12 August 2008 : Jestico & Whiles IT Review

This forum was intended to provide insight into the workings of a particular design and professional firms' in-house IT team, the services they employ and their general approach to IT strategy and management. Darren Carroll, IT Manager of Jestico & Whiles, gamely hosted this event and discussed with the group some key aspects of his team's structure and services. Jestico & Whiles are a large architectural firm with around 90 employees based in 2 offices in London, and a further office in Prague.

Attendees at the August 2008 forum at Jestico and Whiles
Attendees at the August 2008 Forum at Jestico and Whiles

Darren worked closely with the practice's senior management in order to agree and manage strategic priorities, including regular meetings and reports. Strategic aims were mapped out and proposals for investment were aligned clearly with the specific needs of the office. Daily support was managed through a dedicated IT support inbox, with the aim of clearing any issues within the inbox by the close of each day. Any issues unable to be resolved within such a period would be escalated to senior members of the IT team. This was generally very effective.

The experience of other attendees with regards to planning and management was mixed, depending on the size and structure of the firm and each firm's approach to IT investment. There was general agreement that a web-based form for user queries could be positive for both users and IT by reducing administrative overhead. Investment in software to support processes was also thought to be similarly valuable for asset management.

Investment was clearly thought to be better realised when targeted through strategies developed with the engagement of key users, specifically managers who can align IT operations with the business aims of the company. The introduction of specific software, processes and staff can provide excellent return if well managed, and it need not always be thought of as simple cost. 3DReid had recently introduced Union Square across its distributed offices which was paying dividends in managing information in an accessible and standardised way.

Attendees:
  • Darren Carroll, Jestico & Whiles (host)
  • Jevon Tucker, 3DReid
  • Owen Oldfield, Gensler
  • Ben Stratton-Woodward, Exposure
  • Bevan Badenhorst, Steffian
  • Jochen Glemser, David Chipperfield
  • Craig Barrett, ORMs
  • Rory Campbell-Lange, Mark Adams and Tim Whiteley Campbell-Lange Workshop