The road ahead… New challenges!

Over the past twelve years I’ve gone through a series of jobs, from being a support agent at a helpdesk to being an Exchange consultant at Xylos today. All of the opportunities I have had and the customers I’ve worked with allowed me to grow as a consultant and as a person. I’m very grateful for the opportunities Xylos has offered me, but after having spent a little over six years working for them, I thought it was time for me to look forward and accept a new challenge.

As such, I’m happy and excited to announce that I will be joining ENow Software as of September 1st of this year as Product Director for their Exchange Monitoring and Reporting tools: Mailscape and Mailscape for Exchange Online. I look forward to working with all of the customers and getting feedback from the community to make the software even better than it already is today. Part of the reason why I chose for ENow is their unique approach and philosophy. ENow started out as a consulting company and continues to provide professional services which allows me to stay true to my “roots”.

I’m very excited about this new adventure as it allows me to combine the things I love to do along with the ability to contribute to a great piece of software. Over the past few months I have been working closely with ENow in order to build Mailscape for Exchange Online. So far, customers are thrilled with what they see and we have plenty more to come! (Did you know that Mailscape for Exchange Online was also nominated for the The Best of TechEd awards?)

In order to keep up with the ever-changing landscape in IT, I will continue to consult for ENow’s customers, albeit that I will spend less time doing so than I currently do. I strongly believe that staying hands-on with Exchange, Office 365 and everything related, will allow me to contribute better on a technical level but also allow me to better understand how our software should work with everything Microsoft does.

Of course, I will continue to blog here, speak at various tech conferences and be part of The UC Architects podcast. As a matter of fact, I’ll be speaking at Exchange Connections in September in Vegas where I will be presenting two sessions and a one-day workshop on deploying a Hybrid Exchange environment. If you haven’t signed up, I strongly suggest you do: after all IT/DEV Connections is one of the rare conferences where you get the chance to meet with real-world experts presenting no-nonsense and hands-on topics on various Microsoft technologies. This year’s edition has everything to make it even better than last year’s, including a new location: the beautiful Aria hotel/convention center.

Although I won’t officially be starting until September, feel free to reach out to me regarding Mailscape or ENow’s software in general. I’ll be more than happy to assist you with any questions you have. As always, you can follow me on twitter (@mvanhorenbeeck) or send me an email on michael.van.horenbeeck@enowsoftware.com!

-Michael

Blog

Microsoft is retiring the MCSM/MCA Program…

After having written about my experience of going through the MCSM program, I couldn’t resist writing down about how I feel about Microsoft’s latest decision to kill the MCSM/MCA program.

For those who aren’t fully up to date about what happened, let me enlighten you first. Early Saturday morning, (Friday evening if you’re in the US), Microsoft sent out the following statement to all existing (and aspiring) Certified Masters and Architects:

“We are contacting you to let you know we are making a change to the Microsoft Certified Master, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master, and Microsoft Certified Architect certifications. As technology changes so do Microsoft certifications and as such, we are continuing to evolve the Microsoft certification program. Microsoft will no longer offer Masters and Architect level training rotations and will be retiring the Masters level certification exams as of October 1, 2013. The IT industry is changing rapidly and we will continue to evaluate the certification and training needs of the industry to determine if there’s a different certification needed for the pinnacle of our program.”

Have a look at Neil Johnson, who also teaches during the MCSM rotation, his blog for the full email.

As you can see, for someone who recently went through the program, that’s not the kind of email I’d hoped to read any time soon. Effectively, the reactions from the community are mainly drenched in disbelief and anger; which also perfectly reflects how I feel about the decision.

Many people have already expressed their displeasure. Although twitter has the top of the talks, some others – like Paul Robichaux and Marcel van den Berg – have also blogged about their thoughts:

At this moment, all that we have is the email. Nothing more. The fact that Microsoft sent out the email right before a long weekend (Monday is apparently Labor Day in the US) doesn’t really help. Besides: who does that anyway? Sending out an email like that and then absenting from any discussion whatsoever? Maybe they hoped that the storm would settle down by Tuesday? There are many reasons why Microsoft might have chosen to kill the program. Most likely it’s cost-related. There’s no doubt that running the MCSM/MCA program costs a lot of money; maybe too much for what they get in return from a direct revenue point-of-view? If so, raising the price for the certification was no option either; it was already expensive as it was. Though I stand with my statement earlier where I said it’s more than worth it. Nonetheless, MCSM/MCA perhaps never became as big as Microsoft hoped for? Anyway. It doesn’t matter, does it?

Microsoft has lately been making a lot of rather strange decisions. A lot of IT Pros (including myself) are wondering what they (Microsoft) are trying to achieve. First, they decided to kill TechNet subscriptions, now the MCSM/MCA program. The question is what will be next…? They are, for sure, making it very difficult to keep on advocating for them…

I cherish no hope that Microsoft will reverse their decision, but I would like to have a more decent explanation as to why they made this decision and what they are up to next. This is the very least they can do for all those who have invested a lot of money and time to go through the program…

Until later,

– a very disappointed – Michael

Exchange 2013 News