IT Life – In The Groove

David Macmillan from Jive Software tells us about finding synergy, keeping control, and dreams of being a chef

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

I have been in and around the IT space now for 30 years and have been working principally with startup technology firms for over 20 years.  I specialise in helping clients, ranging from small to large, to leverage the advantages of innovative technologies to help their business operate more efficiently and effectively. I love working across countries and regions and finding the synergies that exist. I also have a passion for simplifying complexity — the more challenging the puzzle, the greater the potential reward for our customers.

What motivates you right now?

As a business, Jive continues to build on our market leadership and produce quarter over quarter amazing product innovation.  This is not only helping us further extend our business, but just as importantly, provides our employees with the best career opportunities possible to make Jive the best place to work. I find it exciting to see how the market is maturing. Our buying community is becoming more sophisticated, and we are starting to see 3rd generation buyers who have a strong understanding of what they want to achieve with respect to enterprise communication and collaboration.

What has been your favourite project so far?

David Macmillan jivePwC has to be one of the most fulfilling partnerships that we have enjoyed over the years. We’ve worked closely at all levels to ensure that Jive delivers meaningful impact across key functions in the business.  There are nearly 180,000 employees depending on Jive in 150+ countries globally, delivering innovative solutions to their clients faster and with more precision than ever before, all on the back of Jive as the hub in their business.

How has technology changed in the last ten years?

So much has changed in so many areas and it’s accelerating. The same amount of technological change that in 2000 took 365 days now only takes 66 minutes. Yet what fascinates me is what happened to mobile, the internet and the way we handle information. Mobile devices have evolved to become powerful computers in their own right. They are now accepted for many as dual purpose: servicing both personal and work needs anywhere. Anywhere, to the second point, where there’s connectivity. Not only has coverage extended to some of the most remote corners of the world, network bandwidth has shot up tremendously, allowing us to have face to face conversations in the most unlikely places for example. And I think it’s both of these aspects that have now also given rise to the last: data and information. We can now tap into just about any stream of metrics, data and content; streams that are personalised and made relevant to us as individuals. The funny thing is, that’s one of the elements that attracted me to Jive and this market in the first place.

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

It’s notably hard to guess the next big thing but I have a few hunches. Networks will continue to get faster and just about any device will somehow be connected. Connected to actively collaborate and share data with other devices as well as applications. More data will be produced and is then also analysed, enabling higher sophistication for contextual relevance. All that will be there to serve both our personal as well as working lives. So what will I use? Probably a single device that will serve all that information to me. A better Google Glass? Something that works by thought alone, always connected and never runs out of power. Yes, glasses would work well.

Who is your tech hero?

Bill Gates.  Gates fundamentally changed the way that people of all ages work with and embrace technology in both their professional and personal lives.  The work that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation does is also an inspiration to all of us who strive to maintain the right balance between achieving the very top in our respective professions while maintaining true empathy for those who face very real adversity and need a helping hand.

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

I have always been a huge fan of mobile technology.  In my early days with Superscape, we co-authored JSR 184 with ARM, Motorola, Vodafone, Siemens Mobile and others that set out the industry standards for delivering and supporting 3D colour content on to mobile phones.  This was when colour screens had yet to be delivered to the market and device memory was still limited to 284k.  What people are able to do with mobile technology today, be it on a phone or a tablet or a watch is light years beyond what was available just 10 years ago.

What’s the greatest challenge for an IT company/department today?

Control, while keeping things simple and secure. There are so many easy to use, easy to acquire, disruptive technologies coming into the market that it is becoming increasingly difficult for IT teams to stay ahead of the curve.  Capabilities that were once only available in traditional enterprise platform solutions delivered by brands such as IBM, Oracle and others are now readily available in a variety of app stores.  Ensuring that people and teams have the right tools that they want to use and that they can also use safely and at scale across the business is not as simple as it once was.

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

I truly admire and respect the work that charities do. They are notoriously constrained by limited budgets and it’s a daily battle just to generate the funds needed to keep their organisations afloat. Add to this donor fatigue and the intense competition for public donations from the big budget, big brand sponsored and celebrity-endorsed behemoths like Red Nose Day and Children In Need. I am constantly in awe of their ingenuity, commitment and perseverance and how charities find a way through. Given so many people working for charities do so on a voluntary basis, leaving the organisations without the typical salaries or bonuses to entice and retain them, it’s a testament to the passion for what they do, their drive and innate sense of purpose.

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

A chef.  I have always enjoyed a passion for preparing, cooking and serving simple, fresh food.  There is no better way to share quality time with friends and family than over a great meal.  After all, everyone loves to eat! Seafood is my favorite having grown up in New England, but nothing beats a great steak.

David Macmillan, General Manager EMEA & International, Jive Software

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