Support Manager UK - James




James has a background in the GIS field and currently works as a support manager on one of the company’s many long-term projects. He appreciates the levels of trust and relationships that come as a result.

What is your job and what does your work involve?

Service manager, so I look after the delivery of the support service for our clients. In this particular case and the current client it is the Inferis deliverable, which is a whole set of different technologies combined to give a corporate level system. So it is quite a big project, with a lot of technologies, providing that support and all the management of that, and the daily incidents and problem resolution etc.


What is your educational background?

I got a BSc in Geography and part of my degree course was in GIS, which is one of the technologies that we use here. I worked in GIS for a large, international IT-services company and I eventually came to SCISYS for a GIS job, having previously worked a long time in the GIS field. From there I was involved in the building of the Inferis application. 

Tell us about your career at SCISYS so far.

I have been here for 5 years and subsequently I have gone on to supporting Inferis as delivery manager and support management. On a daily basis I interact with the customer managing their incidents and getting resolution for them. Anything from stuck reports to working out what is an incident and what is a change request, going back through documentation to show whether it is bug-fix or enhancement work, and assisting clients with various different problems etc.

What tools and skills do you use in your role?

The key thing understanding the support needs on an ITIL basis, which is a standard/guideline for support. We run it on that basis for setting up procedures, as well as specific software for logging incidents in the lifecycle and record the SLA clocks etc. We have tools like Bugzilla to record fixes and book it into the codebase, which is in SPN technology. 


What kind of projects are you working on at the moment?

The original contract was an analysis build, delivering effects, making it go live and then continued as an on-going support contract. So you get to build a relationship with clients over several years, so you end up working as a team with the client. We have a level of mutual trust between us. It was built for the client as a one-off, built to their specific requirements. That contract is a full time role so it is always on-going. It uses quite a wide spectrum of technologies, such as GIS, Banctec – a way of building screens and for quick development – Oracle, IBM Websphere, mobile devices, physical hardware etc. It is challenging at times but also quite good fun as well.


What do you like most about your job at SCISYS?

One of the best things about SCISYS is the size of it. My previous employer was a large multinational company and you can feel like a little person lost somewhere in the system. I’ve also worked at a small company with fewer than 50 people. SCISYS is a nice middle size; big enough to have some impact and decent projects to do but small enough that you still know all of the people involved. You know the directors etc. It has a nice feel about it, and you don’t feel lost here.

I feel that from a client perspective we are big enough to cope with the demands of what they ask for and small enough that you can talk to somebody and build a relationship with them. It’s not like people here are moving every year and project managers are constantly changing. This builds relationships and a good level of trust.


What, in your opinion, are some emerging trends in your specific field?

In terms of SCISYS, the whole support side has – rather than being a division of its own –become a function of other divisions. Whether that is matching current marketplace trends, I don’t know, but there are pros and cons to that. So I see many positives. I can work with the development teams a bit closer and be able to respond faster going back and forth.