Question about career path moving from Outlook client support to Exchange support

N2ITN2IT Senior MemberInactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
Today we had a meeting and I stood up and accepted the Outlook SME expert role (client side). I will be participating in meetings with the messaging team OCS and Exchange. This will happen 2 times a month and additional meetings with them as well. I have already made in roads with that team and was wondering what would be the next wise move to ascend or take control of the situation.

My plan right now is to get an Outlook 2010 book and rehash it over and over again. I am also going to start going over inside out Windows 7 box learning the functional side of the OS. Indexing etc.

Any recommendations on how I should position myself. I long to do business analyst work, but passing on a opportunity like this is just plain stupid. So back into the technical role I go.

Any suggestions on career path would be greatly appreciated. Again I essentially being groomed to be the SME of Outlook in the company and want to know what materials I should cover if need be. This could potentially lead me into a role on the other side :)

With all that said I want to know the exchange environment enough to understand how it synchs with the Client side. Outlook/exchange is obviously client - server application and I believe I need to have some working knowledge of the other side to do this role.

Any training strategy or material would be great. I don't have a ton of time, but I have enough to focus on a book a month to get ramped up. This isn't going to happen over night so I have atleast one month before the first meeting. I was thinking maybe a inside out book on Outlook and some exchange book, but don't want nothing to overwhelming where I am drinking from a firehose.

Thanks guys and gals for your thoughts and time.

Comments

  • EveryoneEveryone Premier Field Engineer Member Posts: 1,661
    I'm starting to think you change roles/career direction more than some people change their underwear...

    "Outlook.exe /rpcdiag" is your best friend.

    Actually you should become familiar with all the command line switches.
    Command-line switches for Outlook 2010 - Outlook - Office.com

    Learn the difference between Cached Exchange Mode and Online mode, and when and why you should use either.

    Learn about controlling Outlook functions via GPO. You may not get to implement it yourself, but you should be able to provide input to whoever is responsible for GPOs at your organization.

    Get an understanding of the different methods for opening multiple mailboxes, MAPI connections, RPC over HTTPS (Outlook Anywhere), etc.

    Don't be surprised when you end up spending more of your time teaching people how to use Outlook than anything else.
  • N2ITN2IT Senior Member Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Hey it's an organizational move. They asked for a volunteer and I stood up what do you expect? My wife had to go to work out of the state and of course being her husband I followed and I was forced to grab a job to bring in revenue. I don't half-ass anything so here I am back in support, not helpdesk thank God, but support nontheless.

    It's the way the story has unfolded, it's not by design Josh.

    Besides I have years and years of Outlook client support experience. Since 2002 Outlook.
  • it_consultantit_consultant Senior Member Member Posts: 1,903
    N2IT wrote: »
    Today we had a meeting and I stood up and accepted the Outlook SME expert role (client side). I will be participating in meetings with the messaging team OCS and Exchange. This will happen 2 times a month and additional meetings with them as well. I have already made in roads with that team and was wondering what would be the next wise move to ascend or take control of the situation.

    My plan right now is to get an Outlook 2010 book and rehash it over and over again. I am also going to start going over inside out Windows 7 box learning the functional side of the OS. Indexing etc.

    Any recommendations on how I should position myself. I long to do business analyst work, but passing on a opportunity like this is just plain stupid. So back into the technical role I go.

    Any suggestions on career path would be greatly appreciated. Again I essentially being groomed to be the SME of Outlook in the company and want to know what materials I should cover if need be. This could potentially lead me into a role on the other side :)

    With all that said I want to know the exchange environment enough to understand how it synchs with the Client side. Outlook/exchange is obviously client - server application and I believe I need to have some working knowledge of the other side to do this role.

    Any training strategy or material would be great. I don't have a ton of time, but I have enough to focus on a book a month to get ramped up. This isn't going to happen over night so I have atleast one month before the first meeting. I was thinking maybe a inside out book on Outlook and some exchange book, but don't want nothing to overwhelming where I am drinking from a firehose.

    Thanks guys and gals for your thoughts and time.

    So many possibilities here! Immediately, I suggest you spend some time with the open protocols with either a test Exchange lab or with a dovecoat/sendmail set up. IMAP4, POP3, SMTP, relaying etc. Getting to know the ins and outs of how the email flows in and out of any system is really helpful.

