In from the cold, and looking to the future – Part 2

So, two posts done – I might actually be serious about this!

For those of you just re-joining us, I covered the various why’s about my prolonged absence and reasons why I have chosen now to return to blogging in part 1 of this series. It was an emotional affair which was probably as much about personal therapy as it was about starting to write again. However, this part I would like to detail what I see as the future for, some of the things that I will be writing about in the coming weeks.

What am I going to be writing about?

The flippant answer is … anything that I want to really! Anything that I find interesting that, might just tick a box for someone else. Don’t get me wrong, the site won’t turn into deep and meaningful analysis of what I had for breakfast, or indeed the latest argument that I have had with someone (I have Facebook for that shite). But there will be a more varied selection of my ramblings, which will deal with many topics.

I appreciate that the core offering of the site was a technology blog focused around Microsoft Exchange Server, and indeed I will still post about such things – but as mentioned in part 1, my career has changed significantly – and whilst I am still a very technical person at heart – I am not as hands on as I was, and I now have a far more strategic set technology skills and experience. So for example; Previously you might expect full details on how you migrate from on-premises Exchange to the cloud, now I will discuss the organisational implications of doing so, as well as tips on building a business case to do so.

A huge part of what I have been doing over the last 4 years has been around large scale technological change, which, aside from the technology has involved massive amounts of cultural work – not just within the wider business, but also for many individuals who work for me. Its been long, and hard at times – but incredibly rewarding and I would like to discuss some of the approaches that worked and didn’t work when trying to bring devoutly talented but hardened technical folks on a journey with me, as well as some of the strategies that were employed within the customer base.

I do still like to keep my “hands in” with certain things which are very technical, so I will be sharing those little nuggets with you as and when they arise.

However, over the next month or so, I have go a plan for some new content – which I hope that some folks out there might find useful. Remember, that inline with my new outlook on writing for this site, quite a bit of the content of these articles will be personal opinion and what worked for me. Therefore there is plenty of scope for people to disagree with what I will be saying. That’s all fine and good; but if you feel strongly about something that I have raised – approach it from a position of good natured debate, not from a position of “you’re wrong and I am going to sling insults at you until you give in” – that’s not going to help anyone.

Anyhow, the following posts are currently “on the deck” so to speak, not sure what order I will release them or indeed what the schedule will look like – but, just to prove that I have had some ideas (and of course suggestions are always welcome):

Forthcoming Content

  • Selecting O365 in the Digital Age (multi-part)
    • I was heavily involved with the strategic selection of Office 365 for the organisation that I work for. This was a complex process – we had been IBM Notes based for over 17 years, 24,000 seats, and there was a lot of focus around “Digital by default” (I’ll explain that in the article and why that became a very interesting part of the selection process – but needless to say – one of the core principals of our Digital strategy was “Open Standards” “Open API’s” and modular approaches to technology this meant that other products such as Google Apps were seriously in the mix).
      Selecting O365 took almost a year, and involved many senior stake holder in the organisation both inside and outside the IT department. This was a new learning experience for me at the time, as I had been used to making technology choices like this rather than the level of engagement that was required.
      The article will take you through the experiences that I had, the considerations in the business case which tipped the selection in Microsoft’s favour and explain why that was by no means a foregone conclusion!
  • Migrating to O365 – from IBM notes
    • Hot on the heels of the selection of O365, I thought that I would share my experiences of moving from IBM Notes to O365. Now this will be from the perspective of a senior technical leader in an organisation, rather than the person performing the migrations. However there will be some technical topics covered – as you can imagine; it wasn’t all plane sailing!
      The purpose of the article is to provide you with my experiences and learning points outside of the technical “nitty gritty” that could save you some time … and pain!
  • Merging Organisations – Collaborative House Keeping on a budget
    • So, the original organisation that I worked for merged with two others. That meant 3 technical stacks, 3 mail systems, 3 Active Directory installations – in fact 3 of everything. How did we get them all taking to each other with the least amount of investment? In this article I will discuss the overarching technical strategy that we adopted.
  • Late and Over budget – what the hell happened?
    • When I took over the technical service in my organisation I inherited a project that was considerably late and over-budget. In this article I will go through what had happened, and how we brought it back on track and delivered exactly what was needed (and more) to the business.

I hope that at least some of the above sounds interesting, and indeed there will be some technical aspects covered, of course I am always open to suggestions of content for the site so feel free to drop me a line.

Will there be any changes to the site?

I have been thinking that with the change of content there will be some changes to the site. Don’t worry – all of the historic content will remain, however I will need to restructure it (haven’t quite worked out what that will look like just yet). However some of the bigger changes that I am considering / will be implementing will be:

  • New look and feel [ Will be implementing ] – has looked the same for over six years, making use of the Thesis WordPress theme. Over the next few months I will be working in my DEV environment on the look and feel of the site, which might mean a complete Theme change. Not sure what that will look like at the moment, but I am a fan of clean and “clutter free”.
  • New domain name [ Considering ] – Given that the type of content that I will be providing will be going more general, keeping a specific technology orientated name isn’t quite sitting well with me at the moment. The dilemma is of course around identity. Even with me not having blogged for over four years, the site still gets around 500 unique visits per day – and much of that is from Google. Changing the domain name, will lose that traffic and indeed soften the brand of the site. However, you could counter argue that after no contributions for four years what is there to damage.
  • Existing Content [ Will be implementing ] – As mentioned the existing content will be restructured. It will still remain available, but perhaps not as prominent. I will also be making ALL of the source code to the applications that I wrote available – that in itself could take some time (as I have a feeling that the hard drive that it is all on might be in the loft!).

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