This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview John Oxley a Leading Multi-Award Winning International Technology Authority and Executive; John talks about growing a strong and capable ICT workforce.

Enjoy,
Stephen Ibaraki

John OxleyJohn Oxley is a multiple-award winning, Director of Technical Audience Marketing and ICT Evangelism at Microsoft Canada. In this role, John leads and manages a team of Technical Audience Marketing Managers and Senior Technical Advisors that reach out and connect across the ICT industry. Business success, as his mandate, is measured by the technical professional's satisfaction, how his team enables the individual technical professional to be successful, and how they support the ICT industry. His team of select Advisors and Marketing Managers are Microsoft Canada's ambassadors to the ICT community; connecting, supporting and enabling the technical professional and industry. From Academia and across the Industry, his team focuses on driving industry awareness, education, training and adoption of Microsoft solutions through events, industry/community involvement and direct engagement. His globally No. 1 ranked team of Advisors and Marketing managers work exclusively in reaching out to diverse communities leveraging social media, community connections and more.

John is very well respected at Microsoft Redmond, and at Microsoft Canada, plus in the overall Canadian and global community. John is an acknowledged top-ranked speaker, blogger, web-caster, business executive and international thought leader.

To illustrate, since 2007, he was achieved many major awards and recognitions:

  • Canadian Information Processing Society Gala Award for outstanding contributions.
  • Judy Elder Award for his impact to the MS organization and to the overall community.
  • DPE Top Global Manager Award, as the top manager worldwide in the participative web and community programs he runs.
  • Due to John's extensive internationally acknowledged leadership and innovation in both business and technology, John hosted the first full international OECD Participative Web Conference "Strategies and Policies for the Future" in Ottawa, where top global leaders in government, business, academia, and media presented.

In addition, John created the IT Manager Connection blog in 2006 which in one year was ranked in the top 10% of TechNet blog properties worldwide. This blog was featured in every issue of Computing Canada in 2006/2007 in the editorial column, Blogged Down, received a Top 10 spotlight from Computer World Canada in 2008, and in a press release a Top 7 highlight at the 2008 Global MVP Summit with the speech and profile of MS CEO, Steve Balmer. John and his talented top-ranked team led the development of the very successful Energize IT Conferences; was the creative inspiration behind the online and interactive national Academic forums bringing in faculty and academic leaders, and the very successful Ignite Your Career series plus TechDays Conferences running across the country. In addition, John has been a key participant and invited international advisor in enabling the UN-founded, IFIP International Professional Practice Partnership (IP3), receiving full support and ratification for implementation [in conjunction with Microsoft] at the IFIP World General Assembly in August 2007. This IFIP IP3 initiative, which provides for a global professionalism and certification program, launched in 2009 and is the first of its kind in the world!

Prior to joining Microsoft in 2000 he spent his first 5 years in the Microsoft Consulting Services group delivering enterprise solutions to many large and medium organizations. John has been a consultant and manager for over 13 years working with many professional services companies including EDS. Previous to that, John's spent many years in the Canadian Air force in technical and leadership roles which have taken him across Canada and around the world plus adding to his broad competency set as a skilled pilot. His varied senior-level and in-depth technical experiences have given him a unique insight and fuelled his passion for Business, the IT Industry, community, service, and connection. Technology and Thought Leadership is not only a career for John, it is a mission leveraging his experiences to reach out and support the community.

John, his wife and two kids can attest that he is a geek at heart as he is always bringing home some sort of new technology gadget. There are no bounds and no matter if it is the latest software or hardware from Enterprise applications, home automation to cool geek devices, John will seek it out and share his experiences with others.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

DISCUSSION:

Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:50:
Can you outline the leveling and disruptive forces in the current environment and why this matters?
".... The accessibility, the friction-free access to IT has really made IT more pervasive....The one thing that we really see when we think about the core ICT world out there is change...."

:03:27:
We hear of the term Gap applied. What does this mean and where are the Gaps?
"....I think there is a fundamental shift that has happened in ICT. Now that we have the application of ICT more in the business world it has created a gap between the knowledge of how to implement and how to operationalize IT.... The more that IT becomes a core tenant in enabling the business, the more that this gap between enabling IT and operational IT is separated...."

:05:13:
John comments on the three causes of these Gaps.
"....The fast change of technology....Our learning capability and support within the ecosystem....Canada has a diverse economy and supply and demand is mismatched in some areas...."

:07:55:
Where do you see opportunities and how can we leverage them?
"....We have to think about retraining of our ICT workforce to meet the needs of the coming business in the future....We need to support organizations like CIPS, ICTC, ACM, large organizations and education that actual connect the dots and bring them together.....Industry, whether it's the company who hires the person or the company that supplies the product or the software vendor, needs to step up and provide resources, skills and training at a good cost and at an easily accessible level so that individuals can go out there and do the things that they do best to bring the magic to the software, enable the business and support their customers...."

:10:57:
How is Microsoft involved in generating strategies and actionable programs?
"....The number one feedback that we've received back from our surveys for people to be satisfied is that we provide them with the right resources, the right services and the right training so that they can do their jobs. So we've taken this mantra in Canada, partnering with all of those user organizations, on how we can support the technical professional's skills growth. We focus it on how do we drive the skills growth, how do we support making connections in their local area and how do we actually help them manage change...."

:14:19:
John invites any feed back from this conversation to contact him at john.oxley@microsoft.com.