Microsoft’s Anna Chu Connects IT Pros Through the Microsoft Tech Community [Video Interview]

Post Date: 10/20/2016
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Over the last three years, the Office 365 Network was the space for IT pros, technical experts, enthusiasts, and customers to share best practices and connect. But as of September 2, that community is no more. In its place is the Microsoft Tech Community: a central hub for all the discussion and sharing that happens not just within the Office 365 community, but communities around SQL, Azure, and eventually all of Microsoft’s products and services.

The purpose of the revamp is to better help IT Pros succeed in their roles. At least that’s what Anna Chu, Partner Marketing Manager and Community Lead, told me when we chatted at Ignite. Watch our interview to learn more about this new community and how you can join the conversation!

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Video Transcript: Dux Raymond Sy (@meetdux) and Anna Chu 

Dux: Hey, gang. Welcome back to another episode of Dux Quax. Here at Microsoft Ignite 2016 in Atlanta. I’m so excited today to be speaking with Anna. Anna, why don’t you introduce yourself?

Anna Chu: Hi, everyone. My name is Anna Chu, I’m the community lead for Office 365 and I’m also the lead for Microsoft Tech community.

Dux: You know Anna, I’ve been hearing a lot about the Microsoft Tech community. Can you tell everybody what that is and how is this related to the Office 365 network or not? And I’m sure everybody would love to learn more and see how they can participate.

Anna Chu:
Yeah, for sure. So the Office 365 network, we closed it down in September and it used to be on the Yammer platform. Now we have the new Microsoft Tech Community that replaces that. And it’s beyond Office because it doesn’t…it’s not called the Office 365 Community. We’ve included Azure, we’ve included Windows Service SQL Server and we’ll be adding more products as part of this uber community as well. So think of the Microsoft Tech community as a community of communities.

Dux: Got it.

Anna Chu: So at least you can have a conversation about Office 365 and then talk about Azure in the same breath, right?

Dux: Absolutely.

Anna Chu: So that’s one of the reasons why because we knew that we needed to be bigger, we needed to grow a trail and we also needed to be more available to people.

Dux: Absolutely.

Anna Chu: The problem with…and it’s not so necessarily a problem, but the way Yammer is, is that it is designed to be supporting internal networks.

Dux: Got it.

Anna Chu: So employees…

It’s authentication and all that, yeah, yeah.

Anna Chu: That’s right. So there’s no way that you can even go onto Google or Bing and actually find something in that Yammer community.

Dux: Sure, that’s true. That’s true.

Anna Chu: It just wouldn’t be indexed by search.

Dux: Got it, got it.

Anna Chu: So we took a really good setback and thought about what is it that we wanna achieve in that community. Ultimately, we want to help IT pros be more successful in their roles. Especially with the cloud, it’s just changing all the time…

Dux: Absolutely.

Anna Chu: And the speed of trying to keep up with everything is really difficult, so we want to make that knowledge that’s always so great coming out of the community to be really immediately available to you. So we want to make the community open, we want the results to be indexed by search. And so that is one of the main reasons why we shifted…

Dux: Got it. So walk me through…as I understand, right, so let’s say, especially for people watching this, if I’m not part of the community — I’m sure we’ll put the URL, people can sign up — I can just go and browse, ask questions, ask for help. Who should I expect to be in the community? Are the Microsoft folks there, customers, MVPs or who’s there?

Anna Chu: Yeah, exactly, everyone that you named right there. So you’ll expect product engineering team from Microsoft, you’ll expect MVPs, and most of our MVPs have been a really pivotal part of helping us grow this community which is great. We also have other people who are customers, people who are partners, people who have some value to provide, right?

And so…but at the end of the day we know that some people just want to dip their toe in the water and don’t really feel comfortable with going out with their first post, they just want to feel the waters for a little while. So the ability to look is absolutely open, you know? So even if you didn’t want to log in, you just wanted to browse around, there is absolutely ability to do that, and we previously couldn’t do that.

Dux: I mean, I love this. As a regional director and MVP myself for Office, it’s a great, more consolidated way to engage, like you said, across the board. Now, what about, I’m sure there’s other channels out there like Technet and all that? Is that still there or how does it work? Is it the same thing?

