How would you describe your company in 150 characters in a Twitter post?
DCSL Software develops tailor-made database applications for departments of enterprise level organisations.
How does your technology benefit a business or organisation?
Creating a tailor-made application is much, much easier than most people realise. The breakthrough of the browser, and all of the cutting-edge technologies that work behind this, means that flexible, customised applications are cheaper and easier to come by than ever before.
Whether you want to transfer the wealth of information you've already laboriously typed into spreadsheets, or start again from scratch, it is possible for a department or division to have a new, customised business application up and running within just four to six weeks - maybe less - and at a cost of just a few thousand pounds.
How can you offer a partnership and help to CIOs to meet their targets?
CIO's crave instant access to higher level information, such as dashboards, that will enable them to make decisions that influence their organisations performance. By working in partnership with CIO's we help them access the very information they need in a more flexible and dynamic way.
By modernising the software, hosting it centrally (somewhere where it's safe, backed up, and always available), organisations soon find that they are able to do things they couldn't do before, such as access all of their files and data from just about anywhere their users might be, using whatever device is at their disposal.
What do you think is the most pressing concern for CIOs?
Efficiency, productivity and cost. These are difficult times and I believe CIO's will be looking to make sure their organisation has the best tools to do their job at the least cost ensuring they out perform their competitors.
And how do you propose to solve it?
By turning application development on its head through actually spending more time understanding the problem before trying to come up with the solution - a fundamental differentiator between off-the-shelf software and tailor-made solutions. With a tailor-made system designed around the users' requirements, it will then empower staff to use the application, because it works well and is easy to use which enables individuals to be self sufficient and focus on the task in hand.
What question should CIOs ask vendors that they don't usually ask?
I believe most CIO's ask all the right questions, I'm just not sure they get all the right answers. In my opinion, there is too little focus on outcomes and RoI and on the use of emerging technologies such as browser-based, hosted applications -- this should be a key draw for CIO's at present.
Name some smart CIO customers and why they are smart.
Simon Millington, Chairman and CEO at Sports Plc. Their organisation has grown very quickly from small beginnings in 2001 to what is now a large e-commerce retailer. Their exponential growth could only be achieved through the sort of flexibility a tailor-made solution brings - from wizard-based interfaces for self teaching of new employees, through intuitive automated applications for departments - I think he's a very smart man
What is the most exciting thing in technology at present, or coming downstream?
Microsoft and Yahoo joining forces is very exciting. It would be great to see real a battle with Google. Search is going to get even better because they are all going to be fighting for each other's market share.
Google Chrome OS is looking interesting - I think that the introduction of Google Chrome OS will mean that computers are going to be more accessible, cheaper and simpler. So we will be paying virtually nothing for a device to get onto the internet.
Which piece of technology do you wish you had thought of/designed/been involved with?
Google Street View is in my opinion one of the most profound technological and controversial breakthroughs in modern computing. The reality that you can now walk around any street in most of the world's cities, including people's neighbourhoods, via the internet, is bizarre and exciting. It must have been quite something to be the first to drive those camera-cars around and realise the technology was possible to join the pictures together and make a website that enables people to go on and so smoothly navigate around. I can see it being installed in Sat-Navs next! I really wish I'd been involved in all of that.
Name the vendor that impresses you most?
Rackspace - they provide intelligent hosting solutions along with a highly commended support team.
What do you see as the next big technology wave?
Mobile devices on the internet. Users will be able to properly connect to the internet at full broadband speed from anywhere with their mobiles. iPhones are leading the way on this, so the next generation of all makes of devices will allow full access to business browser-based applications through the mobile.
Name a company you see as hot.
And what is it about their business you desire to emulate?
Their support is legendary and we aspire to be labeled with the same reputation.
Do you rely on PowerPoint?
No - we very rarely use it!
Which tools or tactics have given you most success in communicating up/down/across?
I think the best way is the old-fashioned way of talking to people face to face. Getting to know the client or potential customer as an individual as well as a businessperson and building a strong relationship from that makes all the difference.
Who has/have been the most influential people in your career?
As part of my job I have to have an understanding of both the business side of things as well as a comprehensive technical knowledge. In that sense I feel that Andrew Millington and Chris Crawshay joint managing directors of the DCSL Group, have taught me everything I needed to know in business and Gary Lovell (CTO of Exclaimer) has taught most of what I know today in my programming life.
What has been your biggest mistake?
I think my biggest mistake in my career is employing unsuitable people; they end up being disruptive, using all your time and energy, and in some instances resulting in mistakes or unhappy customers - I think that has been my biggest mistake.
And your greatest success?
I think my greatest success was providing a new system, named QPoint, to the biggest employer in the UK - the NHS. This is a truly comprehensive system built from the ground up in a short space of time and we are now seeing the success of the system with thousands of people using it - that is definitely something I am most proud of.
How do you keep up to date with the march of technology?
Through being a Microsoft Gold partner we attend various events, read their latest material and trial their software. I also like to read the BBC News Technology website everyday which details high-level news and announcements on the industry as a whole. In terms of our industries in both software development and dot net development - I subscribe to various newsletters specific to those industries.
How do you deal with stress?
I'M NOT STRESSED!!!!! ?
What profession would you most/least like to attempt?
If I hadn't ended up in computing I would've loved to have been a concert pianist.
Which word or phrase do you most use/overuse?
"Have you done it yet?" - It's probably the most used word throughout the company and I will keep saying it until I get the answer I want.
Which business (or other) books have been influential in your career?
The 7 habits of highly effective people - by Stephen Covey. Read CIO UK review here.
The book is about people management and leadership but not only about working with people but also working with yourself - learning to be self managed and understanding people from other points of view.
Do you have a sport you practice or sportsperson/team that you follow?
I play football as it keeps me fit and you get to meet people but I am no good at it!! I don't really support a team; however I enjoy the atmosphere when England is playing football.
What else do you do outside of work?
I spend most of my time with my wife, our dog and with close friends, but I also very much enjoy playing the piano as well as being a bit of a car enthusiast.