David Sengupta is the Global Director of Product Management for messaging & communications products at Quest Software (http://www.quest.com/exchange_2007). He is responsible for all aspects of product strategy for messaging, archiving and communications solutions including management solutions for Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007.
In his 10th year as a Microsoft MVP in the Exchange Server category, Sengupta has contributed to most Exchange & Windows magazines and numerous books & white papers. He is a regular speaker at key global events including Microsoft Tech-Ed & IT Forum. He has worked with Microsoft Exchange since its inception.
David has an M.T.S. from Tyndale Seminary, Canada, & a B.Sc. from University of Ottawa, Canada. He and his wife Karen have four kids and live in the Ottawa area with their three Siamese cats.
David is also an analyst for Ferris Research (http://www.ferris.com/author/dsengupta), is a columnist for SearchExchange.com (in English – http://tinyurl.com/yznnf4; in Mandarin – http://askexpert.techtarget.com.cn/DavidSengupta/), and occasionally updates his blog on e-mail compliance news (http://p0stmaster.blogspot.com). He’s on the PR committee of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model Project (http://www.edrm.net), a member of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), and a member of the Institute of Computer Forensic Professionals (ICFP). His publications are read daily by English and Mandarin speakers around the world.
What does being an MVP mean to you?
Being an MVP means many things to many people. For some it’s a status symbol. For others it’s a boost to their ego. But for me – and I must say for most of the ‘old-timers’ in the Exchange MVP communities (who are most of the MVPs that I know well … and for many of newcomer MVPs as well, of course) – being an MVP is all about doing one of the things I love to do – helping others out in the Exchange world. Exchange Server is all about communications, and in general, you’ll find Exchange MVPs to be some of the heaviest e-mail users out there. For the most part, we use e-mail so heavily because we love to communicate. And we’re constantly learning in the process. And meeting new people.
If you could ask Steve Ballmer one question about Microsoft, what would it be?
What have been your biggest surprises in building out the Unified Communications business over the past 24 months?
What do you think the best software ever written was?
‘Best’ can be taken in several ways. ‘Best’ software could have high quality and few bugs. ‘Best’ software could have great traction in the market. Finally, ‘best’ software could have the most revolutionary impact on productivity and the way we do things. Taking the latter approach, my vote is for mobile e-mail technologies such as Windows Mobile and Blackberry devices, which have revolutionized the way many of us work, and provided increased productivity to business, as well. Of course, mobile e-mail has also helped blur the line between our work lives and our family lives … but that’s another story.
If you were the manager of Windows Server System – Exchange Server, what would you change?
I would ask 10 people what the biggest problem is with e-mail today. I would note down the answers word by word. I’d study them closely. And I’d think about why every one of them is almost identical. Then I’d work with the Outlook team to focus hard on that problem.
What are the best features/improvements of Exchange Server?
I think the messaging arena is progressing down a continuum from focusing solely on messaging infrastructure, towards focusing more on more on messaging data. As such, features like full text indexing enhancements, PowerShell cross-mailbox search and the Web Service in Exchange 2007 are key features. To some extent, they take us one step closer to what Gartner would call Enterprise Information Management. Whether or not you agree with analysts, being able to rapidly find and control data within your organization will become more and more important from a business agility perspective, in the years to come.
What was the last book you read?
I skim-read a lot of books on business , technology and on faith issues. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of writing by the folks over at RZIM.org – people including Ravi Zacharias (e.g., Zacharias, Ravi. Walking From East to West. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.), Stuart McAllister, Jill Carattini, and fellow Canadian Joe Boot.
What music CD do you recommend?
I’m a Newsboys fan. http://www.newsboys.com
What makes you a great MVP?
I don’t think I’m a ‘great MVP’, so I’d reword the question to ‘What do you enjoy about being an MVP?’. The MVP program is all about being part of a worldwide community of folks excited about Exchange. It’s just great being part of the community. Whether there’s an official program that awards folks for participating or not, or being heavy contributors or not. Grass-roots communities rock.
