Information Systems Interview: Alexander Coll

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I have known Alex for a few years now but never knew exactly what he did in the technology industry or how he got to his current position. So when I got assigned to interview someone relating to information systems I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to connect and build our relationship, as well as learn a few things on the way.

The Summary of our interview follows:

1. What is your highest academic degree and where did you earn it?

I graduated from Western University in London, Ontario with my Batchelor of Arts in History.

2. What company do you work for and what is your official title?

I currently work for Redknee Inc as the Director of technical education.

3. What does Redknee Inc. do exactly?

We are a  solutions company that drives a unique user experience and provide the agility and scalability needed to support new products and business models. Services that we offer are available on premise, cloud-based, or as a Software-as-a-Service.

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4. What are the main duties you perform in your current role and what are some of the specific skills someone in your role needs to have? Which of these is your favorite job duty and why?

My main duty is to manage a team of technical trainers that are stationed around the globe, mostly in India and Europe. My team creates and implements training programs and guides for our company’s software.

Some of the skills someone would need in my role are support and training knowledge, Presentation skills, Outgoing, the ability to work alone and be highly technical with a computer.

My favorite part of my job is when I am able to travel and teach abroad. It is very challenging sometimes but it is very satisfying seeing someone learn as well as experiencing different cultures along the way.

5. What is it that led you to a career in technology?

Necessity really led me into a career in technology, out of college I tried journalism for a bit and even wrote a few columns for the Toronto Star, but the pay wasn’t enough to support my up and coming family. So, I used my writing skills to start with a tech company doing business writing. This start in technology led me to train and it all got started from there.

6. What is the biggest challenge that you face on a daily basis?

Communication would be the biggest issue day to day, as the team that I oversee only uses English as a second language so it is hard sometimes to get directly to a point. Also training remotely also creates a big challenge for me because of the lack of hands on help I would otherwise be able to provide.

7. What emerging technology trend do you believe will transform your job in the future?

In my field, Skype and programs similar to Adobe Connect and other web meeting services have changed the way I am able to communicate and build relationships from my home office. Overall, online training and e-learning developments are changing the way I teach and make training programs for our clients.

8. I’m taking a class that’s objective is to help us understand how business, organizational, and technical strategies align in corporations, what can you tell me about how these pieces interact at your company?

It is very hard to implement a strategy, recently we have gone through a restructure which has changed our strategy completely. Before we were trying to focus on expansion and broadening or services and when we realized we didn’t have enough capital or resources we backed off. After this realization we decided to go back to our roots and focus on telecommunications software, this cycle was difficult and a learning experience for the company overall from a strategy perspective.

9. What is the best way to teach Information systems?

I like to use power point to provide context and a visual, with this it defines tasks to perform and then I talk about the concepts followed by a demonstration. After all that I assign a task and float around helping as needed. It is much easier to keep someone engaged when doing something.


10. What is the best practice to integrate new systems?

I always use activities along with a step by step training guide to integrating new systems that have never been learned before. I also always like to have an assessment t the end t gauge whether or not they were grasping the information. I do this usually by playing a game like jeopardy or some other kinds of trivia for small prizes.

It was a pleasure speaking with Mr. Coll, he was very knowledgeable and polite. I learned a tremendous amount that I will definitely use in the upcoming months as my company is transitioning to newer information systems. I may even lean on him a bit throughout the process.