Prior to my family’s emigration to Canada (2006–2007), I commissioned a professional employment consultancy to help create a curriculum vitae, resume and portfolio for the North American market, focusing on my skills as an Information Technology (IT) consultant.
Listed below is the detailed list of questions and answers that were to inform their work.
If you’re a prospective client, I stand by my answers at the time. Of course, since then there has been considerably more water under the bridge; my life has been anything but slow.
If you’re one of my students, referred here to prepare for a job interview or coursework, then think carefully about the questions, and think about how you would answer them. Compare my answers to yours, but remember, as a student starting out on a career, you won’t have my history of previous experience to fall back on; and don’t consider that my answers are necessarily right, wrong, or even the best, they are simply my answers.
How would your aptitudes and skills fit in here? How would you improve on my list? What would your goals be for Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?
If you’re a prospective client or employer—how can my experience benefit your organization?
How many years experience do you have in this field?
I’ve been working as an IT professional since 1992. Mostly in supervisory/management roles, with two years as head of information technology for a large rural highschool.
What can you offer an employer that would be an asset to them?
A major asset can be seen from the evidence of my emigration to Canada, namely a flexibility and adaptability to new challenges and a new way of life.
In addition, during my career as an IT professional for private industry, local government and the education sector, I have developed a wide range of skills in a variety of software and hardware, including desktop and server operating systems, managed backup, emergency recovery and security strategies, centrally managed anti-virus tools, hardware and software firewall configuration, application software packages, internet browser software and communication software.
Technical knowledge, coupled with years of experience and proven, transferable, generic skills, such as project management, personnel and budget management, communication & presentation skills and report writing would be a key asset to any organization.
What is your best selling tool in qualifying for this line of work?
Extensive real-world experience in a huge array of client-facing roles, from negotiating support agreements, designing and implementing corporate training strategy, managing large and small-scale projects and team leadership to an advanced level of technical knowledge.
Why should employers consider you over others applying for the same position?
I thrive on new challenges, new methods of working and am not afraid to make major changes to meet these challenges. This can be seen from my imminent emigration.
What would you like employers to know about you?
I have a proven track record of success, during my five years with United Kingdom local government, I received three substantial promotions. This success is the result of an enthusiasm for, and a personal pride, in my career.
It is this enthusiasm which provides me with a highly motivated work ethic, whilst not losing focus on my family and personal life.
How can you help a company or its clients?
I bring with me, a package of experience, technical knowledge, professionalism, energy and enthusiasm. I am highly client-focused and motivated to getting the best value for money for my company and the client – believing them to be one and the same thing.
List your 10 primary attributes (personal characteristics / traits) which help you in your profession. Explain how they are an asset to an employer.
Concentrating on the most important aspects of a manager’s duties enables your team and yourself to best target energy, initiative, creativity and expertise.
Acting with a sense of urgency, a team leader first focuses on what must be done, then applies their team by utilizing individual skills and initiative, until the best results possible are achieved.
Initiative is an important quality that every manager must learn how to use, to perform routine duties and to work through challenging situations. It is also a quality that a manager should develop and reinforce among their team, in order to promote high performance and morale.
The strength of any organization lies in the competency of it’s staff. It should be borne in mind that one can never become too competent; there is always something more to learn, always someone with whom to share learning and experience, and always another whose knowledge and experience can enhance your own.
I believe effective communication to be the single most important element in overcoming any challenge faced by an organization or it’s personnel. Effective communication is also the single most important factor that can prevent a challenge becoming a difficulty.
There is no denying that politics are the means by which any organization conducts it’s affairs, internally or with clients and suppliers. Professional conduct also helps people smooth out the occasional wrinkles that emerge in relationships within an organization. Well-intentioned and functional politics are therefore vital to the effective management of any organization.
I am convinced that, as a manager within any organization, one must not only act with integrity of word and deed, but of idea and principle. The morale of a team is a direct result of how that team perceives their manager’s integrity toward them.
A manager should recognize that, whilst one member of staff may sometimes make the difference between the success or failure of a given objective, the truth is, that the cooperative, collaborative, and corroborative effort of an entire team, is much more likely to result in operational success.
