Christian Buckley MVP interviews Elaine Van Bergen, MCM, Microsoft
Christian: Hey this is Christian Buckley with another ESPC 19 interview Elaine hello.
Christian: How’s it going why don’t you introduce yourself and where you’re from what you do?
Elaine: Yes so I’m Elaine van Bergen and I work for Microsoft in the commercial software engineering team so what we do is we actually code with organizations that want to typically do projects on things like AI, machine learning, mixed reality and I specialize in their health space pretty interesting space to work in.
Christian: I hear there’s some things happening in that space it might be a growth opportunity to be in that space yeah for some reason.
Christian: Well so we were talking a bit about some of what you’re doing with clients and I kind of asked the question about Rio how much you’re doing like building and doing things for Microsoft like from a product and engineering versus you know with customer and so tell us like what kind of a typical engagement how you’re working with clients these days.
Elaine: Yeah so typically I work with some very big health customers and I spend most of my time talking with them trying to work out what they actually want to build and then we go into these dev sprints we actually build things with them so I’ve got a big dev sprint coming up with a customer in a few weeks’ time well we’re flying engineers from all over the world to code with them on a project which is amazing to do.
Christian: It you know it’s always exciting I think that my preference is always to be in roles where you have kind of one foot in the customer scenario so you don’t lose sight of how people are actually using the technology and leveraging and if part of that is what we were just talking about too is especially in the case of bots is that we get excited about the new technology and we think about all of the possibilities of what we could do but rarer conversation is, yep is one of the things that we should do and sometimes it’s you know you look at the new technology and you’re excited about it but you’re like well that’s actually not maybe not the right thing to go and do have you talked about some of those scenarios.
Elaine: Yes there’s a lot of scenarios that come up with bots and a lot of times people are there they’re looking at trying to replace something that might be a legacy system but they haven’t put the lens across it around will it actually be quicker better easier for the user it’s really you know we should know these things because we’ve done this for other apps if they’ve come through and gone will it improve the users life but anytime a new piece of shiny tech comes up we seem to forget that for a little while.
Christian: Well we’ve had all that that big push to it everybody wanted to go and build a mobile app around something and you had to sum essentially the rich desktop applications just made with larger buttons for the mobile app but you think it’s like but that’s not how anybody works on their mobile device to be able to use those applications and I think some of the smart app builders and just like the smart you know intelligent bot builders, would go and look at and say well what are the things that we’re actually trying to accomplish on a mobile device one of the things that we’re actually trying to accomplish in like a bot if I’m creating a bot and trying to automate like within Microsoft teams for example. Am I trying to duplicate all of the functionality of that? Hey we’ve had that product for seven years ten years and all that rich functionality no, people are trying to do three or four or five core capabilities it’s kind of like Microsoft Excel you wouldn’t go and try and rebuild redesign everything Excel in your mobile phone.
Elaine: Yes you shouldn’t.
Christian: You shouldn’t go and do that we don’t use those rich features.
Christian: Or your specific piece of information or an action to take and so you push that information out have them react to that whether it be its I’ve teams or via Outlook or whatever it is interact with it and then it communicates back into the system right I wish that more companies would look at that kind of rich integration the connector type you know connection with connect your connection. Well so I think so in my mind so connector is more about consuming information it’s like a one-way like pulling information back to that that conversation. The bot is the two-way interaction so.
Elaine: Yeah and in most cases it should be yeah absolutely and I think there’s a lot of opportunity there particularly when you do have these really aging systems that have amazing functionality but may not be the best place to do those quick interactions anymore and you can put that modern layer on top of them whether that’s with a but the power platform is the the other place we see a lot of that happening putting a power app on top or even power bi for that reporting piece to give more flexibility.
Christian: I have to say that so see your regions your based on where are you in Australia?
Elaine: Down in Melbourne Australia.
Christian: Yeah yes down in Melbourne so I think there’s a lot of very kind of high profile you know power platform MVP system that have come out of that region and so I was just I reached out and was talking with Clumsee with I guess Clumseeies about doing interviews. If you don’t know Paul Clumsee, he’s a good friend of ours as well and his daughter Ashley is also an MVP as well. She’s at university now but you know both of them and the business applications and the power platform you know the code of that area but there’s just a lot of activity which is actually not surprising because a lot of the people and I think of like John Liu down in region as well we have a lot of people that are where they’re multi geo they’re working across you know country lines and across tenants and all this kind of stuff where the you want to automate, you want to have more you know you know apps and bots and the automation it’s not like you’re building a solution for a single corporation within the US so you need that flexibility you need a more dynamic solution that’s going to go and automate.
Elaine: Yeah and I think also there’s an element of doing more with less you know are we gonna buy this life-saving machine or and if you can do something simple that achieves the same result with power apps why wouldn’t use that platform instead of custom coding something which opens up all this additional risk.
Christian: I like that idea of building more efficient solutions in general it’s I mean it used to be this like well if we sell the entire and you know just the rich app to all of the users within the system it’s like there’s more licensing revenue from Microsoft and the other vendors like right but then they’re underutilized they don’t renew at the end of their EA I mean it’s not a good model it’s not a healthy model if you build richer solutions that might have less functionality when you know comparing the two but its core to what they need they’re gonna be happier they’re more likely than to expand its usage of continue using that.
Elaine: Yeah, I mean whether it whether it’s a bot or a power app or whatever you build if you have happy users you’ve done the right thing.
Christian: Happy users are a good thing says Elaine. So well really appreciate the time and you know somebody talking so any other sessions you have what else you have going on this week?
Elaine: Mainly just I’ve never been to Prague before so I’m doing the tourist thing and yeah doing a few ask the experts and other things while I’m here as well.
Christian: Excellent well good to see you again and thanks a lot.
Elaine: Thank you.