In the last two weeks, we’ve featured two of our three Microsoft MVPs: Darrell Webster and Hans Brender. We’re excited to say that our third interview proves just how diverse and skilled our MVPs are!
BitTitan’s final Microsoft MVP is Kelsey Epps, a Partner Technical Strategist at BitTitan.
Kelsey’s direct approach to everyday tasks and challenges on his Office365 Technical Support Blog has made it a vital resources to its users and a great demonstration of community support.
Over the years, Kelsey has written an expansive series of guides for the processes used most. He’s an approachable subject matter expert, excellent communicator, and has an honest sense of humor.
[CB:] Can you get us started by talking about your MVP areas of expertise?
[KE:] I have an Exchange and Identity background, but I was originally given an Office 365 MVP for my blog. I started the blog as a way to document all the hurdles I had to cross with my Office 365 deployments. At the time, most of the content was very unreliable and hard to find and the blog was my way of keeping organized. Microsoft has since restructured and grouped all the Exchange, SharePoint, Office 365 and Skype for Business MVPs into a new category, Office Servers and Services MVP. Most of us that had a previous MVP still reference that one.
[CB:] What did you first blog about and where is the blog now?
[KE:] The first blogs I wrote were for a series on migration from a hosted POP solution to Office 365. I started engaging in communities around the same time. Now
I blog a lot about Exchange Online, simple tricks on how to do stuff. Microsoft TechNet articles can be detailed and sometimes people need to know how to do really simple tasks. I actually have a few blogs that are the number one hit from a “how to” Google search. I like to keep it simple.
[CB:] You’ve done a lot of great work through your blog! Do you have a proudest career moment?
[KE:] I wouldn’t say there is one defining moment, but a few stick out.
The first one would be hard work and persistence to land my first ‘real’ job with EDS (Electronic Data Systems). I was working nights as a manager at McDonalds to help fund my day time studies at a local technical college. The payoff was a good out-of-the-gate job; I had a good salary, benefits, vacation. It was a big step for me.
The second was moving into the top tier support group within EDS, called Enterprise Microsoft Support Center; supporting all the global accounts with Microsoft technologies.
The third was branching out and getting my Office 365 MVP when public cloud wasn’t even on the HP radar. I chose to continue with the MVP process even though it had nothing to do with my job at HP. I just knew it was something that I wanted to complete.
The fourth would be my shift to BitTitan; this was fundamentally a huge change for me and my family and I am loving every moment here.
[CB:] What industry shift during your career has surprised you most?
[KE:] In IT, it would have to be the adoption of cloud computing and enabling the workforce with mobile devices.
Another would be how millennials are shaping the modern work force and office environment. Not millennials in IT, but millennials in general. How they approach work and their environment. When I started 20 years ago it was “here’s your desk” and you sat for 8 hours. If you didn’t have time for lunch, you didn’t take one. Even what you’re wearing to work has changed. When I started in my professional career it was dress pants, nice shirt, maybe a tie; now you have executives walking around in shorts. I think that’s awesome.
[CB:] What’s up next in 2017?
[KE:] Keep up with the rapidly changing cloud, roll with the punches, and change course. A lot of what I do is keeping up with what Microsoft is putting out, like Office 365 with Exchange, Skype, now Teams — it’s growing all the time.
My BitTitan goals: deepen the relationships with our existing partners, make new relationships with new partners and grow more within BitTitan (Technical Account Management and Sales). I’m at a place where I’m becoming less technical and more business, which I thought I would be moving toward.
On the MVP side: focus on my renewal since we renew every year. Microsoft has less of a focus and emphasis on things I’ve been doing, like blogs, and more on things like public speaking and getting in with the community. Those are things I do a lot for BitTitan, but as a job—that doesn’t count for a contribution.
Personally, it’s about finding that perfect work-life balance. With four kids, it can get crazy around the house, but I’m looking to balance the needs for work, for my home, and for my own personal space.
Follow Kelsey on Twitter: @KelseyEpps