Can you afford not to have an ICT Director?

Featured

Is there a case for Virtual ICT Directors?

By john L. Evans
First Posted July 21, 2017

With Computers and Systems and Broadband, the Internet, Cloud, Digital, Mobile, and so on, and so on, all becoming ubiquitous, inexorable and inextricable components of doing business today, and with Sales and Marketing and HR taking control of some of the company’s most important and valuable assets, activities and budgets, companies of every size, shape and form could benefit from the help and expertise of an ICT [Information and Communications Technology] Director; if only they could afford one.

An ICT Director can help identify needs and the solutions to meet them, and manage the changes required to implement those solutions:

  • move data, connect to suppliers, customers, professional service providers, Government; Local, Regional, National and even International;
  • acquire the necessary tools, avoid bad advice and over eager sales reps, and most of all, avoid getting locked into lengthy onerous contracts and being ripped off for years to come;
  • break out of unwanted, unnecessary, inappropriate, expensive, inefficient, unresponsive, inadequate existing arrangements;
  • take control of data, costs, functionality, outcomes and decisions:
  • use professional programme management aids, knowledge and expertise to manage change, protect from risk, and quickly resolve issues;
  • ensure the right techniques &/or methods are employed:
  • stay abreast of advances in technology and competitor activity.

You need someone who understands how your business works; can analyse and define requirements, identify solutions; knows the “ins and outs” of the seemingly black arts of digital computing and can help you buy and manage the things you need to flourish, be effective, efficient, legal, successful and profitable.

Whether it’s a Small, Medium or Large organisation, if you need a leader in ICT but cannot justify the expense, nor do you have the workload for a full time Director, consider a “Virtual Director of ICT” (VICT)?

A good VICT should bring skills, knowledge and expertise of a CTO, Chief Technical Officer and / or CIO, Chief Information Officer.

A good VICT should be able undertake and manage the work necessary to provide you with the solutions you need and the skills needed to operate them without the cost and overhead of a full time employee.

Your VICT could sit between you and your ICT suppliers of equipment and services, protecting you from double-speak and jargon, and provide you with a plain language interpretation.

Affordability comes from balancing the business case for retaining a VICT, with payment for results, remuneration for time, materials and disbursements, expenses.  Payment might take the form of equity, regular fees over time; the key word is flexibility; you get what you need, and pay for what you use, at a fraction of the cost of a full time director, with accountability, continuity and commitment; and because your VICT is a specialist in their field, understands yours, an is driven and rewarded for results, you get fantastic value for money, moreover, because your VICT is independent, you can have a high degree of confidence in their integrity, advice and guidance,

John L.  Evans FCMI, FlC, FBCS CITP, MCIPS

© John L.  Evans July 2017

About:

John Evans is an independent advisor in the selection, acquisition, implementation, commissioning, development and operation of Digital, Computing and Commination Systems, a Director of EXECS LTD.  and has worked in many countries in many roles.

He is a:

  • Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute FCMI.
  • Fellow of the Institute of Consulting FIC.
  • Chattered IT Professional Fellow of the British Computer Society FBCS CITP.
  • Member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply MCIPS.

He has worked for and with, advised and changed organisations in:

  • Utilities Infrastructure (Transport, Telco, Power, Energy, Water, Gas, Storage, Distribution and Transportation, Metering, Generation, Wholesale, Retail, Customer Services, etc.)
  • Retail (Bricks and Clicks)
  • FMCG
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Financial Services (Investment Banking, Fl/FX, Life, General, Wealth, etc.)
  • Automotive (Manufacturing, Finance, Sales, After Market, etc.)
  • ICT/Digital/R&D
  • Telecoms and Networking

His expertise includes:

  • GeneralManagement / Direction
  • Troubleshooting / Turnaround
  • Portfolios, Projects and Programmes (£100M+)
  • People and Change, Operating Models
  • Purchasing, Procurement (£500M+)
  • Supply Chain 
  • Bids and Tenders (RFQ, ITT, etc.)
  • Commercials, contracts, negotiation, dispute resolution
  • In / outsourcing 
  • M&A, integration, divestment, unification, consolidation, rationalisation, restructure 
  • Due Diligence
  • Business Relationship and Stakeholder Management 
  • Business Development
  • Raising Capital
  • Leadership
  • ICT / Telecoms

He would be happy to consider Retained, Virtual, Interim, Contract, or Permanent, Full or Part-time roles in the UK, Europe, or perhaps even farther afield.

He lives near Warwick, in the UK, and is an UK/EU Citizen, and has no problems with travelling. 

You can contact him:

  • +44 203 051 3370
  • +44 7957 190 186

 

 

 

© John L.  Evans 2017

 

Due Diligence – the Key to successful Change?

Aside

Due Diligence – the Key to successful Change?

