I have always been fascinated by computers and IT from a very young age, and have always been compelled and drawn to anything technical. Although a cliché, being a self-confessed geek and working in IT pretty much goes hand in hand.
Despite my interest in computing, this is my first post which is primarily concerned with IT and technical infrastructures. I wasn’t specifically drawn to DIO, or Defence Estates as it was when I joined. I was simply looking for a posting that was closer to where I was living at the time, and happily, one came up!
I work within the DIO iHub, and it is our responsibility to deal with all incoming requests for user accounts and amendments for DII, the system common to all Ministry of Defence computers, and MOSS, which is a tool for collaboration and work-sharing within teams. We also deal with records management.
Behind The Scenes - but Essential
The DIO iHub is geographically dispersed over three key areas: Sutton Coldfield; RAF Wyton (Cambridgeshire) and Andover. I am based in the Andover iHub and my key daily duty is to deal with incoming requests for new DII accounts. I have to ensure that the account is activated for when the user starts in their new post and make sure all permissions are set.
The iHub are one of the behind the scenes teams, but essential at the same time; without us, no one would have correct access rights to the group data they require for daily working. The three iHub units work collaboratively and liaise on our internal improvements to the processes we utilise. Streamlining the processes is mostly for our own benefit, but in turn helps the customers by allowing us to provide a smarter, improved service.
From day to day, one never knows exactly what will be submitted to the iHub mailbox. In this line of work, it is important to be able to multitask and keep track of several different requests all at the same time. Even seemingly straight-forward requests seldom turn out to be easy! It is also rewarding when a complex request is received - on occasions some do require blood, sweat and tears to achieve, but result in the utmost gratitude of the customer.
I am actively involved in MOSS. I am developing myself as a subject matter expert on the software, as well as acting as a representative for the DIO at MOSS forums. Whilst rolling out MOSS for the DIO pilot unit, I got the opportunity to do a fair bit of travelling to the different training ranges. I spent a month largely on the road, visiting Northern Ireland, Scotland, both South and North Wales, Sandhurst and even Germany, as well as plenty of locations closer to home. Whilst a tiring experience, it was also rewarding. Being able to meet face to face and discuss IT related issues with a customer base that one would normally only deal with over the telephone was invaluable, and led to building strong relationships with the customers.
The challenges are my favourite part of the job. You can always guarantee that on a daily basis you will need to undertake certain tasks – creating new accounts or setting permissions - but it’s more challenging when you receive those ‘curve ball’ requests, which stretch the grey matter and force you to think outside of the box for a solution. When you are able to complete those sorts of requests, to the total satisfaction of the customer, and you can learn something new yourself and share the knowledge – that’s reward enough in itself.