It’s been 335 days since I last wrote a blog post for this site, and it was looking like it might even be a bit longer. That period has been nothing short of manic both personally and professionally – and professionally I have had to step out of the IT cupboard.
The most important thing which happened in that intervening period was of course marrying my best friend – a gorgeous day, surrounded by our friends and family; a day which made a lifetime of memories. I’m not going to gush too much about that here – this has always been a semi-professional blog and I don’t intend to change that (if you want the story, buy me a beer!).
The IT Cupboard.
I’ve always worked in IT, from manufacturing IT systems for multi-nationals to running smaller IT functions for companies in marketing services, logistics and warehousing. I’ve done everything from Email to Azure, Development to ERP – and latterly that has been as an IT Director for medium sized firms (~150 employees, ~£5m – £10m turnover), and was even involved in a management buyout of one of those firms. However, despite sitting on boards and helping define company strategy and then deliver the digital tools to support that strategy, I’ve always been in “The IT Cupboard.”
You know “The IT Cupboard” – every company has one – it’s where you put the IT people, it’s where you go when your system doesn’t work, or you’ve an idea for changing a process, improving something and you need a system to help. It’s been a place where many fear to tread in the past. In reality – it’s a great place, it’s the engine room of successful businesses. It’s one of the few places which should know how nearly everything works in a business – it’s unique in that it sees everything from accounting processes, manufacturing, customer service, phones to email. IT departments have had to shed the overprotective, “can’t do” attitude of the 1990s and become enablers and innovators of change – in no small part down to increasing digitisation and the influence of “disruptive” millennials coming into the work place.
I enjoy IT. There, I said it. It’s great when it’s done well – it can help (non IT) businesses make more money and get things done.
Over the past 2 years I’ve been spending my evenings working on a project with a business partner which over the last year grew to a point where it generated enough profit that I could leave the “security” of employment, which I did in October 2016. Whilst I have retained some IT consultancy, my primary focus is now that new venture.
Leaving full-time employment in IT, has also meant stepping out of the IT cupboard – whilst I (obviously) run the IT side of the new venture, I now have to run the operations of the business too; but importantly (for me) I’m starting to work on selling too.
My previous roles always included client facing work, but never working on new business directly. Fortunately my business partner is from a sales background and his experience and hard work has allowed us to get here; but now I want to use the time previously occupied by employment wisely and aggressively grow our new venture.
I’ve joined a business network and started going to various events to get “out and about.” Building my name, brand and learning to soft sell.. 2017 will be a great adventure!