IT Life: Let’s Go Alfresco

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Alfresco CEO Doug Dennerline tells us about his 33 year career in IT and his journey from networking to SaaS

Alfresco CEO Doug Dennerline has been in the IT industry for 33 years, the majority of which has been spent in the networking world. At the start of his career, he was selling the world’s first Ethernet card but now predicts the death of the laptop and desktop phones.

Tell us about your company, how long have you been in IT and what are your areas of expertise?

Alfresco is an Enterprise Content Management software provider. This is content management that works the way you do – across cloud, mobile, hybrid and on-premise environments. Alfresco makes it easy to take control of your content and share critical information to drive your business. We work for the company overall, meeting the needs of both IT and the business by reducing information silos and making content smart, secure and actionable.

Alfresco PortraitI have been in the IT world for 33 years and my expertise has been 25 of those years in the networking world with my first role selling the first ever Ethernet card the 501B while working for 3Com Corporation and the last 8 years is the SaaS/software world in roles at WebEx, SalesForce.com, Successfactors, and now Alfresco.

What’s the favourite IT project that you’ve ever worked on?

After Cisco acquired Webex I became the GM of Webex.  While in that role we developed an application called Webex Connect.  It was a Collaboration Application that used the web meetings capability of Webex but also allowed for file sharing, instant message with presence capability.  I left Cisco/Webex before it launched.

What technologies were you involved with ten years ago?

I was involved with Routing, Switching, IP Telephony, Security, Telepresence, and all things networking while at Cisco.

What do you expect to be using in ten years’ time?

The notion of a laptop device will be gone. Desktop phones will be a thing of the past, and your personal device will be a powerful hand held device and will be used all productivity tools as well as voice and video services.  You will have access to data like never before and decision making will be in real-time.

What do you think is the greatest challenge for an IT company or department today?

IT organisations have built large complex system that end users find challenging to use.  Most progressive companies are completely rethinking their IT strategies.  They are deciding what should be in their private cloud and what should move to the public cloud.  They are tired of being trapped in closed systems and are moving to open standards open architectures to gain more control over providing much better user experiences so the users don’t turn to capabilities IT has no control over.

To cloud or nor to cloud?

Clouds will continue to be important for many purposes, but if I have learned anything while at Alfresco, there is a significant amount of content that will never make it to the cloud.  Some content is so valuable it will always stay on premises.

Who is your tech hero and who is your tech villain?

Doug Dennerline Alfresco CEOMy tech hero is probably Apple and my tech villain is any company who forces its customers to use closed systems.

What’s your favourite device ever made and what do you use the most?

Without a doubt the iPhone.  The number of applications is amazing. What did we do before GPS and Waze?

Apart from your own, which company do you admire the most and why?

It’s hard not to admire Google and Apple.  The amount of innovation they have developed and continue to develop for the world is impressive.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

Was 100% convinced I wanted to be an oceanographer.

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