Episode 27 of The Andy Show
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:01:01] Good afternoon and welcome, it’s the 27th of May, the slightly later time of 2 minutes past 1. I’m Andrew McLean and you are of course, watching The Andy Show. So for those who don’t know, I have a guest today who has worked alongside me for many, many years. He has- he runs a couple of consultancies and has done in the past. He’s worked for IBM and he also works with Bloor Research. And a couple of other hats that he has on, my absolute pleasure to be joined today by Mr. David Terrar.
DAVID TERRAR [00:01:42] How you doing Andy? Great to be here.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:01:43] I’m not too bad, I was expecting more of a yay introduction.
DAVID TERRAR [00:01:49] It’s a brilliant introduction. I mean, what can I say? You left me speechless.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:01:53] I say that is a fantastic bookcase you’ve got behind you, David.
DAVID TERRAR [00:01:58] That’s the C.D. collection they….
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:02:02] What’s a C.D.?
DAVID TERRAR [00:02:03] Yeah, exactly. Well, you know, you millennial’s bloody typical. No, I still like the physical, you know, the feel of the compact disc. So that’s the C.D. collection behind me.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:02:12] That’s fantastic.
DAVID TERRAR [00:02:12] I do subscribe to Spotify as well though and I’ve got vinyl as well. My son, who’s 25. He buys everything first on the on vinyl and I’m the one that’s doing stuff on Spotify. It’s crazy.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:02:31] Well, it’s. Yeah. Well, we’re going to start speaking about the digital world and how things have changed and also how this digital world has changed during this current lockdown. But let’s start from the beginning Mr. David Terrar, do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
DAVID TERRAR [00:02:47] Okay. Well, when I went to university, I actually imagined I was going to be an elementary particle physicist. And then when I got there, I discovered that I couldn’t handle maths. And I think in another decade and I’m not going to admit to how long ago this was, I might have been steered to a different course, but I stuck it out to the end and got my business degree. And but I took a job with a company, the best company that at the time and I started three days. My finals finished on Fridays and I had a weekend off and then started the world of work on a Monday with a company called IBM. As a systems engineer and then a sales guy. And IBM spotted that I was a salesman before I did and sent me down that route. And I’ve been having fun with it ever since. And so my background is Sales and Marketing, Business Application Software with ERP Software and CRM Software and all that kind of stuff. Been a Sales and Marketing Director of a variety of different mid-range software companies like Interactive and DataWorks that don’t exist anymore, that part of that Epicor. And then in the early 2000s, I left the corporate world and started a consulting company to get into this software as a service and Cloud stuff. So started that in September 2004 and I’ve been doing that kind of thing ever since. With a growing use of social media, got into to kind of social media marketing and usage of social and selling at very early. And then we grew up, you know. My company, Agile Elephant, has got a particular specialization in collaboration solutions.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:04:42] Oh fantastic. So you’ve got quite a very varied background.
DAVID TERRAR [00:04:47] I guess I have and I’m a heavily into it’s interesting with digital marketing where there’s a kind of like. I see a divide between people who’ve been in the digital marketing space recently, who are steeped in everything. And one of the questions I always ask them is, do have you heard of The Cluetrain Manifesto? And that kind of divides the people who understand the history of the way social has developed from the ones who have only go into it recently.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:05:16] Mm hmm. Okay, so-
DAVID TERRAR [00:05:18] The main thing of The Cluetrain Manifesto, by the way, being all markets are conversations.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:05:24] All markets are conversations. Okay, I could make a cheesy line now but having a conversation, thank you for that, David. So let’s start from the beginning. We are currently in, we’re still in lockdown. A lot companies are still under lockdown or are about to start practicing certain social distancing. Technology has played a huge part in this. The ability to work from home. And this is not just a reliance on home Internet. There’s been a rise in shadow I.T.. There have been concerns around cybersecurity. There’ve been people dusting off old computers from their garage that they haven’t used for a decade and suddenly springing them to life and being online, forced to sit on endless Zoom, and Team and Skype or whatever it is called. From your point of view, from the stuff you’ve seen in your research. How has the industry, particularly the I.T. industry, cope with that demand, both as workers and as companies providing technology?
