Meet Mike Burns, IT & Systems Manager
18 January 2021
Mike joined TJ five months ago and in that time he’s had huge success in improving many of the company’s IT challenges. Outside of work, Mike enjoys travel, golf, football and javelin. He’s also captain of a local pool team, which, thanks to lockdown, is holding 1st place position in the league indefinitely!
This is a new role to the business – what were you brought in to do?
I joined TJ last summer on a temporary basis to help with a project to migrate TJ’s existing IT system to a new cloud-based one. One of the main drivers for this was to enable TJ’s servers to be cloud-based to make remote working an option for some TJ employees. This was a priority for TJ as the pandemic continued, as it highlighted the necessity for a disaster recovery process which we are well on our way to achieving.
It was recognised by the directors that I was a good fit for the company and that I could bring a lot to the business, so my role was made permanent in the new year, which I’m thrilled about.
What are your key responsibilities?
Anything tech related really! It could be anything from issues with computer hardware to enabling the business to become more proficient through quality software. I work on projects of all sizes, working to get the right results for each issue or challenge. I will be researching new software solutions as and when needed within the business, advising on the best options in line with company requirements.
I’m also responsible for upskilling the workforce where needed, whether that’s supporting staff to find more efficient ways of using technologies already in use, or teaching them how to use new systems we choose to bring on board. I offer group training as well as 1-2-1 assistance for individual staff members that need a helping hand with a piece of software.
What’s your career background?
I have predominantly worked in the fin-tec industries in Operations Management, assisting businesses to upscale inflows whilst maintaining and improving existing overheads. These roles were bolstered by my experience working as a Management Information Analyst for the world’s third largest ICT provider, during which time I developed expertise in a range of areas.
These skills and experience are completely transferable, as is the way I work. I strive to find logic in whatever project I’m working on and use it to find better ways of doing things, with the aim of saving company and staff time, and increasing efficiency.
What do you find the most rewarding about the role?
When you beat the computer! In short I’ve always believed that nothing is impossible, so if I’m presented with a problem, I will always strive to overcome it. I liaise with those involved with the issue or project, working with them to help them overcome the challenge and emerge the other side with a more efficient process or operation. It’s all about making things work better for those using them, saving them time in their everyday tasks. This in turn, improves business performance.
The satisfaction of knowing that I’ve accomplished something that someone else may have perceived as being almost impossible is always a highlight!
What challenges you the most?
We are all where we are based on our experience, which comes from what we’ve been taught and the skills we have inherited, so to try and reprogram our thoughts on technology and how we manage it is always a challenge. In assisting and training others I often witness the struggle, but the sense of achievement when the lightbulb moment happens is worth the effort.
What are your goals for 2021?
My main aim is to enable the business to be 100% cloud-based by the end of year as this will help the business to run more smoothly and enable staff to work more flexibly, which is important, especially in the current climate.
I’d also like to have mapped at least 50% of TJ’s operational procedures by the end of the year as this will enable us to track and measure the improvements we’re making and use our findings to assist even more going forward.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I’ve been with TJ for almost 5 months and in that time I’ve been exposed to many opportunities for success, which I’m very proud of. My proudest moment came whilst working on a project that required 30,000 records to be transferred from one system to another. The programmers responsible for the new system said there wasn’t a way to automatically transfer the records and said it would have to be done manually, which they estimated would take one person 52 days’ work (data entry).
On hearing this, I decided to do all I could to identify a way to save time and I never back down from a challenge! I ended up developing some script that automated the process successfully, condensing a task that would’ve taken 52 days’ work, down to 13 hours!
What do you like most about working for TJ?
TJ is open to change, whether they be through training or improvements in technology. The entire team seems to have the same ‘can do’ mindset; no one seems resistant to doing things differently and people are willing to take new suggestions on board if it presents the opportunity for improvement.
To work alongside staff members of all levels in the organisation who are willing to challenge the status quo is really refreshing. The collective attitude that we can muster through it when the going gets tough helps build a sense of synergy , which is great to be part of.
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