EMC at Oracle Open World: chronicling EMC Elect’s part in its success. Part 3 of 3

Well this post is actually being written back in Bantry Bay,  having made it through the gauntlet of 3 flights, back to back,  from San Francisco to Cork. I got here before my suitcase too by a day, which was irksome but otherwise fine.

Anyway, day 3 was a winding down of Oracle Open World as in the last day of the show floor booth demos.  Not that we noticed any let up in the crowds coming by the EMC booth 🙂

In any event the EMC Elect members took upon a challenge to attend an Oracle demo on Cloud Infrastructure. Matt Brender, Rob Markovic and I listened to the Oracle Engineer talk about the offering from Oracle. We confessed that there was not a DBA between us and that our skew was somewhat storage specific. But in fairness to the Engineer he did share the storage management benefits. Following that demo, we three sat down and decided to discuss the demo we attended over twitter. The idea was to do fun sharing but also to discuss what we learned and seek others opinions and Subject Matter expertise.  It worked and @cacheflush chimed in with some context. this was a seminal conversation as you will see below.

It shows that the EMC Elect members can share what they have learned and draw others into a community conversation in a live environment. We’ll try and utilize this a lot more and improve it of course. But it certainly was educational and fun.

Then At 2:30 pm a Sea of EMC Fans gathered for a grand prize draw outside the booth. Yes, EMC scarf wearing Fans 🙂

That was a great event and a good culminating one for the week. Those scarfs also came in handy for Oracle Open World Customer appreciation party. That was a pretty good event with some great headline acts. It’s a pity Larry Ellison did not make it to it, but he must have been exhausted after winning the Americas Cup:) Congratulations to the US team.

Later a few of us adjourned to Tornados, a “quiet” watering hole in San Francisco . We reminisced, and reflected on our Oracle Open World experience. And openly engaged in  some banter. All in all for a first foray into Oracle Open World, I think we had a highly successful show. Indeed we brought a lot of attention to EMC Elect, we even saw increases in nominations for the 2014 EMC Elect. A clear sign that the word is getting out and that people want their peers recognized.

I am glad I attended, I am delighted with the experience I had and what I could do to bring more attention on the EMC Elect. I am rather pleased Matt and I did this video:

And I would encourage those following this series of posts to consider nominating people for the EMC Elect of 2014.

Nominate here: http://emc.im/YWyPI6

Thanks for following this series of posts. I appreciate all readers taking the time to follow this and please, feel free to comment. Add your views on how you think this event went for us. And share what you’d like to see at future events.  I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time……..

EMC at Oracle Open World: chronicling EMC Elect’s part in its success. Part 2 of 3

Wow so Day 2 started in the early am. I actually had a semi sleepless night. It’s just hard for me to rest easy in a hotel room.

Anyhow we had the key note  at 8:30 am and it was brilliant. Especially migrating humans via VPLEX 🙂

As Fun as it was to do a trick with twins it really was a perfect demonstration of what you can actually do with your Data Center with VPLEX.

image image image

They Key note was a cool  highlight of the day, but the EMC Elect continued to interact. In fact we decided to do some missions of fun to show the lighter side of community.

We took on a mission, @mjbrender @vrobm and  I, for an impromptu meet up at the Sweet Shop. We wanted to show how EMC Elect collaborate to build vital new things, like cup cakes 🙂

I think we agreed that operation cup cake was a success, for those of us with a sweet tooth. They were indeed delicious.

Later we caught up with @virtualchappy, a fellow EMC Elect member and it was good to get a #chappyhug and catch up. And then for more fun we scarfed him and others. Operation scarfed was another fun mission as can be seen by the tweets we pushed out. Again, just some social community fun etc.

Finally we decided to relax and enjoy a Pint at the Netapp bar 🙂

All in all a good fun social thing for the Elect. With emphasis on the community spirit and a bit of required levity. This show is massive and the EMC booth is beautiful and busy, constantly.

All in all day 2 was great, for EMC, some fun for the EMC Elect and a little controversy for Oracle’s Larry Ellison, who missed his keynote. Something to do with the America’s cup allegedly. But hey the Oracle American team is making one hell of a comeback against New Zealand  so who could blame him 🙂

Anyway day 2 finished off with the EMC, Cisco and Intel customer appreciation event. I’m sure Sean aka @sthulin got plenty of photos which he will share.

So day 3 is coming up. More to come

EMC at Oracle Open World: chronicling EMC Elect’s part in its success. Part 1 of 3

So I’m back. Back blogging. Back in the US, San Francisco in fact  at Oracle Open World 2013.  I have been really busy with EMC Ask the Expert following the recent EMC #emcspeedtolead campaign introducing VNX2 and announcing the GA of VIPR, the software defined data solution.