When confronted by error or misfortune, there is nothing to be gained by ignoring the issue or not taking responsibility. Neither will solve problems or soothe feelings; rather a trust in personal ability and in that of your team will engender a positive outcome.
A firm commitment to mission objectives of the organization and to the team is a prerequisite of any manager, and a necessity for the success of any enterprise.
Since obtaining your degree, what has been your number one achievement in each of your previous positions? Explain how you accomplished each and what the results were.
As a result of long-term staff absence and a failure to recruit, when I took over the management of the Rickstones School ICT department, pupils for the 11 to 13 year old age group had not had a specialist ICT teacher for half of the academic year, pupils in the 14 to 15 year age group (taking an important examination course), were in a similar position, with the additional complication of having no guidance on coursework which comprised 60% of their qualification. Lastly, the 16 to 18 year old curriculum had never been managed by the same person as supervised the 11 to 15 year old courses. As a result, courses for 16 to 18 year olds did not naturally extend the skills developed in previous years and student examination results therefore reflected this lack of logical progression.
Whilst waiting for an additional ICT specialist teacher to be employed, I split my timetable such that I was able to teach classes in all year groups, thereby attending each class on an alternating basis.
Recruitment problems were addressed by amending our recruitment strategy in terms of both advertising and employment package.
Lesson plans and resources were created for each class, which allowed non-ICT specialist, “cover” teachers to deliver ICT lessons according to the National Curriculum, and regular meetings between myself and cover teachers reinforced their ability to continue delivering such lessons.
Fourteen to fifteen year old students were provided with new coursework guidelines as hard copy and as electronic resources available across the internet. Extra-curricular sessions were scheduled, where parents/guardians were invited to see where coursework could be further improved at home.
Students were consulted in terms of where they felt their strengths and weaknesses lay, and how they might develop these in future years. This was used to completely re-evaluate the courses delivered in the fourteen to eighteen year old age groups. Courses now delivered are designed to directly follow-on from each year and to develop skills required by industry and by institutes of higher academic learning.
Student examination results for the last academic year were similar, in fact marginally better, than previous years, thereby illustrating that, despite the disturbance to studies, the strategy I had adopted to resolve the issues had been successful. Student feedback has also been extremely positive, and projected examination results for this current academic year are approximately 12% higher for the 11 to 13 year old age group, 15% higher for 14 to 15 year olds and 14% higher for the 16 to 18 year old age group.
Recruitment has been successful, with two, experienced ICT specialists in post as of September 2005 and January 2006.
Lastly, I have created a full ICT strategy document, outlining a long-term development plan for the Rickstones School ICT department and it’s influence across the school curriculum. This plan has been enthusiastically adopted by the Rickstones academic board and governing body.
London Borough of Brent
In late 1998 I was offered the challenge of leading the operation team charged with removing all 1800 PC workstations, more than 60 servers, local area networking and wide area networking equipment, deemed “non-year 2000 compliant”, from all of the London Borough of Brent’s premises. Replacing equipment with fully tested year 2000 compliant equipment and migrating all data from the Windows for Workgroups 3.11 client and Novell Netware server environment to a Windows 95/NT 4.0 workstation client mix and Windows NT 4.0 server domain structure.
This project had a series of strict deadlines and milestones, budgets for each department and of course, one final deadline which could not be overrun (i.e. midnight, December 31st 1999).
I hand-picked a team of six departmental engineers and two external contract staff, before beginning an extensive period of client consultation, fact-finding and research into data storage and processing requirements, prior to embarking on the main project.
All data was methodically backed-up, tested and restored before being transferred to the new environment. Upon migration, all departments completed feedback reports and met with myself and the assistant project manager, before signing each stage off as complete. Regular follow-up reports and meetings would then continue until October of 1999, when the migration stage of hardware, software and data was declared complete.
Meetings with senior managers from all departments were then held between October and December 1999, in order to ascertain any further issues. Wide area network management issues were then consolidated (e.g. scripting and fine-tuning administrative settings), prior to the end of the year.
As a result of such extensive preparation, client consultation, a planned, methodical implementation, a well-trained, motivated and focused team, the project was delivered to time and within budget for all departments.
