I.T. community has always been a hugely important part of the information technology industry. In an industry where solutions can be engineered in myriad different ways, using a subset of software from many different vendors, having a healthy and thriving community where people share ideas, techniques and guides is absolutely vital.
The I.T. community is composed of thousands of online blogs, YouTube channels, product forums and busy websites like Spiceworks and Experts Exchange, all of which are out there doing great work in the various sectors of the I.T. industry. And it’s not just online resources, there are hundreds of user groups (examples I’m familiar with are such as MyCUGC, TUG and VMUG) where community volunteers share presentations on their experiences and pass on their knowledge to their peers. My old dad could never understand this – he thinks it’s completely self-destructive to publicize your knowledge, secrets and experience. But the I.T. community is something we all have relied on for years to help us solve problems and overcome persistent issues, and it’s only right that we put something back in to keep the cycle of success going.
At HTG we’ve always been very keen on community, and that’s why we have our company blog, The Enterprise Eightfold Path, which shares solutions, technical know-how, and useful guides to overcoming common I.T. problems. But I.T. community isn’t just about blogging – it covers presenting at user groups and conferences, writing books and guides, evangelizing new technology to peers, working with vendors to iron out problems, develop new features and produce examinations, helping out on forums and providing documentation, writing scripts to automate common tasks…the list of community ventures is almost endless. I think it’s very appropriate at this time to call out Carl Webster as a shining example of a brilliant community contributor, who has produced fantastic PowerShell scripts for documenting Citrix, Microsoft and VMware resources that I know consultants all over the world use on a regular basis.
Big vendors like Microsoft, Citrix and VMware have been very keen to recognize and encourage the contributions of their community contributors through award programs, and even smaller vendors like Ivanti (formerly AppSense and RES), Veeam and Nutanix have got in on this, realizing that having a healthy community is integral to developing and steering a successful line of products. Some programs (such as Citrix Technology Professional and VMware EUC Technology Champion) are quite exclusive and insist on a high bar of acceptance, whereas some (such as VMware vExpert and Microsoft MVP) are much more broad in their acceptance criteria. Think of one set as Special Forces, the others as the Marines 🙂 But no matter how high the bar is set, they are all about recognizing the excellence and selfless contributions of their members to the community, which is almost solely done for no financial rewards of any kind. Once on these programs, members are afforded the opportunity to help steer and shape the products they work with based around their experiences, which is greatly rewarding for those who work with these technologies on a day-to-day basis.
Here at HTG we believe that a key to being the best in what we do is to make sure that the people we employ are key contributors to I.T. community, not only ensuring that our staff will go the extra mile but that we have the contacts within the community to allow us to adapt to any specific set of requirements we have. A thriving and engaged community means that questions can be answered more quickly, more accurately and more honestly than without it, and we can both benefit from and contribute to the pool of knowledge that exists within it.
So recently we are pleased to announce that three of our staff are now members of vendor award programs within the community, which helps us effectively bridge the gap between customer and vendor to the extent that the solutions we provide more closely fit the needs of the enterprise.
- James Rankin has been awarded Citrix Technology Advocate for 2016/2017 and VMware vExpert for 2017, adding to the AppSense Community Advisor award he has held since 2012
- Kevin Howell has been awarded Citrix Technology Advocate for 2017 and VMware vExpert for 2017
- Jane Cassell has been awarded Citrix Technology Advocate for 2016/2017
It’s a great achievement to make it onto these award programs, so here at HTG we’d like to extend our best wishes to all new and returning CTAs and vExperts on the recent intakes – well done to all!