What is in your computer bag?
Stuff left over from last trip, typical techie travel stuff, documents and books I keep wanting to read, small new testament, and a modem cable that I just threw in there a month ago. I just moved to an area that’s in a valley that wireless coverage still hasn’t gotten to (including cell phone and Blackberry coverage believe it or not!) … and am still waiting for them to build a tower nearby – happening in the next month or two. Until the move, it had been about 10 years since I last touched dial-up!
What is the best thing that has happened since you have become an MVP?
From a career perspective, working for Quest Software for over 5 years has been great. Being honored twice so far with the Global ISV Partner of the Year award has been exciting. Being a leader in the global messaging arena and able to influence the market is fascinating and rewarding. Extremely challenging, but I have a phenomenal ‘dream team’ and I love what I do.
From a personal perspective, having four beautiful kids enter my life since I became an MVP has been incredible.
What is your motto?
I’m not a motto kind-of-guy, but if I had to come up with one it’d be along the lines of ‘People are people, wherever you go’.
People laugh, they cry, they hurt, they grow, they struggle, they care, they hate, they love. Whether president of your company, the leper sitting on the street corner in India, the beggar lady with her wee boy I saw on the streets of Paris a few weeks ago, or the person in the cubicle next to you, we all share some basic similarities. Based on this premise, you should be able to approach others without fear—be they your boss or your company’s president or the guy sleeping on the park bench with no place to call home or the manager at the company next door who’s notorious for screaming at his employees. Similarly, you should be able to approach those in need – on your doorstep or around the world – to extend a helping hand. If you can wrap your mind around the fact that people are alike in so many ways, and if you can avoid developing a big ego and attitude, that’s a good start …
Who is your hero?
Next to Jesus Christ, I’d have to pick Ravi Zacharias (http://rzim.org/radio/archives.php?p=LMPT&o=0&i=100). In my mind he is one of the brilliant thinkers of this decade.
And from a personal perspective, my relationship with my wife, Karen, has meant more to me than any other relationship these past 15 years. I look forward to the privilege of growing old together.
What does success mean to you?
In business, revenues & profitability. In the workplace, communications & empowerment. But in ‘the real world’, all that pales from an eternal perspective—I am persuaded that neither death nor life can separate me from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus. (Obviously I am speaking from solely my personal perspective and not representing Microsoft or my current employer in any way.) I spent years thinking that faith was just a crutch for weak-minded and non-thinking folks. Yet when you look at those who have made a conscious decision to choose Biblical Christianity– CS Lewis, Pascal, Martin Luther King Jr., Jimmy Carter, Sam Walton, HG Heinz, George Washington, Christopher Columbus, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Dave Thomas and GK Chesterton to name only a few—Christianity emerges unique in its ability to stand up to intellectual scrutiny. The Bible states that there is a heaven and a hell, that sin exists, that all are sinners, that blood is required to atone for sin, that a spotless lamb could take away sin, that Jesus—called the Lamb of God—lived a perfect sinless life, that Jesus died physically yet rose again physically to conquer death and so that through his blood we could have access to a holy God, and that we – the created – can enter into a relationship with our Creator who loves us like a good father through simply accepting this gift of Jesus’ sacrifice in faith. Truly radical words in a materialistic, politically-correct, pluralistic and post-modern world, but I stand here as someone radically changed through such an act of faith over twenty years ago. Success to me, then, is to be able to look back on your dying day confident that you have lived life to the fullest and consistently with what you believe to be true about all the key questions in life, and to be able to look ahead confidently into what lays beyond death based on the decisions you have made in this life. I would suggest that if absolute truth exists, as I claim it does, that this truth is just as relevant to everyone reading, as it is to me. So I would close with asking you—the reader—what does success mean to you?
To find out more about the MVP program, or to find MVPs in your area, visit the Microsoft MVP Portal.