It should also be noted that during this period, all members of the Brent IT team involved in the project, were approached by IT recruitment agencies, offering one year, year 2000-related contracts worth, on average, in excess of $120,000. All members of my team remained on the Brent project, and were rewarded with a “loyalty and performance bonus”, of approximately $10,000 in February 2000. Such a bonus scheme is entirely unprecedented in United Kingdom local/regional government, and, to the best of my knowledge, this was the first and only time such an award has been made.
Drake and Scull Airport Services
When I first joined Drake and Scull Airport Services, the technical support department to which I was assigned was responsible for airport departments such as flight data recording, three aircraft maintenance hangars and two further technical hangars specialized for Concorde. My department had more than six hundred outstanding fault reports, requests for technical help and live projects.
The majority of these outstanding requests had already been completed, but not signed off by the client, had been cancelled by the client, but again not signed off or the client was dissatisfied in some way with the status of the request.
After fully researching the status of each client request, open for longer than service level agreements stipulated they should be, meetings were scheduled with each of the client departments concerned.
A large number of issues required considerable negotiation and a strict timetable of technical work for my team. However, a system of bonuses and overtime allowances helped to motivate the team to clear much of the backlog of open client requests.
As a result of the strategies outlined above, by late December of 1997, more than 450 of the outstanding 600+ client requests, were cleared with the agreement of the airport departments concerned.
When I began my employment with Fiction Clothing United Kingdom Ltd. The company was using >20 standalone, IBM-compatible personal computers. Data was shared by removable diskette, whilst two of these PC’s connected to a SCU Unix database using terminal emulation software.
During my three month contract with Fiction Clothing, I implemented a local area network for the company’s head office, with dial-up-networking connections to remote (European) branches.
I designed and implemented head office network security, backup, data archiving and disaster recovery strategies. In addition, I was responsible for the development of the company’s GUI database in Microsoft Access, and the migration of data from the SCO Unix source.
Lastly, within strict budgetary controls, I developed the company’s initial internet presence, including translations into French, German, Italian and Spanish.
When I began work on the post-graduate program, the research project complimented on-going Ph.D. work conducted by my academic supervisor. This necessitated the collection of sound data, from a number of captive domestic and wild dogs (including wolves).
These requirements meant that it was necessary for me to enter into discussion with a range of organizations, which kept captive dogs and wolves (e.g. laboratories, kennels and zoological collections), in order to provide access to their resources. These organizations are understandably reluctant to allow access to their premises for reasons of security (particularly industrial research laboratories, housing domestic dogs and zoological collections).
Following discussions with several organizations, I had secured access not only for my research, but for other King’s College-affiliated researchers in the foreseeable future.
Self-Employed IT Consultant
Whilst working for myself I was frequently approached by organizations that required backup, security and disaster recovery strategies. As a result, I had developed a number of packages which could be tailored to the requirements of individual companies.
In early August of 2001, terrorist bombings in Ealing, West London, damaged the premises of two of my previous client organizations. Following the disaster recovery procedures laid down by myself, both companies had relocated to backup premises and were fully operational with no Information Technology “downtime” whatsoever.
What was the biggest hurdle you overcame in these positions? Explain how you accomplished each and what the results were.
In my current position, the greatest hurdle so far has been taking on the Head of Department role, restructuring the department, including recruitment of specialist staff, re-creating full schemes of work for all age groups, management of on-going curriculum delivery as the only IT specialist on staff, infrastructure management and budget planning for the next academic year; whilst simultaneously completing the extensive training requirements of a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT).
A complication of this process was in the winning over of established management, convincing these managers that a Newly Qualified Teacher could make a good department head. This has been successfully achieved and has been evidenced by my inclusion on the academic board of Rickstones School and Sixth Form College.
London Borough of Brent
During my tenure as the 1st/2nd Line Support Manager for the London Borough of Brent, it became obvious to all management that the Information Technology Unit (ITU) was in need of a complete restructure to provide the necessary level of client support and infrastructure management in the foreseeable future.
