About Me

I am an experienced IT professional who has worked for a number of high-profile blue-chip organisations as a Systems Management and Business Service Management specialist.

I have experience with a wide range of technologies and understand the processes and methodologies used in running and improving a large-scale IT department. More recently I have been diversifying my skill set to include more mainstream areas such as PHP/MySQL web development.

I have participated in numerous technical projects at varying levels, including:

Curriculum Vitae

If you would like a copy of my latest CV, please feel free to use the links below to download a copy.

Detailed Work History

BT Syntegra

I took a year's Industrial Placement with BT's Syntegra division (now BT Global Services) while completing my degree course at Royal Holloway College, University of London. The work I did for Syntegra was split into two parts - with the Desktop Replacement project, and with the Desktop Packaging and Integration team.

I was assigned to the BT Business Connections Desktop Replacement project on joining the company, which was involved in upgrading the hardware and operating systems on all desktops at BTBc offices around the country. This involved a large amount of travel to sites as far apart as Plymouth and Edinburgh. We visited all sites in advance to take down the requirements including which builds and additional software each user needed, and then arranged for the PC's to be delivered. On the Thursday before the implementation we would travel back to the site to build the machines and carry out the swap during the weekend. We would then be on-site until the Tuesday afternoon to provide support and advice, before handing responsibility back to the on-site support teams.

I started as an implementation resource but through my determination to understand the build process and eagerness to take on more responsibility I ended up running the implementations at the final four sites in the project. On conclusion, BTBc held a thank-you dinner for all of the Syntegra resources involved in the project and presented us with certificates of appreciation for an excellent job with so few complications and disruptions.

On completion of this project I was posted to Leeds to work in the Desktop Packaging and Integration team. My role was to take new releases of the software included in the desktop builds, from WinZip to Windows Patches, from the CRM software to web browsers, package up all of the files, DLL's and registry entries for automated silent installation, and then test that process to ensure that the program (and other related applications on the desktop) functioned correctly.

CSC Computer Sciences - JPMorgan, Schroders, NHS

After graduating from University with a First-class Honours degree in Computer Science, I joined the Graduate Scheme at Computer Sciences Corporation, working in London on the JPMorgan account. During the Graduate Programme, I had a number of placements throughout the Service Management sphere, including Helpdesk, Service Delivery and Crisis Management, and then spent 5 months or so in Change Management.

Soon after taking on the Change Management role (during the beginnings of the integration of Chase Manhattan and JPMorgan systems) the other three members of the Change Management team were made redundant, so I effectively ran the EMEA Change Management operation for about 4 months, including training up a new Change Manager who was brought in to look after the position on a permanent basis. During this time I worked very hard to improve the processes surrounding Change Management and to communicate with the Business representatives as effectively as possible, in an attempt to minimise disruption that any planned changes caused to the day-to-day operations of the bank.

From Change Management I was offered a permanent position with the Systems Management team, with whom I had worked early on in the Graduate Programme. The team looked after the end-to-end monitoring, ticketing and alerting service for the bank, including CA Unicenter and MAX/M monitoring tools, CA Asset Management, Remedy ARS for the problem ticketing and helpdesk functionality, a custom-written paging solution and a Systems Management visualisation tool (as it was then) from Managed Objects called Formula.

I was able very quickly to join the 24x7 on-call support rota and was able to handle most day-to-day tasks. These included dealing with problem tickets, maintenance of our systems, helping the support teams to configure their alerting profiles and rotas, and providing information supporting any major outage investigations that were being carried out by Crisis Management.

I became involved in a number of projects including the 24x7 on-site presence over the "Day One" weekend, where JPM and Chase officially joined their networks, the replacement of our ageing MAX/M solution with Managed Objects' Event Integrator (EVE) product, and most significantly the addition of a second client for our Financial Services organisation, Schroders. On this latter project, I helped in building the infrastructure to implement our end-to-end monitoring solution for the new client - physically racking up the servers, installing the OS and the various software products that we would run on them, configuring the software to our standards and so forth.

My responsibilities began to focus more on the Schroders client, and I assisted in working with the various support teams in setting up paging and ticketing rotas, troubleshooting any issues they had with their monitoring, and creating service views in Formula. The latter allowed the support teams to understand the status of their systems at a glance; we used these to promote efforts to resolve long-standing issues which were either being ignored or forgotten, and to re-examine the monitoring configurations to determine what was really important.

