While I’ve been away

Just an update for the few who are wondering where I have been.

Well if you follow me on twitter you know I have been travelling a bit. VMWorld US 2015 was intense and if I get the time I will write up how that went. New York, attending the CSE 2015 conference asa panelist was fun and I also  learned a lot while I was there. Again, if I ever get time I will flesh that exprerience out on a post. One thing I have been doing that is a completeley out of my depth adventure is podcasting. It’s not as easy as others make it look. But I really enjoy it. I have kicked off the EMC Elect podcast Tech sElect. You cann appriase what we have done with it by listening on Soundcloud or iTunes. For your listening pleasure I have embeded the firsto of the podcasts here:

Thanks to @Erichagstrom and his go pro, you can watch and listen here:

While doing all this, I ‘ve challenged myself further and begun a Diploma in Data Business which is the beginning of a Masters. With that being a dad, with school runs in force etc and atteempting to have a life is currently very interesting.

One thing I will say, is that putting the podcast together, the Diploma course and conversations on my business travel have made me reflect on the IT sector. My self and another genlteman, who shall remain nameless, but is in the same Industry none the less, are planning to build out a podcast that facilitates the groundforce customers in telling thier stories and what they see in the industry. Its a work in progress. But we want to give real customers a voice, vendor agnostically, to hear the truth about IT as it really is. No hacks nor punditry. And to be honest, it may not even see the light of day. Its not as if I don’t have enought to do already. and VMWorld Europe looms large indeed.

I had to force myself to make this post, but am glad I did. Even if no one reads it, it helps me galvanise my thoughts. Safe travels, all, until my next post.



EMC Community Appreciation Event @ EMC World 2015 with very cool door prizes.

Well it is EMC World time again and we are throwing a customer appreciation event! What the heck, admit it to yourself, its your party for being an incredible member of the ECN community! And you deserve to be celebrated. Without you there would not be such a vibrant community.

If you popped over from the tweetvite then you know there are door prizes and you want the details !

And they are very cool prizes!  You will not want to miss the party for your chance to win one of these!


So are you salivating? Are you keen to celebrate with your fellow Community members in Vegas.

Then do not forget to “Register” for the party! Can’t wait to see you there.

New beginnings : a natural evolution and an exciting challenge

Discovering the New Frontier!

This month I celebrated 10 years and 3 months with EMC.

When I joined EMC way back in 2005 I soon learned, that no day is ever going to be the same. I mean ever!  And that has not changed since that day to this. EMC is maniacally focused on its Customers and for me with the strong customer service background that was and still is  maniacally attractive.

Continue reading

Wrapping up 2014: A challenging but fulfilling year (part 2)

Well I would be remiss if I did not wrap up things talking about EMC Elect. This program, holds a special place in my heart because it was a dream I was able to see made real. Again this was not my doing, it was the EMC Elect community members that made it happen. And boy did they!

Again, Lets set out what the EMC Elect Program is:

At its heart, EMC Elect recognizes what our influencers did over the last calendar year. And this distinction thanks them for what they did then. But by recognizing these advocates the distinction of EMC Elect empowers them. And because of that recognition they get to see a little bit more under the covers of EMC.

It’s the premier advocacy recognition program at EMC, and its is a runaway success externally.

2014 has been our best year in engagement, briefings and yes fun when it came to the Elect. While the EMC Elect are technically “the cool kids” its not about being popular. Influential, yes, but popularity is not whats sought. And this group is influential. Just look at the following they have.

80 Members, with a collective 50,000 followers on twitter and a social reach across multiple platforms of 500,000. That’s a big audience.

They average 27,000 social media impressions per day.

And at major conferences  like EMC World, VMWorld its 500,000 social media impressions per day.  This has a major impact.

The total EMC Elect at EMC World 2014 impressions  was 5,500,000!

Yes the typical EMC Elect membe would tweet much more than the average EMC World attendee.

Elect _at_World

By comparison the Total EMC Elect at EMC World 2013 impressions was 700,000. So clearly this program is growing in scale.