This required the following key points of action… (1) Streamlining of the existing ITU helpdesk, replacing a non-technical, helpdesk team with a team of trained support engineers, capable of visiting site to resolve fault reports if necessary. (2) Creation of more advanced levels of technical support (3rd level consultancy), to enable 1st/2nd line engineers to escalate issues or projects requiring advanced technical knowledge and/or project management. (3) Merging of telecommunications personnel with those of the network infrastructure team, to facilitate future implementation of Voice Over Internet Protocol. (4) Streamlining ITU financial management and administration. (5) Replacing management information systems throughout the department.
The re-structuring process took almost a year to plan and, liaising with the local government legal department, finalize a strategy which allowed for a supportive departure from the organization, for those staff that no longer had a role in the future of the unit, and to make certain that each stage of the plan adhered to corporate policy and United Kingdom employment law.
The process was completed successfully and resulted in an efficient, cost-effective organization, producing best value in support and project delivery. This was confirmed by an internal “Best Value” audit of the ITU in the following year.
Drake and Scull Airport Services
The short-term contract for Drake and Scull Airport Services was intended to resolve the issues of outstanding client requests through their helpdesk system. The biggest hurdle in this respect was in overcoming the resistance of some clients to come to agreement on long-running disputes over technical faults or issues with incomplete projects.
A personally diplomatic, practical attitude, with a willingness to take responsibility for the outcome of such issues, during my meetings with clients and the following resolution process, enabled the technical support department to work on priority tasks agreed with the client. In this manner, we successfully closed more than two hundred requests for technical support and projects, which had remained outstanding due to operational or technical difficulties.
The biggest hurdle which had to be overcome during my contract with the Fiction Clothing company, was the lack of budget for the project they wished to be implemented. Each stage of the project had to be discussed in detail, and any spending (e.g. local area network equipment or cabling) approved, at the directorship level at the time of implementation. This meant that, despite plans being submitted for approval prior to work commencing, such work had to be approved in stages as it progressed. Due to a lack of co-operation and communication at this level of the company, this posed difficulties with delivering the work required on schedule and at best value for the client.
In order to meet project requirements, utilizing strong inter-personal skills, I cultivated an open, professional relationship with company directors, making certain to keep each fully informed of progress via formal written reports and informal, verbal briefings. As a result, I was able to complete the work required to schedule, without incurring unnecessary costs.
The major hurdle in completing the initial stages of the research, was in gaining access to the high-security premises of an industrial pharmaceuticals laboratory, housing more than two hundred domestic dogs for research purposes.
In the United Kingdom, organizations which use domestic animals for scientific research, have to maintain the highest standards of security and secrecy with regard to their locations and activities. As a result, permission is rarely given to student researchers requesting access to their resources.
Following written correspondence, telephone conversations and a personal meeting with senior representatives of the pharmaceuticals company, I not only achieved access for my own research, but for all students attached to the research projects being run by my academic supervisor, under the auspices of King’s College London, London University.
Did your company or department adopt any suggestion you may have made? What was the suggestion and benefit to the company?
My position as Head of Information Technology at the Rickstones School and College required me to make strategic-level decisions with regard to the operations of the information and communications technology department of a large, local highschool.
Previous positions (e.g., 3rd line support consultant for IT department of regional government and running my own business as an IT consultant), have required me to advise on information technology strategies and implement those strategies as appropriate.
In post as Head of the Information Technology Department for the Rickstones School and College, I was called upon to make a number of strategic decisions which were taken up by my employer, with the aim of improving examination success for approximately 900 students… (1) Changing the examination courses offered by the school to all year groups, aged 11 to 18. (2) Making substantial hardware and software investment to enable delivery of the re-structured curriculum. (3) Implementation of a secure, school-wide wireless network, to complement an investment in a large number of laptop computers. (4) Adoption of a long-term strategy document, for the direction of the ICT department and it’s integration with all other departments throughout the school. Copies of this document are available upon request.
Benefits of these decisions have already been seen from the maintenance of examination grades over an extremely disturbed academic year for all students, and the projected grades for the next academic year. Student feedback has also been extremely positive.
In addition, suggestions made by myself to client organizations as an independent consultant, resulted in a seamless continuity of business service following terrorist bombings of the local area.
Have you been the recipient of any special awards or recognized by superiors for outstanding performance in any area? If so, what award? What did you do to earn this award / recognition? (Indicate which position.)
Year 2000 loyalty and performance bonus of approximately $10,000.
