“MVP can’t be a goal, it’s a bonus”

Defending the MVP award in the company NAVERTICA!

MVP – Microsoft Most Valuable Professional – an award is given annually by Microsoft since 1993 to those technology professionals who share with the community their expertise, either directly or indirectly, related to Microsoft products. One of the winners is our colleague Kamil Sáček, who, thanks to his passion for technology, won this title for Business Applications, and thanks to him belong to a small group of 28 people throughout the Czech Republic who received this award. As part of the celebrations of this success, let’s talk briefly about the work and life of a significant MVP through the following interview.

Hello, Kamil,

Congratulations once again for the award. This year is the fifteenth time that people can congratulate you on winning the MVP award. We could talk about a particular type of commitment to the Microsoft community. What does it mean for you to be an MVP?

Initially a minor correction, it is already the sixteenth year when I have got the MVP award (developers refer to this type of error as OBOE, I made same error last year 😊). For me, an e-mail in which I learn that I have been awarded the MVP for a given year is always a source of energy that drives me in my daily work. It is a reminder that sharing experience and knowledge makes sense, and that Microsoft is aware of this value and wants to support it. Thanks to this Award I met many great people from around the world with which I share passion for the technology we are using, and people who create and shape the technology. And connection with these people represent a great value that will last for me, even though I will not be awarded the MVP in the future.

Please tell us your way to the MVP. When did you realize that a journey through an orchard that spawned Microsoft’s high technologies would be your life mission?

I probably wouldn’t call this journey my life mission. I see it somewhere other than only in my professional life.  The vocational route passes through meadows, dark forests, a trip through various ravines, mountains, and swamps, but you have other people around you who will be happy to help you when you need them as well as you can help them, and with whom you go through this landscape. You enjoy it with them. That journey began in 2001 when after graduating from FEI BUT in Brno, I joined FUTURE Engineering a.s as a programmer of the Navision system. Later the company FUTURE Engineering changed the name to NAVERTICA a.s. During my work, I encountered situations where I needed to look for so far unknown answers on the Internet and especially on the mibuso.com forum because my colleagues did not know the answers. I have found that there are hundreds of other people looking for answers, and I have seen that I already know some of these answers. So, I started answering. At the same time, I also improved my knowledge, because some questions led me to find out what the solution for the situation is. Over time, I became one of the most active members of the forum. In the meantime, Microsoft acquired company Navision and began handing out MVP awards in this area as well. In 2005, when the MVP award in the field of Microsoft Business Solutions was awarded for the second time, I received an e-mail from domain microsoft.com regarding the MVP award. I firstly wanted to delete this e-mail as SPAM / Fishing, because someone I didn’t know requires contact information for me, because of some MVP award. Surely you have met this many time. These are e-mails such as: “You won an iPhone, send us your address, phone number, and account number so we can send it to you.” Fortunately, I did not delete the e-mail, I sent the information, and this led to a significant change in my life. I received my first MVP award.

It was an exciting story and, at the same time, advice for life. In the future, I will pay attention to what I send to the SPAM folder. Kamil, are you among the nearly three thousand Microsoft specially selected professionals around the world – what do you see as the main advantages of the MVP award from a professional and personal point of view?

I see contacts as the most significant advantage. Thanks to the MVP award, I was able to establish connections not only with other MVPs around the world but also with people directly at Microsoft who develop the product. Thanks to the MVP Summit, I was several times at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond and directly at the NAV / Business Central development center in Denmark (Vedbæk and now in Lyngby), where I participated in product discussions. The result of my travels is a considerable experience that helps me in both my professional and personal life.

I believe that the award has opened up access to many places where not many ordinary “mortals” can get. Would you tell us what is the crucial factor in winning the MVP award and what about its annual defense?

The Microsoft MVP award is granted to people who, during the previous year in some way actively, enthusiastically, voluntarily, and therefore for free share their enthusiasm for the technology. It applies, for example, to articles on the blog, tweets, conferences, lectures, etc. However, these articles do not have to be strictly technical. So, the key is enthusiasm for the activity you are trying to do, and you also enjoy it. It follows that you want to share this passion. MVP can’t be a goal. It’s a bonus. Microsoft then evaluates specific objective and subjective metrics such as quantity and quality of “activity,” etc. for existing MVPs and decides to award the award for the next year or not. MVPs could suggest other people for the award too.

Do you celebrate it at home somehow?

Not particularly. Congratulations from my wife are enough. 😊

Could you let me in a little secret about how the standard MVP working day goes?

The working day is as typical as anyone else’s. One of the differences is perhaps that the MVP would write a blog article and publish it, rather than repeatedly describe/explain something. After repeated questions on the matter, he just sends a link to the article. 😊 Seriously, you will not notice any difference. It is mainly about how you do your daily work. If you love to do it, you are doing it with excitement, with interest, and you are glad to help others (and it is connected with Microsoft technology), I think you’re an MVP that Microsoft hasn’t noticed yet. 😉

What are your plans for the future?

I am not particularly eager to make very long-term plans, and basically, I do not like them at all. If one does not know what will happen tomorrow, I think it is not very reasonable to make plans for what will happen in ten years. I take everything as it comes and flows, and in the meantime, I want to do my job properly and so that I still enjoy it. In the short term, it is about tuning up the various processes and tools we use in our company so that we can continue to keep up with Microsoft and get new versions and the products it releases to our customers as quickly and efficiently as possible with proper quality.

As a long-term member of the MVP group, how do you perceive the development of business applications?

In the area where I operate the most, currently Dynamics 365 Business Central, a significant step has taken place in the last year to complete the transformation of the product platform so that it is up to date. This step now allows Microsoft to focus on transforming the application as such. The monolith, which consists of functionality debugged since the product was created, whether we take 1984 as PCPlus or 1995 as the first Windows version of Navision, now needs to be transformed into a modular system that partners can easily expand. Because existing systems still need to be kept functional during this transformation, it will take some time. However, let’s not forget that the transformation of the platform lasted from about 2006 to 2019. We will see what the product will look like in 2030. Microsoft is aware that the ERP system is a critical part of every company’s operation and therefore does everything for it in order not to jeopardize the trust of its customers.

Finally, let’s remind you that NAVERTICA is celebrating 30 years on the market this year, and you have been part of its team for 20 years. How would you evaluate the direction of its development, and what would you wish for it in the years to come?

Our company has always tried to follow current market trends and still concerning stability for our customers. Thanks to this, we can avoid various short-term turbulences that are rapidly emerging and disappearing in the IT technology market. I, therefore, wish company NAVERTICA to remain flexible enough to be able to communicate new technologies, processes, and tools to its customers,  and stay stable, so that it can fulfill its motto “Better bottom line” for our customers, meaning, their better “profit.”

Veronika Kožíšková, NAVERTICA a.s.