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  • What’s happening in Service Management in 2016?

    November 2015

    Reading time: 4 minutes Service Management is nothing new in the world of IT, however, I’ve rarely seen a well implemented service management/ITIL environment. Much like the mis-application of project management methodologies, Service Management is often misunderstood and deployed in an over-bureaucratic way. In the past this was often made worse by the so called Service Management Experts of 5-10 years ago. Sometimes I felt they’d invested so much personal time and effort to become highly certified, that they’d become fixated on doing things in a rigid ITIL only way. To find out where the world of Service Management is heading into 2016, I spoke with Steve Morgan of Syniad IT. A foremost expert in service management, and most recently focusing on SIAM, or Service Integration and Management, I asked Steve how Service Management has matured over the past 5 years, especially with the growth of tools such as Service…

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  • The role of the IT Leader – Are you developing enough business savvy?

    October 2015

    Reading time: 9 minutes The world of IT is never static, and the role of the IT Leader is one of the most challenging in any organisation. Often the CIO is under attack for not having enough business savvy, whilst at the same time being under the cosh for poor IT performance. A key challenge for today’s IT Leader is the shift towards cloud-based and SaaS applications and services. This is leading a shift away from the traditional ‘Big Bang’ projects of the past. I spoke with business psychologist Steve Gilbert to get his views on how IT leaders are adapting to this new world. But first some background on Steve. Not only is he a business psychologist, with a BSc(Hons) in Psychology, and an MSc in Occupational Psychology from Birkbeck College, but he also has RQTU and EFPA in psychometrics. Through CPD he focuses on Organisation Development, Leadership, and…

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  • Why project management certifications are a waste of time

    September 2015

    Reading time: 14 minutes I’ve been delivering projects and programmes for over 20 years. During that time, I’ve interviewed countless numbers of people for project management positions. Despite the hundreds of people I’ve interviewed who professed to have Prince2 qualifications, I’ve never met anyone who could tell me what the ethos of Prince2 is (and if you think its ‘Project in Controlled Environments’ you don’t know the answer either!). In this article I’m going to explain why project management certifications can be a waste of time and money, and what you can do about it, whether you’re looking to get certified or whether you run a project management function. And I might even explain to you what the ethos of Prince2 is. Before I go any further, I should declare that I do have project management certifications. These include CompTIA: IT Project+ (that takes me back a long way!), Prince2…

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  • Legal IT Roundtable – A Consultant’s Perspective

    August 2015

    I read a very good article this week in Law Gazette. Journalist Joanna Goodman reported on the Law Gazette’s recent Legal IT Roundtable. There didn’t appear to be representation or comment in the article from a technology consultant, so as a provider into the legal sector I wanted to fill the gap and provide that viewpoint. Goodman’s article is wide-ranging, covering: matter management, cloud services, business continuity, and innovation and agility. The audience was a good spread from small to large firms. I’ve provided extracts from the article below and provided responses (although I highly recommend your read the original article too). Feel free to provide your own views in the comments section below the article. General Views on Technology Value Some early comments in the article say: While for some smaller and niche firms IT has levelled the playing field, helping them grow their businesses and extend their market reach,…

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  • 5 critical things you must do to make CRM effective in your business

    August 2015

    Reading time: 7 minutes CRM – Customer Relationship Management – you know what it is right? But why do you need a CRM? Do professional services firms typically use CRM, and if they do, is it better to have a sector specific CRM, or will any old CRM do? Should you use a cloud-based CRM, or have an on-premise one? Regardless of how it’s delivered, what if you need to change your CRM – how do you go about doing that? To get answers to these questions, and more, I spoke with Don Wiid of Contact Edge CRM. Don is an expert in Customer Relationship Management, better known as CRM. He has spent over 10 years working with CRM systems, and has written add-on programmes that have sold around the world.  His expertise as a business analyst and software developer has seen Don design and implement CRM strategies that have…

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  • 9 Lies That Are Holding Your Business Back

