Colleague spotlight: Meet Barry Page, IT Service Manager
This week’s Colleague Spotlight is on Barry Page, our IT Service Manager who joined AdviserPlus in 2014. Barry has been instrumental in the development of our new empower technology solution – here he explains why, and how.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you enjoy most about your role?
I first went to university to study Biomedical Science, but after I graduated I quickly concluded that it wasn’t the right career choice after working in that field for only a few days! Instead, I flew out to Beijing for a few years and taught English / Computers to students on a sandwich MBA course at Stirling and Portsmouth universities. I left China due to the outbreak of SARs and so I went back to university in Liverpool to study computer science, which I’m pleased to say, I’ve stuck at for a bit longer.
I currently lead the team which looks after IT support, databases, servers, security and networks within AdviserPlus, and that involves lots of reactive work – trouble-shooting and service improvement projects. The problem-solving aspect of IT is something that I really enjoy, so when a system is down or having issues, trying to figure out all of the possible causes, then investigating and, hopefully, ultimately fixing them is a satisfying part of the job.
Can you explain what your involvement has been in the development of empower?
My team and I have been setting up the systems that the empower applications run on, including the networking and security. empower runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform and there is a lot of powerful functionality available to us, including scalable architecture where we can automatically increase resources to ensure that applications run at full speed.
A big focus of empower is the usability and ability to self-serve. We want the platform to be as intuitive as possible, providing functionality and options as and when required, rather than someone having to pick numerous ambiguous options and drop-downs. Self-service is important, end-users like being able to solve their own problems as well as have more control in the system.
In your experience, what are the key challenges for managers at the moment?
I don’t often work with managers (our clients) directly but that highlights a challenge in itself – communication between the business and IT functions, ensuring that the requirements of the business are translated into IT systems. Another challenge for many IT departments is their profile – often people only think about IT when the IT systems are down or not running as they should!
What do you enjoy most about working at AdviserPlus?
I’m lucky enough to have a great team and a very varied role – no two days are ever really the same! I also really like the fact that I have the flexibility to work in a mixture of IT disciplines, which makes every day interesting.
Tell us a little-known fact about yourself?
I can still order food and drink, and swear proficiently, in mandarin.