DAVID TERRAR [00:06:31] Well, I think it’s fascinating. As mentioned the fact that I’ve been around in the collaboration place for a while since the kind of 2000s when we were talking about enterprise 2.0 and things like that. And actually, this has been kind of like a big kick forward for all sorts of digital transformation. And there are lots of organizations which have been dragged into using collaboration solutions and working from home. And it’s a permanent change, you know, we’re never going back to the way it was before. Lots of organizations have figured out that this kind of stuff works, that working from home in the right environment, done the right way works, that these kinds of collaboration products and Zoom meetings and Team meetings and also Teams work. I was listening to not my story, but Tim Connolly, one of the other analysts people talking about one of the Chief Digital Officer of Sainsbury’s talking about this and basically saying that, you know, in the normal course of events. If they’d been forced to do something like this, they would have like, you know, thought about it for a year and then put together a plan that would take another year and then kind of tested it out. And, you know, in the industry before they would have tried it and instead they were forced to do it in a matter of a couple of weeks. And they’ve got something’s wrong. But it worked. And it’s an effort for big corporations. It’s been quite an eye-opener in terms of, you know, getting this kind of transformation done. You know, if everyone jumps in and does it, it can be made to work. The only complication I see with it, though, is kind of a cultural one where too many organizations are just kind of translating the physical meetings to Zoom and Teams meetings. And I’ve got lots of friends who are now kind of stuck in wall-to-wall web meetings from dawn to dusk. And what these organizations need to recognize is that there are asynchronous ways to kind of get collaboration done and to support working from home rather than everything happening I think to be at a Zoom meeting.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:08:51] Yeah. I mean, this is the thing. I mean, everybody is suddenly doing Zoom meetings I have a feeling about people using this thing term Zoom fatigue. I don’t think it’s just Zoom fatigue. I think people have been having meetings for the sake of having meetings as something to do. And I think there’s been a lot of that to sit and go. You know, I spoke to someone in the other day and said, oh I had this daily meeting with my boss. How many daily meetings does you have with your boss before? Never. Never. It’s very much all change. What about them? So how prepared? I mean, no one could really be prepared for this, but how prepared do you think companies were for this whole working from home structure that it’s come around?
DAVID TERRAR [00:09:38] You know? I think it separates out that the companies that really are organized for the complexities of the current world from the business as usual organizations. I think if we talk about the fact that we’re in the fourth industrial revolution. I think the previous three revolutions, the world got complicated. And when we had complicated business processes and I can handle complicated because I can set up processes and procedures and use automation to fix complicated stuff. But we’ve now moved in with what’s going on in the world, with the technologies that we’re now kind of driving out to. Whether it’s 5G and IoT or blockchain or whatever the technology is, there’s so much going on. Suddenly we’re in a complex world when actually the slightest thing can have huge implications on the system. Which is exactly what we’re living in. You know, a virus has come along a pandemic, and suddenly everything’s changed dramatically. And it’s one of these things that, you know, in a complex situation that you can’t plan for it, but you can prepare for it. So there I think there are some organizations that were much better prepared for the fast changes that needed to happen. And what every organization needs to think about next is, is changing their thinking and actually recognizing that the complexities of the world. Now, after we, you know, if we ever solve the COVID-19 issue, if we get a vaccine and when we start to get the world back to a bit like it was before, we can’t think that it’s going to go back to like it was before. We have to be ready for the next one. So the smart organizations are the ones that are thinking that way and are prepared for the next, I think at Bloor Research, my company, Agile Elephant partners with an analyst called Bloor Research that you mentioned in the intro. They have a framework approach to how you run a business called Mutable Business, which is all about basically getting digital transformation right. And that the main tenets of Mutable Business is that an organization needs to be in a permanent state of reinvention. The organizations that think of digital transformation as a project with a start and an end are thinking all wrong. Actually, they have to think continuous change and be prepared for continuous change. And the smart organizations are gonna shift to that style of approach and implores to become Mutable Businesses.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:12:21] It’s really interesting. So are you confident that when this lockdown’s over, it’s all things are sorted, everything’s sorted, everything’s going to go back and…?