In any event, here I am in the City by the the bay with my com-padre in all #EMCElect Mr. Matt Brender. The sheer size and dynamic of Oracle Open World, henceforth (at least this time round) know as #oow13. Matt and I are talking our time in hitting our stride with EMC Elect today. We’re socializing, brainstorming and doing EMC TV stuff as well as amplifying the message via #EMCElect and on the ECN in the EMC Elect space.

The EMC booth was busy today, really busy.  This was just the booth prep.  and here we have a shot of Mr Brender briefing the extensive EMC team on EMC Elect and social engagement.



It was good to get an opportunity to give the briefing, as with so much going on and the sheer size of the conference with well over 50,000 attendees, amplifying #EMC Elect is going to be a challenge. But it is one we accept all too willingly.

And so Matt and I have been dividing the work between us of conquering Oracle Open World, not to be a conqueror but to amplify the Community we have been entrusted to represent.

While only 4 EMC Elect members are present this year, we are still  including those online. I created a thread in the EMC Elect Private area inviting members of the Elect to pose questions to the Technical hosts from EMC who would be appearing on EMC TV.

As well as that we are encouraging future EMC Elect members to declare themselves to us in person to get a ticket to our customer appreciation event tomorrow.


And the booth just continued to be busy. I shot through at 4pm in order to do some backlog work on Ask the Expert and catch up with the work I left behind. I have been in the US for over a week already. You know the trouble with success, is that success brings more work and pressure. And it’s exacerbated being away from home and family. But it’s fulfilling too, bringing attention to the vibrant and magnificent community of the EMC Elect.

Tomorrow starts early.  Joe Tucci and Jerremy Burton will be giving an early keynote, which will prove to be awesome. And the #EMCElect shall be stirring up some interest indeed. And our customer appreciation event will certainly be the envy of all others. More to come. And yes I will be keeping my promise this time. It’s a series of blogs on #oow13.

Oh yes here are some awesome shots of our booth.

EMC at #oow13

EMC at #oow13image

Meet the expertsEMC Booth Prep #oow13


7 benefits of Social Community Participation

7 Reasons to Join the EMC Community Network – Infographic

7 Reasons to Join the EMC Community Network – Infographic

This Info-graphic tells a compelling story of community engagement benefits  that really emphasizes what I have been passionate about and blogging for. It really is a great success story for EMC’s community and social engagement.  Our support Community in EMC, since I joined it 7 years ago as a community Manager, has been on an immense and engaging journey. Its made excellent and possible by the massive community membership engagement that happens every day.

It seems like a life time since our humble beginnings on the EMC PowerLink platform. But how it has grown! From a closed limited member participation to the busiest community on the ECN with a membership well over 250,000 +, the EMC Support Community has thrived. It supports a massive portfolio of products and services and is a premier global support platform with Multilingual offerings to native Chinese, Japanese and Spanish speakers.  And the supported languages will keep growing.

But despite all its rapid and expanding development as a platform customers and partners depend on, the fundamentals of the Support community still apply. It’s about the people, the community of peers and the trust that is within that community. That’s what drew me in and keeps me going. Its a fantastic community. Thanks to @stephmcbride for making this info-graphic happen.

Feel free to comment and share your stories on my blog or better yet on the Support Community. We’d love to hear from you. 


Representing EMC Elect at Cisco Live US 2013

I am delighted to be going to Orlando this weekend to attend Cisco Live US 2013 aka #CLUS

I will be doing two things that will excite me. First travelling to the Orlando Florida, never did it before. Second, representing the EMC Elect. So happy to be doing so. So why is the EMC Elect going to Cisco Live US?

Well Cisco Live is a Tier 1 event focused on the networking and data center community. One of our esteemed EMC Elect members Michael Leeper  will be presenting there.

And Cisco Live is an important event to represent the EMC Elect at to provide  our Elect members coverage on technology developments in Cisco.

We are also providing an opportunity of “Convergence”. We are bringing EMC Elect, CCIE’s and Cisco Learning Network members who are attending #CLUS together to converge conversations about Network Compute and Storage. These are exciting times for Big Data, Networking and Cloud Computing. All of which the EMC Elect has a stake in. Its an exciting meetup I am looking forward to.

As well as covering Michael’s  presentation I shall be sharing a conversation or two with another esteemed EMC Elect member Craig Chapman. I look forward to many #chappychats and conversations around our “convergence” theme.

