Barry O'Donnell, Operations Director
Career so far...
I have held various positions in TSG, joining as Technical Consultancy Manager, then progressing to Project Manager, Group Support Manager, Technical Delivery Director through to my current role of Service Delivery Director. I have enjoyed the challenges each role presented and although varied they have all focused on technical consultancy and support which I’m very passionate about. I have been in my current role close to 2 years now, which sees me responsible for the delivery and support of Technical and Telecoms services throughout TSG.
This involves working with my teams and customers to ensure customer experience is priority, and that we consistently deliver high-quality, efficient and effective projects and support.
I thoroughly enjoy working with technology, no two days have been the same. Over the last 20 years my career has seen me designing, architecting, and implementing infrastructure solutions in a wide range of organisations and Countries, managing application and technical projects for National and International organisations, and managing large technical and application teams.
Working for an IT Service Provider there has always been a requirement to be trained and kept up to date in the latest technologies, as a result over the last 20 years I have been skilled and certified in several fields; ranging from Novell CNE in the early years, Microsoft MCSA/MCSE, SQL, SharePoint, Citrix NetScaler and Citrix XenApp to name a few. I realised early on that it would be difficult to recertify on so many products every few years, so I also went down the academic route and was awarded my BSc Applied Computing Degree from Strathclyde University in Glasgow and MSc Project Management Degree from The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. I also gained Chartered IT Professional – CITP from the British Computing Society.
After all those years my thirst for knowledge has continued and for the last few years I have worked towards ITIL Expert and finally completed my ITIL Managing Across the Lifecycle course in February 2018. I’m sure this won’t be the end of my studies!
What would you recommend as the most fundamental part of technology in a business?
Add value – technology must be aligned with the business strategy and deliver value to the business. Very often many organisations don’t fully align technology and IT with the business.
If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be and why?
I pondered over this question for quite a while and to be honest I wouldn’t want to be anyone else. What I would like is Bill Gates money for the week but be myself and treat my family and friends to a week to remember.
What will next year’s most overhyped industry buzzword be?
I think it will be much the same as 2017; cloud services, subscription, digital transformation, GDPR, cyber security.
Has 2017 been a good, bad or ugly year? (slightly more than one word answer please!)
2017 has been a great year for me, my family have been fit and well which is number one. I achieved several personnel objectives around my ITIL studies and our technical and support teams have had a fantastic year, in challenging times.
What would you have as your last meal?
For me it would have to be Spanish tapas followed by a chilled beer – in Spain of course!
What keeps you awake at night?
Right now, ransomware and security threats. When I first started out in IT, organisations had anti-virus protection and that was sufficient, with the impact of viruses often leading to slow machines, which could be cleaned, or rebuilt. This is no longer the threat, with ever advancing ransomware threats, customers without adequate protection and backups have a real threat of losing their valuable data forever!
What piece of technology could you not be without?
My Surface Pro, I can’t imagine working as efficiently without it. It’s small, light, portable yet powerful enough to allow me to efficiently work whenever I am – which is often all over the place. If I was asked this question 6 months ago I would have said my iPhone but given I have lost several now I will stick with my Surface Pro.
Have any of your predictions come true this year?
I always knew Office 365 would go from strength to strength and would continue to be adopted by organisations of all shapes and sizes. I also thought more organisations would embrace digital transformation, but this has often not been the case, with many not understanding the true meaning and understanding digital transitions role in their on-going success and competitive advantage.
What is the best partner/customer trip you have ever been on?
Last year I was invited to attend Autotask’s partner conference in Miami where the main keynote speaker was former US President Bill Clinton. I had seen Bill Clinton way back in 1992 in both San Diego and Washington as part of his presidential election, so it was strange to sit in his audience in Miami all those years later
What do you see as the channel’s biggest challenge in 2018?
To help organisations leverage the ever changing journey of technology. The market releases new features on an ever-increasing frequency, leaving many companies struggling to keep up and take advantage. It will be a real challenge enabling organisations to take advantage of the additional functionality.