DAVID TERRAR [00:12:34] No, I absolutely don’t think they will go back. I think there’s gonna be… I mean, there’ll be a lot more people who are used to working from home that will carry on doing that. They’ll be a change to, that will mean a change to commercial property and offices because maybe we’ll use less of them. I think there’ll be lots more smart collaboration and stuff happening online. And I think it will accelerate the change in a lot of organizations. And I don’t think is ever going back to the way it was. We just got to recognize that it is going to be different and we’re going to have more events like this that come along and surprise us. So, you know, I think preparedness.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:13:19] Yeah, I think there’s going to be a lot more emphasis on things like Cloud technologies and A.I. technologies and things that I hope that leads me nicely to my next question. So you have a series on Disruptive Live called Impossible Things with D.T. and one of those- you cover a range of topics on that, but you wanna give us a bit of background of what you mean by impossible things?
DAVID TERRAR [00:13:43] Well, it come. I mean, it comes from partly from Arthur C. Clarke’s third law that any sufficiently advanced technology looks like magic to the outside world. And the fact that, you know, from Alice through the looking glass, when the queen talks about, oh, we do six impossible things before breakfast. And I think, you know, a lot of the technology and the things that we’re doing now, you know, a few years ago would have felt like magic. And it never ceases to amaze me that, you know, the pervasively, you know, how pervasive communications technology is- I mean, one of the brilliant things about today’s world is that almost all over the world can be connected. And I could be having this conversation with you whether I was here or in St Albans or where I hope to move next, which is Stratford or Bangalore or Taiwan or wherever. And then, you know, out in the countryside. I can still, you know, connect on my laptop or my smartphone. So, yeah, it’s really the like the future of I’m talking the future of technology. But we also with a mix of creativity and design, thinking and finding cool stories. It’s all about finding cool stories. So, for example, this afternoon show, will be someone who I first met which when she was at Vodafone, technical architect developing internal products for the Vodafone workforce. She’s just moved to KPMG, but she’s got some interesting things to do with her approach to the technical architectural of products which are important. Also, she’s a huge champion of diversity and inclusion. And so a big part of the topic this afternoon will be how that kind of thinking is important and empowers creativity and better outcomes. If you think diversity and inclusion and you have, you know, whether it’s, you know, by race or religion or gender or whatever the thing is, the more diverse people you have in your organization, the more effective you can be.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:16:06] Yeah. But it’s really interesting. There’s I mean, there’s so many different topics you could be covering there. Any particular topics your favorite?
DAVID TERRAR [00:16:16] Well, I think the fact that even today in 2020, the diversity and inclusion one is one that we still need to put effort into. I mean, we’ve still got certainly in the tech space. Way too much emphasis on male versus female. And so there’s lots of work to do for the average organisation. Thankfully, we’ve moved on a lot since the 90s and the 2000s, we’re in much in a better place. But we can still do more. I don’t see enough panel sessions where it’s three women and two guys rather than, you know, rather than five, old gray head guys.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:17:01] Yeah, no. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, yeah, no, we’ll be very, very interesting. So make sure you check out our own Mr. David Terrar from Agile Elephant and Bloor on the show today at 3 o’clock
DAVID TERRAR [00:17:16] 3 o’clock.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:17:17] 3 o’clock. Well the time right now is 19 minutes past 1 on the 27th of May 2020. I’m delighted to be joined today by for those just joining us by our Mr. David Terrar. So I’m going to pick a random topic here Mr. Terrar and I would love to hear your thoughts on it. So I mentioned this earlier, and I know you’ve got particular love is the world of Artificial Intelligence.
