Hello, my name is Paul Andrews and I am the Managing Director of Andrews Technology Limited.
I have worked as an IT specialist since 1997, when I joined a very small IT department in a very large organisation!
We had over 100 desktops (mostly Windows for Workgroups 3.11), a Netware based network and Microsoft Mail for our internal email. As with most companies at the time the IT department (consisting of the IT Manager and myself, the Network Analyst) were part of the Finance directorship.
I worked there for several years, introducing remote dialup, Internet based email, web browsing at the desktop and Windows 98. To put things in perspective, most of the employees did not think Internet email would be of any use - at the time only a handful even knew of someone with an email address.
I learnt a great deal at that company - in particular, how a company can manage being pioneering without sacrificing stability. With such a large number of desktops things like record keeping, standardisation, total cost of ownership, testing and user training are paramount.
Small business experience
When I left that company, I wanted a change of pace - so I became the (sole) Network Engineer / Systems Analyst for the UK office of a worldwide manufacturing firm, reporting to the Managing Director.
Here, the goals were quite different - there were only twenty office computers, but a shopfloor full of stand-alone technology. For this company, IT wasn't just part of the operating costs - it had to add value. Here was a three-pronged approach; bring down operational costs, streamline office activities (to save on time and staffing), and improve shopfloor efficiency.