Tuesday, 22 May 2012

View from the outside

It's now six months since I left the clutches of Big Blue and sold my soul to Mr Larry Ellison. I thought it time to note some feelings, observations and thoughts of changing jobs as a bit of an old git.

So as I am sat in my hotel room here in Dubai, having eaten a room service meal, set the alarm for 06:00 in the morning to get to a last minute customer meeting in Abu Dhabi before flying back to blighty it might be tempting to say that not much has changed. To some extent that is true and could easily be described as same sh1t different colour. However that would be really under estimating the fundamental changes I have seen by changing employer. Now I am not so naive as to say the following is unique to being a member of Fat Larry's Band but I do think it puts my previous life in IBM in perspective.

Lets get the bad out of the way first and to be honest they are pretty much the same as in being employed by a large American technology company. Those in a similar position will know so no need to detail. (See previous comment about different colour!)

In know particular order these are my observations: (and are in no way meant to put down a mostly enjoyable time in IBM)

Life as an IBMer was focussed around what IBM wants - despite the mantra of customer first this was not really the case.

Politics in the new job are just the same except they are more in the open and easier to navigate.

There are really annoying people everywhere.

Despite what many people think in Oracle, it is SOOO much more joined up than IBM. Really it is.

Other organisations do a much better job of culturally integrating acquisitions than IBM.

IBM does not have the monopoly on talent and some of the ex-Sun employees I have had the pleasure of working with and calling team mates are truly the best I have worked with.

Despite being focussed on Engineered Systems it is great to be able to talk a COMPLETE solution with customers ... from Apps to disk.

I spent the last two days conducting a discovery session with a customer. I talked to business execs, CIO, HR Director and met with the CEO to name a few and had this access because the company I work for has such a comprehensive offering in the market place and can really add business value to an organisation.

I am based from a reasonably small office in Bristol where a few people work from on a fairly random basis as in the old job. Yet I am afforded the luxury of a desk on which I can have a docking station and a monitor, actually talk and get to know the other people based there and actually have a feeling of community.

It is nice to work with sales people who actually have some appreciation of customer values and how their products deliver it.(Well generally speaking anyway) 

I didn't realise that IBMers really to slag competitors on social media with information that is incorrect or out of date quite as much as they do.

I have been surprised that so many of my ex IBM colleagues have left to explore pastures new and I really do hope that they feel as re-energised as I do now.

So have things really changed ..... you bet your arse they have.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Mike Bassett: England Manager

What has the new England Manager got to do with a blog about Engineered Systems and Architecture? 

There has been lots of different views in the UK press regarding the appointment of the new England football manager Roy Hodgson as compared to "fans favorite" Harry Redknapp. A few comments have said that Roy Hodgson is the "safe" (read boring and less headlines in the press) choice and not really a game changer (pun intended!). However, the last couple of high-profile managers that were supposed to bring change actually resulted in the same old players being selected, a lack of communication and disconnect with the underlying structure in the F.A. In fact nothing really changed in terms of results.

I think that the new England manager will not only be required to be successful on the pitch (and we certainly need that to happen for once!) but he will also need to connect at all levels within the structure and start to help develop and mentor younger managers etc and beging change from the grass roots up. 

So why is this relevant ? Well it's relevant because if Engineered Systems (and yes, OK, other offerings as well !) are really going to be successful in driving change towards IT simplification and efficiency then the change needs to be effective at all levels of the IT stack - from Apps to Disk. Marketing weasels will come up with the flashy headlines and campaigns it will take a much less hyped but deeper change in the way IT is delivered to really make a difference.

Maybe this "safe" option could be a real game changer after all.