Interview with a Microsoft Partner, Power BI Expert, & Wiki Ninja: Greg Deckler


Today's interview is with the one, the only...

Greg Deckler

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/profile/greg%20deckler%20(fusion%20alliance)/

Greg Deckler (Quick Solutions)'s avatar

Greg is a Microsoft Partner and has 9 Wiki articles finished.

Profile Statistics:

  • 11 Wiki Articles
  • 79 Wiki Edits
  • 527 Forum Replies with 162 Answers
  • 3K+ Recognition Points

Example articles:

 

Are you ready for the interview? No? Too bad. Here we go....

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Who are you, where are you, and what do you do? What are your specialty technologies?

Hello, I am currently the Solution Director over Cloud Services at Fusion Alliance out of their Columbus, OH office. I’m a single father who lives with my son, Rocket, in Plain City, OH which is a small town just outside of Columbus. I have been a professional technology consultant for over 20 years, mainly working with Microsoft technologies. For about a decade of that, I specialized in email migrations to Microsoft Exchange for large, global organizations with 10,000+ seats. My other specialties include SharePoint, Office 365, Azure IaaS, Azure Machine Learning and Power BI.

My son Rocket and I at a Columbus Clippers game.

 

What are your big projects right now?

Right now my biggest pet project is launching the Columbus Azure ML and Power BI User Group. It has been quite a while since I have been as excited about a new Microsoft product as I am about Power BI and some of the other cloud-based BI services that Microsoft has such as Azure Machine Learning. The last one that I can remember is Microsoft Exchange where I was working with alpha and beta versions of that product while consulting at Owens Corning. Ultimately we successfully rolled out 80+ Exchange 4.0 servers to 10,000+ users in about 20 countries. In fact, that is probably the last time that I was heavily involved in the larger IT community. Back then I was very active on the old MS Exchange listserv mailing list.

I actually came to Fusion about 4 years ago in large part because I realized that I wanted to become more engaged in the local community and the IT community as well. That was simply not possible at my former employer, who actively eschewed and kind of tended to mock any kind of charity or community involvement. It’s taken me a few years to shake off the conditioning but I really have a desire to participate and give back to the communities that have helped me so much throughout my career.

I tend to use LinkedIn for my blog postings, which cover everything from the cloud to data to platform adoption to business intelligence. The last book I authored was over a decade ago, Achieving Process Profitability, Building the IT Profit Center and no current plans for another one but you never know. I love to write, it’s a big passion of mine.

I have at least half-a-dozen wiki articles in various states of completeness. I really have to work to find the time to put together wiki articles because the bar is so high on TechNet and I really want to make my material accessible and useful. There is a ton of prep work that goes into my articles typically because my wiki articles tend to be about building something useful or interesting. They are a lot more work than my blog articles, which tend to be me just sitting down in between the chaos and simply “spouting off”. Those are way easier for me to write because spouting off comes very naturally to me.

In terms of customers and projects. Holy smokes, this year has started off with a bang. So many projects already this year! Moving thousands of users to Office 365. Moving entire Dynamics AX ERP systems to Azure IaaS. Currently building out multiple customer Intranets in SharePoint Online complete with custom, heavy branding. My entire team is engaged across the board and in my 20+ years of doing consulting, that’s fairly rare so early in the year. The team I work with is fantastic and I would be remiss in not mentioning how awesome my competency leads are, Paul Moore on the Infrastructure side and Manish Athavale on the Collaboration side.

Teaching Rocket how to golf poorly.

 

What do you do with TechNet Wiki, and how does that fit into the rest of your job?

I mainly author and consume right now. I haven’t quite figured out all of the switches and levers to pull to quickly identify articles that need editing and even when I do, it seems like someone else beats me to it! So many fantastic contributors, it is truly amazing to just watch the machine churn away. I am hoping to become more involved in editing and improving articles. It’s on the list of to do’s.

