Notes from the road – 14 – Reflecting Back on MMS 2012

MMS has left Las Vegas… for Good?

As we closed the expo doors on another Microsoft Management Summit and shut off the lights, I have to wonder if this will be the last trip to the strip for a long time to come. Rumors were abundant this year that MMS would see its final year as a trade show in 2012. But Brad Anderson wowed the audience at his Day 2 keynote by announcing MMS 2013 would be in New Orleans in June. I for one am already looking forward to the natural weight loss conditions of New Orleans during the Summer.

But New Orleans was not the only “hot” topic at MMS this year. At RES Software we also announced the release of RES HyperDrive, an on premises file-sharing service for the enterprise. For years now the growing trends of users in an enterprise have shifted control away from the IT staff and put increasing power in the hands of the users. In many regards, corporate IT and the user have become like the wild west in the 1800s. Users are exploring new opportunities on their own as a means to get their job done. There are very few rules out there and our users are making decision without consulting the IT organization, for better or worse.

Dropbox, Google and even Microsoft Skydrive have allowed users to take data that was once confined to the sanctity of the office and release it into the ethers of the internet. Mind you it is almost always with good intent and in the spirit of being collaborative and productive at work. I can’t tell you the number of times someone has e-mailed me and said they have a file, deck, video that exceeds the limitations of e-mail. But I needed that data to do my job so a workaround was found, unknown to the IT guys. I would very quickly then get a link to a Dropbox share where I would navigate to and collect my prize.

While at MMS I moderated a Birds of a Feather session on the topic of securing data in an increasingly insecure world. Some of the people in that session put it very well. They said, “We can’t simply take away something without having a replacement solution.” It is so true. Users have become increasingly savvy with technology and know that IT is there to support them, not limit them. There was serious angst and concern over the proliferation of shared data services that they did not control. And like a member of the League of Justice, our very own Bob Janssen swooped in and saved the day cloaked in his cape of RES Hyperdrive.

Bob explained to them that they need not fear the insecurities of Internet cloud-hosted sharing. He had a solution that would allow the users to be productive and collaborative yet keep secure and control in the hands of the IT staff. RES HyperDrive combines the best of all worlds. It allows a user to share data but do it on premises, in their own data center, on hardware they possess and secure. I know I am biased here, but at the end of the session, several people had their business cards standing at the ready to give to their new super hero.

RES HyperDrive was all the buzz at the expo floor as well. One of the most popular giveaways during the week was the RES HyperDrive t-shirts. Now, we couldn’t compete with the company that gave away the Harley Davidson Motorcycle, but then who can? However, I will say this. I bet very few people if asked would remember who gave the Harley away, but when they wear the black t-shirt with the throwback style cartoon they will know RES immediately. (Mostly because our name is emblazoned on it.) You know you have a great piece of swag when people not only make an effort to get it but you see them walk the floor immediately wearing your shirt.

Also of great interest to me was the amazing growth RES saw in simple brand awareness. So many people came up to us this year and said things like, “I hear about you guys all the time at my customer.” Or, “I was just talking about RES with my deployment partner and I am so relieved to know that an alternative exists”. And my favorite, “I knew you guys did the user virtualization stuff but I am hearing about these other products. Tell me what VDX is and how can I test drive your automation stuff too?”

At MMS this year we also went public with our new SAM competency. Plenty of people would stop any one of us and ask what the meaning of the “Sam I Am” button was. I had blogged on that weeks earlier and MMS was our coming out party if you will. It was great to shed some light on this very important Microsoft accomplishment and more importantly Microsoft practice for treating software like the tangible asset that it is.

Not to be lost in all the excitement and fan fair we also achieved another milestone while at the Venetian, and I’m not talking about making through a whole week on the strip and not having any international incidents. Arno Vos successfully tested and validated our RES Dynamic Desktop Studio suite with Microsoft’s SQL 2012. Another great stride forward in ensuring RES is always compatible and adding value to the next generation of Microsoft products and platforms.

So, in closing, turn off the lights, sweep the floor and bid ado to the Tao Beach Club. I am not sure when I will return to the Venetian for business, but I will always look back at my experiences there with great fondness. Milestones have been met, relationships strengthened and the story of RES has grown and evolved exponentially. I look forward to next year, eating some Jambalaya and the progress to report from Louisiana.

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