The Robert Gordon University
Systems Manager at The Robert Gordon University
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A Systems Manager with a small but dedicated team of IT professionals in a customer facing environment.
Always on the lookout for new challenges and new ways to use technology to enhance the working environment
Fascinated with Social Media and the opportunities it can offer businesses.
Specialties:I have always been involved with IT technical support and Customer Support, Always interested and always involved with Health and safety, Social Media, IT Service Management, New technologies, gadgets.
The title above says Systems Manager but the job doesn't stop there. Along the way I have also picked up managing the schools physical infrastructure and also manage the Schools Health and Safety as well.
Currently involved in several projects; the first is still working towards our 2013 move to Garthdee. Working with other members of the Schools Senior Management team to try to make that move as smooth and painless as possible.
Still part of what is now known as the "Future Desktop" in RGU. Trying to get the best fit for the school of a virtualised platform that suits everyone and how the School of Computing can fit into it .
Personally, I have started blogging and hope to keep the pace of reporting on Tech News Articles that I feel are of interest both generally and for passing onto staff and students here in the School.
I have been involved in the past with Project Managing two successful JISC projects in collaboration with the Open University; OpenMentor and OpenComment.
I have been involved in a long standing project to develop the teaching and learning environment within the Schools IT labs. Previously all IT labs have been developed with the same school row approach. What we have attempted to evolve is a more community focus for better group working.
I was heavily involved with developing the schools programme of visits to local schools to perform workshops that both contribute to students learning outcomes and has also helped (alongside other initiatives) maintain the student numbers in the school in an environment of declining numbers.
Spent 10 years in the Aberdeen oil industry working up through Support Engineer to Snr. Support Engineer which developed a good understanding of customer focus and good communication skills.
During my time as a Snr. Support Engineer, I had to stand in for the operations manager for a period of six months which enhanced interpersonal skills and developed new leadership skills. Also in senior staff meetings gained an understanding of business processes - eg budgeting and decision making.
I started with Shell, working as a Temp in the Finance department drafting graphs and presentations for financial prediction models using information from a reporting system named PetroPlanner.
PetroPlanner essential created financial reports from an API that accessed the PetroPlanner database. Once I was trained in how it worked I was able to then code up new management reports without the department having to call out the Thorn consultant to do it.
When an opening was available in the IT support section I applied for it and was successful and I worked there until it looked likely that the business unit support sections would all be centralised.
I sought out a colleague who had left Shell to work as IT manager for Enterprise Oil, interviewd for a job as Support Engineer and was successful in getting it.
The aim of the Feasibility study was to make a recommendation on which Content Management Systems was the best choice for a young Startup called U18.
U18 are a young company who are developing a social media platform for under 18s.
The criteria that was supplied from the Company was quite straightforward:
- U18 are looking to set up a site where registered users would contribute content and an editorial team would check these postings before allowing the content to be released.
- The content developed would be one way notifications of elements such as under-eighteen events where viewers of the site would be able to comment on the postings made and moderated for content.
- U18 are NOT looking to make a social networking site but would wish to aggregate content from social networking connected sites.
A summary of options was drawn up and the recommendations published to U18 who have since gone on to develop a partnership with a design company and begin development.
Open Planet Software is a software development company that specialise in the creation of software for Apple's Mac OS X, iPhone and iPad.
Their main product is called ‘SMOOVIE’ a stop animation package that enables children to create, edit and share their own stop animation movies.
Open Planet Software have been active on social media sites since launching Smoovie, but wiith the impending launch of Smoovie for the iPad 2 the company would now like to have a focused Social Media strategy to build a ‘Smoovie community’ to create, share and comment on the film.
The proposal is to create a plan for the introduction of an effective social media strategy for Smoovie (for iPad2) with application to, and crossover with, Smoovie for Mac where appropriate.
The study will be collaboration between Open Planet Software and Robert Gordon University System Manager, Colin Beagrie based in School of Computing.
As part of the dePICT project, the study will draw upon RGU staff expertise, particularly in the areas of social media.
DLN are looking to develop a new tourism strategy that will improve the product that is Loch Ness and would like to embark on work that will help feed in to this strategic development and provide some baseline data / market intelligence that will help drive the strategic direction of the organisation over the next 3-5 years.
Their problem is being able to collect, and subsequently analyse, intelligent/valuable and meaningful customer data and feedback in a sophisticated and flexible manner. This is a barrier for the organisation in terms of knowing what the customers/visitors to the area really think of the area as a whole, the problems that exist at particular times of the year (or in certain circumstances) in order that they can look to improve these and develop the Loch Ness area as a whole.
Sadly even with some ideas to propose, the company did not want to pursue further at this time for their own reasons.
Alongside the Head of School and the Schools academic move champion i have been appointed the role of technical move champion to coordinate and move the School computing equipment to the new Garthdee building planned to be in July 2013
Coordinating the Schools IT Systems Administrators I will be responsible for coordinating both the IT lab computer workstations to the new lab spaces and ensuring that the Schools specialist equipment finds a new home at Garthdee.
As well as the IT lab spaces, the tram and I will also be ensuring that all staff desktop hardware goes to the correct corresponding desk in the new building.
The Background: As part of the move from St Andrew Street to Garthdee, there is no Server Room for the School of Computing Science and Digital Media to store server hardware in. Work with the University IT Services department to:
The Challenge: Project managing the most challenging project for me so far. Jointly with members of the University IT Services department:
- Ensure continuity of service to students and staff while still retaining a semi-autonomous control over servers and services that we currently manage.
- Reduce unnecessary servers by utilisation of virtual server space
- Organise space for remaining servers
- Ensure any other IT hardware has a 'home' in the new building.
- Ensure that future services are provisioned for now and continues as a cycle in the future.
This will be achieved by:
- Relocating hardware that cannot be virtualised into either the new IT data centre or the Universities Secondary data centre
- Replacing existing School hardware by deploying the required service to existing IT servers if there is the possibility of sharing services or, implementing the service on new IT virtualised servers or, repurposed existing servers. If all of these attempts fail then the hardware shall be relocated instead.
- Hopefully replacing existing School hardware to allow old hardware to retire.
The following are aimed primarily at the Christmas period:
1. DNS and DHCP migrations
2. Licence Server migration to virtual servers
3. Web Development/ Web server migration to virtual servers
And on-going discussions are starting on
1. Sharepoint area development.
2. Application virtualisation.
Teaching IT Service Management, or more specifically, the ITIL Lifecycle to Postgraduate students.
For the last four months, life for me took a bit of an unexpected turn. It would start off with a simple request for assistance developing a module and ended up with me teaching a class for 6 weeks. What I have taken away from it all is a healthier respect for the work that lecturing staff go through as there's a lot of work in developing teaching, coursework and exam materials.
It was an interesting experience and its a shame that I cant repeat the experience with the materials already developed, I think it would be easier to deliver for a second time. Unfortunately work on moving the people and the IT kit requires all my attention at the moment so it has to be set aside...
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