Tim Connolly DTX 2019 Interview
DAVID TERRAR [00:00:14] Good day to you. This is David Terrar reporting from DTX Europe. That’s the Digital Transformation Expo, formerly known the artist formerly known as IP Expo, actually. And we’ve got a few shows, a few interviews to do today. But the first guest is Tim Connolly of Bloor.
TIM CONNOLLY [00:00:31] David, nice to be here.
DAVID TERRAR [00:00:33] Good. First, can you kind of explain what you do at Bloor and tell us a bit about how Bloor has changed over the last six or eight months.
TIM CONNOLLY [00:00:41] Yeah sure I’m the CEO of Bloor, I came in and acquired the business earlier this year. And what really appealed to Globalution about Bloor is the mutable narrative that’s built up over the last couple of years. The notion mutable is a word that the guy’s in Bloor invented. And it’s a word that conveys the continuous nature of transformation of today’s world and from a Bloor point of view, the role that technology plays in driving that transformation. So what we’re really interested in is how that whole range of different technologies, many of which are represented here today, what part they play in that story in that in that story of constant change. And clearly from a Bloor point of view, we’re interested in helping those technologies to come together for business benefit.
DAVID TERRAR [00:01:29] Now, I’ve been working with Bloor for quite a long time. But the original kind of story around mutable business was very technology focussed. How has it expanded?
TIM CONNOLLY [00:01:39] Yeah it has. I mean, what I find really interesting. I could go to any event like this and even the most technical of people acknowledge that whilst technology is a major driver. It’s not only not the whole story in a way, it’s not even the main story. So what we’ve done over the last few months is to, as you say, expand out that whole mutable narrative. So really it’s got three main strands. One is technology, one’s business model, and one’s people. And you know, in a way, it’s going back to the phrase that I grew up with and probably everyone else has, which is that the worlds about people, process and technology or like we use the phrase business model rather than process because it’s perhaps a little bit more embracing. But it’s really how all those three hang together. And as I say, I’ve been to so many events, had so many conversations recently where people will say right at the heart of making change stick is people and culture. And that’s probably more fundamental. You can have all the technology right. But if you don’t take the people with you, you haven’t got the culture that actually supports and gets the notion that change is a constant. It’s not something you have a beginning, a middle and end and a project that it’s coming at us so thick and fast. We have to be ready for change the whole time. We have to have a culture that recognizes that. And that’s really the change that we’ve made at Bloor, the development we’ve made the mutable story over the last few months. So you will see Bloor advocates talking I would say more widely now about that more holistic approach than just the technology. Critical though the tech is to it.
DAVID TERRAR [00:03:17] Part of the reason behind that is the rate of change is so fast that the Bloor the Bloor kind of strap line was, still is, evolution is essential, but you kind of expanded that to talking about businesses being in a permanent state of reinvention.
TIM CONNOLLY [00:03:32] Yes, I think it’s the evolution. I suppose it’s just the pace. And I’m not going to get to Darwin esk I am not qualified to. But I suspect that the reality is that evolution of all kinds happens at very differing paces at different times. You know, obviously, at the moment we’ve got the impact of AI, machine learning and so on. And it will undoubtedly drive so much change. So, so very quickly. But by the same time I think it’s important to remember the context that to an extent it’s always been true. And, you know, there’s talk about the number of jobs that will disappear over the next 15 years. And I’m sure many will and some of them are probably quite easy to predict. There’s probably a few surprises. But equally, if you go back 15 years, there were many jobs then that are more or less disappeared now. Many jobs then that or many jobs that have come into being over the last 15 years that didn’t exist. It couldn’t of even been dreamt of 15 years ago. And actually the same would be true going right back to the industrial revolution. It’s the pace rather than the the actuality of change.
DAVID TERRAR [00:04:42] I think part of the complication is if you put the timeline out just five years from now, there will be new jobs created that we haven’t even imagined yet.
