Peter joined Novosco in Summer 2018 as a Solutions Architect. Outside of work he’s a big fan of watching NBA, particularly the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks.ay.
Question: Peter, tell us a bit about your role?
IF you work in the tech sector, you probably love reading Gartner's predictions for the years ahead. They don't have a crystal ball, but they do come up with some thought-provoking forecasts.
So as we approach the end of 2018, here is a flavour of the things the global research and advisory consultancy is suggesting we might see in 2019 and beyond.
Ken is one of Novosco's Technical Services Analyst, is a wrestling enthusiast, and would love to visit Alaska some day.
Question: What’s your role at Novosco?
Ken Anderson: My current role is a Technical Services Analyst, which means I am the first line of contact for our customers whenever they have any issues. My role involves either helping the user to resolve their issue or by logging the issue appropriately and assigning onto a suitable engineer for the specific problem they’re facing.
Q: So you’re the customer point of contact, how does the process work?
Many people see Uber as a taxi firm. Uber sees itself as an urban mobility company. Is it being pretentious?
In an era when people generally want more companies to take the Ronseal approach to how they describe their businesses, Uber may actually have a point in its resistance to being plain in its description of itself.
How the San Francisco-based firm articulates its business model says much about its approach to innovation and its understanding of its strengths. In effect, it is a logistics and technology company rather than a taxi firm.
Paul leads Novosco’s Hosted Skype for Business team, is a big fan of photography, kebabs, and Metallica and will try to merge the three whenever possible.
Question: Paul, what’s your role with Novosco?
Paul Robinson: I’m currently the team leader for Novosco Hosted Skype for Business side of the business. As such, I guess my main responsibilities are to ensure the smooth running of our hosted voice solution that many of our customers rely on for their day-to-day telephony needs. This involves looking after the team here in HQ and making sure the platform is running at its best for all users.
MOST people accept that Northern Ireland has an impressive history of invention and enterprise. They may not know much about Hans Sloane or Sir James Martin. But Harry Ferguson, who invented the modern tractor, and John Dunlop, whose pneumatic tyre is one of transport's greatest inventions, should be familiar names.
Steven Johnston is a Chief Technical Architect with Novosco, and likes pretending that he’s still a ‘gamer’, he also enjoys travelling in search of authentic foods, particularly from South East Asia.
Question: So Stevie, what do you do at Novosco?
Steven Johnston: Currently fulfilling the role of Chief Technical Architect on the new Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) contract. Basically what that means is I have ownership of the overall technical solution for the CUH contract that we recently won. Prior to that I was involved in the bid process.
For this month’s '10mins with...' interview we spoke to Victoria Johnston, a student at Carrickfergus Grammar School who recently undertook a week of work placement at Novosco and completed Novosco Cloud Camp, in partnership with Ulster University.
Question: What sparked your interest in the IT sector in the first place?
Victoria: I’ve always taken a keen interest in technology and I was fascinated by the limitless opportunities it provides the world around us during my studies of Technology and Design in school. Technology has always amazed me and, as it is constantly changing, I feel it’s important to get a bit of an education around the topic as it’s so prominent in modern life. I think the IT sector is a great area to be a part of as I feel it offers a great overlap between work and play, especially if you take a good interest in computers in your free time.
There can be few businesses left in the UK and Ireland who haven’t had to factor Cyber Crime into their considerations in recent years. Whether they've become victim to such crimes already or have taken steps to prevent an inevitable attempt on them, one thing's for sure – ignoring it isn’t an option.
The National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) annual report this year highlighted the increased prevalence of such crimes, “criminals are launching more attacks on UK businesses than ever before,” was the summary accompanying the report.
Jacqui has a phobia of reality TV and avoids exposure to it by her two adult children with headphones and a good book. Jacqui is also known to bake the occasional cake.
Question: Jacqui, what do you do at Novosco? What’s your role?
Jacqui: My official title is Director of Security Operations, I am based at the Daresbury Park office.
Q: Great job title!
Jacqui: Ha, yeah! Basically I’m responsible for the operations out of the Daresbury office, including all the pre-sales functions, project management, service delivery management, technical delivery from the service desk and the network operating centre. General running of the admin functions and assisting the sales manager in his role too.
“DID YOU KNOW?
If you text 07725 909090 when you are feeling really depressed, down or not yourself, a listening volunteer will text you back and chat with you.
Many people don't like talking on the phone and some find it even difficult to open up to their friends and family. Some people are just more comfortable texting.
So, this is a service run by The Samaritans. Please copy, paste, share or pass on if you want to.
