New year, and a new(ish) role as I move back to architecture

Back in May, I moved from Fujitsu to join risual. There were many reasons for me leaving, including that I think systems integrators are in for a really rough time as they attempt to adapt to a changing marketplace; that I was unhappy with some changes being made to the organisation and to my professional community; and that I had serious concerns about the company’s strategy for working with Microsoft (a partner whose technologies have been key to large parts of my career). I also wanted to get closer to technology again, and that wasn’t really an option for me where I was.

Jumping ship to a small but growing consultancy was a risky move and a six-month probation period gave me some concern but I’ve come through that and I have to say I’ve really enjoyed the last 7-and-a-half months. Of course, there have been challenges along the way but I’ve joined a great team (or family, as the directors prefer to refer to it) – and learning just after I joined that risual had been named Microsoft UK Partner of the Year for 2015 was a special bonus. I’m working bloody hard… but I don’t mind hard work when I can see where it’s headed, that it’s worthwhile, and that I’m enjoying it.

At its heart, risual is a consultancy business. That means that everyone who joins risual joins as a Consultant. The only exceptions are the support roles, sales people and Engagement Managers. risual doesn’t hire Architects directly, regardless of previous experience and background.

We do have an Architecture team though – and, earlier this month, I learned that my application had been successful and that, with immediate effect, I was to become one of the Enterprise Architects in risual’s Business Group. Whilst I’ve enjoyed working in the Unified Communications team, I’m a generalist and the guys there are specialists with some really good (deep) skills. My work now becomes more focused on achieving business outcomes through technology, helping customers to shape their strategy and leading some of the larger projects that we have from a technical perspective.

2015’s seen a lot of change as I rediscovered what it is I want to do and how to enjoy work again. 2016 looks like it will be the year I consolidate and build on my experience to drive my career forward. I’ve certainly got an increasingly-full diary with a challenging project to move a Government department to the Microsoft cloud, interspersed with some interesting business consulting engagements – and that’s just the next couple of months!

So, with that little update, I’m signing off for 2015. For everyone who reads this blog and the constant stream of tweets @markwilsonit, I’d to thank you for your support and to wish you all the best in 2016.

Moving on…

Just under ten years ago, I wrote a blog post to say I was leaving Conchango, and (re-)joining Fujitsu (it was ICL when I left).  Since then, I’ve moved through a succession of roles (technical, IT strategy and governance, management and pre-sales), worked with some extremely talented people and I’ve had some good times (as well as some less good) but one of the highlights has to be when I was given a Fujitsu Distinguished Engineer award last year.

Receiving a Fujitsu Distinguished Engineer award from Michael Keegan (Head of UK and Ireland region) and Jon Wrennall (CTO), in October 2014

Now, that time has come to an end, because today’s my last day at Fujitsu before I take up a new role in just over a week’s time.

For those who didn’t see my tweet last month, I’ll be returning to technical consultancy, joining the unified communications team at risual.

risual is a dedicated, UK based, globally recognised IT Services organisation delivering business aligned consultancy, solutions and services based solely on the Microsoft platform.  Along with several thousand others, I first came across risual when their corporate video was launched at Microsoft Future Decoded last year and what a refreshing change it made! Digging a little deeper told me they have a great reputation – and that’s capped off by appearing in The Sunday Times’ top 100 best small companies to work for list.

I have to admit I am a little anxious about the move – but really excited too and looking forward to joining the risual “family” and getting stuck in.  And, if ever there was proof of what a small industry we work in, I already found that I’m linked to quite a few of my new colleagues through Twitter or this blog!

Major change to my role at Fujitsu

Over the last few weeks, I’ve dropped a few hints online about a change in my job at Fujitsu. Some, eagle-eyed LinkedIn connections saw me update my profile a couple of weeks ago to add a new position – as Fujitsu’s Head of Practice and Lead Architect for Messaging in the UK and Ireland – and today is my first day (although I’ve been picking up parts of the role for a few weeks now).

After almost three years in a strategy role, supporting two Chief Technology Officers with very different areas of focus, it’s time for a new challenge. My new role is a mixture of line management and practicing consultant so I’m actually returning to my technical roots whilst gaining additional experience of directly leading a team and being responsible for growing part of our business (including some challenging financial targets). Added to that, as messaging moves into our Business and Application Services service line, this is an opportunity for me to work in an applications business whilst building on many years of infrastructure experience.  There’s also some pretty exciting stuff going on with Microsoft (I’m not sure that’s announced publicly, so I won’t say anything more here) – but it’s a great time for me to be making this move.

