IT Life: Changing Our Desktops

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

Most people work from three or more devices, says Lisa Hammond.She wants to sort your workspace

Lisa Hammond, CEO and co-founder of  Centrix Software, has seen radical changes in the way people use IT in the last 25 years.

The average person now uses two or three devices for work, she says, so IT departments need to understand who’s using what content, which data, which applications and on which types of devices. To succeed, they will have to match the user to the device and to the application. One size no longer fits all, she says.

centrix desktop devicesFrom on-premise to cloud

What has been your favourite project so far?
My favourite project has been our WorkSpace iQ, Software as a Service (SaaS) project. Moving this product from an on-premise to cloud solution has enabled our customers and partners to receive usage analytics services (big data for IT) much quicker and easier. It’s facilitated the high growth we’re now seeing and has accelerated time to compelling savings for our customers, as well as allowing us to innovate and scale even faster and more effectively.

What tech were you involved with ten years ago?
Ten years ago, our company was implementing virtualisation technologies for enterprise customers with very early versions of our workspace products called myapps and mydesk.

Today, our products support cloud, on-premise and virtual technologies – and myapps has evolved considerably!

What tech do you expect to be using in ten years’ time?
Sometimes, the coolest technologies are the ones we don’t even see and can’t envisage. My mind boggles at the innovations in technology and bio tech that have happened, even in just the last 2 years.

In ten years I’d like to be using smart technology that delivers energy in a highly efficient way, but reduces our carbon emissions to zero.

It’s not cool to be ignorant

Who’s your tech hero?
My tech hero is the antithesis of my villain. It’s the techie who has made his or her way to be the CIO or CEO of the company. The Chief Innovation Officer who gets the business and commercial opportunities that go hand-in-hand with technology that makes a difference. These people are cool, fun to work with, passionate – and whilst still few and far between – are making a huge difference out there.

Who’s your tech villain?
My tech villain is the CIO who blithely says either “I know nothing about technology” or “We know everything we need to know”. Believe me, I’ve met quite a few CIOs like this who are running enormous IT departments; either directly within an organisation’s IT department or working for an outsourcer, hired by an organisation to run IT more efficiently and introduce best practices. They spend hundreds of millions of pounds and dollars on technology every year.

I’ve never met a CEO who says happily that they know nothing about the multi-million pound company they run or that they have all the information they need to make better decisions, but CIOs seem to think they can get away with it. These CIOs are the biggest tech villains in my book!

sonos wireless hi-fi hifiWhat’s your favourite technology ever made? Which do you use most?
I’m currently having a love affair with Sonos. Having spent many frustrating years and hours trying to pipe music around my house – and consequently ending up with practically a music datacentre under the stairs – Sonos is a revelation. It’s easy, accessible, wireless and works – it’s fantastic stuff. I use it all the time and so do my friends, kids and even my mum!

What is your budget outlook going forward? Flat? Growing?
We’re growing at more than 100 per cent each year and Team Centrix are enjoying the excitement, challenge and sheer hard work that comes with it!

Apart from your own, which company do you admire most and why?
There are many companies I admire, but if I had to pick one it would be WPP; the world’s largest communications services group, employing 170,000 people working in 3,000 offices, in 110 countries. I admire it because it’s a great, British company that leads innovation in its industry. It works with a hugely diverse and distributed group of people who are enabled to work in the flexible and agile way needed to capture the potential of digital media, yet, it manages to maintain a very strong identity. Everyone I’ve met there is hugely talented and it has a lovely culture.

What’s the greatest challenge for an IT company/department today?
IT departments are fighting for their very existence. In a world where IT doesn’t own the endpoints, doesn’t run the back-end infrastructure or an increasing number of the applications – and where many or most of the services have been outsourced, IT needs to adopt a broader based model or just simply become irrelevant. According to Gartner, more than 25 per cent of IT spending is already outside CIOs’ control and this figure is predicted to grow to 40 per cent by 2015.

A whole new mind set is needed for the IT department to survive in the next generation service model.

spy girl cup child © Dimj ShutterstockTo Cloud or not to Cloud?
Definitely to cloud! When making the decision, think about WHO can move to working using cloud-based services rather than what you need to migrate. You might think it’s a big decision to make but when you look at who, rather than what, you’ll be surprised to find out that the majority of your people could move straight away. So not so much to cloud or not to cloud but – cloud now!

What did you want to be when you were a child?
As I child and right through my teenage years, I always wanted to be a spy, I can remember my careers interview was pretty short, as once I decided on that there wasn’t much discussion or advice they could give me!

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