Back to CV

As Application Owner at LV= I lead support and development functions on and offshore for SharePoint, Drupal, Mendix and Shared Services. Our primary function is to support the business taking ownership of Incidents, Requests and Problems.

Coming into LV= with a fresh external perspective it was clear that there was room to lean down the systems we support and improve the services we provide. Providing consistent levels of support that were cost effective was a challenge to sustain with multiple skill sets spread across technologies that were either unique to LV=, dated or niche.

With my background in CRMs, web development and database design I passionately pursued a path which would eventually reveal the power of SharePoint and finally return value to the business. I'd also be introducing and incorporating the SharePoint development function into my role as Application Owner.

With this vision in mind and an opportunity to land our first big project, one overnight POC build and one demonstration later, we landed our first major project which still runs today. Business appetite grew and so did the team. Within the first 12 months of decommissioning old platforms and applications, taking on new projects that would have otherwise been costed to third party solutions, we saved almost a million pound in potential purchase costs, existing license renewals, automation of existing process and FTE time.

We were doing new and exciting things that the department hadn't seen before and recognition from our customer base saw our very first Team of the Year nomination. We we didn't win but were honoured to be selected.

The trend continued and as each week past our experience grew. We were able to deliver sites with an end to end user experience, workflow automation, custom web site and form design in weeks, sometimes days. The experience we gained and efficiency at which we worked allowed us to take on a full SharePoint migration, almost in parallel. We first decommissioned a very old 2007 farm, then 2010 which left us with a nice clean 2013 estate. We then ventured into a major migration project, 2013 to 2019 on prem making 365 ready.

An exciting future beckons with migration to 365 the next logical step, end user training, governance and new SPFx SharePoint development ventures 🙂

2011 – 2016, C4L – Service Desk Team Leader

In 2011 I joined C4L as Service Engineer where I graduated through three tiers of networking, systems, telecom and data centre technical support helping to maintain an average case volume of 130 tickets. As my skill set and experienced developed I worked on various external projects, the most exciting being the wireless and wired network deployment for BH Live at the Bournemouth International Centre.

After a successful period meeting objectives and KPIs, I was promoted to a managerial role. My primary responsibility was to improve operational and organisational efficiencies within the team, ensuring that incidents were resolved within SLA and to lead the service desk to ensure that team and individual KPIs were met.

I identified that in order to succeed I’d need to baseline current performance. With no method of producing statistics required to review past and present levels of service, I developed an application which imported data from an SQL database. With this information I was able to run reports using a user friendly interface. The application was subsequently used throughout Service and is still in use today.

The new information allowed me to present a business case that identified the direction required to initially restore and then improve levels of service. Through the acquisition of additional resource and introduction of process and troubleshooting documentation, the average case volume decreased to 30 tickets within 5 months. With focus on setting and maintaining customer expectations, positive customer feedback increased by an average of 45% per month and negative feedback decreased by an average of 85% per month.

Further into the role my managerial summaries established that while the team were able to maintain high standards of service during business as usual operations, P1 incidents and absentees were detrimental. I determined that extra resource wasn’t the solution but identified that 40% of our resource was applied to transactional units of work which were also accountable for the majority of negative feedback. My solution was automation and with the procurement of a Salesforce service management platform called Remedyforce, I designed and implemented a series of workflows which invoked an automated email process saving £40,000 per year in Service Desk roles, which were reinvested into Service Engineering.

During the process I acquired knowledge comparable to Salesforce and Remedyforce certification and was able to reject a series of Remedyforce configuration quotations ranging from £18,000 to £28,000.

The experience led me to inherit and become the lead Salesforce CRM and Remedyforce system administrator. Functions included BAU operations, new process implementation, change management, documentation and training.

The team leader role at C4L was focused around staff, customer care and business operations. Staff responsibilities included one to ones, KPI and objective identification and review, performance improvement plans, disciplinary procedures and appraisals. Operation and customer care activities included being a point of technical and account escalation, performance review and forecast and management summaries. I also processed major incident communications on the Network Operation Centre website and authored related publications.