    July 2015

    Rating: Published: 2005 9 Lies That Are Holding Your Business Back is written by Steve Chandler and Sam Beckford. The focus of this book is pretty obvious from the title. It explores the 9 most commons myths, or lies, that we tell ourselves about running a business. These myths are not only untrue, but they are self-perpetuating and cause us to make serious business mistakes. The 9 lies that Chandler and Beckford examine are: I just need to know how to do this It takes money to make money We just need to get our name out there Experience will benefit me Lowering prices boosts business You have to be tighfisted Customers are hard to figure out I don’t need any help I am a victim of circumstance I must confess I’m becoming a bit of a fan of Steve Chandler. I’ve read a number of his books now, and…

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  • Camford presents on IT Strategy at Microsoft/Lawnet Event

    June 2015

    We presented on the 17th June 2015 to a Lawnet audience at the Microsoft campus in Reading. The topic of the presentation was ‘How to develop your IT Strategy’ where we showed a simple 5 step process that we call The 5 W’s The topics covered were: IT Strategy challenges Legal landscape Why have an IT Strategy IT Strategy survey Approach to defining your IT Strategy 3 big ideas If you weren’t able to attend the event, or did and would like an electronic copy of the presentation, click the link here:

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  • 3 Big Ideas to Improve Your IT Strategy

    May 2015

    Reading time: 4 minutes I recently presented at a Microsoft conference on the topic of developing your IT Strategy. This is a challenge that many IT Leaders face, yet there is surprisingly little guidance available. To aid you we will shortly be releasing our IT Strategy Toolkit which provides the methodology that we created and follow ourselves, along with various tools, templates, and guidance. We’ve also included notes from the field that detail our own experience and the things to watch out for. Whilst I was presenting at the Microsoft/Lawnet seminar I put forward 3 Big Ideas to improve your IT Strategy. These are: Remove Innovation Spend from the IT Budget Immerse IT in the Business Engage the IT Team with the firm’s clients Let’s take a look at each in turn to explore where they can have a major impact on the value of your IT Strategy. 1. Remove…

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  • The cloud explained – for business leaders

    April 2015

    Reading time: 6 minutes Cloud technologies have been around for some years now. We all use them, whether we realise it or not. LinkedIn is a cloud based application, as too are most other social media apps. Skype is a cloud app. And Microsoft Office365 is a cloud-based offering of the Microsoft Office suite. But what does it mean when something is in the cloud? And what can we get from the cloud? Understanding how technologies work together To understand the cloud we must first understand how different technologies work together to provide the applications that we use. At Camford Management Consultants we use what we call the Layered Framework, as shown below. The framework represents the stack of technologies in a logical order. At the top level of the technology stack are the business activities. Whilst not a technology, the business activities are the only reason why you have…

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  • Growth is Dead: Now What?

    March 2015

    Rating: Published: 2013 Growth is Dead: Now What? is written by Bruce MacEwen, a lawyer and President of Adam Smith Esq., an online publication providing insights on the business of law. The core focus of this book is the changes in the legal industry brought about by the 2008 downturn. MacEwen defines 6 core challenges affecting the sector: Pricing pressures Excess capacity Proliferation of career tracks Partner expectations Lateral partner mobility Critical role of truly strategic thinking Ultimately these issues boil down to the fact that the market has changed substantially. Previously lawyers were in the driving seat, and with hourly billing there was little need to be efficient. But the market now finds itself in a position of low growth. The client is in the driving seat and they are are expecting more for less! MacEwen does a good job in exploring each of the challenges, backing up findings…

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  • Are Lawyers Afraid of Technology?

