WSQ would like to profile three members of our great team this month with Vice President Asia Pacific, David Morris, Director of Professional Services NZ, Stephen Dickens, and Senior Data Warehouse Consultant (Wellington), Marcus Southam.
David Morris – Vice President Asia Pacific
David has built his career developing Analytic Solutions on behalf of WhereScape for well-known New Zealand and international customers. His career at WhereScape has seen him progress from leadership of project delivery and the New Zealand consultancy practice to heading WhereScape New Zealand, Australia and Asia. David works with the team to help our customers and partners achieve their full information management potential, which is central to WhereScape’s international growth strategy.
David has always gravitated towards data. Beginning his career working with Dbase and Clipper in the UK, David arrived in New Zealand and began work as a DBA in the Dairy Industry. After many years of dealing with databases and data, he met the founders of WhereScape and quickly became obsessed with all things Data Warehousing.
WhereScape already boasts a number of innovative and dynamic customers around the globe. Using WhereScape Red and 3D automation software David is excited to be able to help them leverage all of their information, while continuing to grow the WhereScape Data Warehouse Automation customer community.
What do you love about working at WhereScape?
The chance to help grow something very special and very successful.
How do you handle difficult situations with your projects?
Communication is key and we work hard to ensure there are no surprises for those involved. We always tell customers what we can do to resolve issues if they arise and we communicate that as early as possible.
What are your thoughts on the future of BI?
Quick delivery of value to those that consume analytics. Trends and technologies always evolve and grow. A Data Warehouse now is always a collection of complementary technologies used to deliver analytics for different stakeholders. The data types and volumes dictate the need for this. To be successful, customers need to be able to manage the delivery of analytics without the need to hire large teams with deep knowledge in each new technology area. The future is Big Data analytics automation and the use of technology to empower Business Intelligence teams to deliver quickly without the need to become experts in all areas.
What do you like to do outside of data?
Music, gardening, exercise and of course all things in moderation so definitely a RED wine or two.
If you were a superhero what power would you have and why?
South Park’s Captain Hindsight has perfect 20/20 hindsight. I can imagine that being very useful (and could have eliminated the need for question two!)
Four Quick Facts about David
- I am a loyal Welshman but don’t speak a word of the language.
- Keen gardener – I keep this quiet and don’t advertise the passion I have for my garden. I love it but most people in this industry just don’t understand!
- Music – I can’t hold a note or sing a song anyone would want to hear but have a large collection of music and equipment to listen to! I like to attend live shows as often as I can.
- Keeping fit – to be honest (and I have to be as those that know me will pull me up on this one!) I’m a late comer to this game. I’ve tried everything from walking, running, swimming and cycling but have now settled on an addiction to the gym and the occasional mountain bike ride.
Stephen Dickens - Director of Professional Services NZ
Stephen Dickens is responsible for the day-to-day running of New Zealand’s consulting operations as well as resourcing training and some solution support. Stephen has now been at WhereScape over 11 years and has seen a lot of change during this time, but still believes our core values and beliefs are the same: Great product. Great people. Stephen enjoys the challenges of constant change, keeping both consultants and clients happy, ensuring projects are delivered on time and quality solutions are developed.
Stephen originally began working as an office clerk for Imperial Tobacco before taking a COBOL/Systems analysis course. This led to a trainee Mainframe programming job at Airbus. After further jobs in Mainframe and Client Server technologies, Stephen started working in Business Intelligence/Data Warehousing for HSBC in London in both Private Banking and Securities/Wealth Management. On arrival in New Zealand, Stephen had to work as a builders mate to make ends meet for three months, before finally securing a job at WhereScape. If not in the back office at his desk, Stephen is may be in the Pinball room having some down time. Stephen also makes a lovely cup of tea.
Four quick facts about Steve
- I should have been a brewer – I love talking about, making and drinking beer
- I used to be amazing at Basketball – I played for the England Under 16 basketball team…..in 1985!
- I went to boarding school from the age of 9 – yes that explains a few things
- I enjoy travelling – I have spent around 3 years of my life travelling the world and have visited over 60 countries and once rode around the whole of Australia on a motorbike.
If you were a superhero what power would you have and why?
This would have to be split between Superman and the Invisible man.
Superman – because of my strength, stamina and broad shoulders that help me function in my role. Also, I’d like to think Superman was good at juggling tasks and always “doing the right thing.”
Invisible Man – because wherever I am (back office, home, client, café, bar) I am always thinking about everything that is going on and I keep ensuring the wheels of WhereScape keep turning.