DAVID TERRAR [00:17:42] Yes.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:17:42] Artificial Intelligence has. We were told that by 2020 A.I. be running everything. But we still have things in our houses but how has do you think Artificial Intelligence has been developed or developing over the last few years?
DAVID TERRAR [00:17:59] Well, I think it’s one of those things where, you know, as kind of like technology futurists. We always tend to get the predictions wrong. We always tend to kind of imagine that it’s gonna take up, is going to be much quicker than it actually is.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:18:21] Where’s my Hover boots?.
DAVID TERRAR [00:18:23] Exactly. And conversely, usually the changes that are made in the long term are probably bigger than we imagined. But it always takes longer. I mean, you know, we’re talking about the pandemic. One of the beauties of the pandemic is the fact that when you think about it, the amount of disruction that we’ve had from outages and the like of the networks and the Internet or the Cloud services that we’re all using. In the overall scheme of things, it been minor. And when you think about how the huge kind of shift from doing it in our offices on data centers and local computers to doing it, you know, with Cloud-based Web apps. There’s been hardly any big issues at all. It’s fantastic. And I think that’s a testament to how robust, you know, the Cloud, the Cloud, the underpinning cloud enabling technology is. And so I think it’s you know, we’re a great space where, you know, I can remember, you know, 10, 15 years ago when I was trying to convince a CFO that Cloud was safe and I was struggling. I’m delighted that we’re now in a place where it’s all just a given. And I think, you know, we’re heading there with Artificial Intelligence that there’s obviously lots of different strands of it. There’s this the kind of like the Machine Learning side of things. There’s a Deep Learning side of things. There’s chatbot, there’s robotic process automation. There’s all sorts of different flavors of automation that we can bring in. And it’s quite clear that as an organization, if you haven’t got serious automation plans in you pipeline, you know, you’re under threat. Your business model is under threat and that’s just thinking that way. On the other side about this is that you get the doom you know that the no sawyers and the doom mongers who talk about the, you know, the robots taking away our jobs. And we’ve had that with, you know, the Industrial Revolution number 1 and 2 and 3. And sure, there are some jobs that do disappear. Sure. There are some workers who are short term put out. But what’s happened each time, at least in the last three times and what will happen this time is that there will be new different jobs that we haven’t even thought about yet that will be created in the next 5 years. And although there’s disruption now, eventually it will be better for all of us. Because I’m an eternal optimist. I always think that way. But that’s what I believe. I do believe that, you know, there is a disaster and a singularity coming into light and stuff, I actually think it is going to be good for business, good for people, good for the social environment of the world.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:21:18] It must be- I have a mixed feel in A.I. and IoT because, I mean I’ve seen these things up close. I’ve seen announcements from companies. Oh, we’re going to be doing this. We’re going doing that. But a lot of times the technology is there. But it’s adoption. It’s convincing people to adopt these things. And I think that’s where the biggest challenges are. I don’t even know if the challenge is technology. It’s human beings. And yeah, you’re rightly so. You said there are various reasons why people don’t want to adopt it. But I wonder how simple the industry has made this for people to buy into. Because, you know, unfortunate is the thing they do buy into something you almost have to make it quite simple so that people get it. All right. I get it. Now I can pass onto my CEO or whatever it is and do that is- I mean. Do you see this reluctance or maybe a breakdown in the messaging?
