Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I have around 30 years’ experience in the IT industry. I have worked in technical support, IT training, technical writing, business analysis, project management, customer service management and finally product management. I have worked in many domains including, law enforcement, defence, manufacturing, electrical retail and legal. I enjoy having problem solving, technology and customer interaction as the cornerstones of what I do.
What’s your role at Nalytics? What does that entail on an average day?
My role is Product Manager. My responsibilities are focused around ensuring that the Nalytics product reflects the needs of our customers and defined/desired markets. I often describe Product Management as a conduit of information flow. Inwardly, market needs are collected, refined and prioritised and then fed through to the Development team for incorporation into the product. Outwardly, we demonstrate new capabilities and disseminate the Roadmap, that documents upcoming product changes, to other teams within the organisation and externally to customers, prospects, partners, and so on.
What’s your favourite aspect of the job?
I love the fact that Product Management touches on just about every aspect of the business. I could be talking through requirements with the development team; demonstrating newly developed capabilities to customer-facing teams; writing product and use case related collateral; designing and running user testing, the list goes on. No two days are ever the same but my work is always fulfilling.
What made you want to get into the tech industry?
I couldn’t make up my mind what to do at University. My lack of inspiration was seized upon by an older brother who was already in IT. He sold the idea to me and I’m glad he did. There is huge variety within the technology industry. This means you can move and grow as your career progresses and never feel bored or stagnated.
Are there any industry developments that you think people should keep an eye out for?
Data is growing exponentially for organisations, large and small. Search, discovery and analysis technologies that help curate and garner value from your data are becoming much more important. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is introducing more defined responsibilities to those who store and process personal data. Having technology that will identify and surface personal data could speed up responses to Subject Access Requests and even mitigate data breaches.
Everywhere you look in the press, you will find stories about Artificial Intelligence. AI is undoubtedly important, and will continue to be so as technology advances and evolves. The types of organisation who choose to use AI is changing as more people in business gain understanding of the value it can bring to them and dispel the (often unfounded) fears associated with it.
What are your interests outside of work (hobbies, etc.)?
I am a keen (some might say obsessive) gardener. I get out in my garden whenever possible and even our ‘variable’ Scottish weather doesn’t put me off. I grow fruit, veg and flowers. I love nature and garden with wildlife in mind. Last year I took the plunge and purchased my first chickens. They are brilliant characters and provide gorgeous eggs – pets with benefits. I also love music, theatre and comedy and go to dozens of gigs and performances each year. I dabble with playing the saxophone, guitar and ukulele but don’t spend enough time on this to be any good!
Any other interesting facts about yourself that you would like to share, that people wouldn’t already know?
I joined a research expedition in Kenya in 2005 and spent two weeks studying the endangered Grevy’s zebra. It was a brilliant experience. There are a number of charitable organisations that offer this sort of trip to support all types of research. I would highly recommend giving it a try.
I am partial to a bit of blogging and write personal, product management and chicken-keeping blogs.