Mark Narramore – Support Manager, KFA Connect
Having left school and completed a diploma in Business and Salesmanship at college I didn’t really have any idea of where my future lay. A YTS trainee at a local manufacturing firm saw me placed in a Purchase Ledger department which I was running within 18 months, managing a team of 6 people.
Pulling an all-nighter Assisting IBM sorting out a Disk issue on our IBM System/38, I caught the IT bug. The company then sent me on a Basic Operations course so I could better assist the IT Department, as well as still running my own department.
When the IT manager left, I was overlooked for the vacant position by someone more experienced and it was at this point I decided to venture out and see what other IT opportunities were available in the marketplace.
Banking On It!
In 1989, I joined a large multinational bank as a System Operator, mainly managing multiple applications running on a number of AS/400 Systems, scheduling backups, running end-of-day processes, attending offsite Disaster Recovery/Contingency tests at IBM Sites, as well as traveling to various sites across Europe, understanding their operational requirements before moving their processes into the UK.
Seven years of shift work as a now Senior Operator was enough, and having become proficient at CL Programming, I decided to move into the programming department as an RPG Trainee Programmer in 1996. I adapted to this role quickly firstly supporting the banking applications overnight before being sent to various sites worldwide to implement various banking applications and updates.
A Small Break From Banking
In 1998, I left the bank and went contracting as a Senior Analyst Programmer. This increased my experience of both programming and working for different companies in a variety of environments. For my final contract, I was working back in the bank at their branch in London assisting with various projects.
Whilst there, I found a permanent role as a Technical Support Analyst back in the Banks Operations Centre. Here I was responsible for system builds and integrations, onsite Disaster Recovery Test planning, Operating System upgrades/planning, and software replication as well as providing full support for all Systems, working closely with IBM to work through any operational or hardware issues.
Having worked closely with IBM on a number of performance-related issues, I became interested in this subject and moved into the Performance and Capacity Planning department. This included monitoring the performance of the systems, tweaking systems for optimum performance as well as analysing existing capacity, making recommendations where necessary, and working closely with IBM providing Systems Performance/Trace/Debug/PEX Data when working on Software or Hardware issues. Some time was also spent at IBM in Rochester bench-marking some of the bank’s applications as well as attending the IBM Large User Group (LUG) sessions which were also based in Rochester.
Life outside the Bank
After leaving the bank late in 2014, I took a couple of technical support contracts within the insurance and manufacturing industry. I then found another contract as an RPG Development and Support Manager which required moving the UK portion of Staples Application from the US to the UK, which became Office Outlet. This required time spent in Belgium, where the application was supported, to learn the operational and technical requirements needed to move UK portion of the application back to the UK, working with a 3rd Party to set up and configure a new IBMi system to support this workload.
This required me to build a team of iSeries experts to support the Application / Infrastructure, creating training documentation for UK staff and managing additional projects as required by the business.
In February 2020 I joined KFA Connect as their Support Manager. This role is varied and enables me to use my past IT experiences on the various projects we are engaged in.
I feel very fortunate to have a great team around me who are amazing to work with and have an amazing attitude towards their work. This exemplifies this company’s ethos.
I enjoy good company as well as my own. I do not travel, play golf, or go fishing as often as I used to but when I do I find these very enjoyable, therapeutic, and relaxing things to do. As I get older, I am certainly more into taking life easier, taking the dog for a walk, enjoying nature, reading, and meditation.
Want to know more? Get in touch with our team today.