Mark Roberts DTX 2019 Interview
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:12] Hello and welcome back to day two of the Digital Transformation Expo. With me Natalie Turner from Disruptive Live and my superb co-host, David Savage. We are joined today by this lovely gentleman from Net Brain, Mark. Thank you so much for joining us today.
MARK ROBERTS [00:00:31] Thank you for having me.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:31] No problem at all. Mark could you tell us a little bit about Net Brain. What you do and why you’re here today?
MARK ROBERTS [00:00:35] Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve been attending IP Expo as it was DTX as it is now for eight, nine years. This year we’re representing Net Brain partner of ours. My company Prosperon is a monitoring solution vendor. So we go in and we provide monitoring solutions, solutions all the way through that lifecycle of issues, protection, troubleshooting, fixing.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:57] Fantastic Net Brain. I think that’s quite a cool company name, isn’t it?
MARK ROBERTS [00:01:00] It’s a great name, isn’t it?
NATALIE TURNER [00:01:01] Yeah I like it it’s quite a cool little logo there.
MARK ROBERTS [00:01:04] Exactly exactly. And it fits its name as well, it’s all about giving that intelligence to the network. So, yeah, well suited.
NATALIE TURNER [00:01:12] Suits in. So what are your thoughts of DTX this year?
MARK ROBERTS [00:01:17] I say we’ve been coming regularly to this is one of our biggest shows of the year. We get to see really good people, existing customers. Always good to see those great opportunities to catch up in an environment which is kind of like seeing new things that we’re doing, a new technology that we’re bringing to the show, etc.. But from the kind of people that we get here, the great conversations I’m in tech. So I get to speak in tech to the engineers that come along. But in the kind of C-level people that we see on our stands, you can have that value conversation. You can kind of do that bigger picture business discussion, which for us is the key.
NATALIE TURNER [00:01:51] So what does digital transformation mean to you?
MARK ROBERTS [00:01:55] Well digital transformation is just one of those all-encompassing readers IT is never static. Every year we come here, it’s there are new buzzwords there are new things that are going on in the industry, whether it’s SaaS, whether it’s the cloud, whether it’s infrastructure changes SDN in terms of our networking arena is a big thing. And for our point of view, with Net Brain, it’s all about automation. So we are in a situation these days where IT departments having to do more. There’s more complexity in the arena. There’s more lack of knowledge at the higher levels. And so they’re having to do a lot more with less human resource. So they need tooling and we’re there to help them provide that and take them through that path.
NATALIE TURNER [00:02:40] So what’s the USP? What’s your competitive advantage? What makes you different?
MARK ROBERTS [00:02:44] It’s quite significant that we don’t really have a hugely competitive landscape, which is great. In terms of us as a business say we are at the forefront in the U.K. and meet actually around the world with regards to our putting solutions in place to meet the needs of different business. We got very, very large enterprises with tens of thousand devices and we helped through that monitoring lifecycle with data collection analysis and then fitting into their processes internally. But we’re also in that situation with Net Brain where because it’s quite unique, the way that it collects data and the way that presents that data to users just makes that whole function so easier for these organisations.
DAVID SAVAGE [00:03:22] I think it’s interesting to try and work out where we’re going because you said there that every single year the industry changes. It’s not that long ago that the IT crowd was a fairly accurate representation of the IT departments in a lot of firms. But now we’ve got a situation where, what, 62 percent of kids in school right now are gonna go into jobs that don’t even exist. You’ve got dev ops, you got dev sec ops. You’ve got low code. You’ve got all of these opportunities.
NATALIE TURNER [00:03:51] Fin ops.
DAVID SAVAGE [00:03:52] Fin ops yes there you go.
MARK ROBERTS [00:03:53] Everything you can get ops at the end of.
DAVID SAVAGE [00:03:54] Exactly. And you talk about the fact that culturally the landscape is changing for technologists. So what do the technologists in five years time look like?
DAVID SAVAGE [00:04:02] A key thing here is you mentioned dev-ops well in our landscape for Net Brain it’s net ops. You’ve had a traditional situation where a network engineer goes on to putty onto the CLI of a Cisco switch, a router and they are writing out commands and they understand that. But the language is now changing where they actually need to be a bit of development they need to be programmers. They need to be able to code to automate. So whether they’re using things like Ansible or Puppet, Chef those kinds of tools, they aren’t traditionally system tools that are now being brought into the network arena. And so the skill set is so different.
DAVID SAVAGE [00:04:37] But how long do you see that lasting? Because with low code and no code. I mean, I’ve heard people talk about the idea that the technologist in 10 years time will have music and they’ll have arts in their background because they need the creativity and flexibility to work alongside AI.
MARK ROBERTS [00:04:52] But that has always been the case in IT. Problem-solving is a massive requirement. You cannot have an industry where you have not got creative people because they need to have creative ideas, whether it’s budget constraints, whether it’s the fact that they need to understand how they can apply what is quite a dry terminology sometimes into a business solution. So they need to have those kinds of skill sets to succeed, but they also need to have the tooling as I say you are in a situation where that complexity underneath the bonnet is greater than it ever has been. But what is presented on the surface to net op engineers to service desk engineers? It’s been simplified and condensed in many different forms.
DAVID SAVAGE [00:05:32] I suppose it’s interesting as you talk to people about, say, data scientists. And there’s this massive disparity. This disagreement in the industry rather at the minute where people some people go they have to have a PhD and other people going no they don’t have to have a PhD because they just need to drive the car rather than build the car. And I suppose it’s kind of getting what you’re saying.
MARK ROBERTS [00:05:48] I’ve worked with people that have no academic background at all. They didn’t go to uni. I didn’t go to university. I’ve done okay. Hopefully. So from that point of view, certainly when I look at CVs. Yes, the academic aspect is key data science, in particular, is very specific. Absolutely. But the reality is there are very, very skilled and gifted people out there that you can just see with their capabilities from their CV and what they’ve done. When you get to sit and talk to them, you uncover it in an instant, whether they’re capable of delivering what you need as an organization. So that landscape is changing. If you’d have a discussion with someone in IT and they are not able to talk about the new developments, they’re not interested, they’re not going to be capable of delivering to the high standard probably customers are wanting.
NATALIE TURNER [00:06:38] Fantastic. So is there a key message that you want to get out to your audience, is there something really prevalent. You had your presentations earlier today, so maybe that’s something to touch on as well.
MARK ROBERTS [00:06:48] Yeah absolutely, so on our stands, we see the benefit of that group audience. Every year we do hundreds of one on one presentations and they’re great because you find out what the customer wants and you can aline it. But this year we’ve come to the taken attack of that group audience where they can kind of see the background and then we can have the deep dive conversations because now they can have a more informed discussion with us. So if you’re at the show, come to the stand and have a look and see what we got.
NATALIE TURNER [00:07:17] Fantastic. That’s a great note to leave that on. Thanks for so much for joining us.
MARK ROBERTS [00:07:21] Thank you so much appreciate it. Really good, thank you so much.
NATALIE TURNER [00:07:24] Well that is all from us for now however we will be back after a very short break. See you in a bit.