Anna Chu: Yeah, it’s still there. I mean, Msdn forums, Technet is still there. But we are making a concerted effort to think about how to consolidate all those different communities in the most thoughtful way. Because at the end of the day, Msdn, Technet, it’s a primarily, well, I would say definitely Msdn more developer community. So we’re just trying to prioritize the IT pro community. We must get that right and have a really strong test case and think about, does the developer community need something similar? Does it need something that’s a bit augmented from that?

So yeah, but definitely think of the future as there will be one uber community. Likely it’s going to be the Microsoft Tech community but these are all things that are in motion right now. And at this point in time we’re in a state of perpetual evolution.

Dux: Absolutely. I mean, just like what Julia said this morning, IT, innovation, transformation, even Microsoft is going through that, right?

Anna Chu: Definitely.

So speaking about Julia and Ignite, thoughts so far? I mean, is this your first Ignite, second Ignite?

Anna Chu: Yeah, it’s actually my first.

Dux: Oh wow.

Anna Chu: My first Ignite. I’ve never been to an event of this scale before. I’ve been to many events, been to Atlanta, Georgia before and I’ve never seen anything at this scale. It’s kind of crazy.

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I was part of the whole B team planning this whole bit and it wasn’t until it got to on the ground today that I’m like, “Oh my goodness. This expo hall itself is the biggest expo hall I’ve ever seen.” There are partners everywhere. Microsoft has a massive presence in the middle of the expo hall as well. Plus, we have this amazing hang space, which is in another hall, where people are chilling out. Microsoft Tech community is there as well and we’re signing up people to join Jeremy’s Ignite Studios where he does you know, the Microsoft Mechanics.

Dux: Mechanics, yeah. They’re filming there, right?

Anna Chu: He’s doing a lot of filming there as well. So yeah, there’s so much activity going on and I can only understand why some people would be like…even when they come to the Microsoft Tech community, they feel overwhelmed because there’s just so many different products that you can talk about.

Dux: Absolutely.

Anna Chu: And so this is here in its real physical sense. So I strongly recommend anyone who comes to Ignite to definitely join the Microsoft Tech community because it’s like…you just need to take a breather and just sit back and…

Dux: And that’s where you can keep connected with everybody, right?

Anna Chu: That’s right. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dux: And now, speaking of products, I have to ask you before we take off here, if you were a Microsoft product, what would you be and why, Anna?

Anna Chu
: Oh, goodness! This is a really tough question. I mean, I belong to the Office 365 team, so it would be remiss of me not to say Office 365. But that product has always spoken to me because at the end of the day it’s about making people more productive and I’m all about that, I’m all about collaboration, I’m all about transparency.

One of my favorite products is Delve Analytics because you can actually really see, in a minutia view, how am I spending my time and am I spending it the right way?

Dux: Exactly. And from an organizational point of view, I mean, where are you? Are you on the average or are you on the extreme?

Anna Chu: I’m pretty extreme. Right now there’s a lot of red going on, especially in the lead-up to this event. In fact, on my after-hours, I was looking pretty bad as well. Usually it’s about 10 is your goal and mine is like off the charts.

Dux: You know what we should do? We should do public shaming, we should publish all of them.

Anna Chu:
Oh, I have already done that to myself but it’s more like, “Hey, have sympathy for me because I’ve been so overworked.”

Dux: All right, well, after this week, you should be fine, right?

Anna Chu: Yeah, I’m definitely taking two days off. I’ve been working this weekend, so I need some time off.

Dux: All right, gang, Anna Chu. Make sure you sign up for the Microsoft Tech community. And till the next episode of Dux Quax. See ya.

Anna Chu:
See ya.

What else did you miss at Ignite?

Watch our Lessons Learned at Microsoft Ignite webinar, now on-demand for a recap of announcements from the conference and a deeper discussion about what it all means for you.

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With over 20 years of business and technology experience, Dux has driven organizational transformations worldwide with his ability to simplify complex ideas and deliver relevant solutions. He serves as the Chief Brand Officer of AvePoint who has authored the LinkedIn Learning course How to Build Your Personal Brand, the book SharePoint for Project Management, as well as numerous whitepapers and articles. As a public speaker, Dux has delivered engaging, interactive presentations to more than 25,000 people at leading industry events around the world. He also hosts the modern workplace podcast #shifthappens that focuses on how leading organizations navigated their business transformation journey. Dux advocates tirelessly for inclusion, using technology for good, and philanthropic initiatives. Connect with him:

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