We are very excited today to bring you this profile from Natalia, a PTC with Microsoft Russia (find out below what it means to be a PTC!) We learn about what it's like working at Microsoft Russia, what kinds of experiences Natalia has had in her career, what it's like working in Global Partner Services, her tips for getting involved in Microsoft's Community, as well as what keeps her sane when work gets hectic. She was also kind enough to share these photos from her team and campus!

What is your Microsoft anniversary date?

I’ve worked at Microsoft since 2007.

What office/campus do you work at?

Microsoft is a very recognizable brand in Russia IT industry: we regularly receives prizes in HR Brand nominations, people like our home products like Windows 7 and Office 2010, parents and kids love XBOX Kinect, and, by the way, XBOX Live was launched in Russian not long ago. Overall IT market in Russia is growing really fast so we have a lot of challenges and opportunities; especially in small and middle segments.

There are 34 Microsoft offices in Russian regions (the furthest one is located in Vladivostok, which is 6,000 km [3,728 miles] away from central hub) and I work in the biggest one – the Moscow office. Our office is located at a business park in a very beautiful spot near green trees and a river. Offices of Intel, Huawei and Cisco are next to our building.

Microsoft Russia is a large subsidiary - more than 1000 people. There are a lot of different departments here: EPG for large customers and opportunities, as well as Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners Group (SMS&P), Dynamics localization and development team, Microsoft Consulting Services, Developer and Platform Evangelists and all others. These groups span all Microsoft products, services, and technologies.

Local Customer Service and Support (CSS) team is also not small and it consists of 100 engineers and consultants who work in the office: PFE & CTS Premier, CTS SMSP MBS, GetHelp and our team - GPS (Global Partner Services) Russia. We are responsible for Gold and Silver partners support at selling and deployment stages. Through a global partner network and support infrastructure, we connect with customers to generate rapid, meaningful, and measurable business results.

What is your current role in Microsoft? 

I am a Partner Technology Consultant (PTC) in Global Partner Services (GPS). GPS is part of Customer Service and Support which provides technical advisory and presale support for Gold and Silver partners. The PTC role focuses on the “design and deploy” parts of the solution lifecycle, including building partner skills via technical training workshops.

The GPS Russia team consists of 6 PTCs and a team lead located in Moscow who helps mostly Russian speaking partners from CEE: Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. We answer incoming reactive questions, deliver technical webinars for Partners readiness and provide a presale assistance to drive market share.

My main responsibility is to support ISV Partners in the processes of system\application development and integration. From a technology point of view I specialize in .Net, SOA and SharePoint. I worked with ISVs from different CEE countries: Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Rumania and Greece.

What kind of projects are you currently working on?

Usually every member of our team participates in several projects. Currently Im involved in following activities:

§  GPS World Wide Specialization Lead. I perform a GPS World Wide Specialization Lead (SL) function for the application integration (APO-Integration) area. In my opinion SL activities and specialization communities play a key role in the process of building a professional community and consultants’ readiness. And it helps us to provide high quality service for partners.

 

§  Get Current. Get Current enables Partners to enhance business productivity and lower cost of operations, resulting in increased profitability through deployment of latest Microsoft technologies in their environment. Microsoft partners who deploy latest Microsoft technologies in-house have always been better equipped to demonstrate, sell and deploy these technologies for their customers. These internal deployments enable partners to understand and then showcase the real value proposition & business value to their customers.

I work on Get Current projects for ISV, for example, improving application lifecycle managements using Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server.

 

§  And the last but not least is Practice Accelerator (PA) which is a Microsoft offering for Microsoft Partners, designed to help partners build a technical services practice around Microsoft solutions. Practice Accelerator is an incredible idea! It is not a deep dive technical training, it is guidance about selling and deploying projects. I am responsible for SharePoint 2010 Practice Accelerator. SharePoint 2010 Practice Accelerator is a set of best practices, project documents and common guidance which allows partners to be ready for proactive selling and successful solution deployment.

 

How did you get to this role – what is your background and career path so far? 

I joined Microsoft as an intern when I was studying in a technical university. Then I graduated with a Master degree of Computer Science and obtained a full time job. I started in Microsoft Russia Consulting Services (MCS) and by now I have worked for over 4 years. So I have wide range of project experience with enterprise business and small and medium size business as well.

