Meet technical programme manager Matt Rowe, a member of our trusted associate network. Matt started his professional life as a certified network engineer, moving on to lead infrastructure teams within the utilities and banking sectors. In the latest in our series of blogs to introduce key associates, Matt explains how smaller consultancies can build great relationships to better understand their client’s needs, tells us why the movement towards cloud should be watched closely and that people are a business’s greatest asset: 
I am an unashamed geek. When I’m not at my desk (currently my kitchen table, but often in roles across the UK), I love gaming, technology and film, but I do offset my screen time as I’m a keen runner with a passion for sports and travelling. 
Professionally, I would say my specialism is working outside the boundaries of a typical programme manager. I draw on my experience to really engage with clients to add value from both a technical and strategic perspective. The best part about my job is the people I work with. I’ve found as a consultant I get to work with some amazing technical engineers and passionate business sponsors. I firmly believe that taking the time to understand the people you work with, both how they operate and how you can get the best from each other, is far more effective and interesting than simply imposing a project methodology. It builds on the adage that the greatest asset in any company are the people who work there. 
Prior to working with Iridium, I’ve found consultancies to be quite faceless. And often detached from both the consultants they deploy and the objectives of the businesses they work with. As a smaller consultancy, Iridium builds closer relationships to better understand their client’s needs and the business outcomes they want to achieve. This ensures there is a better alignment between what skills the client requires and the specialist experience of the consultant, from their pool of associates, they bring in. It means, as a technical programme manager, I get to focus on what I’m good at and the client gets commitment on fulfilling their requirements. 
I recently read about digital apprenticeships in the press. I think this is a tremendous idea for a cost-effective way to fill company skill shortages while budgets are inevitably tightened as revenues fall following the pandemic. It gives companies the opportunity to influence the education sectors on what technical skills they need to meet their strategic goals and gives students career paths which can lead directly to employment. Like many parents, I’ve been really pleased to see the Girls in Tech initiative thrive and I’m pleased I've had the opportunity to support it. I hope companies find more ways of attracting talent into IT from as diverse a pool as possible. 
I’m keeping a close eye on the movement towards cloud. Particularly as even large financial services organisations have now crossed the rubicon and are truly exploiting off-premise operating models. What is clear though, is that this is not a ‘one size fits all’ journey and the most likely outcome is that businesses will need to develop models where they have options to go on-premise, private cloud or public cloud depending on the type of service they wish to deploy. 
It will be interesting to see if companies can truly break free of running their own data centres and the traditional CAPEX investment models. And, if they can’t, how they can be innovative in their adoption of cloud to both reduce total cost of ownership and deliver their goals of improvement in speed to market. 
It is clear the pandemic is going to put a great deal of economic pressure on companies and individuals. I believe the need for specialist expertise to support companies in these times is going to be greater than ever and that working from home has proved that consultants can break free from geographical restrictions to support any client across the country and beyond. 
Following the pandemic, the inevitable post-mortem will make it clear that organisations need to evaluate their models of operation. So when the unexpected happens, they are sufficiently prepared to respond. Like with all strategic change it will be essential companies determine firstly ‘how’ they wish to work and operate and ‘what’ their strategic objectives are. This insight is essential before embarking on any knee-jerk response to re-designing their architecture and IT systems. Once companies have determined the right journey for them, be it hybrid cloud adoption or virtualisation, then they must develop and train their workforce, augment with specialists where required, and fundamentally ensure any activity they complete has a clear line of sight to these strategic objectives. 
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