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My name is Chris Blackburn and I am a Microsoft Enterprise Architect, specializing in full stack Microsoft 365 E5 implementations covering Collaboration (Exchange, Teams / OneDrive Sharepoint), Identity (on-prem AD plus Entra ID), Security & Compliance (Defender /Purview), and Modern Endpoint (Endpoint Manager covering SCCM & Intune. Since the fall of 2023 I’ve helped in building a Microsoft 365 Copilot practice that evolves envisioning, guardrails, and deployment to large enterprises.

Being an IT consultant for over two decades I’ve made it a goal to empower every IT environment I touch and make them the best versions possible. When I’m not client-facing or in my own labs, I’m educating on Microsoft 365 through public speaking, webinars & blogging.

My career started in Microsoft Exchange 5.5 / Windows NT 4.0 days, and have worked on projects for small businesses (using all versions of the now retired Microsoft Small Business Server) to large enterprises with over 70,000 users. During the past 16 years of living in Minneapolis, I’ve also been a part of hundreds of migrations and hybrid deployments into Office 365, as well as cross-organization migrations as part of mergers & acquisitions.

In enhancing many organization’s collaboration story, I’ve helped businesses leverage Microsoft platforms like Lync and Skype for Business for Enterprise Voice, including traditional PBX integration with systems like Mitel and Avaya, to 100% PBX-free deployments using SIP trunks and Polycom Lync-enabled phones. I’ve also helped companies adopt pure, cloud-only voice solutions with Teams Phone System and leverage DirectRouting to save PSTN costs thru their local providers or with cloud-based services.

Since 2015 when Microsoft introduced EM+S, Security has become a large part of my job. I’ve not only help deploy the now Defender stack (across O365 / EMS / Windows) to multiple Fortune 1000 companies but also have spoken on the technology at the MMS – Midwest Management Summit. as well as the MN Microsoft 365 User Group.

When I’m not working or blogging, I’m tackling the new Microsoft certifications to stay current. With the first certifications in Windows 2000, along with the way became charter certified MCSE: Messaging on Exchange 2013, the charter MCSE on Office 365 (ala Wave 15), and along with helped to write questions for the Enterprise Mobility + Security 70-398 and general Microsoft 365 MS-900.

In my previous positions I’ve worked in people management but as of late more of a Principal / Solution Architect, interacting regularly with teams across the Microsoft Sales and Partner organizations, and a key contributor to the go-to-market strategies around Modern Workplace, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), and Microsoft Copilot.

Technical writing is at the heart of what I do, and is demonstrated thru developing technical documentation used by dozens of organizations for internal administration. Along with empowering IT organizations, I seek to optimize efficiencies thru PowerShell scripting for automating things like management, deployment, and more. You can find some of these on my Github library under thetootall.

2 thoughts on “About

  1. Mack Robinson December 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm


    Just wanted to drop a line to a fellow Memphian and unified communications guy. I am working on a project in Marshfield Wisconsin right now. Are you a spiceworks guy too? Is there a group of Memphis UC guys that meet? (Kinda like the .NET group)


    1. Chris Blackburn January 26, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      Thanks for dropping the like Mack. I’m more of an SCCM guy over Spiceworks – yes, I know it’s more complex, but it’s Microsoft and they’re my passion!
      There is a UC group that meets here in Minneapolis at Avtex every now and then; I’ve personally never been but hope to soon!


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