Completion of the regional government year 2000 upgrade project, for the London Borough of Brent, to time and budget.
Were you selected over other employees to perform a certain function due to some unique skill, attribute, or talent? For what were you selected and why?
At the Rickstones School and College, I was asked to take over the management of the Information and Communications Technology department, following the early retirement (due to ill-health), of the incumbent department head.
In my position with local government, I was offered the opportunity to manage the physical implementation of the largest technical project ever undertaken by the unit.
In what ways have you contributed to the success of your employers? How did you accomplish this? What were the results?
In delivering a well-managed, forward-thinking and financially sound information technology support and projects package, the service contributes to overall business success by underpinning all aspects of a company, and enabling the organization to meet operational requirements.
In a more direct manner, the success of the ICT department at Rickstones School and College, contributes to the overall examination success of it’s pupils and enables other departments to successfully incorporate modern technology into their schemes of work.
In today’s market place, a business operating without a fully functioning IT department, capable of delivering modern communications and information systems, simply cannot compete.
A major prerequisite for a successful IT support package is feedback from the client. I have demonstrated the value of this approach in my positions as a self-employed consultant, Drake and Scull Airport Services and in regional government. Discussions with clients to achieve realistic service level agreements (SLA), then regular, follow-up meetings, to establish how a service is meeting requirements, and how it can improve, are essential. A similar approach to project management, must also be established.
In each of my positions, I have established reliable, quantitative methods of gauging customer satisfaction.
On-going monitoring or progress of both support and project work, is also essential to meeting SLA’s and project deadlines.
Maintaining a highly-focused, motivated and competent team to operate within such a framework, has always been third essential for delivering a successful Information Technology department. To this end, staff satisfaction, career development and a supportive environment within which to work, have been on-going aims in any department I have managed.
What projects or achievements have you accomplished which you are most proud of? Explain the challenge, action, and result. (Indicate which position.)
During my employment with regional government, I was approached by a senior social services manager that supervised twelve remote premises, serving as refuges for abused women and their children. Each office required IT resources (connected to the corporate data network for access to centrally managed anti-virus software, e-mail and the internet), plus, both mothers and children had requested computers for the children to use for homework and entertainment. This was complicated by the fact that the social services manager, requesting what amounted to a major technical project, had no funds available to purchase hardware, software, LAN equipment or WAN connectivity. The project amounted to a little in excess of $240,000 dollars including full WAN connectivity for the first year.
Over a period of three weeks, I approached several government departments in the process of upgrading their own equipment, and discarding hardware which could be used by the refuge centers. I convinced budget holders to allow this older equipment to be used on “the refuge project”. In six weeks, my team (donating considerable amounts of their own spare time) had completely fitted each of the refuge buildings with networking equipment, one-year old personal computers, software and printers.
In conjunction with the senior manager who had approached me, I then attended meetings with social services directors, who, upon seeing the progress made thus far, agreed to fund WAN connectivity for each office for the first year.
Within eight weeks, each refuge office was fully outfitted and connected to the corporate data network.
After the first year, the refuge offices separated from the social services department and became a fully self-supporting, charitable organization with whom I still maintain contact.
What type of professional expertise did you gain/learn from working in any of your positions? (Indicate which position.) In what ways did you employ this newly acquired knowledge? How has it helped you do your job better or benefitted the company?
As a self-employed consultant I developed my technical knowledge, communication skills with other professionals at all levels of an organization, customer focus and practical experience of support and project management.
Over the research scholarship, I developed report writing skills and a diplomatic approach to liaising with external agencies.
In the Fiction Clothing company, web development skills using a WYSIWYG interface for HTML generation were expanded for the purposes of creating their company internet site.
Drake and Scull Airport Services allowed me to develop helpdesk management skills, supervising teams of engineers of varying disciplines in order to deliver projects and support to negotiated deadlines.
The London Borough of Brent allowed me to develop project management skills on large-scale projects, within the environment of a corporate body (adhering to corporate policy and negotiated service level agreements).
