IT Life – Going Mobile

ClickSoftware’s Tim Faulkner talks mobile working, wearables, and why keeping on top of tasks can often be a juggling act for IT departments

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

ClickSoftware helps organisations overcome some major challenges in delivering excellent customer service. Our technologies use optimisation algorithms, mobility, artificial intelligence, and social collaboration to enable any service organisation to increase service response and quality for its customers, improve workforce productivity, and streamline processes efficiency.

Prior to ClickSoftware, I worked for a number of enterprise software vendors. In the late 90s I was working in R&D and consulting roles within the ERP domain, specialising in multi-national implementations that took into consideration cross border logistics flows and consolidated reporting. I was then interested in how we could make these big systems easier to navigate and get value out of the data stored within them using web technologies, analytics and reporting tools.

Now, I’m dedicated to the mobile workforce space. It’s a fascinating area and touches on the main themes of today’s technology discussions including Mobility, Internet of Things and Big Data.

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

My favourite would have to be the mobile workforce management programme I worked on with Portugal Telecom. The business was completely focussed on transforming its operations. It was a classic success story. There was a clear vision and that made it a rewarding experience for all involved when we made a real, quantifiable impact on their operations.

What technologies were you involved with ten years ago?

Ten years ago I was at a start-up, working with a mobile application on rugged devices that would read RFID tags or barcodes to ensure traceability in the fresh produce supply chain.

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

Many years ago I was promised a jet pack. Weren’t they supposed to be released by now?

As a knowledge worker, I don’t expect to be wholly reliant on a Google Glass-type device, but I do believe that devices and wearables will continue to evolve and be supported by better voice controls. I also look forward to a seamless experience as I consume data and carry out tasks, whether it’s from home or work and anywhere in between.

If I can make a request, while face to face meetings are irreplaceable, I do hope we will all have better remote conferencing capabilities that will allow us to be better engaged and productive while reducing our carbon footprint!

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

Juggling! Technology is widely accepted as an enabler of better performance and maintaining a competitive edge. As such, IT departments are increasingly expected to be dynamic business partners and drive innovation. However, delivering on this expectation is tough, especially when you consider how reliant business is on the smooth running of day to day IT operations. It’s a process of juggling many balls while simultaneously developing new balls and only dropping the old ones when the full cycle is up and running. Quite a juggling act.

To cloud or nor to cloud?

Cloud, most definitely. Cloud allows quicker deployments and frees up the IT department to focus on innovation rather than just keeping the existing systems ticking over.

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

My tech heroes are the techies in R&D and our consulting group that create solutions which allow our customers to attain their objectives of customer service excellence.

My tech villains are the monolithic and unwieldy custom-made systems that hold businesses back from being the industry leaders they could be.

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

My iPhone is by far the most impressive device I have ever come across, mostly for the number of technologies it has displaced. Victims I can account for personally are: my tablet, my satellite navigation system, my road atlas, my camera, my pen and my notebook!

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

In the technology world, it is difficult not to think of the great innovator Apple first, delivering both outstanding products and user experience.

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

I wanted to be an architect, though of the construction kind not IT.

Tim Faulkner is VP EMEA at ClickSoftware

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