You never know who might be needing it...”
I originally posted this on my own personal social media, and it got more attention than I had thought it would. It clearly struck a chord with a lot of people, and made me stop to think about the importance of our mental health and how relevant it is to our lifestyles today.
The National Health Service (NHS) is never far from the headlines. Often, it's about the pressures the service faces, the length of waiting lists, and the need for more funding.
Earlier this month, it was the NHS's 70th anniversary and the various events and initiatives to celebrate its history and impact. And of late, we've had two contrasting reports about the NHS's use of technology.
One of these, published last week, focused on the NHS's apparent reliance on fax machines, with the report suggesting that thousands of the ‘archaic' devices are still in use in hospitals in England. This follows a report last year by artificial intelligence company DeepMind Health which concluded that the NHS is the world's largest purchaser of fax machines. (Another report highlighted that pagers are still prevalent as well.)
Nick works in Novoso’s Technical Services team and is based in Belfast. Outside of work he’s a bit of a Whisky aficionado and is a particular fan of those from the Island of Islay in Scotland.
Question: So, Nick, what do you do at Novosco?
One of the challenges all business face is to make sure that we are developing the skills that we will need in the future, as well as the skills that we need today. It is vitally important that companies, like Novosco, take an active role in helping our young people develop and grow their interest in IT.
For that reason, we run Novosco Cloud Camp, a week-long summer camp for students aged 16-17. The aim is to give students the opportunity to get more hands on practical experience in the world of IT, and hopefully help them to choose a career in IT in the future.
I've had some enlightening conversations about China of late. One related to a meeting with a Chinese tech entrepreneur who was working hard to develop a pipeline of skills for his corporation.
His solution was the creation of a dedicated university of 25,000 students, owned by the business. That's 25,000 students - and I had never even heard of the company.
This anecdote gives some insight into the scale of the Chinese economy and its tech sector but also the attitude that is driving its remarkable growth.
The modern housing association is built on three things; bricks, people, and IT. It’s how a housing association manages each of these three things that impacts on the level and quality of service it can deliver.
Think about it for a minute, if you want to provide social housing, you need bricks to build the houses and you need IT to connect everything and manage communications. If you want to manage the bricks, you need people to build houses, and you need IT to facilitate the people as they run and manage the housing association – there’s just no way of getting around it in today’s world.
It’s crucial for all organisations, including housing associations, to know what they can and can’t do, managing resources accordingly is what makes the difference in the level and quality of service offered.
THERE has been much talk about the Northern Ireland jobs market of late. Last week, the term ‘full employment’ was raised and debated – with many suggesting that whilst we might not quite be at full employment in Northern Ireland, we certainly have some significant skills shortages and some sectors where there are real challenges to recruit.
In the IT sector, there is certainly big demand for skilled people and a lot of opportunity. According to the latest NIJobs Report, there was a surge in demand for IT workers in the first quarter of this year. IT vacancies rose by 37 percent quarter-on-quarter according to the report and represented the most listings in three years. One in 10 of all their listings are IT jobs.
“Head count! We need more head count!” insists the IT manager.
It’s true that most IT departments are under huge strain to deliver what’s needed by the business and balancing strategic projects with tactical day-to-day workload is indeed a challenge; but is increasing head count the answer?
The resourcing kit bag contains more than the obvious solution of hiring another permanent employee. Given that long and expensive recruitment cycles are getting longer and more expensive, other options such as a managed service are worth considering. When people are under pressure, taking more time out to re-evaluate the structure of their team and the workload being managed isn’t something they’re going to want to do, but it could result in a better outcome than going to the default setting of recruitment.
In many organisations, IT is the backbone to the delivery of high quality service for customers and employees. Your business relies on IT, but supporting IT is not your core business. Novosco managed services are the answer to the problem, we aim to enable your IT to support your business, not burden it.
By moving critical infrastructure management to the hands of Novosco’s experts, you are free to focus on the primary aspects of your business.
“We will manage it ourselves”, “We don’t outsource any of our services”, and “We want to keep this in-house”. We’ve heard these phrases many times during customer project meetings and I often wonder why these types of things are said, so let's take a look.
A few initial thoughts:
• Organisations are concerned with minimising financial costs. Factoring in costs for management of projects/solutions will exceed their budgets etc.
• Human nature dictates that we like to keep control of things, so the concept of handing over the reins to something that you “own” can be daunting or threatening.
• Legislation/Regulation govern what organisations are able to do with regards to potential outsourcing/management services.