    February 2015

    Reading time: 3 minutes Calls for the government to implement a system of on-line dispute resolution surfaced this week. The concept is for ‘facilitators’ to work with litigants to prevent disputes going any further, with judges ruling on-line for cases that cannot be settled. The aim is to reduce litigation costs for low value claims. Of interest was not so much the article itself (posted on the Law Gazette – ‘Online courts will cut need for lawyers – IT guru), but the negative responses it received. Granted, this was not helped by the title of the article, and the term ‘guru’ hints at a certain arrogance. However, comments after the article included: “Why does every technological advancement have to ELIMINATE solicitors? Can’t it just make our jobs and the process easier?” “With the increase in automation and AI only some 10 years away, who will be litigating? Having a job will…

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  • What should you study – Prince2, Agile, or ITIL?

    January 2015

    Reading time: 9 minutes “As an IT Manager, with years of experience without certifications, I have been asking myself which qualification would be of most benefit to me – Prince2 or ITIL?” I recently responded to this question which was posted on LinkedIn. This article expands upon the answer I gave on LinkedIn, providing analysis on current trends, and opinions to take into account when assessing your certification needs, and those of your team. Some of the answers may surprise you! Declaration Before we dive into the article I need to make a declaration: I am an avid believer in life-long learning.  In line with this belief I have a number of certifications including Prince2 Practitioner, Agile PM Practitioner, ITIL, Certificate in Management, and a number of other certs going back to NT4 MCSE, and even Network+. So it could be said that I have a bias towards certification. But that’s…

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  • How you can benefit from not having an IT Strategy

    December 2014

    Reading time: 4 minutes If you don’t have an IT Strategy you are free to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Just don’t expect to be in a winning organisation. In over a decade of helping organisations to develop their IT Strategy, the one thing has been conspicuously absent is… an existing IT Strategy! This begs the question: Do you even need an IT Strategy? First let’s look at what I consider the top 5 reasons that drove those organisations I’ve helped to need an IT Strategy: Responding to a specific business challenge i.e. a risk, a market shift, regulatory change, increased competition A change in the leadership team that prompted a review of IT Relocation to new offices – opening up budget and providing an opportune time to review IT Technology constraints – either physical, such as running out of data centre capacity, or vendor driven, such as…

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  • Camford becomes accredited provider on Growth Vouchers scheme

    November 2014

    Reading time: <1 minute Are you seeking professional advice to help grow your business, but worry about the cost? As an accredited Adviser for the Growth Vouchers programme we can help you take your business to the next level! If you run a small business and are looking for professional advice in making the most of digital technology to rapidly grow your business, the Growth Vouchers programme could help by giving you up to £2,000 to cover half the cost. Find out how you can get access to expert knowledge from an accredited adviser like us through the Growth Vouchers programme by visiting https://www.gov.uk/apply-growth-vouchers. See the examples below of business owners who have taken advantage of professional advice and seen the benefits: Marcus Whittington doubled his profits with the support from Growth Vouchers Derbyshire-based catering company Saffron Catering used Adviser knowledge to expand their business We’ve already helped make our…

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  • Legal Project Management, Pricing, and Alternative Fee Arrangements

    October 2014

    Rating: Published: 2013 Legal Project Management, Pricing, and Alternative Fee Arrangements is written by Jim Hassett and has probably the longest, most cumbersome title of any book I’ve ever read! Thankfully the content is better than the title. The main focus of this book is really alternative fee arrangements, or AFA’s as they are often known. Legal Project Management (LPM) is an essential discipline to be able to use AFA’s profitably, and Hassett has chosen to introduce LPM first. Like many books on the legal sector, it makes reference to the Altman Weil surveys. These annual surveys really do provide great insight into the sector. Hassett quotes a general counsel responses to the 2012 Chief Legal Officer Survey on the question of: “what you would most like to see from outside counsel?” the answers to which were: Cost reduction (50%) Non-hourly based pricing structures (53%) More efficient project management (53%)…

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  • How to make millions without a degree and how to get by even if you have one

    September 2014

    Rating: Simon Dolan is a multi-millionaire and features on the Sunday Times Rich List. He is the founder and sole owner of SJD Accountancy. If you’ve ever been an IT contractor you will have heard of SJD. The premise of the book, as it’s title clearly states, is How To Make Millions Without A Degree: And How to Get by Even If You Have One. The book is partly autobiographical, and in it Dolan provides advice to business owners and those considering starting their own business instead of going to University. However, I think the title is a bit of a shame as this book is so much more than describing an alternative to getting a degree. Dolan provides some of the most practical, straightforward business advice I have ever read in a business book. He has a no-nonsense way of talking that enables him to get to the point…

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  • Can you build a winning team without creating a sense of purpose?

