Having started his career in the 1980s at media research firm Global Analysis Systems using an original IBM XT with a Hercules graphics card and dial-up modem, head of ICT service delivery and vendor management, University College London Hospital (UCLH), Mark Taglietti has weathered quite a few changes in the IT industry.
Taglietti's career has seen him cross national and technological barriers, having worked in the technology divisions of the Australian Healthcare and investment banking industries before landing his current role. At UCLH Taglietti has spearheaded several initiatives, including a massive project to improve the hospital's analytics and cost-reduction processes.
Eager to get an insight into what makes Taglietti tick we put him in the V3 Hot Seat. Taglietti is one of many big players to take the Hot Seat, following WWF UK director of ICT David Southern and LateRooms.com's enterprise data architect Ryan Offord.
V3: What's your favourite part of your current job?
Taglietti: It is hard to pick a single favourite that stands out because there are so many, though the first item that springs to mind is the knowledge that the work I do ultimately translates into improved patient care and patient experience.
We are all potential customers of the health service and if you are in a position to facilitate improvements in the way in which patient care is provided then that is a very good thing.
What would be your dream job?
I am a keen aviator and hold my private pilot licence. Unfortunately my visual acuity does not meet the minimum requirements to gain a commercial pilot licence, though if it did I would certainly have pursued that as a dream job.
Which technology has had the biggest impact on your working life?
The big thing for me at the moment is end-user technology analytics. We have just secured a contract with Nexthink to deploy their analytic product set across our technology estate. The intelligence that this product is providing is ground-breaking across many areas. It provides real-time and historic data on how our end-user technology estate is operating, performing and integrating with our network and application services.
The level of management intelligence and business information provided will not only ensure we are able to further improve the stability, standardisation, availability and security of the estate, but also support greater end-user productivity and potentially realise value through cost-avoidance or cost-reduction initiatives.
What's been the highlight of your career so far?
Throughout my career I have been fortunate to travel and work overseas: 10 years in Australian healthcare preceded by many years in investment-banking technology services in London. The mix of public and private experience and exposure has given me a great depth of knowledge and provided many highlights.
The last 18 months with UCLH have been amazing though, and I have being able to lead a large number of enabling infrastructure projects that cover the network, server, storage, mobility and systems integration spaces to name a few. These are now starting to pay real dividends in the way our organisation operates, so certainly represent the biggest highlight at this stage.
What was your first job?
In the late 1980s I worked for a media organisation called Global Analysis Systems in London. They provided research material for city-based financial institutions and employed journalists who wrote on topics such as emerging markets.
My role was to take the content, quality check it, and upload it onto various bulletin boards and online databases. My computer was the original IBM XT with a Hercules graphics card and dial-up Modem – very retro indeed.
What's your favourite thing about working in the IT industry?
My favourite thing is the sheer pace of innovation and change. I am thankful that I have had over 25 years experience and have continually been a part of the development cycle.
To see how technology services are improving people's lives is truly inspiring and, although we need to be mindful of any pitfalls, it is always interesting, feels new, and is continually challenging and ever evolving.
I also consider myself to be a technologist and gadget freak, so the opportunity to play with new toys is always fun and high on my agenda.
What will be the next big innovation of the coming years?
Personally speaking I foresee a future enterprise view that is focused around infrastructure and software as a commodity service. This includes growth in data centre services, storage and cloud services. Integration of workplace services, not just with mobile devices but also into the home, will become more prevalent.
A decline in traditional PC sales and shipments will be countered by increases in mobility and collaboration tool sets. Employees will have access to tools, data and unified communications services at both a local, remote and cross-platform level. Workplace effectiveness will increase as will the work-life balance. A risk exists of individual isolation, though, and this must be addressed through appropriate professional support services.
What keeps you awake at night?
The issue that is keeping me awake at night at the moment is the expiry of Microsoft Windows XP support.
What was the last book you read and was it any good?
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell. A fantastic book that analyses and discusses the issue of how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant, that actually aren't as simple as they seem.
Windows or Mac OS?
I use Windows in the workplace and Mac at home. In the enterprise setting Microsoft still has the edge, and though Apple is doing a fantastic job in the mobility space and is encroaching on the enterprise, in my opinion it still lags behind when it comes to enterprise working.
On the flipside Apple is dominant in the home and consumer space, and is massive in the media and design industries – and quite rightly so.
On-premise or cloud?
All of the above, though a move of some services to the cloud is inevitable. The challenge will be agreeing and controlling security, legislation, data protection and information governance standards, and aligning these at the organisational, national and international level.
How can we get more school children interested in IT careers?
A very interesting question and the problem stems from the fact that children now have access to more technology than ever before, and in some instances can use it more effectively than their parents. In this situation, where is the interest or incentive to consider a career in IT when it currently meets all of the needs of the child?
I would suspect that the way to engage young people in the discussion is for schools to develop curriculums that are inspiring, fun, engaging and allow children to identify problems that are easily solved through technology. The key is inspiration, mentoring, enjoyment and problem solving.
Did you always grow up wanting to work in IT?
Yes, ever since I attended a ‘computer class' at school in the early 1980s and got my hands on the Osborne 1 microcomputer, quickly followed by the BBC Micro, Commodore Vic-20 and Sinclair ZX81. For me this was the golden age of computing and opened up a whole host of possibilities.
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