In Total the EMC Elect garnered 9% share of the Social Media voice At EMC World 2014.

At the EMC Mega Launch in London this year, the #EMCElect was the  #2 hash tag, overtaking the other EMC product hash tags. The had a social media impression number of 2.2 million. Clearly it was the influencers who had the ear of those interested in EMC Mega Launch. Yes #EMCElect certainly was popular and had influential metrics at VMWorld in US and Barcelona. Everywhere the EMC elect are present they have an impact.

Yet we have to remind ourselves of who the people that are called EMC Elect really are.

They are essentially humble heroes and heroines. They are real people with real jobs. But are passionate about community and collaboration and very curious about technology. But it is their community aspect which makes them so influential. They represent their peers, and what they learn they share (when an NDA does not get in the way 😉 ). They are not cheerleaders for EMC by any stretch of the imagination. They give feedback to EMC, not all of it positive, but all of it is candid. And they disseminate what they discover with their community.  As EMC Elect they were able to attend private briefings, roadmaps online and in person, have the benefit of a private EMC Elect community , and have exclusive alpha and beta testing offerings. All of which they put to good use for the benefit of themselves and their community. And that’s why they hold an influential position.

When Matt Brender and I got this program started, we honestly did not know how big this was going to be. But fundamentally we knew that the Elect program would empower the right people and influencers for the benefit of the EMC community as we said at the time in this impromptu video.

And at its core that’s what the program continues to do.

I’d also like to say that 2015, while capitalizing on the roaring success we had with Elect, we are going to bring it back to its fundamental basics. It’s about the community. And we intend to improve the program refocusing on this. We will still do what we have always done very well, in fact even better than before. We will keep those exclusive opportunities coming for the EMC Elect. But as well as making big social noise we will be focusing on further engagement, building stronger ties with the EMC community. And we are going to go further to empower the EMC Elect members. I won’t give too much away as to how yet. You will see it roll out in 2015.

Now if this sounds interesting to you and you’d like to be involved in the EMC Elect, or could see one of your peers fitting in nicely to this, there is still time. Nominations for the EMC Elect of 2015 are still open. But you’d better hurry, nominations close on the 31st December, 2014.

So don’t delay, nominate today. 

And that concludes my wrap up, at least from my professional perspective. And I have so many people to thank. The EMC Elect of course, Sean Thulin and Dennis Smith particularly. Todd Forsyth, Brace Rennels, Chris Gardner. A special thanks to Mary Kilgallen as well, who is the reason why EMC Elect works at all.  Another special thanks goes to Rachael Foster, another lady that is an unsung heroine for the program. And lest I forget, I owe a debt of gratitude to Tommy Trogden and Brian Carpenter for their unwavering support and keeping me focused on the community.

What I love about community is that I have met so many people, who have helped, me and I am forgetting to mention so many. But I have to conclude this post. They know who they are anyway.

I am looking forward to this break. A lot was achieved in 2014. But there is much more to do in 2015. I look forward to it with great anticipation.

For those that celebrate it, Happy Christmas! For those that don’t Happy Holidays! And a Happy New Year for good measure.

Wrapping up 2014: A challenging but fulfilling year (part 1)

Well it is that time of the year, where once again I reflect on things. I am getting this done early because quite frankly come Friday the 19th of December, 2014, I am going dark and on my Christmas holidays. Some proper family time, good cheer, overindulgence and some much needed down time and reflection is the prescription I am following.

During the drafting of this post I realised it would have to come in two parts. I dislike writing overly long posts when I don’t have to. So this is part 1 🙂  This one focuses on the Ask the Expert Program.

As I am getting used to my role in EMC IT following my departments re-org from Customer Services, I feel obliged to wrap up some numbers on how well the EMC Ask the Expert has done in 2014. These are early numbers mind you, going from the start of the year to December 10th, but as the program takes a hiatus from the 19th, the discrepancy of the final result should not be a major difference. I recently posted some stats on the program. EMC Ask the Expert: a little more insight. And I posted the 2013 results which can be seen in this post: Happy Holidays, belated Merry Christmas and a recap of 2013 and into 2014!

