(Screenshot via YouTube)
Big things are happening for Newark cloud communications guy Greg Plum: He just completed an exclusive certification to train companies in using Microsoft Office 365, and he’s co-authoring a soon-to-come-out book about how to use Skype for Business.
Plum’s journey toward being an Office 365 expert began about a year ago, when he was perusing an issue of Outside magazine. (“Outside” as in outdoorsy, hiking-type stuff.)
A particular item caught the eye of Plum, who has his own cloud communications consulting company, called Plum Unified Communications. Note: If you don’t know what cloud communications is, think of traditional conference phone lines that are instead reserved on the cloud for group communication, which can be done all on one interface — like sending instant messages and emails, video-calling and sharing desktops and videos.
The Outside article that piqued Plum’s interest featured a company in Utah called BrainStorm Inc., a tech company the magazine rated as one of the country’s best places — in terms of work-life balance — to work. BrainStorm is a partner with Microsoft for end-user adoption of Microsoft’s productivity apps.
Plum, who works quite a bit with Microsoft software (especially Skype for Business), reached out to BrainStorm and, since then, has done some work for the company as a contractor.
And just the other week, Plum went to Utah to complete his Customer Immersion Experience (CIE) certification through BrainStorm. In doing so, he said he’s one of the fewer than 500 in the world who are certified to teach how to use Office 365.
“They are the only company authorized by Microsoft to certify trainers to facilitate CIE sessions,” Plum said, referring to BrainStorm. “It’s definitely a next-generation type of education as opposed to sitting in a classroom. It’s much more immersive, which is fun.”
He’s doesn’t know of others in the area who have the certification, but he won’t necessarily be locally assigned to help companies learn the ins and outs of Office 365 — his first spot is in Chicago.
The work with BrainStorm, though, hasn’t supplanted his full-time work at Plum Unified Communications. In fact, he’s worked so much with Skype for Business that in two months, he and Australian cloud-services guru Robert Crane are releasing a book about it.
Plum said the book will be the first of its kind, which will be a hands-on guide for end-users. “It’s been difficult putting it together because there’s nothing out there yet,” he said.
He said he hopes the book will help people begin to realize that communication within a company is more important than they often give it credit for.
“The issue is people still look at communications as an expense and as a utility like a dial tone or like flipping a light switch,” Plum said. “I want to help them understand it’s not just a utility — it’s really a productivity tool.”