Technical Director at Total Systems plc
Q. What are the challenges facing your business right now, and how are you working to overcome them?
A. Over the last 18 months our ways of working, our finances, our plans have all been impacted in one way or another. Whether it’s the pandemic, Brexit or just the state of the economy all of us have had to rethink and reprioritise.
For us the challenge became how best to support our clients given that their needs became more tactical than strategic. This meant handling a wider variety of small projects and delivering quickly. Now we are starting to see the swing back to longer term business plans. So, we have to change again.
Working from home has proved itself efficient and popular so we are making it a standard option. Reorganising the teams into smaller units focused on a client, rather than large projects, allows us to deliver quickly and help our clients.
But the real answer lies in being able to adapt quickly.
Q. If you could go back to the start of your professional career, what piece of advice would you give to yourself?
A. Never charge for your opinions, and don’t give away advice for free. Our relationship with our clients should always be on a professional footing, no matter how long or close it is.
Q. What would be your prediction for the industry in 2021?
A. For our area of financial services, the general insurance market, we will still be dealing with the legacy of Covid-19 alongside the ever-present regulatory changes and strategic pressure on profits.
For IT in general, I’m hoping to see more of and more interesting exploitation of Artificial Intelligence by engineering. Be it drones flying in sync, plasters that monitor health, mobiles working as a hive, or even route maps that identify the optimum way to cut a farmer’s field.
Q. Tell us about your role at your firm. What do you do, and what do you find most interesting about it?
A. I recently cut down my working week to 3 days, and stepped down to play a more supportive role. For me that means less admin and the time to concentrate on product design and passing on my knowledge and experience to others as required. It means I’m having much more fun at work and getting a holiday every week.
Q. What made you want to work in this industry?
I decided I wanted a job in-doors and out of the rain. I was offered a computing course and never looked back.
I was very lucky, as when I started in the 70’s, it was a very exciting and dynamic environment to work in. It still is, but now one tends to be a specialist rather than have to be a Jack of all Trades.