Messaging is not entirely new for me – from the mid-1990s through to the mid-2000s, I worked on a number of NT and Microsoft Mail/Exchange migrations/implementations and I was one of the consultants working on ICL’s partner stand at the Microsoft  Exchange 4.0 UK launch roadshow.  In addition, one of my technical career highlights was the work I did at Polo Ralph Lauren, to design and project-manage a migration from Novell Netware to Microsoft Windows Server, from Novell GroupWise to Microsoft Exchange Server and to roll out a standard desktop build across Europe, in multiple languages, with just two Windows XP images (one uniprocessor and one ACPI). The success of that project was down to the professionalism and capabilities of the team around me – and it will be just the same in this new role.

As for this blog, well, I’ve been pretty busy for the last few weeks, as I’ve juggled two jobs – and I expect I’ll be just as busy over the coming weeks and months – but I’m still tweeting and I’ll still knock out the odd blog post too.  There might be some more Microsoft Exchange and Lync content but I expect that the usual mix of photography, social media and observations on the state of tech will persist.  This blog has been here for 9 years now, the content just shifts slightly as I do different things in my life and it seems that some people still find it interesting enough to read (or at least to subscribe)!

New job/full disclosure

For some time now, this site has carried a disclosure notice and I generally avoid talking about my work here (for reasons of confidentiality – but also to prevent potential conflicts of interest).  Today I’m going to make an exception, because it’s the first day of a new job for me.

I’ve been a Senior Customer Solution Architect at Fujitsu since August 2005 and, in that time, I’ve worked on customer-facing project implementations; pre-sales consultancy and bid work; and, more recently, have carried out some internal roles evangelising technology, developing capability within our architect community and leading the technical strategy and direction for client device services, including the adoption of Windows 7 within our desktop managed service offering.  Whilst these roles have been interesting and varied, I was recently presented with an opportunity to join the Office of the CTO as a Strategy Consultant and today is my first day in that new role.

I’m not going to say too much about what I’ll be doing in the new role except that I’ll be promoting Fujitsu brand and opinion on a variety of topics and that’s why I felt it appropriate to write this blog post.  Regardless of my professional activities at Fujitsu, this site will still concentrate on the technology issues that I find interesting and it’s not going to become a marketing channel for my employer!

I’ve spent 6 years and many late nights building up this site, along with another year building a my reputation on Twitter and in other social media outlets – that’s my personal reputation as “Mark Wilson, Technologist” and not “Mark Wilson, Strategy Consultant at Fujitsu”.  So, just to make sure there’s no confusion: this site (markwilson.co.uk/markwilson.it or whatever domain name I might assign to it in the future) is my personal website;  the views and opinions here are personal and are not endorsed by my employer; if you see me commenting elsewhere on behalf of Fujitsu… well, that’s the day job – you know, the one that pays the bills!

New job at Fujitsu Services – no longer blogging at Conchango

Over the last few years, I’ve been a consultant for a major IT Services company; worked for a UK-based support services company (and hated most of my time there); contracted for Australia’s largest independent magazine distributor; worked in-house designing and project managing a Europe-wide infrastructure refresh for a major fashion design, marketing and retail organisation; and then I joined Conchango, a mid-sized consultancy which specialises in delivering technology-driven business solutions that incorporate the latest methodologies and technologies.

I’ve worked with Conchango, first as a client and then as a consultant, for about 3 and a half years in total but the time has come for me to move on. For anybody who lives within commuting distance of London or Surrey, enjoys the variety of work which consultancy offers, and who knows a significant amount about enterprise intelligence, interactive media, agile development and program management, or mobility, Conchango is a fantastic place to work. It feels a bit strange to be leaving a company that I still enjoy and which is packed with talented people but as Conchango’s focus shifts away from infrastructure services, I’ve decided to rejoin Fujitsu Services (it was ICL when I was there just over 5 years ago) to embrace a new role as a Senior Customer Solutions Architect, taking technical responsibility for IT infrastructure projects within their Architecture and Design Group.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most at Conchango (apart from being lucky enough to feature in the IT press) is that they encourage blogging (there’s a whole load of Conchango bloggers now) although my blog output has prompted some to comment on its volume and to say they almost expect to see what I had for breakfast appear next! One of my clients says he can find out what he’s been up to by reading these pages! I just hope that what I write is useful and that people enjoy reading it. Since last November, most of my posts here have been mirrored on my Conchango blog – from today, that will no longer be the case, and as far as I know, Fujitsu doesn’t have company-sponsored blogs, so this site is once again the single focus of my technology-related blogging (although I still hope to have the occasional article published on the Microsoft TechNet Industry Insiders blog).

I’ve got loads of stuff waiting for me to write about (but not much time to write it) – in the meantime, watch this space