IT Expert Steve Cassidy
If you Google for Steve, you will mostly find his articles, because he has been writing and commentating on the state of Information Technology since before the days of the PC. This is however, only the surface of his story: the basis for most of that writing has been a career in internal IT and more recently in consulting. The metaphor about one hand washing the other definitely applies – it would not be possible to help clients to achieve their aims, without the insights that come from contact with the technology industry as a journalist and commentator – and the articles would not be as relevant or find so large an audience, without the real world experience of actually having to make this stuff work.
Having clean hands is also a good way to think about the twin conundrums which arise in such a position: On the client side, an understanding of public versus private concerns is vital, and on the industry side, a healthy distance from sources of bias is the only way to retain any reputation for even-handed appraisal – something Steve has kept for nearly 25 years of continuous publication. The publishing business has recognised this twice, once awarding him Business Columnist of the Year in 2004, and shortlisting him for the same award again, in 2014.
In consulting, Steve takes on jobs which do not fit the traditional service or consulting models. This equates to clients who are unsatisfied with strategic decisions made on their behalf by non-strategic suppliers, or those whose need for continuity and top-grade crisis response does not fit well with their existing suppliers. Steve also works as a fractional IT Director, in businesses which require senior input to an in-house IT team composed only of juniors.
In practice, this spread of talents has produced a broad and occasionally improbable list of projects and clients: Steve architected and rolled out two Europe-wide networks for two British banks, with the sole purpose of documenting failed deals offered by apparently-fraudulent European businesses. He provided Fractional IT management to the UK’s second-largest Patent Attorney firm, a 12-year long relationship, including responses to the 9/11 attacks and a very early rollout of a pan-European VPN. He has re-engineered the internal network of the Princess Royal Trust for Carers (now part of Carers Trust https://carers.org/) and provided fractional IT management to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Refreshing and re-architecting internal LANs and software support for several small accounting firms.
The improbable stuff included supporting Stella McCartney while she was collecting inspiration and materials for Madonna’s wedding dress, and re-architecting the IP environment and message traffic for Richemont https://www.richemont.com/ the group that own Cartier and Mont Blanc pens.
In publishing, Steve has been networks editor of PC Pro since the early 90’s, racking up nearly 270 continuous months of opinion and war stories from the world of small business networking. This lead to game-changer notifications on several major technology trends, most notably virtualisation and Cloud Computing, which in 2008 lead him to propose, found and then appear as Editorial Fellow at Cloud Pro. So far, not one published piece across all those years has produced a bad reaction from a consulting client – possibly a harder prize to win than the simple ones for the entertainment value of his writing!