Many Project Details for John Knight



International IT Software System

TEN EUROPEAN COUNTRY SYSTEMS IMPLEMENTATION
INTERIM MANAGEMENT CASE STUDY BY JOHN R. KNIGHT

Background

This FT100 Telecom plc was in need of an Interim Manager with IT knowledge, but to work for the business (Not IT) to ensure that this key system was rolled out to all their 9 European countries, which became 10 during the life of the project. They had no-one internally available for this roll. They did not wish to hire permanently for this roll as it was only for the length of this particular project. The answer was for an Interim Implementation Manager, reporting to the Business.

There were two parts to this system: one, an order entry and network provisioning application and this was to become part of an end to end order handling system, the extra being a second phase.

Before this position was filled, there was no one to bring everything together and bring the countries on board with the project. I suspect that at international operational level there was some resistance to change. It was known and supported at board level, but not at international country level. So, the assignment was to bring in an Interim Manager to quickly understand what the system could do and impart that knowledge to all of the countries involved, along with the benefits for each of them.

Following the above project there was then a trouble shooting assignment: There were a number of road blocks across a number of departments that were causing a huge backlog of delivery of other important systems. The brief was to get to find out what they all were and then get them unblocked within the IT department, in the correct order and so be able to cascade the other deliverables on a multitude of other IT projects.

Deliverables

1.      A Network Provisioning System, into 9 European Countries, which became 10.

2.      The huge data migration to support the new application across the nine original countries within Europe.

3.      The Implementation of an end to end Order Handling System, the full Service Delivery System, into the same European Countries.   This was a three-tiered Windows NT, UNIX and Oracle client-server order entry and network provisioning application. It was to be implemented into the first countries, Belgium & Sweden, with plans for the others to follow.   The original pilot trial was in Switzerland, which I arranged with the country MD.

4.      The unblocking of several other IT projects to ensure that other systems were delivered.



The Implementation path

I appointed country Implementation Managers on a part time basis to oversee this implementation in their respective countries. These people were invariably the Operations Director in each country, so it had the high impact and commitment required.  I first held a kick off meeting at HQ to launch this system, with all stake holders from IT, the Implementation Manager from each country and the Business sponsors. This was followed by further kick-off meetings in each country with their MDs present to ensure full country support for the new system and add his weight to the importance of the project.

I appointed a small team of Business Analysts to ensure that the system fitted current and future business practice, or to document all new business practices to be discussed with each country. The whole to be part of the published training package for each country. This was necessary as the system had not been checked out at this level before.

I also liaised with IT Operations to ensure that the new system was planned for within their budgets and headcount. Previously there had been no budget allocated for additional Hardware and support staff. Without this there would have been no way of supporting such a large new system.

Regarding my last assignment: I interviewed all stakeholders and the IT departments involved, in order to prepare a plan of delivery to unblock everything.

Outcome

1.      The first part of the system was implemented successfully in all countries and made a huge impact to support their business.

2.      Data Migration was done, but with much difficulty since this was only started after I arrived, but was completed successfully. In fact, previously, the serious implications of a data migration were not appreciated and neither was the length of time required for this complex process. We changed that by hiring an expert and with escalation to Country MD level.

3.      The second phase was proved to be unworkable and pushed back to the software supply company. A different system (Remedy) was installed by my team and rolled out instead to those counties not having anything.  This meant that all countries were able to operate successfully and expand per their plans without a huge problem.

4.      All road blocks on the other systems were successfully unblocked and my Interim assignment came to an end.


Telecoms 


Interim Manager (Country Implementation Manager)

Implemented a Network Provisioning System, into 9 European Countries for a FT100 Telco.

There was the additional responsibility for the successful data migration to support the new application across nine countries within Europe.

Planned the Implementation of an end to end Order Handling System, the full Service Delivery System, into the same 9 European Countries.   This is a three-tiered Windows NT, UNIX and Oracle client-server order entry and network provisioning application. It is now implemented in the first countries, Belgium. & Sweden, with plans for the others during 2001.

GIS & Asset Management Systems – New Telecom Company

I worked on site helping to create an IT infrastructure enabling them to launch a new Telecoms Company.   Key Projects were Asset Management and GIS Systems.