DAVID TERRAR [00:22:20] Oh big time. I think it’s a perennial problem that the technology space has had since I came into it. So maybe I’m the problem now, you know in terms of where we’re at now. I mean, go back to last century, we had a new technology that came along to disrupt things approximately every 7 to 10 years. So we had mainframes and minicomputers. 81 personal computer came along, came along, and then we put them in networks and we’re going to client-server. Then we got to the first version of the web. All of those disruptions were kind of spaced out. Each breach, disruption. It’s kind of like our industry forgets the basics of marketing. And when each disruption happens, they focus too much on the bits and bites and features of the technology and forget about the business outcomes that we’re really, you know, that really this technology does for us. And now we are in 2020. We’ve got all of these I mean, when I talk about this in terms of a digital enterprise wave of technology that’s almost turning into a tsunami. Where you’ve got, you know, Cloud and socially mobile and 3D printing and blockchain and IoT and 5G or, you know, happening simultaneously, which in our industry we weren’t used to back last century. This century, we have to deal with it. It’s a different world. That’s why I’m talking about this mutual business thing and permanent state of reinvention. But it’s kind of like when these technology shifts happen, we kind of forget about proper marketing and we get enticed into the magic of the technology. And we don’t think about keeping it simple. I’m only talking business outcomes and thinking in terms of let’s make it easy for the end-users to adopt it. So it’s a perennial problem which we keep doing. Again and again, we should learn.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:24:27] I remember when there was a PC that came out because I think they called a tablet in the finger and say, oh, well, the screen will get scratched in all sorts of stuff and that never took off. And then, of course, several days later, the iPad came around.
DAVID TERRAR [00:24:41] But that’s probably, you know, that the iPhone and the iPad are a perfect examples in that the people kind of forget that before those products came out, there were other smartphones and there were other tablets. And the key reason they didn’t get adopted is there were too many complicated, you know, I can remember, you know, smartphones. I can remember, you know, digital music players like Rio and the creative one and that kind of thing prior to the iPod where, you know, they had the technology, but no one had thought user experience. No one had focused on how easy can we make it for the person pressing the buttons to make this some music and make me forget about the technology and concentrate on listening to good music. And that’s the metaphor that we need for the technology today. It’s all about, you know, making people forget about the technology, just using.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:25:38] No. Well, you got. You said the magic words, because now I’m going to. We’ve come to the end of the interview. Mr. Terrar but I’m going to ask you to go your C.D. case. Pick one. Tell us why you love it.
DAVID TERRAR [00:25:51] Okay, here we go.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:25:56] Bet it is alphabeticalised.
DAVID TERRAR [00:25:58] Of course, it is man. Of course it is.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:26:00] First name, last this. Come on. Get on with it.
DAVID TERRAR [00:26:03] Okay. All right. Let me just…
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:26:06] I’ll just keeping the audience at the table. We’re just killing time until you get back, David. He’s actually gone. He’s gone. Come on now. Here we go. We’ve gonna get the Teletubbies here, are we? I know it.
DAVID TERRAR [00:26:18] No we’re not.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:26:19] Is it fast food rockers?
DAVID TERRAR [00:26:20] No, we’re not. Right.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:26:22] It was great television. What is this?
DAVID TERRAR [00:26:27] That is a 1969 album by John McLaughlin called Extrapolation. And it is one of the best British jazz albums there is. And if you’re into- it excites me. It happens to be produced by a guy who Georgia Koskie. It’s got some great players on it. But it was John McLaughlin’s first solo album. And he’s just a, I mean, you can listen to it today. And it just feels just as fresh as in 1969 when I first owned it.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:27:03] And is the C.D. in the box? Heey, turn it around, everybody wanna see some scratch. Just want to see how you look up to these things. Alright.
DAVID TERRAR [00:27:15] I’m terrible with vinyl… If wasn’t picking up my records properly. I’d have a real go at them, I mean, you know, I’m just bloody terrible with that kind of stuff. Sorry.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:27:26] No, you’re good. You’re good. I like it, I like it. Well, you’ve been a fantastic guest. As always David Terrar Best of luck on the show this afternoon, everybody make sure you check you out you’re on Disruptive LIVE. But until we speak again. I’ll see you soon.
DAVID TERRAR [00:27:42] Excellent. Really good talking to you.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:27:45] You too. So that was Mr. David Terrar talking to us about Bloor Research, about A.I., about what happens when he goes back to work. And I can still see him on camera. He’s not putting the C.D. away. Back in the same place. Anyway, you’ve had, sorry. You’ve been watching The Andy Show. The time is now half-past 1:00 in the afternoon. It’s time for you all to go get some lunch. And until next time, I’ll see you soon.