Designed and developed a business website for my father in law. I continue to manage changes, hosting and domain control.

Designed and developed a business website for my wife. I continue to manage changes, hosting and domain control.

2006 - 2010

Information Developer

Taking on an Information Developer role was a new direction, something I hadn’t previously experienced. I joined a new team with high expectations. We were privileged to be located in the most famous building in China, Jin Mao Tower. Being part of such an organisation, and working with one of IBM’s most experienced managers, was motivating, challenging, and a journey set to develop myself in ways I hadn’t imagined.

As an Information Developer, I was responsible for writing technical publications regarding the IBM System z mainframe. Writing information in one’s native language is often regarded second nature. Several months of training and practice proved otherwise. IBM have strict measures which govern the quality of technical writing, and none more so than the expectations of our US counterparts.

One of the challenges of writing technical information is gaining sufficient understanding of the products you write about. This required me to develop a close working relationship with fellow US writers and developers. It was from these folks I gained my product knowledge. Endless questions, conference calls, all forms of converse technology can offer, and eventually I’d find myself in a position able to write accurate, quality technical information.

Quality Reviewer

IBM publications are translated into many languages, read by different target audiences and exposed to different cultures. Writing to satisfy such criteria, and additionally appreciate the IBM style and DQTI writing guides was only part of the challenge. As software doesn’t get released without test, writing doesn’t get published without review. We employed a quality peer review checklist, which was essentially a peer based review, test, and challenge of technical writing. These reviews were iteratively processed by local peer reviewers and subject to review by technical editors in the US.

Technical editors at IBM typically entertain 10 years of experience. During my third month I was presented an opportunity to potentially craft such a career. My manager arranged an interview with our US sponsors to consider my application. Unfortunately the opportunity came too soon as I lacked substantial writing, review, and editing background.

Encouraged by this vote of confidence I went on to play a lead role in the quality peer review team. I began by questioning the integrity of the review and how it was conducted. I later had a proposed revision of the quality review accepted by the US. Although progress was being made, I wasn’t convinced that the review procedure was adequate and sought ways to improve.

Lotus Database Developer

I learned about a powerful IBM tool called Lotus Domino Designer. The functionality and potential application of this product really opened my eyes. I discovered I could develop applications that could be integrated into our Lotus Notes mail and database environment.

Studying Lotus Domino Designer helped me to understand the technology behind Lotus Notes, but more importantly, IBM teamrooms. IBM teamrooms are essentially databases and are often used as document repositories. In some respects developing a teamroom database is much like developing a Microsoft Access database. Having a wealth of experience with Microsoft Access, I was driven by the potential that Lotus Domino Designer offered.

In my own time I become familiar with Lotus Domino Designer and studied the associated programming language. I used these new skills to develop a functional teamroom that offered more than just a document repository base. My most noticeable achievement was the Quality Peer Review function of the teamroom. Having doubted the current peer review process, a paper based checklist, I built a fully automated system that tracked and traced a review throughout a multiple stage life cycle. Quality review figures were automatically calculated, outstanding actions were assigned follow up requests, and project due dates carefully monitored.

IT Support

With the development of Lotus Domino databases come the requirement to provide education and on demand support. This furthered into general Lotus Notes support, Microsoft application and IBM Thinkpad support. I was also involved with the production of dual boot Linux machines.

Wiki Developer

I also took on the primary role as our local wiki website developer. I learned how to develop internal websites and present departmental information to IBMers worldwide. Although very different to HTML website design, it was another new challenge I was thrilled to learn. I later used these skills to develop a wiki for the ‘Chinese for you’ program I founded. Through the study of Chinese Mandarin, the Chinese for you program was launched to help overseas IBMers based in Shanghai improve communications and relations with IBM China.

Other roles and responsibilities included active leads in presenting various English education programs. These programs served somewhat in promoting our team as leading English speakers. They also contributed to many of the IBM China growth stories later published by IBM.

