Program Manager with Unified Communications Customer Experience Team

1993 University of North Carolina at Charlotte graduate, planning to attend Miami of Ohio University for a masters in Recreational Sports. This is not as lame as it sounds, the plan was to be in a college setting handling intramural and club sport programs. My roommate finds out Microsoft is hiring through a temporary agency and my now wife (then girlfriend (fiance after employment)) says "You should get that number and call". I was accepted and 11 months later in 1994 I was hired full-time in our support group. I was hired when DOS 5.0, Windows 3.0 and Windows for Workgroups 3.1 were the dominant products. I was there for dblspace and drvspace and the Windows 95 launch. I moved to the messaging team to support Exchange 4.0 through 2000. I then moved to training full-time and delivered and wrote some of the Exchange 2003 material. I moved back to support just in time to ramp up on LCS 2003. I have supported 2005 and took on a beta role supporting Communicator Web Access and Communicator Mobile. I saw a little of the Office Communications Server 2007 beta and moved back to normal support for a few months.

Being in the group for as long as I was and making contacts with many people I was notified of an opportunity with the Product Group allowing me to remain in Charlotte. An opportunity I never thought would happen so I jumped. I did attend the OCS 2007 Summit but the process had already begun and Monday January 15, 2007 I will start my first stint as a Microsoft employee no longer in the support organization.

My role is still very much focused on the customer, now for the customers in our beta programs and specifically I will be working on a team that is responsible for getting customers deployed in production to provide us the necessary information we need about the ability to deploy, manage and use. Feedback in the form of actual bugs, design changes and suggestions will be coming in and these customers are the ones that will do more of the heavy work to hopefully make it easier on every other OCS 2007 customer in the world. One output of this team will be to make every other customer as successful as possible. This means readiness of all teams and roles handling customers, documentation, training, whatever it takes.

As we are working on a beta product I will let you know this - I will be creating material on my own deployment of this product and experiences in anticipation of the day I can post them for you. My guess is that when we have a PUBLIC beta this could happen. I need to hear from you how you want this information shared. Keep in mind that I have to help our internal folks first because it really stinks to take a call from a customer who knows more about a subject than you.

January 15, 2007 a new day.


Comments (6)

  1. Tom Laciano says:

    I suspect then that someone else provided their contact information for the private beta and then handed you the software to work with. Follow up with your team to see if they can share that with you. Otherwise use the entry on, there is a comment for how to submit a request for the private beta for which you could perform yourself.

  2. Tom Laciano says:

    Hi Murali,

    When you work with any Microsoft beta your options for information are typically restricted to the beta newsgroups and if applicable a forum or alias for questions. If you are part of the private beta this is the newsgroups. If you are experiencing a problem or delay with an answer, send email to the same alias you used to get accepted into the program. This won’t get you an answer but will alert the team (indirectly) to the need.

    The data you want to see publicly won’t happen until there is a public beta due to the NDA you are under at this time.

    My goal and hope is to contribute to that information when the time comes.

  3. Greg Kamer says:


    Just found your blog while attempting to install OCS B3.  I look forward to your documentation on the your install, when the time comes.

    I love LCS, so I really hope that my experience on OCS will be just as fulfilling.  If the improvements that are to be built in work half as well as I have heard, then I no doubt will love this!

    Charlotte is a beautiful city by the way, my in-laws live in Rock Hill and we come to Charlotte often.

    Congrats on the position!

  4. Murali says:

    Hi Tom,

    Congrats on the position and welcome to NC.

    We are trying to install OCS 2007 B3 and would love to have a pointer to a Blog/Forum that can help us answer some of the questions. I greatly appreciate your help.


  5. Murali says:

    Thanks Tom,

    This my first time working on a beta, so not familiar with all the details surrounding Private Beta testing.

    I was told that there is a newsgroup on Connect.. but that it is invitation only. The organization I work for is Gold Partner and would like to initiate the necessary steps to get that invitation. I’d appreciate if you can share what those would be. I am also going to try within my org. to see if they already know how, first thing next week.

    thanks for the response!

  6. Murali says:

    Thanks Tom.

    I understand that there is a RTC Wave 12 newsgroup on Connect site, which is for invitation only crowd. Do you know the criteria to get invited to that. My organization is Gold Partner with Microsoft and we are one of the few working with Beta3.

    I think we could find that newsgroup very useful.


Skip to main content