Plastic Cards 


Outsourced Desktops

As Director of the Outsourcing Vendor, John was responsible for a Manager and 65 on-site staff servicing 5,000 desktops across the UK. This included the PC builds, call desk and engineering support


Retail


Tailoring
Merchandising Statistics and Warehouse Picking System – An IT Implementation working for the Business, whilst also running the Merchandising Statistics Department.

TV Rental & White/Brown Goods

Responsible for Data Centre Billings/Output to Customers and 400 UK shops.   Helped set this up centrally in Croydon, by taking over Regional Office responsibilities on a phased basis.

Implementation of Major Collected Accounts Billing System for UK, including the Data Migration project. This was Migration from an ICL Tabulator to a central computer run by a third party.

Ran a rates increase for all Northern Area Customers – their accounts were held on an ICL tabulator and the project involved changing all the cards held in the system.

Internal Auditor, Northern Area - Auditing Area Offices, Warehouses & 26 Stores


Rescued Company & Projects



Facilities Management (FM) / Outsourcing Division of Main Company


Desktop, Network and Managed Services - Turnover of £15 Million – (1996 – March 1999)
Director Managed Services (c15,000 Desktops & Networks) – Turnover £7.5 million – Net Profit £2.2 million. John was headhunted to assist in the rescue of this company, which was hived off from a Computer Manufacturer, was £8 million in debt and with no sales pipeline. In the last two financial years until John left, the company made an operating profit of over £1.1 million, with his Division making £2.2 million.

On 1
st September 1997 John took part in a Management Buy-out and became an Executive Director with equity participation. A South African quoted company purchased the company in October 1998, in a deal worth £8.5 million. Major customers in John’s division were AMEX, London Underground, National Air Traffic Control, Rockwell Automation and Warburg Dillon Read.

The FM Division managed a mixture of UK Desktops, SUN systems Server Farms, Networks, PC Procurement and Projects. Following the Integration of the three UK companies, John left to pursue a career as a Contractor in IT, specialising in Interim Management.

Major Cost Saving Project

John inherited a 16-year project with 8 years to run. Having seen the negatives on the P&L, John did a small audit and discovered that this project was losing £400,000 per annum and he projected total losses approaching £6 million over the remaining lifetime of the project.   John succeeded in re-negotiating the contract, making a small profit and allowing the prime Contractor to exit after 3 years, not a further 8 years.

Outsourcing / Facilities Management (FM) for a Major Computer Company

In January 1993, John was asked to be London FM Service Delivery Manager. In this capacity he took over Major Accounts with an Investment bank and a Trading Bank, where the company was struggling with the delivery. John set up the London FM (Outsourcing of IT) Infrastructure in only 3 months, helping to stabilise the problems we had in these two major accounts. This saved the contracts and doubled the revenues. In addition to getting both accounts on a proper footing, further business was then obtained due to the customer's confidence in what we were doing. John also still retained control of the Foreign Exchange European Operations. All contacts performed to an uptime of 99.98%.

John also achieved, within 3 months, a viable infrastructure to London FM, which enabled us to take in more contracts. In recognition of setting up the London Operation, John was awarded a special performance bonus in October 1993.

Cost Saving Project

Suggested an "Innovation" to the Board to obtain annual savings of £1.3 million on contract staff being hired across the UK. After two years the Purchasing Department instituted new procedures in this area with an estimated annual saving of £1.2 million.

Foreign Exchange Dealing System – European Operations

John was asked to take over the European Management of this Foreign Exchange dealing Operation, outsourced to a Major Computer Manufacturer in March 1992. The reason being that it required Management Focus and discipline around the project. When John took over there were no European project Plans or procedures and he therefore put structure in place to ensure the Operation went smoothly.

The Customer signed a Multi-million pound 5-year renewal contract in 1993 as a result of their confidence. In recognition of John’s improvements to the Program he was awarded a special performance bonus in October 1992. John subsequently expanded the Operation into 8 countries with 35% of the worldwide revenue and trading levels of $millions per minute

Plastic Cards


Major Credit Card – Outsourced Desktops

As Director of the Outsourcing Vendor, John was responsible for a Manager and 65 on-site staff servicing 5,000 desktops across the UK. This included the PC builds, call desk and engineering support.

Visa Card Operation – Middle East

Set up a Visa Card Sales and servicing Operation in the UAE and Oman, for the Bank of Credit & Commerce International.

