The Subtle Side of Business Alignment

Calling in external consultants is easier and quicker. You tell them what to do and off they go. Business is happy, IT usually not, but hey, the work needs to be done. Easy peasy. Done and dusted.

Really? I’ve come to realise that, while on the surface, consulting might be an easy option, deep down there’s an interaction with business that you may be missing out on.

Source: Picture by author (Catherine)

As a consultant, typically, the client calls, you deliver to specification (anything beyond that means quotes or approvals) and after a few hours, days, or even months you move on. Next client. Next deliverable. Next billable hour. That’s the nature of consulting. Always on the clock. No added extras. No added value.

So, yes, this might fit some situations or companies but why not invest in internal know-how? Because there’s more to it than just software or technical skills.

Touchy-feely stuff

Now in a permanent internal position, I’ve come to realise that while consultants might have technically deep know-how (even here there are no guarantees) they lack the business insight. Consultant contact is often limited to a particular area or function where information is divulged on a need-to-know basis. It is also unlikely that the full company strategy will be exposed. Insight is missing. Internally, though, you’ll know what the common goals and fears are and so, which levers to activate. But it goes beyond that. As an “internal service provider” you can afford a  touchy-feely interaction with business e.g. gently convince them of buy-in if they’re sceptical or hear out their thoughts. You can support on a more personal level because you have an understanding of their pain points or experienced previous projects or implementations together. Basically, you know which buttons to push (or not to push). How to put colleagues at ease.

And you can take the liberty of delivering a little extra or spend time trying out something new or different. Because there is no dragon blocking diversions and breathing “billable hour” fire down your back. Through this flexibility and exposure to business areas you find yourself in a position to cross-advise and maybe even avoid duplicate efforts. By not being “The Consultant” but rather a colleague you’re able to build up relationships or leverage off of existing ones. Don’t get me wrong. Consultants do build up relationships with clients but generally within a limited area (and takes time because, let’s face it, it doesn’t come from a few ad-hoc consulting days).

Coffee gossip and buzzwords

You’ll find yourself exchanging ideas and information with colleagues thus slowly bridging that “Us vs Them” (“Business vs IT”) divide that exists in many organisations and so find out what they really need. Don’t underestimate that coffee nook or passage gossip. It helps IT keep a critical step ahead as inevitably someone will bring up the latest technology or buzzword. You’re doing two jobs at once: delivering a service but also finding out what colleagues’ thoughts are. At the end of the day, it is business who gives a good indication of where the journey should go and helps figure out what they really need as opposed to what IT thinks they need. Which means you can probably pre-empt their next ideas, and if not, at least be ready for them or inform the relevant enabler.

In closing

You might say that at times it is quicker and easier to hire external consultants who come with the technical expertise for the job. I won’t argue that. But I do believe that internally there are different nuances to the professional relationships with business which changes how you engage with each other and results in greater alignment. Or at least gives a starting point to bringing IT and Business closer.

As for the skills gap, well, for that there’s always Google. Oh, and experience from trial and error.

NOTE/DIsclaimer: This post was first published for HSLU Informatik Blog

(FH Zentralschweiz) in 2022 by Catherine as part of the CAS IT Management and Agile Transformation Course

In very little baby steps…I think I may just be back in the blogging world…

Firstly…happy 2023 everyone.

Waking up to take my young dog for a trip outside…the first thing I saw on the 1st January 2023 when looking into the night night sky (I do this every morning and evening) was a falling star. What more can I say… 🙂

So, last year was a busy one and I was in urgent need of a break from blogging. The previous October (2021) saw a new four-legged addition to the family – our baby boy Titan (not so much little anymore), a Standard Schnauzer (salt and pepper colour). This means we still have quite an active household (he’ll be 1.5 in February) but it is worth all the joy he gives us (although, I’m not sure the cat agrees with me here…but that too is coming along).


Added to that I did a 6 month post-graduate diploma (while working 100%) which I totally underestimated. Gosh…I thought 2 full days of lectures a week would be easy peasy…well, my 5 day working week suffered with only 4 available days. And, I never realised how a 1 day weekend just doesn’t allow for enough time to recover, look after a family (including puppy), do homework, get groceries, do the garden etc. But, I’m really not complaining – it was worth every minute including the 150 hours per person required for the research paper. Another thing I learnt from this: try do these courses in winter and not summer when everyone else is out enjoying the summer holidays.

And, just because it breaks my heart each year watching tiny baby toads crossing the road I got involved in helping there too. I know I can’t save them all but every one helps.

My current project is building bat houses – it helps them find homes while I’m thoroughly enjoying spending time working with wood. And also let’s me change my attention from laptop screens and endless lines of code.

So, in very, very, veeeery little steps I’m going to blog again…here and there. In my own time. Looking forward to seeing you all again.