How do you handle unforeseen issues and problems?
While always aiming to be strategic and plan things well, there are always unforeseen issues and problems that need to be dealt with. It’s just an inevitable consequence of combining clients, consultants, projects and technology. When firefighting is required, I have to change to task driven, reactive problem solving with the minimum of fuss. This is usually low key with minimum drama as I still apply the saying from when I started as a consultant that “at WhereScape, we just get stuff done.”
How do you stay at the forefront of the EDW/DM/BI industry?
I have very little free time to follow all that is going on in the industry. I do try to spend up to an hour each week shut away somewhere quiet reading articles from Microsoft, Computer Weekly, TDWI (The Data Warehouse Institute) and the WhereScape website itself, which now has the best content its ever had. Going forward I will strive to find more time to learn as there is a lot of change and new technology out there in the Enterprise Data Warehouse/Data Mining/Business Intelligence industry.
What changes are you planning to make in new role as Director of Professional Services New Zealand?
In a word…..”none”. This may seem an unusual answer but last year we saw a large amount of change, also headcount in consulting increased 50%-60% with more projects happening now than ever before. This year, I believe we need to consolidate all the change of last year and take a breath, ensuring that the WhereScape brand and image is not diluted by growing too fast. I still believe we are different here at WhereScape and a key part of that is people. As most people know I am also passionate about culture and am proud of my unofficial second job of “CCO” here at WhereScape (Chief Culture Officer). I also plan to make sure this changes as little as possible this year as we have a fantastic culture here.
Marcus Southam - Senior Data Warehouse Consultant
Marcus is one of the Senior Consultants for WhereScape Wellington, and is responsible for training and technical consultancy in the Wellington and Middle East regions.
Marcus started his professional career with a NDBC in Computer Science from Nelson Polytechnic specializing in Oracle database design and programming. From here, Marcus moved into the Microsoft technology stack where he worked with global banks around the world rolling out core banking technology platforms from Singapore to Switzerland.
Marcus has been a Microsoft Certified Professional since the 1990s, and recently passed his 15th Microsoft examination in SQL Server 2012 database programming. Over the years Marcus has gained various certifications ranging from MCSA to MCDBA, and these skills have allowed him to travel and work extensively on consultancy engagements around the world.
3 Questions for Marcus
- How do you stay at the forefront of the BI/DW industry?
With a strong technical background, I am often installing or configuring the latest toolkits and widgets on my Database Server Network at home to test specific business problems, scenarios and trends.
Recently I have been playing with Microsoft’s Cloud Services and Azure subscription services, building Data Warehouse components that leverage off Azure web interfaces and API in the Cloud to perform data integrity and utilize 3rd party master data subscriptions.
- How do you handle unforeseen issues and problems?
One of my key philosophies is getting business stakeholders involved early in the prototyping phase on complex Business Intelligence projects. In many cases, my WhereScape RED prototypes have gone through multiple reviews with the business to understand data discovery findings, clarify key questions on business process and test outcome scenarios.
Early interaction with business stakeholders follows WhereScape RED’s rapid prototyping methodology, and is one of my key strategies to handling unforeseen issues in the pipeline.
- Marcus, why is having an office in Wellington key for WhereScape NZ?
Wellington is home to most of New Zealand’s Government Departments, representing both an important customer base for WhereScape and a magnet for smaller, specialised technology companies such as GreenButton, Mindscape and SilverStripe.
Additionally, the city is home to large Financial Services organizations including KiwiBank, Xero and the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX), many of whom are WhereScape clients.
Having a local presence on the ground in Wellington is particularly critical for Government engagements, with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) recently announcing that WhereScape has been selected onto their ICT Application Panel. This is a great milestone for the Wellington WhereScape team, because it allows WhereScape to tender for upcoming government RFPs.
Four Quick Facts About Marcus
- On the weekends I unwind by sailing a Laser class sailboat around Wellington harbour with my daughter, and attempting not to capsize in the Southerly gales.
- I have a punching bag hanging in the rumpus room. With a background in Ryukyu Kempo Karate, I have been actively teaching my two daughters self-defence and Ryukyu style close-in striking techniques.
- In the 1990s I represented New Zealand at the IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships in Germany, racing international teams on Lake Hannover
- During my earlier years as a Microsoft Consultant, I once lived in hotels continuously for 2 years working on technology assignments in a wide range of locations from Singapore to Milan, Italy.