Its just amazing that since its inception back in 2012, the program has had phenomenal growth. Its really no longer a project, its a genuine service provided by EMC online. and its free. This is all down to the amazing community participation of EMC Community Network members. This program would have none of the success it has had without the EMC community backing it. The accolades and praise for this success is theirs. I am delighted to have facilitated it. To me I was its trustee.

So before I share the numbers, let me define the program direct from our executive summary:


And this is what our numbers look like for participation in 2014 (at least up to December 10th, 2014)


  • 145,561 page views. 16% increase on 2013
  • ~ 13,232 page views per month
  • 92,276 visits. 29% increase on 2013
  • ~ 8388 visits per month
  • 62,487 unique visitors. 34% increase on 2013
  • ~5680 unique visitors per month

And as you can see primarily anonymous users, indicating these events are being found via web search. These numbers account for 2.5% of all the EMC Community Network traffic in 2014 (up to December 10th) , which itself looks like 6,000,000 views this year. Indeed this program takes a fair chunk of the ECN traffic. It says a lot about the program.

And when we look at how long people stay in the Ask the Expert Community?

28.7% of visitors stay from 5-10 minutes, with a further 13.2% staying from 30 minutes to an hour. That means a lot of people find this community via web search and stay a good while to search the content. And they keep coming back.

It is amazing to think, that when this program started in 2012, we had 3 experts and one program manager, all from customer services. Now The stake holder list has grown rather substantially.

They now include:

  • EMC Total Customer Experience Team
  • EMC Global Services
  • EMC Product Marketing
  • EMC Technical Leadership Academy
  • EMC Elect
  • EMC Inside Sales
  • EMC Customer Services

It’s a program that has had humble beginnings, and now is a critical service online for EMC. It’s been a pleasure to lead it, work with amazing experts, community managers, customers and partners. And this has to include the Multilingual teams. The local language Ask the Expert events in Chinese contribute a lot to the metrics shown here. and events are growing in number in local languages such as Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese. Just look the global heat map to see the interaction taking place


It’s been an amazing three years building and taking the lead for this program. I have learned a lot, made superb connections I would normally not have been able to do in a traditional customer support role. I have mentioned plenty on that before. It’s not been easy either, but I learned quickly to let the community tell you whats a hot topic. They will anyway. I learned to listen, be ambitious, to continue a maniacal focus on supporting our customers and a thing or two about EMC products 🙂 And I thank all those people, in EMC and outside EMC for making this program what it is.

In  2015, I will be focusing on EMC Community Network Forums, helping redefine the communities and improve the overall experience. Its a big project and I will be sharing more on that as I dive in next year. I am still heavily involved in the EMC Elect program management. Nothing has changed there in any way. I will still be consulting on the Ask the Expert program but my colleague, and my current joint program manager partner on this,  Roberto Araujo will be the primary contact on the program. It’s been great working with Roberto over the last ten months on the program and he has definitely been a great partner in this program and done some great hard work supporting it.

So thus concludes part 1 of this blog. I’ll be posting more tomorrow to round out my end of year roundup. Thanks for reading and listening to what is entirely my perspective. And feel free to comment. I welcome any feedback you want to provide.

Part 2 will deal with my perspective on the EMC Elect program over 2014.

EMC Forum in Dublin, December 2nd. Why attend?

If you do have the oppurtunity to attend the EMC Forum Tour, arriving in Dublin on December 2nd, make sure you do.

First of all its free!

Second of all its got two track of amazing content, one for technical and one for business, both with awesome content.

“The EMC Forum Tour is specifically designed for IT managers and executives looking for insights to cloud solutions and opportunities to network and share with peers. It is also ideal for technical architects, storage administrators, and infrastructure and information security managers/directors.”

If you are  curious about how Hybrid Cloud, Flash Storage, or Big Data redefine IT, you need to attend this Forum.

And you’ll get to network with an amazing number of your peers who are Partners and customers of EMC.

It’s  a jam packed day, but well worth it for the insight into EMC’s perspective on Hybrid Cloud, Data Lakes and Software defined strategies.