Someone asked me, “If you’re given the role of Programme Director,  what are the first things you do?”

Frequently, projects and programmes are over specified (too ambitious), over promised, under funded and late starting, with poor plans and negligible provision for contingency, realistic risk avoidance and / or issue management plans – people plan for success invariably failing to anticipate failure – if you don;t assume there are going to be problems, why would you include contingency time, resource and budget to manage them?

Reports of progress are over stated and issues and risks concealed or undhappyPMerstated.

The delivery team are sceptical and soon become concerned that failure will be blamed on them, but, these are the people most likely to know what’s going well and what isn’t, and what is required to address / resolve the challenges.  Happy people deliver good quality and productivity, frightened people don’t turn up!

In complex portfolios or programmes, the slippage of one key activity in one project, activity or task could stop or delay the entire enterprise being a significant dependency across the plans sitting at the intersection of multiple critical paths – the little things matter.

Care needs to be taken in reviewing motives – if a project features multiple suppliers or service providers, none of them wants to be the cause of or the victim of delay, but they will all be looking for opportunities to extend the scope of their obligations and increase their revenue – extensions.  However, extensions in one area often result in scope creep in others and costs rise.

It is essential to start every assignment / new role with a comprehensive Due Diligence exercise which can take anything from a few days to weeks, depending on the scale, circumstances and the state of the portfolio, programme and / or project.

Delivering big changes on time, budget and to expected scope of requirements, is not easy, and although businesses and service providers (marketing companies in particular) may trumpet success, a comparison of the final outcome and the original scope can be very revealing.

AGILE is very popular with both internal and external suppliers; it provides the capacity for lower start up costs; and the attendant need for senior management approvals, early deliveries and continuous improvement, additions to functionality, etc.. However, it also enables projects to run and run, never ending, and work to be charged to the project repeatedly, when there are repeated failures to deliver, and costs to run rampant below the senior management radar.

Should you require any further information, please get in touch.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Cheers John

John L. Evans FCMI, FIC, FBCS CITP, MCIPS.
+44 7957 190 186
+44 203 051 3370

© John L. Evans 2017

 

#Leave – Really?

Featured

Real statistics – UK Motor IndustryThere isn’t any logical, substantiated, reliable argument for leaving the EU and / or voting ‘Leave’ on 23rd June, UK EU Referendum – only pure gain say.

The other man’s grass……

Boris is cynically positioning himself to graciously accept defeat & take over from Dave with Gove as Chancellor, George O’ is trying to cover the bases but knows he’s screwed no matter which way it goes.  Dave knows it’s over – he cannot come out of this smelling of anything but manure.

Don’t care; won’t vote?  So you relinquish your right to complain – you get what you didn’t vote for.

Politics (from Greek: πολιτικός politikos, definition “of, for, or relating to citizens”) is the process of making uniform decisions applying to all members of a group.   It also involves the use of power by one person to affect the behaviour of another person.

Democracy is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members – UK citizens over 18.

Wake up!

On the first day of the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy, 10,000 men (just  men) were killed.

Millions of men women & children had and would die before the war was over.

That war gave us the freedom not to care, however, it also gave us the obligation to value our freedom and give a dam!

Some people say, both Leave and Remain sides can only guess what might follow, although Remain is probably more predictable.

Leave cannot predict anything because they do not know how every other country around the world, and the EU, and currently UK based global companies will react – too many unpredictable variables.

Remain has the benefit of hindsight and models based on real experience, facts and figures.

Looking at the key manufacturing sector, no one has been able to predict what the UK’s biggest car makers will do:

Aston Martin (UK – German engines)

Bentley (VAG (VW)) (German)

BMW (German)

Ford (USA / German)

Honda (Japan)

Jaguar Land Rover (India)

MG (China)

Mini (German)

Nissan (Japan)

Rolls-Royce (BMW) (German)

Toyota (Japan)

Vauxhall  (GM) (USA / German)

As of 2014 there were approximately 35 active, and over 500 defunct, British car manufacturers

Reported in 2015, Britain’s auto industry turned over a record £69.5bn, an increase of 6.6% on 2013, and 65.1% higher than in 2000; demonstrating the health of the UK’s car and commercial vehicle manufacturing sector, along with the supply chains of businesses which feed them.Employment in the sector grew strongly by 3.5pc over the year to 799,000, although down 11.9pc on the 907,000 employed back in 2000, largely because manufacturing processes have become less labour intensive and more efficient.  Robots only need to be trained once and they can fulfil their role anywhere at the same negligible cost.

This year’s (2016) figures are due in a couple of weeks.

These companies and all of their employees pay significant taxes.  Every sale in the UK and EU attracts VAT.  The same is true for the hundreds of companies and employees in the supply chains.

