Thursday, 17 December 2009

Do you have a job for me?

A call I received - Introduction

Yesterday morning, I got a call from a very enthusiastic recruitment consultant who found my CV on a jobs board and thought my experience and skills-set would be useful and suitable to his client.

This consultant had placed 37 out of a 100 technical staff with his client, so he probably had a good idea of who and what his client needs.

An hour later, he called me deflated stating some technical person had seen my CV and somewhat “trivialised” the context of it.

However, this consultant was not about to give up on my prospect, he asked me to write an email to him explaining how and why my wealth of experience should not fall into the pigeon-hole I had been placed in.

I have reformatted that email into my blog format and here it is.

What I am about

Below, you will find my cause and purpose, my views and drive, what makes my work-life exciting and in the end, it is a simple expression to any organisation to give me a job that can change your organisation for the better.

There are things in here, specific to my CV that I have left in place, parts of it might be a bit technical, but the thrust of it is that I try to put a fully human dimension on the use of information technology for the benefit of that organisation.

If you do have an interest as regards my being employed by your organisation, please leave a comment or send an email to forakin at gmail dot com.

Meeting that challenge

Dear Recruiter,

Thank you for our conversation yesterday and the enthusiasm you showed in my skills which unfortunately were not appreciated by the people who reviewed them. I have decided to take up the challenge of explaining why it is myopic to consider my activities in "Desktop Deployment" trivial and why it should be seen as beyond just the desktop or just deployment.

It is a bit of a long email, but it is difficult to put this kind of thinking in a CV or relate this easily without the convenience of an interview, I hope you will have the patience to read it through and let me know your views either by reply or a phone call. Thank you very much for your time and the challenge.

My experience

Now, it is quite easy with simplification to look at a person's career in terms of the tools the person uses to perform a job, but anyone can use tools, but it is a talented artisan that can produce objects of amazing value, worthy of commendation and admiration.

Indeed, for more than 13 years, I have used Microsoft SMS 1.2/2.0/2003 and now Microsoft Systems Center Configuration Manager 2007 to manage environments, the smallest being BT/Infonet with just about 1,500 users and the largest being over 40,000 users in ING Bank.

Seeing things from different ends

Whilst the Mission Critical vision appears to view things from the backend to the user and mission critical pertains to what keeps a business running from day-to-day, I have extended the vision of how I use my tools to understand how 1 user or 40,000 users can connect seamlessly to their organisation and access the mission critical applications they need to perform their duties to make the organisation competitive, profitable and leader in whatever field they are in.

Critical to this observation is that SMS (I will use this broadly to encompass all tools to do with software control & deployment) is used to deploy software, applications, utilities, tweaks, patches & updates to user's systems which might be online, offline, in-house or some remote place.

For this software to deploy consistently to achieve close to 100% success rates, you need uniformly configured systems, this boils down to understanding the range of hardware (desktops, laptops & devices) in your organisation, deploying a basic common framework of the operating system, handling the common and different software requirements of the user, streamlining your application pool and being able to manage that from the centre whilst touching each and every system in that organisation.

The power of position and responsibility

Just as downtime in the mission critical application systems can shutdown a business, I appreciate even more that as an SMS administrator; I can shutdown the business if a poorly packaged application is deployed to user systems which can be up to 40,000 users.

Hence, suddenly, my responsibility is not just being a plain postmaster of deploying applications, I need to know what those applications contain, who is repackaging those applications, what operating systems we have out there and if they are manageable - if not, find a consistent approach to the management of these systems.

Influencing the chance for good change

I cannot allow changes to take place in the back-end systems in the weekend that might affect the way users access those back-end systems on a Monday morning because the back-office people thought their change was minor, but we have a major situation because it is easy for the back-end engineer to think locally to their big-expensive systems (mainframes, enterprise databases), when I have to think globally about the effect on 40,000 employees who need critical access to these back-end systems.

You begin to realise the kind of planning that needs to go into serious enterprise desktop deployment or rather, management, if it is work consistently and produce results that do really reduce the cost of ownership at the desktop and reduce the overall cost of IT from service calls and management costs and so on.

What I am about - again

That is the value of my 22 years in IT and my 13 years in enterprise desktop deployment, I am not just a technician, I am a facilitator, a collaborator, an enabler and an unquantifiable benefit to any organisation that entrusts that kind of job to me.

I was employed to do a quick and dirty job of desktop deployment in Canon in August 2006, I left after 2 years having changed that organisation in ways that no one realised till I pointed it out; in the process a whole new department was created to handle the issue of the "user experience" of connecting to the organisation with minimal issues.

The structures I put in place allowed for one of those weekend backend changes halting the business to be redeemed with SMS because we could deploy consistently, verifiably and successfully an essential patch that got everyone reconnected before noon on Monday.

Engaging all communities

In that two years, everyone began to realise any change was global; it affects something, if not everyone; communication is essential because people need to know how changes might affect them; technicians have to be customer friendly because the user satisfaction helps company productivity; architects need to liaise with administrators but user feedback is the best knowledge resource to determine if your solutions are really working; if not, seek advice and change the situation to a working situation.

In short, to be blind-sided by the simple concept of desktop or deployment is to miss the whole point that users are key to keeping an organisation running and whilst the mission critical team is critical, without users being able to connect to the mission critical systems [through their globally deployed but individually configured desktops, laptops, devices with the adequately distributed software] you have no mission critical solution.

Seeing things from different ends - again

I look up the organisation from the eyes and hands of the user, 40,000 of them in some cases to affect and effect change because I touch each and every system with my tools, others look at their servers and if they are up, they think everything is OK - welcome to a new perspective of what the desktop really should mean - managing the user experience with whatever tools, skills and abilities you might have.

If you have read this far, thank you for hearing me out, I do however wonder if this makes me suitable for your organisation, I'll say any organisation that wants the mission critical environment to be consistently accessible to the user environment should consider having me on board.

Thank you.

Connect to my LinkedIn Summary (PDF)

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