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Interim IT Directors add value quickly

Interim IT Directors – adding value quickly

Organisations take on Interim IT Directors for many reasons and the benefits can be realised whatever those reasons are. Recognising the need for change or plugging the gap due to illness can both result in strategic benefits for the organisation and the team.  To make sure you do get the benefits its worth seeing past the current situation and looking at why and how your new management team member can help.

The Interim Management Association says “Interim managers are highly skilled, and brought into organisations to strengthen capabilities. They lead transformation and change; getting projects in place – quickly and effectively. Their purpose is to effect change and roll out processes which they can then leave in their wake.

Their role is to speak openly and highlight what a company should do to achieve its goals. In addition, they are far more cost-effective than traditional management consultants, and they deliver results, not just analysis.”

To achieve effective change – for example by creating a new vision for how IT can help the business go forward, or by addressing board level frustration that IT isn’t as effective, relevant or credible as it should be are often best met by bring in a more experienced leader for a relatively short period of time.  Consulting with the business then quickly building an IT Roadmap can provide the basis for a short sharp investment in transforming IT and critically, creating a new confidence that the IT function can be real asset rather than an annoyance!


Interim IT Directors are quickly available and can bring a completely fresh perspective. They can help the board and heads of function make quicker and more informed decisions on what, when and why different projects and IT services should be invested in.

Having delivered Interim IT leadership over the last 10 years and worked for Interim IT Directors I can see the benefits they bring whether capitalising on an unintended gap or opportunity, or as a strategic decision at a time of change.  The new Interim may be part of a changing Executive team, or be joining a stable and confident group, in either case including them in the weekly Executive team meetings will increase their effectiveness and the speed at which the benefits they can drive will be realised.

In one organisation, there were several interims who had each been added to help take the business forward. Each week, each member of the Executive team focussed on how their teams were helping meet the essential three targets (KPI’s) to be met. That focus on a shared set of goals rapidly improved the performance of the business and allowed quick and effective decision making. We could prioritise which changes would most help achieve the short, medium and long term plans. And as each element of the plan identified its part in achieving one or more of the 3 highly visible KPI’s – making progress was focussed and effective.

To achieve signicant change requires skills, expertise and knowledge Carnivalthat may be neither needed or desirable when operating in a steady state. An IT leader who will take you through change will thrive and enjoy challenge, chaos and uncertainty. That is unlikely to be the same person who will run the ship once its in a steady state.

Perhaps an anology could be the role of the pilot in a complex sea port. Manoevering Carnival Cruises latest 227,000 tonne ship to its berth is not the same as keeping it on a steady course at sea! A Pilot and a cruise ship Captain each have different skills and using them effectively achieves a successful operation and returning customers – all 4,000 of them on the ship pictured!