I also look forward to meeting up with Cisco’s Amy Lewis and J Metz and conversing with them upon the theme of “convergence”. And most of all it is fantastic to be amongst such brilliant astute and very honest people. That’s what EMC Elect has brought its community. It has brought great community driven personalities who are technology focused together. And it is done in a community focused spirit. 

So let me set the  stage for the “converged” conversation we will be conducting at Cisco Live US 2013.

Well actually its not me, its EMC’s Jonas Rosland, Craig Chapman, VCE’s Jeremiah Dooley & Cisco’s J Metz talking Cloud Automation with EMC, Cisco and VCE.

So if you are attending Cisco Live Us in Orlando in 2013, I look forward to meeting you, be it for the first time or once again, in person or online.


EMC Elect taking stock and already looking to 2014

That’s the big news that broke today. Read more about that here!

Tonight we celebrate the current Elect members at our Customer Appreciation event for the Support Community, in Las Vegas. We’ll be posting photos.

This is a quick post from my perspective once more regarding the Elect. The word Trust has been used a lot this week in the exclusive EMC Elect space where the Elect members were treated to exclusive content around new Products EMC is launching. The Trust is that this exclusive information not be shared but used to inform the Elect and allow them to provide feedback.

But to me the Elect is more. It’s a real Trust. And the Trustees are the EMC Elect members. The beneficiaries are the entire EMC community and business units. The Trustees are empowered and responsible and one could say to a certain extent they have a duty of care to their community.

What’s even more amazing is that the community itself chooses the Trustees. EMC Elect continues to be by the community, for the community. The benefits they get come with responsibility for them to use that to benefit their community of peers who chose them.

Its great to engage with these awesome advocates. It really is humbling to see the depth of their engagement, commitment to their community, technical prowess and their social collaboration . I will have lots more to share later as to the highlights of EMC World. But I wanted to get this out to inform future nominees of what your community expects should they choose to nominate you and deem you an EMC Elect member for 2014.

EMC Elect from my perspective within my EMC role

In the following post I attempt to show the importance of the EMC Elect Program for the EMC Support Community and EMC overall. I also intend to show how it is a global program made up of very exciting and interesting people from around the world who influence interact and assist like-minded peers in the ECN Support Community and beyond!

This is my EMC Elect Card

This is my EMC Elect card

This is my EMC Elect card

There are an exclusive few like it, but this one is mine!

But this one is mine!

But this one is mine!

If you have not heard of the EMC Elect Program, quite frankly “where have you been ?” 😉 Well if you honestly haven’t it was actually featured in the Register.  That gave us an audience of 2.5 million reading about the program.

The symbol on my card, by the way, is a representation of  the Celtic Tree of Life. The Tree of Life symbolizes to me the connectedness in this world of ours. My twitter handle is @DathBrun which is a combination of the Irish word for color and the common name in European countries for my surname (Browne) .  The motto inscribed on the card is “Eolas scriosann eagla” which literally in the Irish language means Knowledge dispels fear.

I did this with my card for two reasons.

  • The first was an opportunity to personalize my card, and say more about myself and my own personal branding.
  • The second was to humbly lead by example for other Elect members to feel inspired to personalize their cards, put their own stamp on it. And that’s important.

EMC Elect is a community driven program.The Elect members are there because their community of peers nominated them. They not only represent themselves and obtain exclusive opportunity, but they are actually representing their Community. The Elect are leaders and representatives of the wider community of peers of technologists who interact with EMC. Personalizing the cards also gives an opportunity for Elect members to share things about themselves, the places they are from, their culture. This emphasizes most importantly that we are a global community and come from lots of different places around the World.

This is important to note, we are a global community. And as EMC Elect grows it will grow further into our community interactions around the World.

From the EMC Support Community perspective and as a community manager for that, I see that first hand. in the EMC Support Community we not only have a global presence but we have a growing local language presence. We have Chinese and Japanese local language communities and Spanish and Portuguese are just taking off with a lot more to come in other languages very soon. Multi-Lingual Support is a key objective of the EMC eServices strategy and it stems from the interaction and demand from our local language community members. It is indeed the Community members making this happen. These people who ask questions, answer other people’s questions, share knowledge and experience. The best example  to me (and of course I have a bias as the Program Manager for it) is the EMC Ask the Expert Series.

Ask the Expert has been hosted initially in English but very quickly spread to Chinese and in doing so it lifted the lid on interaction. It showed across different geographies our community members wanted this program. Now Ask the Expert (ATE) will be hosted in every MLS community that is launched. That means ATE will happen in Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese and more in the not too distant future. And even today we are working to cross translate ATE events, translating from English to Chinese and vice versa. Imagine the global impact of Knowledge shared in multilingual ATE’s being shared and translated for global community members. It’s amazing and excites me anyway.