In addition, the London Borough of Brent invested in my technical training by facilitating continual professional development through provision of technical and managerial training courses, e.g. (June 2002) Implementing Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional and Server (Course No.: 2152C). (July 2002) Implementing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure (Course No.: 2153BCP). (September 2001) Internal training course on implementation of career appraisal for professional staff in my department. (November 1998) Windows 95 Support and Networking: Hands-On. (September 1998) Local Area Networks: Implementation and Configuration.
As a teacher and a head of department, the Rickstones School has enabled me to hone communication and leadership skills, develop a long-term, strategic outlook to management, whilst further developing my skills as a facilitator of youth and adult learning.
The knowledge and skills I have developed in each post have built on a previous skill-set. They have contributed to my fulfilling new roles within each organization and taking on new responsibilities through promotion and expansion of my department’s remit where applicable.
In addition, training such as the Microsoft courses (see above), allowed me to facilitate the further upgrade of the organization’s Windows NT 4.0 server/domain based network format, to that of the current Windows Server 2000 and 2003 Active Directory structure.
I have been able to bring the on-going, development of my technical knowledge, problem-solving and managerial experience into each of my roles, and none more so than my current position; shaping the future of the IT department and it’s infrastructure for the Rickstones School.
Specifically, this has allowed me to…
>> Design and implement the migration of user accounts, data and network resources, from a Windows NT 4.0 domain environment to Active Directory services.
>> Plan and implement secure wireless LAN services for the Rickstones School.
>> Design and document a long-term strategic plan for the ICT department at Rickstones School and how this can be of benefit for every department within the organization.
>> Restructure and provide focus for a struggling department, recruiting experienced, specialist, personnel.
>> Restructure the entire curriculum and associated schemes of work, for all year groups of a rural high-school with more than 900 students.
Did you have to overcome adversity, ambiguity, or boundaries to accomplish what you knew was important to the company? Explain. What type of people, mediation and / or leadership skills did you use?
During one of my short-term contracts, lack of communication between directors of the company was due to the three company directors closely related and having a poor personal relationship. The relationship between each was one of such animosity, that they frequently refused to speak to each other beyond verbal abuse.
The company required the contract to be completed, with the head office fully networked, data migration completed and an internet “presence” in place, prior to a fashion exhibition in September of that year.
In order to cultivate a professional relationship with each of the company directors, I held daily briefings with each director (on alternating days, e.g., first director on day one, second on day two, then repeating after I had met each). Formal written reports in addition to briefings were issued, and I encouraged electronic transfer of information, obviating the need for a face to face meeting of the three.
I did, insist on three full meetings where all directors were present with myself. This necessitated that I dictate the time and place, setting the agenda and laying firm guidelines for objectives and discussion, then having to keep firm control of such discussions as the meetings progressed.
What was the result? The behavior of the three most senior members of the company resulted in unnecessary delays, poor planning & preparation, and slightly higher costs than would usually have been the case (better preparation would not have required some of the contingency spending which became necessary).
Nevertheless, the end result was the successful completion of the project/s to client specifications, and a handover according to schedule.
Have you met any hard-to-accomplish goals? How did you accomplish this?
In early 2003 I made the decision to move from corporate information technology management to education. This had two major aims… (1) As part of our family’s long-term plan to emigrate to Canada, qualifying as a teacher provided me with greater employment opportunities in our intended homeland. (2) Working as a teacher allowed me to explore IT training (something which I had greatly enjoyed in previous positions), from a new and challenging perspective, teaching all levels of IT skills to age groups ranging from young teenagers to eighteen year-olds.
This involved moving from a position with a far higher salary, to a trainee position attached to two high schools as part of a full-time, post-graduate, course in education; this was coupled with the commitment to a young family.
To complete the course successfully, required an extremely high level of commitment to both work and family.
I entered into both the theoretical and practical aspects of education, with the same degree of focus, motivation and enthusiasm, with which I have approached all other aspects of my career. This resulted in highly successful feedback from the schools to which I was attached, and first-class grades for the assignments, which formed the theoretical aspects of my education training.
In addition to the commitment I demonstrated to work and college, I did not lose focus on the fact that I was working to provide a better future for my family. As a result, I spent all of my free time with my wife and children, making certain that the increased level of study and work did not adversely effect our time together. To this end, well equipped and highly specified IT resources, allowed me to access college services remotely from home at any hour of the night.
