A unique and insightful forum
As part of the community, I benefit in two ways. First, it’s a source of great knowledge and experience – it’s always my first port of call. With such a variety of expertise, I’m confident I can find the answer to any technical question in a matter of hours, and I’m often approached by someone in the community to help them, too.
Secondly, it’s a forum to share ideas and industry insights. We meet regularly to discuss the future of the industry and of Vodafone’s place in the industry from our own unique viewpoints. For example, we’ve all been key contributors to technologies like Open RAN, 4G/5G evolution and IoT, and to industry vertical solutions like healthcare. Each one has been discussed in depth by our community to ensure we all align and make it work seamlessly.
My current role is to investigate new and emerging technologies and figure out if they’re useful to Vodafone and how. Then we create practical demonstrations to show our senior leaders why they should be in our strategy, and engineering teams why they should be on their radar. I do a mixture of coding, electronics, microcontroller and single-board computer IoT device design, cloud computing and 3D CAD work.
Our team also helps other teams build proof-of-concept demonstrations that they wouldn’t necessarily be able to create themselves, and in collaboration with our R&D teams, we maintain an engineering workshop where we can build pretty much anything we need.
I love seeing technology in action
There have been plenty of highlights throughout my career with Vodafone, but there are a few things I’m particularly proud of.
One is our journey to cloud, a seed I planted nearly a decade ago, nurtured over time and have since seen flourish in the hands of some great engineers. When I look at where we are today with cloud, I begin to reflect back on 2012, when, as lead architect on a project to create a disaster recovery solution for our UK online platform, I recommended and guided the design of a solution based on Amazon Web Services. That turned out to be the first live production solution for Vodafone on public cloud infrastructure in Europe.
Then I wrote version 1.0 of our global cloud strategy and, at a time when our senior leaders, application owners and operational teams were unsure of the benefits, I demonstrated how it would benefit for us.
I was also instrumental in forming a cloud maturity model for applications on cloud infrastructure that helped our software engineering teams understand where they were and what they needed to do to get the most from our cloud platform.
In 2015, I introduced containerisation into our Tech2020 strategy and technology roadmap as an evolution of the cloud strategy. Now, containerised and serverless software are becoming the norm.
Today, our cloud strategy for Tech 2025 is mature. It’s evolved beyond anything that I’d recognise as ‘mine’, in the hands of people who are greater experts than I could hope to be. But, I can trace a direct line back from where we sit now, to the path I started Vodafone on all those years ago. What’s more, many of the people who’ve brought our cloud strategy this far were trained on the cloud curriculum that I personally designed for our Learning and Development team.