And whats interesting too is that already EMC Elect members are taking advantage of ATE. Our first exclusively EMC Elect led ATE event will be happening just before EMC World at the end of April. It will be on Fibre Channel Routing, an awesome topic. I imagine there will be a lot of interest in that across the World. Oh yes and did I mention those EMC Elect experts will wrap the topic at EMC World on video.? That’s exciting.

But really all I want to say is that if you are an EMC Support Community member, then ATE and EMC Elect are your programs, driven by and for you. I enjoy being able to provide and support the infrastructure behind that as part of global team in eServices for EMC. And I never forget that it is made of real individuals from lots of different places with different languages and cultures. That’s what’s exciting and that is a huge part of the brand differentiation EMC has with the benefit of the EMC Support Community.

Finally something  to note is that currently we have 75 Elect members. in 2014 we will be looking for other nominees and there are plenty of deserving nominees in the Support Community around the world. Will you be one of them?

Project Management after the fact: Lessons I have learned

I have recently been addressing an issue of transition I have had with one of my  projects at EMC. I believe this issue affects a lot of people in the tech industry who find themselves entering Project Managment. When do you & your organization turn your project over to operations ?

Lets get some definition of a project for clarity.

A project is a temporary endeavour undertaken, to create a unique product or service”.

So it says on page 14 of my Project Management manual.

It goes on to say:

  • Temporary implies a definite beginning and end. “
  • “Unique implies different from previous work”

So I undertook formal Project Management Certification training in late October of 2012, as we had started to execute on EMC Elect and well after we had established EMC Ask the Expert as a going concern.

And was my head reeling after learning the PMI process in its correct form?

It was.

Did I feel like a bad Project Manager?


Did I feel incompetent?

No.  I realized that while I had not followed the  PMI Institutes process to the letter I had still effectively managed the Project to a success.  Particularly as EMC Ask the Expert had ceased to be a project and was now an operational process. I had used common sense, EMC best practices and processes, and had manged the project successfully. But not without pitfalls.

You see I believe I hit the problem most Program Managers have in corporations around the world. Intending to turn your project over to operations but not fully planning it? As in, when exactly that happens or how you manage it? How do you manage turning a project into an operation or part of operations? Especially when you are in an environment where execution is taking place and rather rapidly and continuously across your organization at a fast and sometimes frenetic pace?

Lets look again at what the my manual says about “Projects Vs Operations”


  • Unique and Temporary
  • Have their own charter, goal and team
  • Driver of Change
  • Delivers a unique product or service
  • Heterogeneous team mix
  • Focus on effectiveness


  • Repetitive / Ongoing
  • Semi-permanent charter, goal and team
  • Manage “status quo”
  • Delivers Repeat product or service
  • Homogeneous team mix
  • Focus on efficiency”

It’s clear with time and a clear head plus training to see the distinct differences. But really it all can be avoided with planning (and training). Planning is the most important of all Project Management processes. But it seems to be something that suffers the most. Most of us if not all of us know planning is important. But in an execution mind set it can falter. You are working rapidly to bring something to life that will address a unique need. You want it to a be a long living operational piece. But did you set that out as part of your planning?

Planning is obviously where I fell down. Now I am not saying I had no planning. Of course I did. But I never documented in the plan about moving my project to operations. .  It was an assumption without including that in a formal plan in nothing other than a line to say that it would be integrated into eServices Support Community operations.

if 90% of a project Managers time is in communication, it is important to have a complete plan to communicate.

Having realized this following my training ( PMI Institute recognized training, provided by Velopi Ltd through EMC’s education program) I had to address this.

EMC Ask the Expert was an operational process. Furthermore there was another project underway for EMC Ask the Expert , which was a phase II execution. (integrating EMC Ask the Expert into newly launched products and services)  Once I saw the disconnect I had a hard task before me. The project team, was now the managing team for Ask the Expert Operations and Ask the Expert Phase II project and Part of the EMC Elect Project Team.

This caused contention for resources. Not a thing you need to invent for yourself. Hind sight is 20/20 vision. And once you identify a fault you have to address it.

We are in the process of doing so now.

While keeping Ask the Expert operations running, managing the phase II Ask the Expert Project, and Managing the EMC Elect Project,  both Stephanie McBride and I have documented the operational piece of Ask the expert. We also utilized a work break down structure and work packages to communicate with relevant business units,  on how they will integrate Ask the expert Operations into their business operations. We are communicating this out now and integrating it into operations.