Flight Refuelling Limited

1999 - 2006

2003 – 2006 – Calibration engineer

Calibration reported to the Software Quality and Systems manager. My initial task was to understand how they controlled their data and managed their assets. Shortly after, the Fluke Metrology Calibration and Inventory management system was purchased. I was responsible for setting up the system and discovering a way to migrate the data from the old DOS based system. Following the successful implementation of ‘Metcal’, I learned that to appreciate and take full advantage of the system, I’d need to commit on a more permanent basis. This was something I wanted to be apart of and soon found myself applying my trade as a Calibration engineer.

Working in the Calibration department involved substantial forms of departmental management. General office activities included raising purchase orders, maintaining records, control of calibration events, maintaining relations with new and existing clients, and market research. Laboratory activities included mechanical and electrical calibration, repair and recommendation, maintaining an efficient turnaround time, and effective understanding of how to run a Calibration laboratory.

My favoured achievement was the Calibration Inventory database I designed to share the data from ‘Metcal’. This allowed asset owners to query information about their equipment without the need to call or visit the laboratory.

2000 – 2003 – Software Quality engineer

Discovering quality moulded the way I thought then and plays a vital role in the decisions I make today. I’ve always considered myself very fortunate to have landed this position. I worked directly with the Software Quality and Systems manager. Part of my fortune was to have worked with such an inspirational manager. He introduced me to quality assurance and helped me develop a quality mindset at a very early stage of my technical development.

I spent my early days studying internal quality documentation and later learning about quality standards like ISO and TickIT. I learned about the documentation of company processes and procedures, the importance of managing and maintaining data, the role of quality inspectors, and the art of auditing. It was during this period that I was introduced to databases and Microsoft Access. My primary role as a Software Quality Engineer was to conduct audits, write company control procedures and develop database systems that managed the control of project data.

2000 – 2006 – Microsoft Access database developer

Developing databases was an ongoing role I thoroughly enjoyed. This involved designing, developing, and providing support as required. Here are some of the databases I created:

  • AAR Tooling
  • Audit Plan Checklist IDs
  • Audit StatusBill of Materials
  • Calibration Failures
  • Calibration Inventory Reference
  • Cobham CR
  • Audit database
  • COC & Invoice
  • DRL database
  • DTS Tool Numbers
  • Engineering Record Card
  • Fire Emergency Register
  • FRL Stamp Record
  • Human Resources Library Log
  • Manufacture Output Performance
  • Materials Lab Invoice System
  • Mettrack
  • Minor Class 2 Concession
  • MRB
  • MSQ Reference
  • Paint Shop Pricing
  • Print Labels
  • Proprietary Software Issue
  • QA Log
  • QA standards Audit
  • QCDR Inspection Reports
  • Quality Audits
  • Quality Grade 1 parts Approval Database
  • Risk Assessments
  • Safety Test Record
  • Software Library Log
  • Test Cert
  • Tooling
  • Treatments data
  • Treatments Release Documentation
  • UBR
  • Watchman Equipment Record

2000 – 2006 – IT Support

Having developed a close working relationship with our IT Help Desk support team, I provided assistance with local call requests and had privileged access to our server environment. I was responsible for all software and hardware support issues in the Calibration Department. This included the maintenance and backup of our Calibration server. I was also first port of call for general IT issues in the Quality Assurance environment. Further responsibilities included internal and external training and support for the Microsoft Access databases I developed.

1999 – 2000

  • Machine shop
  • Electrical maintenance
  • Electrical department
  • Inspection
  • Pipe shop
  • Fitting shop
  • Welding

During the first year of my apprenticeship I learned various hands-on skills.

2003 - Private contract

I was hired to design a Microsoft Access database for a local company based in Poole. Poole Joinery were seeking someone to design an application that could handle their customer accounts, purchase history, contacts, and manage day to day administration.

1998 – 1999 – Shopfloor assistant

During my last year of school, i took a part time job that helped towards the purchase of my first car. Here i learned the art behind maintaining the quality of fresh foods and goods.

1998 – Protocol Solutions, Southampton

Two-week work experience as a computer engineer. Responsible for building and maintaining computers.

1998 – 1999 – Abbey Life, Bournemouth

Achieved awards in the Young Enterprise scheme. A year long project encouraging young academics to set up and run a business.