Ralph Rivas on The MVP Show

Ralph Rivas on The MVP Show

Ralph Rivas
Microsoft Business Applications MVP


  • A brief introduction about Ralph Rivas – life, family and what he does for fun. 
  • Ralph talks about his podcast, the Cloud Talk Show podcast - how it started, what his inspiration is and what keeps him going! 
  • The main tool set Ralph is using with his clients 
  • How did Ralph get his MVP? 
  • Supporting tools Ralph uses that helped him do his job  
  • Talks about Ralph's journey into becoming MVP 
  • A conversation about Ralph’s involvement in the community 
  • Ralph shares his thoughts about what the MVP program is 
  • Discussions about Ralph's technology background – Power Platform and SharePoint 

Microsoft MVP YouTube Series - How to Become a Microsoft MVP 
90-Day Mentoring Challenge - https://ako.nz365guy.com/
Chicago Virtual Event -  M365 Chicago Virtual Event 
Ralph’s Podcast -  Cloud Talk Show podcast 

AgileXRm - The integrated BPM for Microsoft Power Platform

Support the show

If you want to get in touch with me, you can message me here on Linkedin.

Thanks for listening 🚀 - Mark Smith


[mark]: today's guest is from illinois in the usa he works as a national solution architect he was first awarded as mvp in twenty twenty two he is the co organizer the m three six five argo virtual event and co host of cloud talk show podcast so you got to check that out i'll make sure i put links to his bio his social and his podcast in the show notes for this episodesode just click on that link and be taken through and subscribe to the cloud talk show with that welcome to the show ralph

[ralph_rivas]: thank you very much thank you very much so when we say illinois to be very specific i'm in chicago and not just staying in chicago you know how it is sometimes someone says i'm from london where i'm from this place and they're actually from some place further out or a suburb a suburb or something i'm actually in the city and i've been in the city since the eighties actually since bill was still do booth duty at microsoft when they left him behind i think that's how far back i go actually that that's that would be my microsoft introduction back in the days when i got into windows so i've been a microsoftbo there for a very long time i'm older than i look

[mark]: i bet so tell me tell me a bit about family food and fun and then we'll unpack the podcast and your your tech journey story

[ralph_rivas]: sure a family food and fun is well pretty easy so here's the thing i am in m in the city and i'm here with my family i have my family is an interesting situation i have a twenty five year old daughter i was before the show i was ex laining how i did my show which is i volunteered my twenty five year old to be our producer on this show i also have a six year old so as you can see i'm sort of crazy man doing this again except when i could voluntold my twenty five year old to do something and she's compliant this one over here acts like a stake holder at one of our probably common clients that has very heavy demand and those exactly what they want because well they're turning older than us for that matter so fun with the family at this point keeping that keeping that going on least i'm at a stage of my career where i can afford to do that so as an example all right we wanted to have a nice family vacation to europe we were if you recall it was a it was an event called the scottish somat that was coming on was like let's let's go and try to visit some relatives while we're out there and let's put that all together it's like well then all of a sudden all the client stuff happening the end of microsouce physical year sorry we can't go everyone's all disappointed all right find let's go to this new world okay stakeholder modified ve updated requirements and of course is ney world which turns out to be just a setting aside not as a bad expenses wife relative to a lot of things and for what they deliver i'm going to have to give an endorsement right over here so no worry disney is not paying me they are not a client but i will say that was one trip that was well worth it has mollified the stake holder for i hope till christmas at least that that will allow me to work and be here late night on podcast without them complaining

[mark]: nice nice so tell us tell us a bit about your show cloud talk show your podcast how did it get started and what's your inspiration and kind of um yeah what keeps you going