Major Credit Card – Director Other Europe

John had full P & L responsibility for 8 countries, with a Turnover of $66 million (1981)
Developed card coverage of Portugal from virtually scratch, even though by law, our agent (Major Bank) acted for all the credit card companies and therefore had no particular allegiance to any. After contacting the Government and meeting the Minister of Tourism in Northern Cyprus (Kibris), John received their go-ahead to appoint a Paying and Servicing Agent, so enabling the Company to receive revenues from a country in which it had not previously operated. Amalgamated two Service Departments in the UK, saving 35% of the salary cost total of both departments.

Reduced revenue losses due to write-offs from card members queries not solved, by implementing procedures in the United States billing centres, which paid particular attention to customs, practices and laws in the Middle East. Increased Sales Revenue in the Eastern Mediterranean in 1980 by $2 million over the $46 million budget, by setting targets and implementing training for our agents. This was achieved during a time of falling tourism in these countries.

Major Plastic Card – Data Centre Finance & Administration

Set up Data Processing Administration to provide a red-tape free service to 21 cost centres, enabling individual managers to be free to manage within their own areas of expertise. Total staff in DP area was 400, with a budget managed and controlled of £12 million in 1979.

Brought media shipment from purely a packaging operation to one, which operated strict control over 183 shipments per week worldwide into/out of Brighton. Most shipments were Card member charges totaling up to $2 million and the savings in float costs due to improved billing time frames were estimated to be £12 million per annum.

Major Plastic Card – European Data Centre

Introduced performance measures within the European Data Centre, to provide better user service: timely output to users enabled them to service card members faster and issue plastic cards quicker - A boon to a service industry.

Introduced the processing of Computer Output Microfiche (COM) in-house at Major Card Company, thus enabling all reports to be issued 2 to 3 days earlier, for improved company efficiency and better customer service.

Played a major part in moving the Data Centres of two companies, over such a distance, necessitating relocation and new staffing. Ensuring the continued viability of the business during the moves, essential to maintaining customer service and billing.
Responsible for the IBM Mainframe Card member Billings and associated computer output for Europe Middle East & Africa - billings were £1.4 billion p.a.


New Ventures


Hotels (Set up first hotel)

With his wife, John set up a small hotel from scratch, which was subsequently sold for redevelopment into 8 flats.  John & his wife then moved to a larger 21 bedroom hotel. This was partially refurbished and during the first 8 months obtained an average increase in business of 26% more than the previous owners averaged for the previous 3 years. In their 5th month actually achieved 86% more.

In the larger hotel they introduced an automated hotel booking and billing system.

Video Production – set up company

Set up a professional video production company, marketing the "Video brochure" concept. Scripted nearly 40 videos for all sizes of company, including Thorn-EMI and British Airports Authority, with filming throughout the UK and also in Sweden. Most films were Sales Promotional, with a spectacular one for Safety, with an animated cartoon character.

Computer Supplies – set up company

Set up computer supplies company and sold out, subsequently adding £1.3 million to their turnover. He built a dealer network of just under 200 throughout the UK, but mainly in the Southeast, together with a Telesales Retail operation.

Computer Supplies – Set up Southern Region

Set up the Southern Region of a northern based business Services Company, raising monthly invoicing from virtually nothing to £80,000 per month within 6 months of set up, by setting up a telesales operation in London.

Business Services - Company set up

Helped set up a viable new business, which, within 12 months of launch had introduced 14 services and had an annualised turnover of £100,000 in March 1982, was projected to rise to £500,000 to be achieved by the end of 1983.


Land Registry

Major Cost Saving Project

John inherited a 16-year project with 8 years to run. Having seen the negatives on the P&L, John did a small audit and discovered that this project was losing £400,000 per annum and he projected total losses approaching £6 million over the remaining lifetime of the project.

John succeeded in re-negotiating the contract, making a small profit and allowing the prime Contractor to exit after 3 years, not a further 8 years




Facilities Management  / IT Outsourcing

Facilities Management (FM) / IT Outsourcing Division of Main Company

Desktop, Network and Managed Services - Turnover of £15 Million – (1996 – March 1999)
Director Managed Services (c15,000 Desktops & Networks) – Turnover £7.5 million – Net Profit £2.2 million.

John was headhunted to assist in the rescue of this company, which was hived off from a Computer Manufacturer, was £8 million in debt and with no sales pipeline. In the last two financial years until John left, the company made an operating profit of over £1.1 million, with his Division making £2.2 million.