In January, 2016, EU demand for British built motor cars was reported as growing by 11.3%, with 57.5% of exports destined for the continent.

eu motor sales map.png

In 2015, the appetite across the globe, for cars made in Britain, was considerable, demonstrating the strength and diversity of the products and brands, but not necessarily where they were made.  In the US, demand rose by 26.5%, ahead of the next biggest market, China, however, the UK’s biggest trading destination remains the EU.

Demand for cars manufactured in the UK by customers in the UK rose by 8.1%. One in seven new cars registered in the UK in 2015 was made in Britain, however, this includes many of the brands mentioned above, from outside the UK.

So the UK car manufacturing sector, made up of companies from around the world, is blossoming and, significantly, access to the EU single market is an important factor in the choice of location for the manufacturers

Thousands of international companies have their EMEA operations / manufacturing / head offices / presence in the UK in order to benefit from tariff free access to the EU single market, at the same time as enjoying easier labour laws than elsewhere in the EU.

If the Leave campaign gets its way, they may well all move – to Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Poland, Romania, Hungary, etc.; all of whom would welcome them with open arms and, more than likely, secure substantial EU financial support.  As a consequence Scotland & Wales will surely ask the EU if they can stay (& give a home to the car makers etc.), whereupon the Borders’ issue would become really significant – surrounded by EU countries, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, Netherlands, etc. there is no way we could stop people smuggling  into the UK – or any other smuggling for that matter.  Leaving the EU will never stop people (and contraband) illegally coming to the UK.

BMW & FORD will move to Germany (or elsewhere).   TATA has received £millions from the UK & EU to successfully rebuild JLR.

TATA has already opened a plant in China and a small facility in India and is also already set to build factories in Brazil and Slovakia and has agreed a contract with Magna Steyr for production in Austria.– there will be no real reason to stay in the UK when JLR can produce cars more cheaply and access the single market from elsewhere within the EU.

Dick Elsy, now chief executive of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult research centres and a former product development director at Jaguar, said: “You can’t just stop production to add in new lines at existing facilities – that’s probably why they are going for Greenfield sites abroad.” An alternative view might be that JLR is hedging against the risk of UK EU self-exile.

WAKE UP!

Real democracy means active citizens.

The biggest lie; the argument spouted by the thickest and the richest LEAVERS; “It can’t be any worse”

Do you really believe that?

The statement might be more plausible if changed into a question;  “It can’t be any worse, can it?”

Well, yes it can.

Professional politicians will always lie; it’s in the job description.

Tory MP Sarah Wollaston has quit the #Brexit #Leave campaign and will vote for #Remain instead.  Dr. Wollaston, chair of the health select committee, said Vote Leave’s claim that £350m a week would be freed up for the NHS “simply isn’t true”.

You have to make up your own mind and that’s not easy and, yes, it involves work.

Regrettably, abdication is an option but failure to fulfil a responsibility or duty, is also a dereliction.

Let’s explore the automotive sector a little further.

If TATA (who are once again going to receive a UK HMG bailout vis the Steel Industry & a £2bn pension fund black hole), for instance, decided to sell the 300+acres of prime real estate off Lode Lane, Solihull, where Rovers, Land Rovers, Range Rovers, Discovery. Triumphs, wartime tanks & boats, London Taxi engines, etc. have been built for probably approaching 100 years, TATA might realise maybe £1,800M.

Greece, Spain and even France would be happy to receive the inward investment of migrating car plants & I have no doubt that the newly formed EU, without England, would be very happy to fund the migration – & the migrants would follow the jobs.  But when up to 800.000+ people in the UK are out of work, and the taxes & other revenues from those industries are no longer coming in who will pay the NHS bill?

There’s a classic BS argument about the sales of new cars in the UK from France & Germany being uninterrupted – really – where’s the money coming from to buy them if we’re all out of work & the country is in financial meltdown as the jobs follow the factories and the bread winners follow the jobs, & the best brains, minds & professionals leave for countries that appreciate & can afford them.

Do not kid yourself by believing those who say that won’t happen, or the manufacturers couldn’t afford it, because they can afford it and will move or simply shut up shop – & redundancy payments whether legislated by EU law or Tory dogma, do not last long; & that’s when the retail & service sectors collapse.

Everything is connected, & a vote to leave the EU would be like slashing the cords of your parachute whilst assuming you can deploy the reserve before you hit the concrete.

Gotta love the gloom & doom pictures painted. So back to the toilets.

There are plenty of willing recipients for the fruit of UK stupidity, & whilst I don’t like to cast aspersions, who is less stupid; Osborne or Gove, Farage or Mandelson, Borris or Dave, Obama or Trump, ?

Don’t sit on your hands and don’t think it’s not your concern because you’ll be long gone, or you’re too young to know, or you don’t know all the facts so you can’t decide.