TIM CONNOLLY [00:04:50] There will and and I think one of the toughest things is trying to predict what those changes are going to be, because they whoever you are, whatever you say, you’ll probably be wrong. And therefore, I think and certainly looking at it from a people and culture point of view. It is more about being ready for that change, whatever it may be. And, you know, I think one of the one of the biggest changes in the workplace over the last 10, 15 years is the number of independent self-employed contractors there are. Many days in many cases now performing roles that historically would have been performed in-house. That’s partly due to outsourcing, but partly due to a much more flexible set of working models, which is passed organizations readying themselves for change that they can’t quite foresee. So, you know, how do you invest in areas that you understand the broad direction of travel. You don’t really know what’s going to happen. So I think that’s a big change and that places, that has big implications for how organizations manage their relationship with what are loosely called their workforce. The only thing is a lot of that workforce don’t actually aren’t actually employed by them anymore. So I think that’s that’s quite a big shift.
DAVID TERRAR [00:06:05] Are there any, are there any other things you want to higlight to do with people factors and culture that come into this.
TIM CONNOLLY [00:06:10] I think the I mean, I suppose it’s really just to build on what I said. I think that the companies that succeed over the next few years will be the companies who recognize that they have got to be attractive employers or partners. Both are important. To a lot of different people for a long period of time, if I flip it around and you look at it from the point of view of the individual. You know, somebody maybe in the relatively early stages of your career, you know, when when you and I were young, we would we would probably have typically gone into employment in our late teens or early twenties with an expectation that we would work for a company possibly a lot of years. And as it happens, I didn’t, I don’t think you did. But many people did. And that you know, your career development will be looked after by that company. I think there’s much more onus on the individual now to manage their own career. Where I think is an opportunity for some corporates is to say, we’ll come with you on that journey. You may not work for us for the next 40 years. You probably won’t. We may not even exist in 40 years time. But we can play a part in supporting you through your career development, ex fully exploiting your your talents, your capabilities even after you leave us. Because that relationship will be important as who knows when we might want to engage with you again, either to re-employ you or because you’re working as a partner or as independent. I think that there’s something about bringing together the resources of the large organization with the needs of the workforce as a whole, where there’s I’m not even gonna predict how it’s going to work out. I just think it’s a really interesting opportunity. I haven’t really seen coming together yet. I suppose I use that as an example of kind of area where mindsets will have to change in order to to be able to operate effectively in this massively changing ecosystem.
DAVID TERRAR [00:08:07] Very different mindset, very different thinking. With the change in ownership, Globalution coming along, Bloor as an organization is doing more than just talk to vendors. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
TIM CONNOLLY [00:08:19] Yeah. I think two things really. Bloor has historically had some precedent in what tends to be called the end user market I don’t really like the phrase end user. But, you know, the consumer is of technology. We are beginning to revisit and reinstitute close relationships. Partly because, you know, given the whole Bloor story is about getting maximum value out of technology. And ultimately that value has to come, has to arise for the people, for the organizations that are using the technology. But also we’re quite convinced that by having that clearer end user perspective, we’re going to be more interesting to the vendors because at the end of the day. Vendors are interested in selling more technology and ensuring that their technology is meeting the needs of those of those users. So it’s gonna be a big push from us now. To yes, go into that end user market. But to use that as a vehicle to really attract and get us more traction with the vendors as well.
DAVID TERRAR [00:09:26] The two fit together so really whether it’s vendors or CIOs or IT leaders, what we’re all about is actually helping them navigate this new landscape.
TIM CONNOLLY [00:09:36] Yeah, I mean, I think you almost come up and I’ll use the phrase ecosystem again. You’ve kind of come up a level a level above am I a CEO, am I an exec am I sitting in the, am I a consumer of technology or am I a seller of technology or indeed both. It’s it’s really about how everybody in that ecosystem contributes to something that ultimately will benefit everybody, you know, whether you’re selling technology or whether you’re getting business benefit from it. And, you know, certainly in the 30 odd years that I’ve been mainly consulting in that. This technology driven business change space. I think there’s been I don’t think those two have ever quite come together as much as they need to and they need to now more than ever, just by nature of the way that technology is, is changing. You know, that really goes back to what you rightly brought out at the beginning, which is that the broader view of usability that we’re now what we’re now espousing. You know, I mean, we got, we describe as three pillars, but they’re very intertwined. Business model, people and technology.
DAVID TERRAR [00:10:41] Excellent. Tim, thanks very much for telling us about your individual business story.
TIM CONNOLLY [00:10:45] Thank you David, thank you very much.
DAVID TERRAR [00:10:46] And we’ll be reporting more from DTX. I’m signing off now, but check back soon for the next interview from Bloor TV.