2018 Review – Speaking, Blogs, New job, and more…

2018 is almost over and it was an exciting year jam packed full of adventures! In this post I will recap some of the highlights from 2018.

New job

At the start of 2018 I started a new job with Avanade as a Group Manager: Cloud Transformation/DevOps. Who is Avanade? Avanade 35,000 plus employees and is a global consulting firm focused on the Microsoft platform. Avanade is owned by Accenture and Microsoft. I have been at the firm for exactly a year. It has been a fun ride so far working with really smart people on some exciting and very large projects. After I joined Avanade featured me on a Q&A spotlight blog.

You can check out the Q&A post here: https://www.avanade.com/en/blogs/inside-avanade/employee-stories/q-and-a-with-steve-buchanan

Moved from System Center focus to Azure/Azure Stack and DevOps

I moved away from System Center related work to only working on Azure, Azure Stack, and DevOps project. I had been making this shifting in this direction for a couple of years but the new job helped me transition to the type of work I wanted to do. I am a firm believer in change and through change comes growth. I still have my System Center skills but for me it was time to make a change in my career focus to be challenged and keep growing. Looking back I would make the same choice over again. You can see this change reflected in the blog topics I have posted, topics I have presented on this past year. My new role with Avanade has also helped me move my focus to cloud and DevOps.


I focused on and completed some Azure and DevOps certifications including: 70-535: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions and AZ-400: Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions. However the one I am most proud of is the Microsoft Professional Program: DevOps. It took me 2 months to finish the training and all the labs to obtain the certificate. Here is a blog I posted about the training experience for the MPP: DevOps https://www.buchatech.com/2018/04/microsoft-professional-program-for-devops-finished. Here is a link to the my certificate: https://academy.microsoft.com/en-us/certificates/67284e84-8afe-4f13-b477-d7620949fb18.

I highly recommend any of the Microsoft Professional Program tracks. It is excellent training!

Changes in user group involvement

I stepped down from the MN System Center user group board after 6 years. The board is filled with great people and is as strong as ever. I will continue to speak at the UG from time to time when it makes sense and may even attend some of the meetings. I needed to step down to step up my Azure community focus. I have been leading the MN Azure user group for the past few years and now I am able to step up my involvement with this UG. More info about the MN Azure user group can be found here: http://mnazureusergroup.com  Some of the key meetings/topics in my opinion from 2018 are

April Azure User Group Meeting: DevOps Best Practices for Azure and VSTS presented by Abel Wang, a Microsoft Cloud Developer Advocate. – https://www.meetup.com/Minneapolis-Azure-Cloud-Computing-Meetup/events/kdbbdpyxgbhb

May Azure User Group Meeting: Automate & Configure using Azure presented by Jenny Hunter – Program Manager Azure Management & Eamon O’Reilly – Principal Program Manager Azure Management. – https://www.meetup.com/Minneapolis-Azure-Cloud-Computing-Meetup/events/kdbbdpyxhbfb

August Azure User Group: Microsoft APIs presented by Kyle Weeks, an IT professional for the University of Minnesota. – https://www.meetup.com/Minneapolis-Azure-Cloud-Computing-Meetup/events/dtbmtpyxlbdb

September Azure User Group: Azure Bots with Node.js presented by Kamran Ayub, a software engineer for Target corporation & Pluralsight author. – https://www.meetup.com/Minneapolis-Azure-Cloud-Computing-Meetup/events/dtbmtpyxmbjb

October Azure User Group: Azure Resource Manager Concepts – Simplified presented by Brian Moore, a Program Manager on the Azure Resource Manager Team. – https://www.meetup.com/Minneapolis-Azure-Cloud-Computing-Meetup/events/dtbmtpyxnbgb

As you can see we had some really great speakers both from the community and Microsoft. We do our best to collect the slides from presenters and upload them on the UG site. Past meeting info is here: http://mnazureusergroup.com/category/past-meetings

Key blog posts

With everything else going on I did my best to keep up with new blogs over the year. Same theme with my blog topics being focused on Azure and DevOps. Some of my key blogs from 2018 are:















In 2018 I had a really cool opportunity to write a blog for the official Azure blog on Azure Stack and DevOps. Here is the title and link.

The importance of Azure Stack for DevOps” on the official Azure blog:



2018 was full of speaking opportunities from speaking at Azure events for Avanade, user groups, conferences and even on another continent. Here are highlights from where I presented in 2018.