Don’t miss out.

For your free Registration : http://emc.im/TourIE

Don’t delay, the 2nd of December fast approaches.

Who will be the EMC Elect for 2015?


It’s my First VMWorld conference and by far its been one of the more exciting conferences I attended. And thats putting the earthquake to one side 🙂 That was also a first by the way. Waking to a shaking bed and wobbly hotel room 🙂

I’ll be sharing more on my take on VMWorld 2014 in later posts but i am delighted and quite excited to share this breaking news right now.

Today at VMWorld 2014, The EMC Elect team are announcing that nominations for the EMC Elect of 2015 are now open. It’s exciting to think we are already planning for 2015.  This year by opening the nominations now and closing them out on the 31st December gives people plenty of time to nominate those of their peers they wish to see recognized as EMC Elect for 2015.

For those who need a reminder or are just discovering the EMC Elect, here i what it’s all about.

EMC Elect is a community driven recognition and thank you for an individuals engagement with EMC as a brand over the calendar year. The EMC Elect are selected on their outstanding key characteristics of Engagement, Commitment and Leadership.

Engagement is measured on social participation on Twitter (or other platforms based in other countries), Blogs, the EMC Community Network , and in person community presentations (user groups, conferences, etc…)

Commitment is assessed on how an individual is being part of the EMC conversation day in, day out, offering thoughtful feedback and staying optimistic in their language.

Leadership is appraised by looking at the kind of people who take every opportunity to engage with their peers and represent others as part of the community.

So who do you think fits that bill. Is it yourself, is it the person next to you :). Who would you like to see recognized for helping out the EMC community peers. Make sure you nominate that person even if its you. Yes self nominations are perfectly acceptable.

But nominate now! It takes just a couple of minutes. Don’t put it off until December 31st. Don’t be lured into a false sense of Security. Do it now!

The power is in your hands, you decide who makes the cut for EMC Elect 2015! Have fun with it 🙂

Who’s going to be in here in 2015?

EMC Elect: The humble heroes and heroines


This is a short post that will do two things. It will let me talk about things that have been in my mind about the EMC Elect and will have a short but awesome announcement about the program.

I have seen some commentary out there about the visibility of the EMC Elect at the conferences. its been inferred the Elect don’t stand out enough. To me I think that’s a little unfair. And at the heart of EMC Elect it’s not what it’s about.  The members of the EMC Elect are people. They have friends, families, and very ordinary human stuff. What might be slightly different or distinguishing for an EMC Elect member is their curiosity about technology, their willingness to share what they learn in the social stratosphere and their helpfulness to their community. They did not become this after they became EMC Elect members. The fact is that is their natural default setting. We created the EMC Elect program to recognize these people and show our appreciation. We want them to be recognized as Rock Stars.

But EMC Elect members don’t necessarily want the adulation. In fact that’s not their style. Sure they enjoy the recognition, add the badge to their business cards, blog about it etc. But at lets say a conference, the Elect like to be approachable and don’t necessarily want to lead in with “Hey I am an EMC Elect member, yo!” . They don’t think of themselves like that.

For instance recently while @jasemcarty was visiting Cork at the EMC Executive Briefing center, he told me that he was being introduced to customers as an amazing individual who has written fantastic books on technical subjects, is a rock star in EMC and an EM Elect member. When Jase stood to address the customers he basically said “I’m just a Redneck, from the Bayou!”. And that epitomizes the Elect for me, they’re heroes and heroines who don’t see themselves that way. They love engaging with the community, and are ardent representatives of it and love engaging, but they do it on their own terms as the people they are, who happen to be members of the EMC Elect.

And with that I am glad to announce or rather share the announcement that Dennis Smith  is joining the EMC Elect Team as a Principal Engagement Manager. Dennis is a gentleman and a scholar and did great things with the Dell Rock Stars. I think it’s awesome to have him on our team and it means amazing things for the EMC Elect. And Sean Thulin and I are happy to have another member aboard to share the workload.

Amazing things ahead!

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?