ve become accustomed to hybrid working and have built a work/life balance around that approach. I do get a lot of energy from connecting in person, but I like to make sure that we’re going to get the best out of our time spent travelling to make it as beneficial as possible.

I wouldn’t be a Microsoft employee if I didn’t have a packed inbox, and email is (still!) 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 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. Particularly when it comes to driving customer success and Azure growth!

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 be direct, and I want you to do the same in return.

What else do you I need to tell you?

In my spare time I like to create content on Twitch, and I run a little Discord community called The Gaming Shed.

I’m a huge geek, and have recently started collecting Pokémon Cards again.

I am a frustrated maker (I don’t hate my 3D printer, really…).

I love public speaking.

I launched a newsletter on LinkedIn called Interesting Stuff, that you should definitely subscribe to if you want to know more about Azure sucess!

My favourite drink is Diet Coke. To an unhealthy degree.

I’m a pretty open person - anything else you want to know? Just ask!