[ralph_rivas]: all right so for the longest time i've been i've been i went into the dead world i guess in the consulting world toward the dark side as they say around the year two thousand two coming out of the crazy year two thousand stent i was with u b s at the time and needles to say a lot of people passed with flying colors and then the back lash was like well nothing went wrong and there's companies that didn't pay as much and nothing went wrong with them so i'm like well i bet mose on to maybe the consulting side see what's going on and from then going into the depside microsopis coming out this thing called dot net at the time now dot net change pretty the game for how programming was going i became a programmer mostly because of that i was more analyst just used the tools to make things happen and that really brought me into that heavy area once as in that heavy area there was some tools in there i think it was called dotnetnuke was the main tool that was out there was sort of like a howmcyoron amazon dot com sort of situation with that part tool so someone said hey you can do that tool you can do this other tool chair point share point okay sure i can do that and was something microsof just purchased it was very recent i started becoming i became the share point guy because i said the wordsso that was the spell cast i'm the share point guy from now on so that kept happening no matter what kind of deb i kept trying to push myself into i mean i got my certification in m c st and everything else all the de stuff but i still kept being drawn back share point kept being drawn back keep drawing back finally they did something very interesting in share point they turned the whole eco system into this that we now call three sixty five well actually his office officer sixty five three sixty five moving into that area i was moving into essentially the cloud this low way we were trying to recreate share point environments said how can it is we don't have machines we don't have budget we need to make this stuff happen very fast hey and in fact it was larry who is my co host by the way in the podcast cloud told show dot com who said i have these free cloud accounts we can try to use let's try using those i think it was cloud flare at the time and then there was this new new fangled thing called air that was like hey so micrososs trying to do something in there too let's let's host chair point in there so we were literally uh well i actually was more clandestine because it turned out we were supposed to get permission we didn't we got you know as they say asked for permissions later we ended up getting into the cloud because of that foray into the cloud we decided to start looking more into that the share point stuff for our purposes because we are really developers at this point we wanted to do more in that in that space and when we looked at it started architecting in that area as like hey they want to have a share point solution know you want a cloud solution because it's share point you're just thinking too small you got to think big i started doing that larry started doing that and next thing you know after we started when i was like you know we should have we should do that podcast stuff like like andrew connell and some of the other folks like inspired by the great doing those kind of things and we decided to do that more more and that not exactly amateur way more like as a hobbyists right so we had the so we were like another homage to another talk another talk show here in the united states for p b s called car talk that ideas like these white collar blue color guys just talking about cos they're from boston so they're talking about their and they're trying to fix stuff and they basically wax poetic about technology that span the ages and we said you know let's model our show sort of after that so we'll be the light blue collar talk show for cloud talk kept on doing that even though that's not what my p is for that's what we were doing in fact i always hoping my m v p was going to go in that area but let's just say there's a lot of folks doing that i think i'm okay where i'm at but that's where it all came from that was the inspiration just various topics we went all over talking about things that we complained about things that we love to do things that we were no not so sure about recently things like well the whole bit coin phenomena and everything else everything if it's in the cloud we talk about it so we have a little segment called ralph's money we don't talk about ralph's money like we don't talk about bruno mainly because well if you know we're having the bit coin that's why we don't talk about it but this is the idea right you find stuff to talk about we'll get guests in once a while and we'll we'll have a lot of fun with that's very very off the cuff and sometimes it will be a long show sometimes this a short show but it's it's let's just say now that we're doing it on a weekly basis because before it was harder because we have to rake but now we're literally on a schedule every friday's unless of course clients and other things happen we are doing it on the schedule and it's actually good i think it's been fun

[mark]: very cool very cool make sure you go check it out tell me about when it comes to tools and you know if you get the term what tools are you on nowadays and so you ed about officer six five and even the predecessors to it and and then we're on three six five now what's your main tool set that you're doing that you're consulting with that you're using that you're engaging clients with what is that today for you

[ralph_rivas]: but that's that's easy because that's the but i have my m v p on which is the power platform set of tools and we're talking about just power platform one piece of it or two pieces of three pieces of it entire piece of it and the and when i see the interapies i include b i i'm not necessarily an expert in all i have a lot of skill in most let's just say i come at it at the architect level it's just another set of tools if i look at look at a problem it's like well how much of it can be done with the let's just say as much pre built material as possible and then with the architect skills that think out i have from the cloud work what pieces need to be brought to bear to finish and fill in the gaps right so that's essentially the case and lo a lot of situations it turns out that the tools out of the box sometimes it's just the share point list customized is simply enough to deliver what it is it has to be delivered but because now i'm working at that level let's just say i'm getting much more exposure on how to put things together and how to look at things in a much better way to the point where in my current job with a getty i went actually from my last one more senior developer and evangelist type trying to make things happen now i'm actually a director helping to run a practice at this level it's a little bit better in that i'm now helping folks across the country and actually helping my peers across the world now use the platform to its best ability and we we we do a lot of work with well i'm with sajeti and hap johnie o jeddy was a partner of the year of microsoptist hear for power apse not exactly an accident but i was lucky to be here on the year that they got it but it turned out i was definitely part of that group that was let's just say inspired me also to do better as i was here to go into the high level bits of governance the high level bits of uh let's you say automation just just working with the microsopproduct team when you're on a lark company as a partner i think the opportunity is to work with the product folks it's just amazing and of course a lot of things that you can get out of that and you can do so that's why that's been my primary tool set again i got my v p in the middle of all that in the middle of that it's the weirdest thing because m v means that you get access to those same people that partners would get as far as information you probably know this right like you get or you get all this all these like this information it's ntheage to be sure but i'm going to tell you right now it's the same it's the same level it's not different vp get this partner get that not at all it's the same people it's the question is who will reply to which email faster sometimes sometimes i'll send a note call for help the v p side answers me first partner side will end up working for it or the partner side gets to me first and it's something for the community it turns out there a big interchangeable other than the n d a piece which is a period regardless but that's the part now that makes the tool set really work for me and now i'm just getting higher and higher on that ale with the power platform hopefully i think i found myself initial at least to take me into my retirement days