Exercise your democratic right.  If you don’t understand the arguments the look at the protagonists and decide who you least and most trust.  Talk to your children because they’re the poor buggers who’ve going to have to clear up the mess. You might want to ask them if it will affect the quality of the end of life nursing home / care they can buy for you.

Yes, I guess I care.

Amazing – no one wants to talk about something which could have an enormous detrimental effect but everyone seems happy discussing a hypothetical economic theory which (currently) has zero relevance.

Man Up people – there’s a 400Mb gorilla in the room.

Vote ‘Leave’ and see your country disappear down the pan.  Yes, it will solve the migration problem – who would want to live in a country with rising unemployment, a faltering Health Service, rising taxes and interest rates, a massive pensions and elderly care problem, where you have to work until you’re 70 before you can retire on a State Pension, but where there are no jobs because all of the industries have left and gone to Spain, Greece, France, Romania, Poland, China, India, everywhere but here.

LEAVE = WASTELAND – Vote for yours now.

Free Wifi – REALLY!

Free Wifi – REALLY!
Most people don’t know this but O2 Wifi is FREE to anyone & everyone with a mobile phone REGARDLESS of who your service provider and or who yoir contract is with.

Unlike other wifi hotspots, O2 Wifi is free to use and available to users on all networks. You do, however, have to be over 18 to register and accept the terms and conditions.

You can use O2 Wifi to browse the web, make phone and video calls over the internet and watch online videos. All of these services work better over wifi than a standard 3G or 4G network or web dongle.

Signing up to O2 Wifi

It’s easy to sign up to O2 Wifi. All you have to do is find an O2 Wifi hotspot and follow these instructions:

For mobile devices

Make sure your device’s wifi is switched on. This can usually be found in the connection settings, or in the system settings on your deviceLook at the list of available networks in your wifi settings. You should see O2 Wifi on the list – click on thatOpen your web browser, which should now display the O2 Wifi homepageFollow the instructions onscreen until you reach the Welcome screen. Type in your mobile number and you’re good to go

For computers

Check that your wifi is switched on – most computers have a manual switch or buttonOpen the list of available networks, and select O2 Wifi from the listOpen your web browserWhen you’re on the O2 Wifi page, follow the onscreen instructions and navigate to the Welcome screen. You’ll need your mobile number to complete the registration

Once you’ve completed these steps, you won’t need to do it again. You’ll be automatically signed in as soon as you select O2 Wifi from your list of available networks.

O2 Wifi is a free, fast, reliable and easy to use wifi service across thousands of locations nationwide including; McDonalds, Debenhams, Costa Coffee, House of Fraser, Café Rouge and many more. O2 Wifi is designed to replicate your ‘at home’ wifi experience, when you’re out and about. Checking emails, uploading photos to Facebook, funny cat videos on YouTube – whatever you’re into, surf it for free on your smartphone, tablet or laptop. 
The above text is reproduced from O2’s website, is copyright O2 & may change at any time from time to time without notice.

Death Is Nothing At All

As we get older, news of someone’s passing becomes a more and more frequent visitor.

Take comfort in the beautiful words of Henry Scott-Holland.

Henry was a Christian, however, his words are no less powerful for that, whoever your God may be, or not…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Death is nothing at all.

I have only slipped away to the next room.

I am I and you are you.

Whatever we were to each other, 

That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.

Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.

Put no difference into your tone.

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.

Let it be spoken without effect. 

Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.

It is the same that it ever was.

There is absolute unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? 

I am but waiting for you.

For an interval.

Somewhere. Very near.

Just around the corner.

All is well.

Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.

Right Next Time – Really!?

The key to success is quality which means ‘Right First Time’.

Nothing wrong with continuous improvement but serial failure is not acceptable.

Total quality management (TQM) is an approach to success through customer satisfaction that can be summarised as a management system for a customer-focused organisation, that involves all employees in continual improvement.

Do it right the first time (DRIFT) is a management accounting theory related to production management & just-in-time (JIT); whereby a manufacturer only receives goods as needed, cutting inventory costs.

We expect zero defects in things or services we buy. Buy a new TV & the pixels start burning out, & you demand satisfaction. When  the car goes in for a service, you expect the mechanic to install parts as prescribed. No defect is acceptable when it affects you personally.

So why is it so easy to accept that “shit happens” when producing a product or providing a service.

Zero defects is a great way to resolve the discord between what we expect for ourselves but can accept for others.

AGILE is great if it means continuous improvement,  not so much if it means continuous rectification.  Trouble is, if the supplier has to get it right first time, then how’s he going to justify continuing to milk the cow?

[ERP is a system or systems (people, processes & technology) to facilitate & support JIT & getting things right first time.]

Cheers John