    Secondly, learn how databases work. Exchange is a IMAP/SMTP/MAPI/WEBHOST AND a database server wrapped into one. Knowing the logical flow of the data from memory to log file to edb file is crucial in understanding how to recover a downed database (ie the mailstore). This seems like it has nothing to do with client side, and it kind of doesn't, but once you know Outlook and the open protocols, the next logical step is the Exchange server.
  • erpadminerpadmin PMP-Wannabe! Member Posts: 4,165
    Is your company moving to an Exchange server from some other mail server (like a no-name POP3/IMAP server?) Or do they just need someone who's an Outlook expert?

    I'm trying to understand the value in both your position and tasks (as I imagine others are too...)

    My shop just recently went to an Exchange migration. I don't deal with Exchange, but the only thing I wanted to know was to make sure my Android device could connect to it (and it does) and I had to redo my rules and such. Now I can migrate toward Windows 7 on my new workstation when I have the time. :)

    I understand this isn't much of a stretch for you because you are a MOS, MOUS, or whatever the name they call "Office-gurus." :)
  • N2ITN2IT Senior Member Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    @ Consultant thanks for some serious feedback. I really do appreciate it. I do have database knowledge, I have taken several SQL courses based around P and T SQL. I've created countless ERD process mappings and converted them into tables with full normalization. I use SQL in my position now, to create queries that Access can't handle from a the GUI. Joins, unions, views, indexs, etc.

    @ ERP I'm an office guy who supports high level excel, access use along with Outlook, Adobe, Dreamweaver/Contribute/Photoshop etc. Well I am on a team that is part of a reorg and they are looking for people to transition into other roles.

    *****I'm no longer a team lead, project coordinator etc. I sacrificed that for my wife and her dreams of being an RN at one of the most presitgous hospitals in the world. It's the equivelent to you working at Oracle, Microsoft, Google.

    I took what I could get leveraged my support experience and got into a tier 3 group that supports office apps along with other enterprise apps. We had a meeting today and they asked for volunteer to become the Outlook SME. This organization is all about quality and given their users the best support possible. We have support for everything. Instead of having some tier 1 or 2 guy fumbling with a vlookup or a OLAP config, they come to us and we assist.

    This role will potentially give me the opportunity to build inroads into the exchange team. I have already started but formalized meetings with agendas and support meetings with the server teams is what I am looking at.

    I am basically asking for assitance or opinions for a plan of attack. A plan of engagement to move into a higher paying job.

    I've sacrificed a lot for my family and now I am asking for some expert opinions.
  • ptilsenptilsen Junior Starcraft Engineer Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I think Everyone and IT_Consultant have already given you good advice. You'll really want to study how the protocols work, if you don't already know. Take a look at the 70-662 certification material. If there are any gaps in your knowledge, this is likely to help fill them. In particular, the configuring client access sub-topic will have most of the technical information you need.

    I'm really not sure what else you can do to position yourself. If you have significant experience and knowledge of Office already, some of the Exchange technical details are really all you're missing. At the end of the day a true Outlook SME is going to ultimately be an Exchange SME, or at least highly knowledgeable in Exchange. The studying you've been doing on the old server books is also going to be relevant, as being able to effectively troubleshoot server and networking problems will come into play in support Office and Exchange. In my experience, Outlook not working is the 2nd most likely symptom to be first reported if DHCP or DNS is not functioning (Web not working is, of course, the most likely).

    Down the road, this could lead to more opportunities working on Exchange and Office deployment projects. I don't think mixing your project management and business experience with some technical skills it going to hurt in those endeavors, whether you are positioning for deeper tech or deeper business roles in the future.
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  • EveryoneEveryone Premier Field Engineer Member Posts: 1,661
    ptilsen wrote: »
    Down the road, this could lead to more opportunities working on Exchange and Office deployment projects. I don't think mixing your project management and business experience with some technical skills it going to hurt in those endeavors, whether you are positioning for deeper tech or deeper business roles in the future.

    Office Deployment is definitely another avenue besides heading to the Exchange Server side. Actually you should think of it more as Application Services, because you can use these skills for much more than just deploying Office. Learn how to use SCCM and other tools to deploy Applications and Updates/Patches. Learn how to build images. Having a "Standard Desktop" image... Latest Windows version + Latest Office Version + Current Version of any other applications the business uses, and being able to deploy it on a large scale, is very valuable.


    Oh, if your company has an EA with Microsoft, check with your Microsoft Technical Account Manager about getting into a "Workshop PLUS". They are NOT certification courses, but teach some good in depth skills on Microsoft products. I am shadowing an Exchange 2003 and 2007 to Exchange 2010 Migration Workshop in downtown Chicago next month, so I can get accredited to deliver it in the future. You might have hours towards this type of training built into your EA.
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