This is in all honesty is work we could have done earlier in the project. It actually is now an additional mini project. It is worth the effort to do this however and if you are in this predicament I urge you to look at your project. Is it in fact an operations module now?  What planning have you done to integrate this operations piece to your current operations process? How do you avoid becoming the operations manager? Or have you planned to do that?

These are vital questions to ask, to plan for and to communicate with your stakeholders. It is worth it and in the end you will be a better Project Manager for it.  Your business unit will be more streamlined and robust for it .

I know I am the better for the experience. I also know there is so much more to learn and that no one and can rest on their laurels.

I would hope this helps others in their forays in Project Management. Do let me know your thoughts and feel free to share your stories around the subject. Does your organization suffer with transitioning from Project to Operations?

How do you mitigate and manage the transition?

Double whammy: How EMC Elect do it their own way and a new improved ECN!

Okay, so those of you who know me know I am running the EMC Ask the Expert program. Essentially its a series of events on specific technical topics. During EMC Ask the Expert events, subject matter experts engage in discussions with community members about specific EMC product and solution topics in a Forum type discussion in most cases. Although we do these events also as webinars, live chats for launches and “tweet chats “which are rather popular. It’s proven to be a popular and effective program in engaging customers with specific hot topics.

The Experts that engage are top-notch great people, who are EMC’ers , customers and partners. That’s what makes it a brand differentiation for EMC in my view. It’s not just EMC support people controlling the narrative. We recognize and appreciate our customers and partner perspectives. By pairing them, we have a powerful and credible story and event in EMC Ask the Expert endeavors. This is is an amazing program.

But  late last week it got so much better 🙂  As the VMAX Cloud edition launch Ask the Expert event was underway, Matthew Yeager, an SME on the subject (and an EMC Elect member and a Founder) does something different to what has been done before, but not out of character in the way he does things. In reply to a question he composed and posted this amazing video.

It was awesome, it was very well done and it just kicked the door open and set the bar for Ask the Expert events in the future.

For the first time we have video content in addition to discussions and documents that answers questions and solves problems that was directed to the EMC Support Community. A clear benefit from the EMC Elect Program which hopefully inspires other experts to follow suit.

And to back that awesomeness up EMC did an upgrade over the weekend to the EMC Community Network. Thus making it even more amazing fun and collaborative place to be.  Jump in and have a look and see what makes it a vibrant and awesome place to interact socially for your EMC topics and requirements.

Re-branding, renewing commitment, but not changing one iota.

Well finally its all come together. So why did I do it? Why change my twitter handle to @dathbrun from @MabroIRL on twitter?  Why not? Moving from blogger.com to WordPress? Why?

It’s simply like this. I have been immersed in studying Project Management to achieve the level of PMP. And being that I am of the behavior of learning by doing I have been applying it to my work. Hence EMC Elect has a heavy element of PMP best practices being applied to it. It is a fundamental to this process and assures it will be successfully and professionally managed.

When it comes to EMC Elect, it is known I have stated this is a dream come true for me. I can’t and won’t claim it as my dream. It’s not and since it’s launch its no more mine than anyone else’s. EMC Elect belongs to the Community. So does EMC’s “Ask the Expert”. Every community endeavour for EMC eServices is focused on delivering what is required and demanded by its Community. It’s good business and good sense. For me my role has morphed, from Community Management and advocacy to evangelism of EMC eServices and its Support Community . I say more about that in this video with Mr Brender.

To me the Community and the Support Forums on ECN have garnered a lot of interest and build up.

This has brought the attention it deserves. With Ask the Expert flourishing and EMC Elect gaining huge attention I felt the need to tidy up my Social Profile. To show more professionalism and to facilitate more social engagement and bringing a brand awareness to the entire EMC eServices portfolio of tools and service, focusing particularly on our Support Forum Community and EMC Elect.

In so doing I am accepting the responsibility to represent the community and all the great things it offers. Given the high-profile of our ECN Community now receives I feel it’s important to enhance and improve on communication about it. I felt it necessary to change things up so I can better present and represent the EMC eServices org and what I advocate around the Support Community. I will be blogging more often, continuing a focus on eService community advocacy but also things I learn as an incumbent fledgling Project Manager. Nothing has fundamentally changed about me. But I will strive to improve myself and better represent my work and amazing peers.

To that end, my eternal thanks to the following people for their unswerving support and encouragement and plain speaking. My wife Maria, our two beautiful children, Stephanie McBride, Luigi Dankos, Matt Brender, Craig Chapman , Jonas Rosland, Sean Thulin & Ankit Mehta.  And humble thanks to all of the Community Members of ECN, and particularly all of the founders. It’s a pleasure to be working to advocate the amazing things they do.

Onward and upwards. More to come and more often.