MN Azure User Group

I was honored to kick of the MN Azure User group meetings last year with a session on Azure Stack. It was the February Azure User Group where I presented on Azure Stack Unleashed in 45 minutes to 131 attendees. Here is the link to the past meeting:  https://www.meetup.com/Minneapolis-Azure-Cloud-Computing-Meetup/events/245935696

MMS 2018  – https://mmsmoa.com

I was a speaker at MMS again in 2018. This time I delivered “5” sessions. Whoa! That was a whirlwind. Here is my MMS 2018 profile: https://mms2018.sched.com/steve_buchanan.1sw4e0n3. Here is a list of the 5 sessions:

Hybrid Cloud Unleashed with Azure Stack and Azure – With Microsoft MVP’s Steve Buchanan and Florent Appointaire


Insight into the Micro-Service & Container Technology that Powers Microsoft’s Cloud – With Microsoft MVP’s Steve Buchanan and Lee Berg


Monitoring Azure PaaS – With Microsoft MVP’s Steve Buchanan and Cameron Fuller


Soup to Nuts of Azure Site Recovery – With Microsoft MVP’s Steve Buchanan and Robert Hedblom


ITSM Tools and Log Analytics: The Perfect Integration – With Microsoft MVP’s Steve Buchanan and Florent Appointaire


Note you can download the decks from any of the sessions on the previous links.

BITCon 2018   – https://www.bitcon2018.com

This was the Inaugural conference for Blacks in Technology. BITCon brought together all walks of life in tech such as professionals, entrepreneurs, influencers, subject matter experts, students, and thought leaders.

BITCon featured DJ’s and radio hosts throughout the event and even had a tech panel with well-known rapper Nipsey Hussle.


Another cool thing that happened at BITCon 2018 is that the mayor of St Paul MN Melvin Carter and senator Amy Klobuchar spoke at one of the breakfast sessions. BITCon 2018 was a conference like none I have attended before. It was great to be around people that look like me that are in tech! Not only did I have the opportunity to present at this conference I also was able to post a couple of blogs on the BITCon site as well.

Here are the blogs I posted on the BITCon blog:



Speaker Spotlight: Jared Arms – Kylar.io Educational -Digital cash platform


Here is my BITCon 2018 speaker profile:


The session I delivered was “Turn Your Personal Brand From A Tech Employee To A Tech Influencer”. Here is a link to the session where you can download the deck from it:

https://bitconference.sched.com/event/FDH8/turn-your-personal-brand-from-a-tech-employee-to-a-tech-influencer. In my session I was honored to be joined by Salesforce MVP Shonnah Hughes. She shared her amazing story of how she became a tech influencer. Thanks again Shonnah for jumping in on the session. You can follow her here @SaaSy_Sistah. Here are some pics from the session:

One of the best feelings is to know that attendees from your speaking sessions leave with value and take action as a result. This happened from my tech influencer session at BITCon! Nana Thompson a developer attended my tech influencer session and used the session as a catalyst to catapult himself on his journery to becoming a tech influencer. Since BITCon Nana wrote a blog recapping his experience at BITCon 2018. Nana did a great job on the blog post and you can check it out here: https://seesparkbox.com/foundry/blacks_in_technology_conference_2018_diversity. You can follow Na Na here @typical_nana. I am looking forward to seeing what he does next!

Friend and fellow Microsoft MVP Sam Erskine also came over from the UK to present at BITCon 2018. Here is a picture from hanging with Sam and a picture from his session.

Experts Live Europe  – http://www.expertslive.eu

The last conference of the year was Experts Live Europe 2018 (ELEU 2018). Experts Live Europe is a Microsoft community conference with a focus on Microsoft cloud, datacenter and workplace management.

Top experts from around the world present discussion panels, ask-the-experts sessions and breakout sessions and cover the latest products, technologies and solutions. It was great to see many fellow MVP friends and friends from the Microsoft community. Plus it was my first time going to Europe!


Experts Live Europe 2018 was held in Prague. I presented 2 sessions at ELEU 2018. I presented:

ITSM tools and OMS: The perfect integration – With Microsoft MVP’s Steve Buchanan and Florent Appointaire

https://sessionize.com/s/buchatech/itsm_tools_and_oms_the_perfect_inte/18135. Here are some pictures from this session:

The audience:

Soup to Nuts of Azure Site Recovery – With Microsoft MVP’s Steve Buchanan and Robert Hedblom

https://sessionize.com/s/buchatech/soup_to_nuts_of_azure_site_recovery/18133. Here are some pictures from this session:


Here is my ELEU 2018 profile:

http://www.expertslive.eu/sessions–call-for-speakers.html | https://sessionize.com/buchatech

ELEU 2018 gives the speakers polo shirts with their name on it! Nice touch ELEU 2018 organizers!

Also I had a chance to do an interview while at the conference. Here is the video:

Steve Buchan talks about governance and policy at Expertslive EU 2018

After a full 2018 year to top it off I made it back in as a Microsoft MVP for another year! 2018 was a great year and I am looking to more adventures in 2019.

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