Senior Practice Consultant, Federal Consulting Practice
As a specialist in Microsoft Windows 2008 Active Directory infrastructure design and implementation strategies, Arash brings his client and Microsoft together in a partnership to design, build, and test software that meets the client’s very specific needs as a federal government agency.
Arash is the liaison between the client, who previews, beta tests, and provides feedback on prerelease versions of industry-provided software, and the vendor, who—based on Arash’s feedback—modifies the software accordingly. Ultimately, both parties benefit: the client gets the exact features and functions s/he needs, and the vendor gets a long-term, loyal customer who will keep using the client’s products.
“I bring expertise to the table, helping the client understand different technologies and products—Active Directory, Windows 2008, or Exchange 2007, for example,” explains Arash. “My job is to help them better understand the product and what they need to add or change to meet their goals.”
“We come up with the design documents, and we test the product, pushing it out to the appropriate environments. Early code goes to the alpha environment. We then fine-tune the product and put the next version into a beta environment, use the product on a day-to-day basis, and find the relevant issues. Finally, we push the product out to a pilot environment of 6,000 to 7,000 of our client users.”
Having previously worked at a small consulting company, Arash has found that being part of EMC—with its known brand—helps to open up a lot more doors to him as an EMC federal practice consultant. Additionally, he has expanded his capabilities by being exposed to new technologies such as storage area network (SAN) and VMware.
“Working at EMC helps you combine all aspects of IT under one umbrella,” Arash says. “As part of EMC Consulting, I get to look at both the hardware and software aspects of consulting; that, to me, is really interesting.”
Arash’s job comes with some unique challenges. “It’s not only fast-paced, but we work with technology that’s not available to the public yet so understanding that technology can sometimes be difficult and frustrating. And just when you get used to one version, the vendor may make changes to the product, and everything will move around. When you’re a consultant working with beta technology, you’re working with technology you haven’t worked with before, and that can be challenging.”
But with those challenges come the rewards. “You not only get to satisfy the customer’s needs, but, in working on a project like this, you’re going to be way ahead of others in your field because you’ll have several years’ experience with a product before it’s even released,” explains Arash. “You’ll be a subject matter expert (SME) and have more experience than 99 percent of your counterparts when the product is finally released.”
You need to be a team player and a quick learner, especially when it comes to adapting to new technology, Arash says. “Even though you haven’t worked on a particular application, you need to be able to see where it will benefit the customer and EMC, and you need to pick it up and learn it. Prior IT experience and the ability to think outside the box are also helpful. You should be open to a variety of products and technologies and look at how they can be combined to benefit the customer the most.”
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