[mark]: nice nice nice nice that's very cool tell me what supporting tools do you use when you know you've got the full gamut of the you know what you get legit out of the box with with the power platform but often there's tools that you need to help you do your job so you know if i use the metaphor you're builder building a home the product that you're going to produce is the hoe at the end of the day and we we produce portals we produce automations we produce apps chaos et cetera and atalytics with the tools that we have what are the other supporting tools they be is v solutions whether they be you know brows or plug ins what do you find helpful you know what what's some of the go to two sets that you know if we open up you can peter you're going to have these on there because you use them

[ralph_rivas]: so it's maybe it's not ironic again coming in from the chair point m t five side the sixty five tool set itself is literally might go to for anything and all my devices across the board it's going to be the office suite the good old excell from word through your power point to your outlook the automation tools behind them two teams teams is the big one teams is the big game changer literally in the last five years until teams came along we were basically second banana and all the messaging systems that was going on it was like it was struggling the message pieces was like the glue that just wouldn't stick uh like when scape was doing it when all the rest of it was doing it so in the end of the day it's actually teams i mean even just for my podcast we're actually meeting in teams and and broadcasting through that uh where we're doing when i'm doing a lot of meetings and i'm usually not really building so much as meeting and talking all the time presenting all the time so now of course my m c five chicago dot com that event those in fact a lot of the community events are going on right now guess what they're being run by teams um interesting how that started because even i was there with joe olson and company when they were starting that idea hey we can use teams to actually run a giant world wide conference and we can do it with a leftenant really was there when that was happening i was learning it absorbing it so that's become the tool of choice going forward at least for all these other pieces for the power platform specific to get that going there is one of tools that i i swear on which is the center of excellence to starter kit that it's not something that's part of the system it's literally it's microsope supported but it's on the side sort of like a get hub community like project but it's microsoft a little bit of of everything but that tool kid has made a huge difference in making me successful with power platform so between between all my productivity tools what i just mentioned and that piece for the power platform i now have pretty much what i need at that point it's things i put together or let's just say third party is vdesure happens to coming to play is like hey we're we're doing something with sap okay well there's tools there we're doing something with oh i don't know maybe at a point oresoeting okay then we'll with those tools or with rancor those tools are great when they are appropriate and when they're being used but for the most part it's between the kid and good old officer sixty five

[mark]: awesome awesome last question as we go in to wrap up tell us about becoming an mvp what was that journey for you

