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Are you ready for 2018?

Sometimes I feel like I want to break down and cry!

As a technology consultant living in a world that is moving at such a ridiculous pace it can feel very lonely. Businesses can feel the same, smart competitors constantly snapping at your heels, vendors and suppliers offering too much choice. Finding a trusted partner to help you through the techsand is essential.

Today my brain hurts! In fact, on a daily basis my brain hurts, it’s a pain that can’t be cured by the swallowing of a paracetamol, it’s like a cloudy fog that has descended and is taking up residence within my skull.

This is what it’s like being a technology consultant. The world is a complex place at the best of times, but the accelerating pace of change in technology is frightening.

If you are not careful it can become so overwhelming that it leads to paralysis. A state where you find yourself constantly surfing the web for help and only result in opening more and more tabs. It’s a condition I like to call cyber staring.

Moore’s law states that processing power for computers will double every two years, and visionaries like Ray Kurzweil state that the total power of all computers will be equitable to the total brainpower of the human race as early as 2019.

There are many predictions like this which can amplify the fear. The trick is to not be scared, to embrace change and to find a way to move out of the techsand and make technology work for you.

Embrace technology, embrace progress, embrace change

It’s easier said than done, I recently presented to a group of IT professionals who were discussing the risks of the new world of IOT and machine learning. The lawyers present were laying out the new threats posed by sensors publicly storing data sets. Two good examples used were Alexa being aware when you are in and out of the house and pattern management sensors used to support dementia sufferers who want to stay longer in their own homes, both data sets in the wrong hands will show when homes are unoccupied and where vulnerable people live.

The conversation continued to play out along a similar vein with different technologies looked at in a negative, we are all doomed fashion. Until one person stepped up and commented, “well if you knew then of all the bad things the Internet can be used for, would you still have invented it?”

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The consensus was a resounding yes, and a sense around the room that we should all look at the good in things first. Embrace technology, embrace progress, embrace change then look at working with the challenges to adjust, shift and head towards transformation.

How can you possibly navigate your way through safely?

It can be a daunting landscape for a business, with new solutions that promise the world, with your competition always seeming to embrace these new technologies faster than you can. How can you possibly navigate your way through safely? It’s all about small fast steps.

Be prepared to try out new things, but don’t take your eye off the things you do really well. Success within technology needs to be about balance. A balance between the continuation of the things you do well, mixed with a hunger and desire to discover new avenues that your business can go down.

The other important point is that you move at the right pace, and keep moving. Build the right technology foundations that will facilitate and complement your future transformation plans. For example, if you are under pressure to move or have a desire to move to the Public Cloud, do so in a controlled way at your own pace, move to a hybrid environment before you go full Public Cloud.

In my day job, I jump from one technology conversation to another, from BlockChain to Big Data, from Haptic Feedback sensors to Hashing Algorithms. It can be a complex world.

At one of my particularly foggy moments I decided to create a mind map of all of the technologies that had crossed my path over the last few weeks. I call it my crow’s nest, I imagine myself every now and then taking a quick shimmy up to my crow’s nest so I can look out and take in the chaos that lays around.

We are technologists not accountants

If you have the right technology partner they will talk to you about finding the right pace for your business. Whether it’s starting to look at IoT trials and the way sensors will benefit the way you do business

Or how you can become infrastructure-free or how sweating the assets that you have invested in can complement a next generation strategy. When we created our consultancy, just over a year ago the best piece of advice we received was to hire someone to look after the books.

Find the right partner who understands your business goals and objectives, let them help you through the techsand, so you can reach your transformation goals.

We are technologists not accountants. The same could be said of the network and technology. Find the right partner who understands your business goals and objectives, let them help you through the techsand, so you can reach your transformation goals. Move at a pace that doesn’t break your business, finding that perfect balance of sweating what you do well verses trying new things. Now I am off for a quick shimmy up my crow’s nest.

Article written by Che Smith, Technology Associate

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Scaling Snowdon!

Written by Jo Sheargold

As Birmingham Children’s Hospital is the chosen charity in 2015 for Intercity Telecom, I wanted to see what I could do to raise money for them. I went onto their site and one challenge jumped out at me straight away “The Birmingham Snowdon Challenge.”  Four Birmingham based charities joined together to make one event; Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Birmingham Women’s Hospital, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. You would raise your money for your chosen charity but would be walking all together which seemed like an excellent idea. I roped in my sister and we signed ourselves up.

Raising the Money

To take part in the challenge you needed to raise a minimum of £75 per walker so we had a £150 target to hit. Rather than the normal walking around asking for sponsorship, I wanted to do something different. I love baking cake and particularly love eating it, so I decided to share my love of cake and the “Bake Sale” was born! I asked fellow bakers at Intercity to bring in their homemade cakes and I was overwhelmed by the response I had.

On the morning of the bake sale I was so excited to see everyone’s bakes, but a little nervous about how it would go. It turns out that I had no need to be nervous everyone’s cakes, sweet parcels and goodies looked amazing. People were queuing at the door to find out what time the sale would start!

The cake sale went extremely well, with people coming back for more slices. I had no idea how much I had raised but when I counted the money and I was so chuffed to find that we had raised £217. I was speechless when I was told that this would be matched by Intercity. I am very proud to be working with so many people that give to charity.

9th May 2015 – The Day of the Walk

4:30am: My alarm went off and my first thought was “what am I doing!” However once I was up, dressed and on my way to Digbeth coach station I was looking forward to the day ahead, although a little apprehensive due to the weather report – rain, rain and more rain! I arrived at the coach station and people were starting to gather, we joined them, collected our packed lunch and waited for the coaches to leave at 6am.

10.30am: All three coaches had arrived in a very wet Wales. We had been split into six teams and each team had two mountain leaders. I was in the Pink team and my mountain leaders were called Simon and Stuart, they told us the route that we were taking and what to expect during the day.

10.45am: We were off! As we walked up Miner Track, the rain was quite heavy, thankfully I had my waterproof jacket, trousers and walking boots on so I was warm and dry underneath. The leaders were very good and stopped for regular breaks to make sure we were alright, explain where we were, what was ahead and to top up on food and drink. At times the rain turned to a drizzle and for some moments it actually stopped.

The views were amazing and I can only imagine on a clear day would be breath-taking. However the higher we went, the closer the clouds were getting. Miner Track starts quite easy but can be a bit tricky in places, with big steps up and a narrow rocky path. As we got closer to the summit I felt feel the temperature drop and visibility was just five meters. Before the walk there had been a weather report that had said it could snow. So I was quite relieved that it didn’t. There was a little queue for the summit which took about five minutes.

Once the entire group had taken their photos we were then ready for the walk back down. We walked down LLanberis Path. This was very steep at first and the ground was loose under foot, when we stopped for the breaks I could feel my legs shaking, but the more we walked down the warmer it became and we were soon back below the cloud. However, this time there was something missing… the RAIN.

By the time we had reached the halfway café on the way down the sun had come out and I could finally take off my waterproofs off and enjoy a nice warm hot chocolate. The rest of the walk was very enjoyable and I was able to appreciate looking around without my hood getting in the way.

18:30: All the groups were back together after making it to the top of Snowdon! We were then ready to make our way back to Birmingham.

I had an amazing day. I walked up Snowdon, which I have wanted to do for a long time, and raised an amazing amount for money for an excellent charity in the process. I would fully recommend people having a look at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital website and taking part in an event, or maybe even volunteering at an event in the future.