I undertook a number of billable projects, including creating a Business Service View for the specialist Schroders Trading Support Team. This monitored the status of various network links to the dealing floor, the status of the trading system servers, and a whole host of middleware tasks that ultimately determined whether the traders could function effectively. I also flew to Luxembourg to implement and promote the use of the Remedy ticketing system for the branch office there, which allowed them to work more closely with the main support teams in London.

With my knowledge of the Formula platform, I moved from the Financial Services accounts into a wider "leveraged" team which was being set up to specifically look after Managed Objects products across all accounts. My primary responsibility was to work on the Performance and Availability Monitoring System for the NHS National Programme for IT. The NHS had specified a dashboard design that all contractors had to present, showing response times and availability of the individual services they were providing.

The service level agreements were very complex and involved rolling windows that needed to be reported against. We also had huge complexity in determining response times, as the client had decreed that we were not allowed to use synthetic transactions for performance monitoring purposes. Therefore we had to interrogate each of the systems and get timings from each, tie up transaction types and assemble the information to form an aggregate timing.

The data in the systems was accessible via database connections into Formula, but in order to actually manipulate the data itself, we needed to use Javascript. A significant amount of my time on this project was devoted to creating and improving the efficiency of these scripts. The process of extracting the data from the separate systems, dividing it into constituent transactions, joining it up and performing the calculations had to be performed every 15 minutes, 24 x 7 x 365, and stored in a database for reporting purposes.

The resulting data was presented in the required dashboard, which I had to implement using JSP and tie in with the statuses produced by the Formula application. The PAMS project was governed by the status of the wider CSC delivery for the NPfIT, as we obviously could not produce information about infrastructure that didn't exist, or applications that were not installed. Effectively we worked in an Agile environment, with new checkpoints introducing new functionality every few weeks, and taking an incremental approach to creating the final solution. Once the system went live at the first trust, I was then responsible for documenting and supporting the solution and introducing the new trusts into the calculations as and when they were declared live.

Deutsche Bank

I moved from CSC to Deutsche Bank on an initial 6 month contract to provide cover as a Managed Objects specialist while one of their members of staff was on maternity leave. The contract was renewed twice for a total of 18 months, during which time I was involved in a series of web dashboard projects.

As half of a two-person Managed Objects specialist team, I was responsible for day-to-day issues with the product, resolving as many as possible and escalating any that defeated us to the vendor for assistance. I had already developed an excellent working relationship with the vendor's support team from my time at CSC and this continued with DB, even through some particularly stubborn issues that took some time for the vendor development team to resolve.

DB were looking to correlate together all of the information held in its many disparate systems about the hardware and software estates. For instance, there were systems to measure availability including Tivoli and SMARTS, there were asset management systems such as Peregrine Asset Center, systems to measure security policy compliance, performance information, and many others. The end goal was to create a web-based tool that could collate all of this information about any known host in the enterprise.

We designed an element structure within Managed Objects to hold all of the information we needed and went about creating the integrations into the databases that we needed in order to populate the data. Once this not-insignificant task was complete, we built a number of dashboard portlets in JSP for the built-in Jahia-based portlet engine, which allowed us to graph the statuses of the various points of interest (availability, performance, security compliance, asset status, etc) and display this information in various ways.

We created navigation tools for the dashboard that allowed us to display the information by business owner, by support team, by datacenter location, and by hardware/software product which enabled the various teams throughout the organisation to get a better understanding of the state of systems they were responsible for. This allowed greater focus on problem areas that had previously been missed or overlooked due to sheer complexity, for example to ensure all systems were brought up to current patch and security standards.

Around this time DB was starting to look for greater dashboard functionality and the ability to move towards the provision of information via web services. MO were able to respond to the requirements with version 4.0, which we assisted in beta testing. The new functionality was tested and feedback provided to the development team, and once the application was declared Generally Available we were quick to implement the new release and take advantage of the features. The new Liferay portal system was a big improvement with its user-customisation features. It allowed us to promote our information to a much wider audience who were able to select which areas of information they wanted to look at, instead of asking us to add that as an option or create a new view specifically for them.