[ralph_rivas]: so i think that journey with me started many many years ago i was always a microsophbooser for the longest time and i recall before it was an m v pig program there was they were talking about something like it um and it was about the time when it ended up becoming m v p but the idea was you were going to be tested by a committee within microsoph to see that you are not only a boo therefore the microphope products like you know all these stings about it you essentially passed what would be if you can imagine what a certification is certification on top of like the it's like the combination of certific should plus m c t certification plus marketing licensing all that other powers and you are essentially that that sort o like what i guess what would be called an r dina i'm not sure he don't want exactly to take a certification test but what would be like r d that's the kind of thing that they were looking for and so i said oh that's great they wanted me to do it because i was one of the big boosters and they enjoyed talking with me having me at redman when we were going through so was not just myself there was a few other people like that and also from other companies at that time i was with raiders and we were one of the favorite customers because of sellin because of the raiders terminal which was built based on windows when everyone else was like windows not really at the time it really made a differen ah and then i asked my boss is like can i do that can i can i be that person oh that's a conflict of interest you can't do it and i'm like so all of a sudden that those dreams went out and then i just set back and then the v p program came out and then at that time it wasn't very clear how much into the community it was at least not to me until i discovered at that really what an m v p is about the v p program by the way is not because you're probably selling or pushing microsopi products it's because you're giving back to the community that is the big key difference and the big key difference me even though i've been like running us groups with netta and all this other stuff for the longest time the biggest the biggest difference with that was when every time i wanted you to go a little bit more to take that extra effort company i was with would always hit the clamps and say we cannot look like we favor one company we cannot look like we're doing something and if people see you doing that they're going to say that we're city behind you so i kept pulling myself back this whole time until finally i think i made the case where i said look having an m v p in your staff is not a bad thing at some it um somebody in my last my last company thought that that was okay a good it was okay to let it happen and that's because they were new they were freshly hired people trying to make their mark and like well how going to make my mark here and i said how about it trying to help me in my m v p status by allowing me to do this stuff maybe helping me get some probos for this and doing more with the community you know give back and all that telling my company to help out a little bit they started that but again half half hearted going through it so not so much not so much then ccompanished with jed said yet he's like oh we have mvpiece we do that we're a partner we do all that stuff what are you doing with it in fact that's why we're hiring you because you are on that pass and not because you're going to get an v p we have nothing to do with that that's great we're going to support you have added and after that that's after that it was again right after one of the big the first three sixty five event i said well we're goin i'm going to focus on it a lot of the things he said when the when i got into insogetty they said they looked at and saw what i was doing in for five wise cloud wise and everything else is like well you know you you're doing a lot more empower platform than most anyone that we've seen why didn't you focus on that that and that was my boss that said focus on on thought platform that turned out to be the big difference for me on the v p path once i got there and in the v p path it wasn't just community because we were i was getting exposure to know a lot of the folks that are in there a lot of the people that are in the program a lot of them are i wont make youself but even before that let's just say we all knew each other from teched from ignite from these onferences going back for years i was known enough but i wasn't doing enough in anything that made it let's say worthy of an v p the difference was at this point not only getting this stuff done but once i was getting known through the partnership at least that was giving it was suddenly they were connecting with oh ralph working there is that same from the community wait a minute now we have a correlation there's his skill being proven in more ways than one it seemed like all of that came together and then finally good old nvpthatwas i waited

[mark]: love it

[ralph_rivas]: i applied in like july it was until january that i got it talk about that's why i don't have nails anymore like they've never grown back since waiting for all that time but i was i was the kind of person that said well if i get it's okay it wasn't such a big deal but then when you go through the process all of a sudden i'm gonna i'm going to say that if anyone has gone through the process because it's pretty it's pretty intense that you have there a lot of things you got to do to get it filled out and then you're not sure if you're doing it right and you got to put those pieces together if you're not a little bit ance or anxious about it you're not saying that you're not being truthful because it is an anxious little thing to get it done once once that's then of course you feel a little bit more relaxed then i was worried like how do you maintain it or you wow i went to such a i felt like i went through such a high level to get there do i have to do that then i began to realize no it's not that once once you have that muscle memory and how to do it keep doing what you're doing and i imagine i'll maintain it but that was my journey to get there and it's been many years to get there to the point and maybe it took much people perhaps to retire from miksof and forget all this stuff that they heard about me whatever maybe whatever whatever that happed to happened a generation had to flip before i came through but however it worked i'm still very grateful i'm still very honored and i'm still focused on the community

[mark]: ralph thank you so much for coming on the show

[ralph_rivas]: it's been a pleasure thank you for having me and the being brave enough to let ralph speak as you're probably going to hear left and right about this

Ralph RivasProfile Photo

Ralph Rivas

Ralph Rivas is a seasoned professional with nearly two decades of experience delivering quality software and solutions. He is the Co-organizer of the M365 Chigaco virtual conference and the co-host of the online (light) blue-collar video blog/podcast Cloud Talk Show. In addition, Ralph helps run the Chicago Microsoft Power Platform User group (@cmppug) and is a speaker for various events. He is active in the PnP community with some modest contributions to docs.microsoft.com such as the Power Platform Licensing Guide before MS caught up with comprehensive updates as well as to the Power Platform CoE kit and related material. A lot of that and other community contributions have also granted Ralph the honor of being a Microsoft MVP in Business Applications specializing in the Power Platform area especially in the Admin or Management side of things with key tools such as the Center of Excellence kit and, at work, delivering on its implementation at the enterprise level.

Ralph is currently with Sogeti in the corporate Applications and Cloud Technologies group as a National Solutions Architect focused on the Power Platform and M365 ecosystem, where he is actively promoting and growing the technologies and features to help customers make the most of their digital modernization journey.