On 1
st September 1997 John took part in a Management Buy-out and became an Executive Director with equity participation. A South African quoted company purchased the company in October 1998, in a deal worth £8.5 million. Major customers in John’s division were AMEX, London Underground, National Air Traffic Control, Rockwell Automation and Warburg Dillon Read.

The FM Division managed a mixture of UK Desktops, SUN systems Server Farms, Networks, PC Procurement and Projects. Following the Integration of the three UK companies, John left to pursue a career as a Contractor in IT, specialising in Interim Management.

Outsourcing / Facilities Management (FM) for a Major Computer Company

John was asked to go back into FM and take over most of the UK operation, which required expert management at a difficult time. John ran 20 accounts totaling £15 million per annum, plus the Foreign exchange dealing system across Europe with a further £18 million per annum.
John began the creation of Implementation Templates for the UK, to ensure future Outsourcing jobs handled professionally.

Outsourcing / Facilities Management (FM) for a Major Computer Company

In January 1993, John was asked to be London FM Service Delivery Manager. In this capacity he took over Major Accounts with Kleinwort Benson and Hoare Govett, where the company was struggling with the delivery.

John set up the London FM (Outsourcing of IT) Infrastructure in only 3 months, helping to stabilise the problems we had in these two major accounts. This saved the contracts and doubled the revenues. In addition to getting both accounts onto a proper footing, further business was then obtained due to the customer's confidence in what we were doing. John also still retained control of the Foreign Exchange European Operations. All contracts performed to an uptime of 99.98%. John also achieved, within 3 months, a viable infrastructure to London FM, which enabled IT to take in more contracts. In recognition of setting up the London Operation, John was awarded a special performance bonus in October 1993


Electricity


Electricity Supply Industry – Major Computer Manufacturer

John was involved in additional opportunities in the Electricity Industry across EEC counties in Europe and also Poland. John assisted with the opportunity for the Account Manager and himself to meet key people in the industry to discuss "Strategic Partnership" with the company. John also met with executives from the EEC in Brussels.

UK Office Infrastructure project
There was a large UK Office Infrastructure project running for a major Generator worth many millions of pounds, with which the Company was having problems.

Within two weeks of meeting the customer and having the "Riot Act Read", John put focus into the project and then the customer "Really trusted us".   We subsequently increased the consultants on site from 35 to 70. The job was an outstanding success and their IT Director attended the company’s yearly Sales conference and relayed this success story.

Electricity Privatisation – Electricity Trading System

John ran the £7.5 million Computerised Energy Management Systems Project for a newly privatised Electricity Generator, on multiple sites. Both phases were on time and to cost despite the "Impossible" Government deadlines set for the privatisation of the CEGB.

A Company Director subsequently stated to the Sales Account Manager that this is the only project within the CEGB ever completed on time and to cost.   It was fully functional on day one to meet the Government Privatisation deadline.   In April 1991 John was awarded 50 Shares of Restricted Stock, "Granted in Recognition of your outstanding contribution to the success of the Company during the past year". This was the first system of it’s kind to be implemented for the electricity supply industry in the UK and provided central monitoring of the electricity generated to the companies power stations.

In particular, the system was designed to gather information on the cost and availability of power generated on a daily basis, to enable the company to manage the trading of electricity to the twelve distribution companies. Following privatisation, the generating companies sold their power through the newly created National Grid Company. The first phase was completed for the system to be in operation by October 1989 and the second phase for April 1990, for the commencement of operations as a legally fully independent company.

Rapid development of the system was made possible through the proven Equipment Hardware and fourth generation software development tools. The energy management system ran on a Digital VAX Cluster of two 6320 series machines and at the time had an extremely large disc storage capacity of 7.2 Gbytes.   The bespoke software was written using Digital’s Rdb relational database for data administration and Digital’s Rally 4GL.


Dot Com

Start up

In his spare time, John assisted in the setting up of a dot.com from scratch and helped take the company to Incubation.

This is the first ever-own label fashion collection to be launched on the web. It is the first fun site to sweep away the traditional web approach. John is no longer involved and the site
became fully operational at www.live2party.com and won awards. It’s since become defunct due to he owners relocating to France.


Banking 

Foreign Exchange Dealing System – European Operations

John was asked to take over the European Management of this Foreign Exchange dealing Operation, outsourced to a Major Computer Manufacturer in March 1992. The reason being that it required Management Focus and discipline around the project.