Have you increased sales or profitability in any way? If so, by how much? $________. How did you accomplish this?
During my period of employment at the London Borough of Brent I priced approximately one thousand projects, to a total value in excess of $2 million. Every project was created according to strict guiding principles of “best value”, requiring that the best possible prices be sought for each item of equipment or service.
Given the nature of quoting for and completing “paid for” work, for internal departments in a publicly owned organization in the United Kingdom, it would be impossible to quantify by exactly how much the organisation had benefitted.
Following the principles highlighted above, I published an intranet page, providing the most up to date price lists and offers from suppliers, with hyperlinks to our corporate account login pages on supplier’s web pages. This helped to ensure that not only I, but all members of my department that quoted for project work, would keep abreast of the best prices offered by approved suppliers.
Have you helped streamline operations in any way? If so, explain how you accomplished this? What were the results of your efforts?
During my tenure as 1st/2nd Line Support Manager for the London Borough of Brent, I was instrumental in the restructure of the department, replacing 15 non-technical, telephone helpdesk personnel, with existing second line (site visiting support engineers). This meant that technical staff answered telephone enquiries personally and decided for themselves if a site visit were necessary.
The re-structuring process took almost a year to plan and, liaising with the local government legal department, finalize a strategy which allowed for a supportive departure from the organization, for the 15 staff that no longer had a role in the unit, and to make certain that each stage of the plan adhered to corporate policy and United Kingdom employment law. New positions were therefore created for technical engineers to occupy.
Since technical engineers staffed the helpdesk, client enquiries were answered by knowledgeable, experienced support personnel. As a result, support calls successfully resolved by the initial call to the helpdesk, rose from 16% to more than 87%. In addition, support engineers that did visit a client’s site office, were frequently the same engineers that had answered the original helpdesk call. This provided an increased level of continuity of service, which had been non-existent previously.
Feedback from clients indicated that this was preferred in 100% of such instances. In addition, helpdesk statistics showed that support staff, were then able to deal with an approximate 33% more support calls pr month. 98% of which, were answered and resolved within service level agreements.
Have you increased productivity in any way? If so, how?
During my employment with Drake and Scull Airport Services (DSAS), the technical support department were required to clear a large backlog of support requests from service users.
Engineers were involved in the process of discussing outstanding issues with clients, helping them to feel an “ownership” of certain issues, and a high level of motivation toward a resolution agreed with the client. To aid in this process, a system of agreed overtime and performance-related bonuses were implemented. These resulted in engineers working limited overtime on high priority issues, whilst maintaining client involvement in the resolution process, by necessitating an agreed “handover” to the client, prior to any performance bonus being paid. What were the results of your efforts? As has been discussed elsewhere in this document, the technical support department of DSAS, successfully closed more than two hundred outstanding client requests for technical support and projects.
Have you helped your employer cut costs in any way?
In my position as head of information and communication technology (ICT) for a large rural highschool, I have instigated a central purchasing policy, whereby all ICT-related purchases for the school run through a designated member of ICT staff. If so, by how much? $ 24,000.00 Estimated savings over two academic years. How did you accomplish this? ICT purchases are collated and made in larger blocks (where possible) from a shortlist of approved suppliers. This increases the buying power of the school, and the potential for supplier discounts, when dealing with representatives from a limited number of organizations. It should be noted that not all departments were willing to release previously enjoyed autonomy in ICT purchasing, however, when tangible financial rewards were observed, even over a relatively short-term, all school departments have taken up the option of combined purchasing.
Have you helped your company grow its business in any other way? If so, explain how you accomplished this. What were the results of your efforts?
Developing the internet presence of the Fiction Clothing Company, particularly just prior to a major public exhibition, led to an increase in sales enquiries of more than 650, compared to 175 in the previous year and 127 the year before.
The company exhibition stand, promotional material and literature, prominently displayed the URL (Universal Resource Locator; internet address), for the newly created site.
All enquiries were given full web details and a promotional compact disc, containing a copy of the web site and other interactive material designed to maximize sales leads by directing a user to contact links for company sales representatives.
The Fiction Clothing Company (UK) Ltd., enjoyed it’s most successful year of post-exhibition sales ever.