IT Life: Throw Out The Rulebook

Don’t follow the herd in adopting cloud, says Chris Leigh-Currill

Chris Leigh-Currill is CEO of cloud management provider Ospero.

How long have you been at your current employer?
I believe that time is relative to how much fun you are having. Sometimes it feels like 10 minutes and on other occasions it feels like 10 lifetimes, but in the more standard unit of measurement it’s around three years.

Tell us something about your IT career
I guess you could say I fell into IT by accident. After leaving University with no real idea of what I wanted to do, I started out in a support role at an SMB before moving up to its development team. It was here that I was ‘discovered’ by a small start up Business Intelligence consultancy, where I had great fun delivering what were, at the time, cutting edge BI solutions. Unfortunately, they were eventually bought out by a larger organisation and the company that I loved had the heart and soul crushed out of it. From here I found myself in the contracting market and ended up in the finance sector, developing solutions for the market risk space.

Hard drive storage disk big data © zentilia ShutterstockData warehouses

What tech were you involved with ten years ago?
In 2004 I was still very much involved in the Business Intelligence space, designing large-scale data warehouse solutions on Oracle and SQL Server via Kimball methodologies. I actually had to check LinkedIn to remind myself of that!

What tech do you expect to be involved with in ten years’ time?
I predict that the prevalence of the Internet of things will be hard to ignore. Imagine a work environment where every machine, every room, feeds back information to solve problems and enhance productivity. The challenge will be how people take advantage of it whilst retaining their security and sense of control.

Throw out the rulebook

ralph kimballWho is your tech hero (and why)?
I have quite a few; from the standard Steve Jobs to the more obscure Ralph Kimball (pictured). Why Kimball? Well, because he was one of the first people I came across that encouraged us to think about using current technology in a completely different way. Using traditional databases that were very much designed for OLTP, he threw away the rulebook and wrote a new one that demonstrated if you think about things in a new way then anything is possible.

Who is your tech villain (and why)?
I don’t have a villain as such as I don’t believe anyone goes out of their way to actively destroy technology, my wife aside! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, as long as they agree I’m right in the end!

nespresso coffee machinenespresso coffee machineWhat’s your favourite technology ever made? And which do you use most?
Wow, how do I choose from so many? I won’t be unusual about this – it’s my smartphone, or, more accurately, the apps on it that keep me connected to the world and my business 24/7. As for my other personal favourite, I’d have to go for my Nespresso machine!

What is your budget outlook? Flat? Growing?
Growing, most certainly. As a service provider we are constantly evolving to meet the needs of our customers, both old and new, and I’m pleased to say that demand continues to grow from new and existing customer alike.

Tesla S - Shutterstock - © Robert GubbinsApart from your own, which company do you admire most, and why?
Without stating the obvious, I would have to say Tesla. Through genuine innovation, they are taking very complex technology and making it useable in an everyday form.

Use service providers, but keep control

What is the greatest challenge for an IT company or department today?
Every business is different, as are the demands placed upon them, but one overriding theme we see again and again with IT departments is the question of how to go about taking advantage of the myriad of service providers out there, while still maintaining control of and creating a useable and manageable ecosystem. I think that’s one of the biggest challenges out there at the moment.

To Cloud or not to Cloud?
That’s an obvious question, but the wrong one. Simply bolting an IaaS provider to an existing estate will not solve anyone’s issues. How do you knit new services into your existing infrastructure to provide the seamless IT experience that users are demanding? How do you turn your IT department into the internal service provider of choice? To cloud is a given, today, the real question is “how to cloud?”

zebra What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was younger I wanted to be a wildlife photographer. Natural history is still an area that fascinates me and I’m constantly amazed by how little we actually know about the planet we live on.

What do you know about famous hackers?