Usually enterprise projects are long, complex, well known and draw a wide response. I remembered my feelings when I understood that I was a part of such a BIG THING! I participated in many projects in telecommunication industry, for example, implementing IPTV based on Microsoft Mediaroom platform. And now I’m a consumer of this service and it is very nice :)

Projects in a small and middle size market are different, these projects require quick response and simple and clear guidance. We have reasons to be proud in SMS&P as well. We can train partners to sell and deploy solutions and then see real results and production deployment. I know a lot of partners who participated in our Lync Server 2010 Get Current project and afterweard, successfully implement these practices on customers’ side in a two or three weeks (before Get Current partners usually estimated such deployment in one or two months). That is really amazing!

My future career plans are also connected with Microsoft :) Maybe in the future I will focus on non-technical things like people management and I will encourage people to do their best.

Can you tell me a little about the culture at Microsoft Russia? And if possible, what it's like to work at an international sub for Microsoft?

 

 

Business in Russia sometimes can be very distinctive (This is Russia). But joking apart we have outstanding people and teams in Microsoft Russia who work every day, very hard, to accomplish Microsoft’s global priority and be corresponding with Microsoft’s mission. Our team works hard to build trusted advisory channel for partners and this channel can be used at all stages of a project (sell, develop\deploy and break-fix).

We work very closely with our colleagues around the world. Not long ago I helped my colleague from the US who found me as a subject matter expert in Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) using my profile. And after some time I was proud to know that the partner we helped successfully developed the project and now the partner is going to introduce it at Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC).

Our foreign colleagues also provide assistance to Russian partners. I know Microsoft CRM experts from India and they always are ready to deliver online session or participate in a conference with a partner. We received very positive feedbacks from partners after such international collaboration. Because it shows Microsoft’s partners and customers care and what is the most important it helps to complete deals successfully.

And one thing I need to say is that we have a unique spirit across Microsoft World Wide and we have a great motto – One Microsoft. The same is true about Microsoft Russia.

What does work-life balance mean to you? Any great tips to help keep sane?

I have a little daughter, her name is Tala and she is almost 1 years old. We have a very good compensation package in Microsoft and it’s one of a nice benefit for me as working mother. I use medical insurance for my daughter and it has a good quality and saves me a lot of time.

 

I think that I can successfully combine a role of a mother with my job role. I hope when Tala will grow she confirms this :)

 

 

I don’t have any special tips to help keep sane? :) I suppose that collaboration is a very effective way to do things right and in time. So I often sync-up with my colleagues and we review the situation and quite often it really helps me :)

 

And of course my family (my mom, husband and daughter) are great support that keeps me going. I also play sport (badminton) where I can abstract from some problems and then, after a game, find a solution to them.

Why should an external candidate be looking for roles in Microsoft CSS?

Definitely Microsoft is a wonderful place to work. Microsoft has a great atmosphere and people. Everyone is open minded. Almost every day your manager provides you a new challenge. And I like it about Microsoft because it helps me be active.

 

I think Customer Service and Support subdivision is closest to customer everyday business and it is a unique chance to communicate directly with end customers and to hear about their needs. I am faced with real business and technical tasks every day. And I like solve them in right way and thereby help customer’s business to grow. And if you also like challenges and such style of work then CSS is a right choice for you!

 

Any advice for potential candidates looking to connect to Microsoft?

 

You can be connected with Microsoft in many different ways. First way (and maybe most obvious) is that potential candidate can apply to a job position in Microsoft. Market is growing and Microsoft has a lot of open positions: Product Manager, Support Engineer and so on.

 

Other ways I see are participation in Microsoft’s communities like MVP (Most Value Professionals) or other alliance and groups. MVPs are universally recognized specialists in different area. You may recognize MVPs as one of the most active users of technical forums MVPs often participate in Microsoft’s events and conferences as key speakers. I know a lot of MVPs who grows from local communities’ leads and regularly participates in TechNet, MSDN and others technical forums.

 

I think that Microsoft has really powerful communities around the world and everyone can receive a required information or\and contribute to it and provide help to another communities’ member. It makes Microsoft very strong. And everyone can be part of it!