HfS Network

By golly, HfS hires Ollie...

April 22, 2017 | Phil FershtOllie O’Donoghue

From staring at his fish tank to working on an IT service desk... to becoming an analyst, then ending up at HfS.  Now that is unlearning personified for Ollie O'Donoghue (see bio), our latest recruit covering the IT services landscape from the UK.... so let's learn a bit more about this curious fellow...

Welcome Ollie!  Can you share a little about your background and why you have chosen research and strategy as your career path? 

Hi Phil! My career started in IT Services after I graduated from University with a History degree. Luckily for me, by the time I graduated, IT organisations had become more focused on service as opposed to technical ability – of which I have none.

I joined a large public sector organisation and moved around to a few different positions in the three years I was with them. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, but my real passion lies in research, so I jumped at the opportunity to join an organisation as an Industry Analyst covering IT services. After a year or so, I made the jump to Head of Research and Insight which allowed me to develop and drive the research agenda. 

It was around this period I started on the IT Service speaker circuit. At the time, the industry was particularly concerned about the impact of automation, so I tailored my presentations to bring data and research to the party which, at the time, was being overrun with sensationalism from the mainstream media. Finding good data and sources for my sessions brought me into contact with HfS who, unlike some of the other analyst firms, were mirroring what I saw taking place in the industry. 

Why did you choose to join HfS... and why now?

As they say, all good things come to an end. Covering the service and support industry was great fun, and I made some amazing friends and contacts. But after a few years, I felt the need to expand my coverage to encapsulate a lot of the other key areas and trends at play in the wider business landscape.

When it came down to it, moving to HfS was an easy decision, I just asked the question: Do I want to join the Blockbuster of the analyst industry, or the Netflix?

HfS have been busily disrupting the industry for years with their freemium model and high impact research and content. The reason I first engaged with HfS analysts – who were always happy to reply with advice and knowledge, by the way – was that the research produced tallied up with what was taking place in the real world. Which is something you can’t say for some of the legacy firms.

Now is the perfect time to join HfS. You're steadily growing coverage will give me the access to the broader industry trends taking place – no doubt supported by the exceptional team of analysts already covering them – while allowing me to focus on the area where my career and experience have been built in so far: IT Services.

What are the subject areas and topics that you will focus on in your analyst role? 

My primary focus will be on IT Services although it’s tough to focus on just one area. These days, almost all technology and business areas have significant crossover with each other. I’m particularly keen to explore how modern IT Services fit in with broader technology developments like Blockchain and RPA.

I’m also a big fan of the HfS OneOffice concept. It’s a much more detailed extension of a trend I had been investigating in my former role called Enterprise Service Management. Without a doubt, it’s the future, and IT services have a significant part to play.

What trends and developments are capturing your attention today that are impacting IT professionals and the services industry at large?

Without a doubt, the impact of automation and cognitive are at the forefront of most industry professionals thoughts. Broadly speaking there’s a bit of a for and against dynamic working in the industry at the moment. Some professionals understand the value automation brings at an individual and an organisational level. They appreciate that the areas of work that automation will impact on the most are those tedious, repetitive processes that they don’t particularly enjoy working on. This is the category I fell into when working in IT Services – ultimately I didn’t want to copy and paste information from one area to another, or manually allocate work. Frankly, there are better things to be doing.

The other camp is concerned about the impact automation will have on their job. As capabilities develop, I can understand some people losing out to change but ultimately humans will be working on more engaging and fulfilling tasks.

When I look at developments in the services industry, I like to contextualise it with socio-economic trends. A short while ago, I considered how the characteristics of the new working generation would influence automation. Ultimately, the new generation is exhibiting preferences that make them more selective and mobile when it comes to employment changes. Soon, organisations will be expected to have a degree of automation because, quite simply, the new workforce won’t want to do the work that the “against” camp are so vigorously defending.

So, Ollie, what are you working on first for our clients?

First on the cards, Phil, is to work with Jamie and your good self on the IT Services Blueprint reports. I’ve already started to explore the data collected so far and can promise plenty of interesting analysis to come. For buyers, these reports offer tremendous value, and it’s great to be part of them.

I’ve spent some time with the honourable Jamie Snowdon already, discussing some of the exciting data projects planned for the coming year and, if I play my cards right, I’ll be making a contribution to these as well. 

And, what do you do with your spare time (if you have any...)? 

Spare time’s a bit of an odd one. My girlfriend is a project manager, so I tend to find any free time is accounted for before I realise I had any. If I can get away with it, I like to read non-fiction, drink good beer and play computer games. Often, but not always, in that order.

Non-fiction and beer?  I think you made the right career move, Ollie =)

Posted in: IT Outsourcing / IT Services

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