In the following years, we set up a further 4 countries, creating a stable operation.
When John took over there were no European project Plans or procedures and he therefore put structure in place to ensure the Operation went smoothly. The Customer signed a Multi-million pound 5-year renewal contract in 1993 as a result of their confidence.

In recognition of John’s improvements to the Program he was awarded a special performance bonus in October 1992. John subsequently expanded the Operation into 8 countries with 35% of worldwide revenue and trading levels of Multi-millions per minute. The contract operated to an SLA with 99.98% uptime.

Foreign Exchange Dealing System – European Operations

John was asked to take over the European Management of this Foreign Exchange dealing Operation, outsourced to a Major Computer Manufacturer in March 1992. The reason being that it required Management Focus and discipline around the project.

In the following years, we set up a further 4 countries, creating a stable operation.
When John took over there were no European project Plans or procedures and he therefore put structure in place to ensure the Operation went smoothly. The Customer signed a Multi-million pound 5-year renewal contract in 1993 as a result of their confidence.

In recognition of John’s improvements to the Program he was awarded a special performance bonus in October 1992. John subsequently expanded the Operation into 8 countries with 35% of worldwide revenue and trading levels of Multi-millions per minute. The contract operated to an SLA with 99.98% uptime.

Communications Project (with Encrypted e-mail)

Helped to produce the successful European Central Banks bid for a rollout of a communications Project across 12 countries in Europe. John held a European kick-off meeting to obtain each country's commitment across Europe for this strategic project. As a result, all 12 sites were successfully implemented, also connected to a hub at BIS in Basle and the project completed a week ahead of schedule. The company was then informed that the Customers pleasure at the high quality and performance has exceeded normal customer reaction/feedback.

The choice of approach was based on international standards with the installation of an X400 Message handling system combined with off the shelf products. The flexibility of the system allowed for its development and extension to include desktop workstations of senior officials in the Operations Department of the Central banks in 12 countries. This system required the highest standards of performance, reliability and security.

Dealing Systems

As Director of the Outsourcing Vendor, John was responsible for an on-site Manager and a team of 20 people looking after this major Investment house’s Sun Server Farms, on which all the dealing/trading systems depended. The engineers also looked after the relevant desktop PCs on which they traded.

Dealing Systems

As Manager of the Outsourcing Division, John was responsible for the Manager on site, with a team of people looking after the complete infrastructure – Front, Back Office & Network. The back office was run at a remote Data Centre for security and economies of scale.

Merchant Bank

As Manager of the Outsourcing Division, John was responsible for the Manager on site, with a team of people looking after the complete Desktop infrastructure in their four London Buildings – this included setting up a Help Desk and support Operation. An SLA was created against which the team was measured.

Investment Bank

As Director of the Outsourcing Division, John was responsible for the Manager on site, with a team of 12 people, looking after the complete Microsoft Desktop infrastructure in their London Office.


Spain

Set up a Spanish property business using the Internet for leads, when this was in the early days of using the internet. We provided a complete service to help clients through the buying process and settle in afterwards. We gave each client a 110 page handbook to help them understand the process and the local area and customs.

Set up an on-line Valencia Guide called Guide2Valencia, along with an Ex-Pat’s A5 size magazine with interesting articles and news in both Spanish and English.

When our graphic designer walked out John had to source Adobe Creative Suite, buy it, learn it and produce a 32 page magazine, all in 10 days! This involves using the following packages: -

  • Adobe Illustrator

  • Adobe In Design

  • Adobe Photoshop

  • Adobe Acrobat Professional


China

1. Mentor to Vice President of HSBC Bank in Shenzhen, China

2. Trouble Shooter for Export Business in Shenzhen – Testimonial available and I still do odd assignments for them.

3. In dealing with the above company's problems I had to highlight some problems and solutions with Amazon in Eire, who adopted them as part of their Training course for their service personnel.

4. Taught Business English to an IT Software Company in Shenzhen and we had to restrict class size as the course was so popular.

5. Business English Advisor to the Chairman of the biggest Fibre Optic Cable & Equipment

Manufacturer in China. Interviewed over 50 of their Senior Staff to determine their level of English. Was asked to join them part time, at their Manufacturing HQ in Shijiazhuang, with a fully expensed apartment.

6. Since returning to the UK has run Skype sessions to classes of up to 12 Chinese people on Skype.