We caught up with our Senior Engineer, Craig Dalrymple. Craig has been named the only Veeam Vanguard in Scotland for the last 3 years. We caught up with Craig to find out about the program.
So Craig, what does your Veeam Vanguard role involve?
Being a part of the Veeam Vanguard program involves collaborating with Veeam employees, fellow Vanguards and the IT Community at large. From a Veeam perspective, the Vanguards feedback on the products and services which Veeam provide. From a community perspective we create content and share our knowledge, both on and offline.
One of the main pillars of the Vanguard program is Veeam never tell the Vanguards what to say. We are free to create as much, or as little content (both positive and negative) as we see fit.
It’s important to point out that the Veeam Vanguard status is an award, not a certification/credit, nor does it mean you know everything there is to know about all of Veeam’s products. It shows you are willing to share your knowledge/experience with your fellow IT pros. Which mirrors our own company core value “Sharing the knowledge is the real power”.
Why did Veeam set the program up?
Veeam setup the Vanguard program to recognise and reward those individuals who were actively contributing to the Veeam community, who help to increase their influence on/offline presence.
A Veeam Vanguard represents the Veeam brand to the highest level in many of the different technology communities in which Veeam engage. These individuals are chosen for their acumen, engagement and style in their activities.
How were you selected?
Back in 2015 members of the inaugural program were selected by the Veeam Technical Marketing team. The program recognised contributions for sharing Veeam related content and their experiences with the IT community.
It was quite an unexpected, yet a huge honour to have been selected in that inaugural year. In the subsequent years, 2016/2017, I have applied for renewal, based on my contributions to the Veeam Community. In 2015/2016 most of contributions came from online content, in the shape of blog/forum posts, and sitting in on webinars etc.
My 2017 renewal application was based around my co-founding, with 2 other UK based Vanguards, of the 1st UK Veeam User Group (http://veeamug.uk/events/). We successfully held the 1st event in Edinburgh, on September 8th 2016. Our next event (shameless plug coming up) is to be held in Manchester on April 25th 2017, a day before the Manchester IP EXPO.
How have you benefited?
You mean apart from the all expenses trip to attend Veeam’s own global conference (Las Vegas in 2015, London 2016 and New Orleans in 2017), the excellent Veeam branded ‘swag’, access to Veeam’s roadmap, internal betas, free product keys, priority support calls and direct links to Veeam’s product management.
In all honestly the biggest benefit to the program is access to the Vanguards themselves. The group consists of around 63 members for 2017 (8 representing UK/Ireland and only 1 in Scotland). The members hail from just about every corner of the globe and IT industry. There are service providers, such as ourselves at brightsolid, Vendor employees, government/federal employees, system admins, consultants, IT trainers …a real Smorgasbord of IT professionals. Within this group there are many discussions about improvements that can be made to Veeam’s products and also non-Veeam related discussions. The Veeam Vanguard Slack channel is a fantastic resource to sound out issues and ideas, both Veeam and non-Veeam related. One way to describe this program/channel is a “hive mind”.
Does it benefit brightsolid’s customers?
There a few main benefits to brightsolid’s customers:
A. Priority support
Part of the Vanguard program includes access to a “no queue for you” telephone number for Veeam Global support. In the unlikely event of a critical Veeam issue impacting a customer’s infrastructure, we can call the Global Support number, enter our special code, and be placed right to the top of the call queue within the support system. This ensures a rapid response to a customer’s issues.
B. Direct access to Veeam’s roadmap and Product Development team
As mentioned previously, Vanguards have early access to internal beta’s of forthcoming products, sometimes even before some of Veeam’s own internal departments. This early access allows brightsolid to input directly into the product development of the forthcoming products, to ensure the products meet both our own, and customer needs.
If others wanted to get involved with Veeam, what’s the best way to do so?
Veeam hold general nominations and renewals every year. The nominations are opened up 3-4 months prior to the Vanguard announcements.
The best piece of advice I can give to those wanting to get involved is to start contributing and/or creating content. Remember the Veeam Vanguard program is a recognition for your contribution to the Veeam IT community, it is not a certification/credit.
Veeam go to great lengths to point out that, so here are some points to consider:
- It’s a reward for your contribution for the past year. There is little or no use saying “If you make me a Vanguard, I’ll post more about Veeam”. You need to put the effort in first to achieve the recognition, not the other way round. Almost a “show your working” kind of approach if you will.
- It’s is NOT a bribe, “If you make me a Vanguard, I’ll saying nothing but good things about Veeam and bad mouth the competitors”. This isn’t about buying good reviews. In fact Veeam are keen to hear about what people consider bad about their products, to ensure they can improve/change those issues.
- This is program isn’t not a sales booster e.g. “if you make me a Vanguard, I’ll sell more Veeam products”. This is absolutely not the idea behind the program. The program is about the community not sales.
- The Vanguard program is not all about a free trip. Yes the trip to the Veeam On conference is a lot of fun, but the trip is mainly about:
Educating the Vanguards about Veeam and their forthcoming products.
To hear Vanguards opinions about what Veeam do and how to improve what they do.
To meet the Vanguards in person, and collaborate.
You can read more about becoming a Veeam Vanguard here.