    August 2014

    We’ve been working with a client recently to review one of their IT teams, and to help design an organisational structure that ensures success. One of the main challenges has been the importance that the client attributes to the team’s organisational structure. There is a strong view within the client that the best way to make a successful team is to come up with a winning structure first. That’s a bit like saying, “Get me the best sports team”, without identifying which sport you’re playing! Not only do we need to determine the game, but also the rules. If we want to play Rugby, is it the RFL or the RFU? And what’s our vision? Do we want to win the Challenge Cup, or can we only afford players that might mean we set our sights somewhat lower? Diving headlong into an org chart is a common mistake. This may…

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  • The War of Art

    July 2014

    Rating: Published Jan 2012 What’s it about? This book has probably the best Foreword of any book I’ve ever read. As it states, ‘I can procrastinate thinking about my procrastination problem’. If you write as part of your job I would suspect that you will be hooked by the end of the foreword. The purpose of the book is to help you recognise and respond to your internal resistance to make progress and achieve your dreams. It’s primarily about the challenges of writing, but I think it can be applied to most any goal or skill that you are trying to achieve. That might be starting or building your business, or anything which results in other giving judgement. The book is structured in 3 distinct sections, labelled: Book 1: Resistance, Book 2: Combating Resistance, Book 3: Beyond Resistance. The first and 3rd sections are very good. I have to say…

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  • We don’t just consult!

    February 2014

    As a responsible business we’re always looking for ways to support the communities in which we work, whether that be the consulting community, the IT community, or the local communities in the areas in which we work. In support of our local community we have chosen this year to support a member of our team who is actively engaged in the Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers (SERV), otherwise known as the Blood Bikers. SERV is a registered charity providing a rapid response medical transport service, primarily by motorcyclists, transporting blood and other urgent medical supplies.  This service is provided completely free of charge, allowing the NHS to divert funds where they are needed most. A member of the Camford team is a volunteer rider, going on call for a minimum of 2 nights per month from 7pm until 6am the following day.  The group that our team member belongs to…

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  • Camford joins in on the Cambridge Bikers Christmas Toy Run

    December 2013

    As a responsible business we’re always looking for ways to support the communities in which we work, whether that be the consulting community, the IT community, or the local communities in the areas in which we work. In December 2013 a group of bikers in the Cambridge area decided to put on a Toy Run to Addenbrooke’s hospital, with the aim of bringing some seasonal cheer to children unfortunate enough to be spending Christmas in hospital.  The aim was to get as many bikers as possible to take part, and to donate gifts.  On the day 168 bikes and bikers, many of whom were in seasonal costume, turned out for the event.  With such high numbers an escort by police motorcycle riders was arranged, and attention was drawn from regional TV. We’re proud to not only have donated gifts, but also that one of our team members was in attendance,…

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  • Leading the consulting industry

    October 2013

    As a responsible business we’re always looking for ways to support the communities in which we work, whether that be the consulting community, the IT community, or the local communities in the areas in which we work. In support of the consulting community, this year we chose to support the BCS’s Consultancy Specialist Group. The BCS champions the global IT profession and the interests of individuals engaged in that profession for the benefit of all.  A number of specialist groups exist to forward and support various specialisms.  A member of our team fulfils the role of Secretary for the BCS Consultancy Specialist Group.  The aims of this Specialist Group include: To debate, encourage and promote the practice of professionalism in consulting. To help members develop knowledge and consultancy competencies and skills. To facilitate learning, knowledge sharing, and the dissemination of information. To find out more, visit the groups website at: www.bcs.org/category/9568

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