Each week CIO UK puts its questions to the vendor community allowing them to demonstrate their expertise to you the CIO. This week, Mark Seemann, Product Strategy and Development Director, Outsourcery.
How would you describe your company in 150 characters in a Twitter post?
Outsourcery provides Unified Communications and Hosted IT services to small and medium sized businesses to make them more profitable by working smarter and more effectively.
How does your technology benefit a business or organisation?
Our technology allows small and medium sized businesses to use and benefit from the latest Microsoft server technology without having to make a capital investment, instead we allow businesses to consume this technology as a service - simply paying a small monthly fee.
How can you offer a partnership and help to CIOs to meet their targets?
For CIOs to meet their targets in this environment of recession, they need to deliver more with less. Our hosted software and voice services allow CIOs to achieve installation, configuration, customisation and training of the latest IT and comms technology without increasing their CAPEX and headcount budgets.
What do you think is the most pressing concern for CIOs?
In the current climate CIOs are being asked to up their game - deliver more capability and productivity for less money.
And how do you propose to solve it?
CIOs need to think outside the box - ie: outside their current IT delivery model - look at new technologies and extend their embrace of the internet - not just as an information access mechanism but as an actual extension of their own network - delivering applications for both fixed and remote employees. It is a brave step, but this will give their business more flexibility than they could have ever imagined.
What question should CIOs ask vendors that they don't usually ask?
Why do I have to buy the capability you offer, why can't I just rent it (on-demand) instead?
Name some smart CIO customers and why they are smart.
All CIOs that question the status quo and think out of the box, ones that don't just follow others like sheep.
What is the most exciting thing in technology at present, or coming downstream?
Present: Software as a Service. This next most exciting thing will be Unified Communications as a Service.
Name a single experience or event in your career and how it has shaped your leadership style?
In 1999, my second internet business won a coveted internet award for service quality, beating all the major players in the industry at that time - it made me realise that big is not always beautiful!
Which piece of technology do you wish you had thought of/designed/been involved with?
Several - but my two favorites are Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Networking and Presence.
Name the vendor that impresses you most?
Apple - for both beautiful and functional hardware design.
What do you see as the next big technology wave?
On demand communications and presence.
Who has/have been the most influential people in your career?
My mother and my father - both successful business people.
What has been your biggest mistake?
Overtrading my first internet business.
And your greatest success?
Starting my first business at 18 and making a profit.
How do you keep up to date with the march of technology?
I am a techie - so I read and then I tinker.
How do you deal with stress?
I swim and work out - a lot.
Which word or phrase do you most use/overuse?
"Impossible is a state of mind".
Which business (or other) books have been influential in your career?
Before the internet I always liked bulletin boards - and wondered how to make money out of them.
What else do you do outside of work?
I am a rescue diver and a technical diver - I aim to dive to 100m before I'm 40!