In terms of my job, TechNet fits perfectly into my role as Solution Director. As a Solution Director, one of my primary tasks is to be a thought leader in the community. The secret to fulfilling that directive is to read as much as you can from other really smart people and to contribute where you can. TechNet is the perfect vehicle for this, filled with geniuses that are constantly pushing the technology envelope.

 

What is it about TechNet Wiki that interests you?

The thing that interests me the most about TechNet Wiki, and this kind of goes for the IT community in general, is just how open it is and how many people are willing to share their knowledge. This isn’t common at all and I don’t see this going on in most other professions. Certainly not at the volume and level that it goes on within the IT community. When I was a mechanical engineering student, our professors actually warned us to never, ever give our knowledge away for free, and it took me a long time to see past that. I think that kind of attitude is pretty common within most professions, but not in IT and that’s pretty special. TechNet Wiki being one of the oldest repositories of that kind of knowledge and still chugging away, that’s a pretty amazing thing.

 

In what other sites and communities do you contribute your technical knowledge?

I am extremely active in the Power BI community site where you might see me as “smoupre”. Funny store, when I first started using Technet I was young and concerned about whether my customers would see me posting questions to the forums. So I created an anagram of my favorite Greek god, Prometheus, and adopted the forum avatar of Seth Moupre. When I signed up with Power BI, I brought that persona with me. While I have since abandoned that alias, some of my login names are still show up as smoupre. So if anyone has wondered why my handle on the Power BI community site is “smoupre”, there’s the reason. It all started TechNet.

 

On what articles have you collaborated with other community members on #TNWiki? What was that experience like?

I am actually currently working collaboratively on a couple articles that will find their way to the TechNet Wiki. I have been working with Konstantinos Ioannou. They center around exploring the elements of DAX that make it a quasi-programming language and handing Duration formats within DAX. Working with someone else on articles is a new thing for me and I am enjoying it quite a bit. Having someone else’s perspective can be really valuable and Konstantinos, in particular, brings up really good points that I would probably never have considered on my own.

 

What are your favorite Wiki articles you’ve contributed?

My favorite article is probably my first, Building the Ultimate Microsoft CRM Dashboard in Under an Hour, Ten Simple Steps to Ultimate CRM Dashboard Nirvana. It is probably the closest to my “voice” as a writer and the voice that shows up in a lot of my blog articles, which are far less formal. I’ve tended to dial back on the “Greg” in my wiki submissions hence and kept them a little more “just the facts ma’am”. That being said, I really enjoyed putting together my last two wiki articles, DAX: Dates Prior to 1900 and Power BI: Correlation, Seasonality and Forecasting. Those two, along with the aforementioned CRM article and Power BI, Text Analytics and the United States Congress I consider my most “complete” articles. What I really try to strive for in my articles is to present a real world problem or situation and then demonstrate step-by-step how to build the solution. The articles where I feel that I succeeded in doing that are my favorites.

 

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Special thanks to contributing to the community for one of my favorite Microsoft technologies, Power BI! As well as other great technologies!

Everyone, please join me in thanking Greg for his community contributions!

 

Have a Wiki of a Day!

- Ninja Ed

 

Comments (8)

  1. Nice to meet you Greg Deckler. Very Nice interview and very Cute son you have.

  2. Nice interview Greg. I have been reading your Power BI articles for a while. Best of luck with your meetup!

  3. Saeid Hasani says:

    Nice golf pic! Dapper father and son! 🙂
    I have bean reading many interviews which this blog provided, and this is one of the best.

    Thanks Greg for sharing your great thoughts!
    My favorite quote was:
    "The secret to fulfilling that directive is to read as much as you can from other really smart people and to contribute where you can."

    Thanks Ed! 🙂

  4. Seth Moupre says:

    Thanks for the write-up Ed and thank-you for all of the well wishes!

  5. You're welcome Greg! My pleasure.

  6. Saeid, yes, I love the father and son golf pic!

    Greg and you make a good point. The more we surround ourselves with knowledgeable people, the more we will learn from them! And that includes what we read and study!

  7. UPDATE: I updated Greg's profile link.

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