I turned down an offer to go permanent after my third contract expired in order to travel to Australia.

Members Equity Bank

I joined Members Equity initially to look after the external website whilst a member of staff was on holiday, dealing wiht interest rate changes and setup/removal of campaign landing pages. After the completion of this five week contract, my contract was renewed for another 2 months and I was asked to look at a number of projects, including building a booking system for the bank's multiple test environments. This included drag-select functionality written in Javascript to highlight the days required, and integration with a MySQL database via PHP to store and display the information.

I was then asked to conduct a review of the bank's ageing intranet site and redesign the front page in accordance with the stakeholders' requirements. This involved amending the placement of various news item feeds which were handled in XML, highlighting newer items, displaying more key news items at once, and amending the CSS Stylesheet to make much better use of the screen real estate.

Following this, my contract was renewed again for a further 2 months. I was asked to take on the responsibility of Test Environment Coordination, and ensure that the various existing test and training environments were rebuilt, supported and available to the many projects that were testing new functionality. At the same time I was responsible for supporting the building of a series of new test environments in line with a major core hardware upgrade, and the creation and documentation of build processes for both types test and training environment.

Additionaly, I took on the management and implementation of a Salesforce.com CRM pilot. Members Equity grew fairly quickly and some of its processes dated from times when the organisation was much smaller and easier to manage, and it was apparent that there were much better ways to manage the interaction with major stakeholders from the unions. The bank chose to use a Salesforce.com pilot to trial both SaaS and CRM. I evaluated the business requirements and designed the forms to implement the solution, and on completion of my 5 month period at the bank the project was awaiting senior management go ahead for funding of licences.

I left Members Equity in order to do more travelling around Australia before my one-year visa expired.

Freelance Web Development

I gained significant experience creating a number of sites that worked cross-browser using PHP, MySQL, XHTML, CSS and JavaScript. This allowed me to introduce myself to AJAX technologies and explore multiple ways of creating dynamic, database-driven sites. I built a number of bespoke content management systems and photo galleries from scratch, gaining experience of relevant techniques and methods.

SkillSet / Polar Moment Group Ltd - BP and RedBee Media

I began working for SkillSet (part of Polar Moment Group) on a transition project for BP as a contractor. The role involved business process analysis and documentation through working with subject matter experts, documenting the processes step-by-step, and then producing training materials. Following this, I spent a significant amount of time in Budapest training the new starters, where my knowledge of the processes and job roles earned me significant respect and appreciation from team leads and delegates alike.

This role gave me exposure to new tools such as Oracle UPK (formerly On-Demand) for creating e-learning resources and ARIS for producing process maps. It also provided me with significant opportunity to develop my training and presentational expertise.

After several short-term contract renewals, I was offered a permanent opportunity within the same group of companies, this time in a more technical role involving BPM technologies. After training myself in the use of Cordys C3 and gaining experience with RedBee Media (a key client), I was responsible for creating and delivering a one-week introductory training course for some of the client's Java developers, some of whom have subsequently become Cordys specialists.

In the meantime, I worked on a number of projects for clients including implementing a proof of concept for catalogue media management for a fashion brand (C3); work as part of a large team on a digital media ingest and archiving solution for a major UK broadcaster (BOP4); and a bid for an online store with automated provisioning for an Irish mobile telecommunications firm (BOP4). During the latter, I developed an excellent working relationship with the pre-sales team from Cordys in Paddington.

More recently, I have been involved in the RFP process and solution design for a software tool to enable live subtitling of TV programmes for a number of key UK broadcasters, consolidating features from a number of existing tools into a single integrated solution. Subsequently, I have been responsible for turning client requirements into functional specifications, reviewing and amending and managing these specifications through to approval. I am also working closely with the clients to define and design the user interfaces needed to provide the documented functionality.

Concurrently, I am responsible for leading the development team creating the client side software, working with a Kanban-based, Test-Driven Development methodology. Prioritisation of development tasks and allocation of individual stories to developers are among the key responsibilities, along with providing supporting information to developers to ensure features meet requirements.

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In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.
Yogi Berra
Oh, I could spend my life having this conversation - look, please try to understand before one of us dies.
John Cleese