Q&A: Mark Evans, RLB

What advice would you give the next generation of people considering or embarking upon a career in IT?

Study a parallel discipline. IT and marketing, for example. Also, know the capabilities of the kit and be able to sell the idea to senior managers or customers. Study IT and Supply Chain Management - find a language which can be shared in the business in terms which aren't "IT jargonese" and which alienate anyone outside of ICT. Talk to the business in terms it understands and you will be seen as part of the solution, instead of part of the furniture.

. I have long believed that BYOD could more accurately be described as "Bring Your Own Disaster"

What is the most pressing thing on CIOs' minds at the moment?

As always, "Not doing the wrong thing." With the changes brought about by cloud, positioning the business to take the maximum advantage with minimum risk is a bit like changing horses midstream. Anyone who falls off risks their career and the business. There may be any number of compelling arguments for battening down the hatches and to just "keep on keeping on" but this may not be sufficient for the changing IT landscape.

My organisation went to cloud before it was even condensation and we have a reasonably mature IaaS environment. We can begin to move to SaaS at our own pace and so I have no pressing things on my agenda at the moment - we have (fortunately) come out the other side unscathed.

Is cloud technology widely used in the construction industry? If so why? If not, why not?

If I can be brutally honest - I don't care! Rider Levett Bucknall uses cloud and has found that it has liberated staff - home-working and working at client sites is so much easier these days. We have moved to become an agile business; have internet, will travel.

Our main systems are available on an internet connection and our telephones mean that landlines ring on mobile handsets, which makes the "connectedness" (don't you just hate the neologisms which ICT brings with it?!) of our staff a given. RLB has always had a "can do" attitude and yet IT was effectively holding the company back. There weren't solutions to the requirements of the business prior to cloud (at least, not practical, affordable, easy solutions) and so cloud has allowed RLB to be all that it wants to be to the clients.

If our competitors haven't got on board with these new technologies then they can reap the questionable, diminishing rewards of being left behind.

Has RLB embraced BYOD?

Not yet. I have long believed that BYOD could more accurately be described as "Bring Your Own Disaster" as IT teams rush to enable the FD's iPad on their company's infrastructure. For years, IT teams have been paranoid about viruses and at the flick of a switch, or a swipe gesture, they are expected to open up critical services to someone's tablet with little information on security?

Let us do our job. My team has been investigating tools to open up services to all staff without caveat. Build protection into the infrastructure as the foundation and then allow staff to use whatever they desire to complete their work. It will be coming soon. Responsibly.


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