I am an Independent Consultant and Microsoft MVP specialising in Microsoft Unified Communications and Collaboration technologies with a broad background with other Microsoft Enterprise Applications.

Background

I began my IT career as a service technician for my best friend’s computer repair shop after serving several years in the food retail sector. I always have had a passion for computers, ever since primary school where my father was head master and used to work late. As a consequence I was left to my own devices and we were lucky to have a BBC Micro and Acorn Archimedes. I spent several hours with these and learned how to program a basic robot to navigate an obstacle course. Which my father then got me to write how I did it so he could teach it to the class!

After working in my friend’s repair shop, building PCs and fixing home user problems, I moved into education and worked as an IT technician supporting a Windows Server 2003 network with Exchange 2003 and Active Directory services. I enjoyed this part of my career because I got hands on with a lot of applications and learnt how to troubleshoot issues from networking, server, security and desktop. I was promoted to Network Manager within 2 years and spent a further 3 years managing the network. During these 3 years I transformed the school’s IT infrastructure, introduced new fibre core network, gigabit edge switches (HP Pro-curve), Managed Wireless LAN (Aruba), Deployed VLANs, Implemented managed printer solution, migrated from physical servers to VMWare 4.1 and later upgraded to 5.0, Upgraded Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010, Upgraded servers from 2003 to 2008 R2 and deployed Microsoft System Center 2012 to upgrade the desktop machines from Windows XP to Windows 7, replacing the unsupported Symantec Ghost solution.

Other projects I introduced were remote working using Microsoft RDS, Email Spam Gateway, Sophos Firewall, and moved the school website and virtual learning environment from Uniservity to Joomla and Moodle respectively.

After five years of managing my own kingdom, I decided I wanted a new challenge and moved jobs to a managed services provider that worked white label services within the IT channel. Here I was a Microsoft 3rd Line Support Engineer and was responsible for troubleshooting, fixing and documenting all Microsoft issues raised by customers. I managed more than 20 customer networks covering all Microsoft technology from Exchange, Lync, SCCM, Windows 7 and 8.1, Active Directory, Active Directory Certificate Services, basically anything with a plug and a Windows logo! The best job I had was migrating Active Directory domains from on-premises to Azure in Dubai, UAE!

I began to specialise in Lync as it perked my interest. I found the ecosystem so diverse and problems so intriguing that I wanted to delve deeper into this system. I began to deliver Lync projects for the company at customers around the UK.

Chasing my passion for Lync I moved to a Microsoft centric consultancy where I deployed serveral Skype for Business and Lync solutions including enterprise voice, conferencing, video teleconferencing and contact center solutions. Projects almost always included design and delivery of complex integrations with legacy PBXs and migrations from Avaya, Cisco, Nortel to Skype for Business. As well as these bread and butter solutions, I also delivered Hyper-V, ADFS with Single Sign On, Azure AD, Office 365 native and hybrid solutions.

Working for my last full time employer I delivered some of the most complex and largest projects to date for customers within the global food manufacturing and Investment Banking sectors. From Cisco to Skype for Business contact center migrations, to Avaya to Skype for Business voice migrations in excess of 400,000 DDIs and 70,000 users. You can find more information about these projects on my dedicated project page.

Certifications

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert Communication (Productivity Charter)
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert Messaging
  • SSCA SIP Certified
  • Skype for Business Enterprise Voice Certification
  • Skype for Business Deploy and Manage Certification
  • Lync 2013 Enterprise Voice Certification
  • Lync 2013 Deploy and Manage Certification
  • Lync 2013 Depth Support Engineer Certification
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate Server 2012
  • Microsoft Certified Professional
  • Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator 2003

Awards

  • Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP)

Public Profiles

Microsoft MVP Profile: Mark Vale

LinkedIn: Mark Vale