Strictly goes Nostalgic…

How absolutely awesome was last night’s version of Pump up the Jam? I must admit, I tried to listen to the original 80s Technotronic piece that was all the rage back in my day…I just couldn’t. But oh that Strictly Come Dancing rendition is just perfect and made me all nostalgic. Alex and Neil…great dancing you two:

And for those who want to listen to the Technotronic version…here it is:

Abandoned…so I could have him…

There’s a new addition to the family…meet Ingwe (“Leopard” in Zulu/Xhosa). He had been repeatedly spotted at a “fortress” without a mother for a week. When he was seen walking (or stumbling) around in circles and walking into things because his eyes were so badly stuck shut and yellow stuff oozing from them and his nose, someone brought him to the “animal mother” (and my neighbour). She really couldn’t take in another rescue (her house has plenty)…so here I am (formerly a “dog person”)…totally in love with my little boy…and now a “cat and dog person”…

In 4 days he has gained a whole lot of weight (no longer skin and bones) and has gone from an estimated 7 weeks old to roughly 9 (according to the vet). His eyes have almost cleared up and most of all…he’s a mischievous, happy little darling…

So rewarding having watched him go from lethargic to a playful kitten…

Help…please…this Privacy and Cookies banner is driving me insane…

…on my own darn Blog I repeatedly need to click the Accept and Close button just to have the banner reappear….why oh why? Other blogs seem to have this banner go away on my subsequent visits nope, not my own one…like it doesn’t register that I’ve clicked anything. Even when I preview posts, check appearance…anything.

Where have I missed a step? I’ve added the widget, set the defaults and can’t see anything else to be done other than to save.


Nürburgring…a new experience

Wow. What a weekend…it is all starting to sink in now. I’ve had some sleep. I’ve seen my own four walls again. And I’ve had time to reflect…

Yep…I went to the 24 Hour Race at the Nürburgring. It all started with me dropping my name into the lucky draw entry box at the office thinking that I’ll never win anyway. Until one morning, in mid-sip of my morning cuppa…I hear “You’re in!”. Huh? In what? “You’ve been drawn as the one of 6 to go to the race”. Wooow!!! And then… “Oh my…what have I just gotten myself into????”.

Basically, the company I work for is involved in a certain car part and so in short, sponsors a team in the 24 Hour Race. And staff can enter to be part of this experience…work obviously involved. While my duty was in the team tent making waffles and serving frozen yoghurt and cocktails, I still managed to get a lot of time to experience what happens on the track, in the “box” (boy, does it get manic in there during the race) as well as the general happenings in the “paddock”.

Driving up north last Wednesday, my colleagues and I arrived tired but the excitement soon kicked in when we realised how big this race really is…thousands of fans had already set up campsites in any available field. I was told some got there on the Monday morning already to get that prime spot. Little did we know that thousands more were to come. We found ourselves in full race spirit by Thursday morning for the build up to the 15.00 race begin on Saturday afternoon. Yes, by Sunday, being tired and braving the rain that arrived that morning, I was fed up and wanted my peace from cars and people (I don’t meant that in a bad way), but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Loved it, in fact. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And so, here are some impressions:

Best view (thank you to the kind person who gave me this spot)

Preparation for the big day…

View of the “paddock”

More of the “paddock”

How many tyres does one need?

It was so interesting to see all the work that goes into preparing for a race (and that’s only the on-site preparations, never mind the pre-race work and admin). And then come the race-day….wow, the number of people and resources involved is something else…

While these pictures don’t do the atmosphere and experience justice in any way, all I’ll say at this point is that it was absolutely awesome to experience this event.

(Please note, all images are my own and remain my property)

Lightly dusted with snow…

So, maybe I haven’t lived in Europe long enough but wow…winter is just gorgeous…and that atmosphere. I know it is cliché but it really does look like someone has dusted the trees with icing sugar…


…ok, ok, fine, let’s talk again next winter. This is still that “new” phase where everything is wonderful (I’ve never seen so many beautiful icicles and gaze in awe at frozen waterfalls) and after a few winters I probably won’t appreciate it anymore…well, hopefully I will, as it is magnificent. Oh…we even had sun today but I couldn’t take any pics as I was stuck at the office! And my first really cold weather experience… -12 Degrees Celsius is a tad chilly when barely awake and heading to work in the morning…it did go up to a nice warm -1 though.


Isn’t nature amazing? The “live” version is spectacular.

Delicious and unusual…

…look what I got in the post from a great blogging friend…and oh, my word…that Raspberry and Liquorice one is wonderfully unusual and totally delicious. My favourite chocolate is orange (in any style possible) so that one I’m going to keep until I really can’t resist anymore (which probably won’t be long).

As for the wrappings…how absolutely delightful. For me, a fresh take on chocolate wrappers. Likewise the chocolate itself…looks so nice with the black and red speckles on a white backdrop. The texture is likewise lovely – smooth with the crunchiness of the speckles.

Thank you soooooo much Realweegiemidget. (Yours should be in your part of the world by now too).

The Four Things Tag

Things work out in weird ways…I was just wondering what I should write about (and I’m not in the mood for a movie or music post) when along comes Eva of Coffee, Classics and Craziness with a delightful tag…

She kind of (any excuse to join in) tagged me in that she tagged anyone who enjoys re-watching movies. Yes…RE-watching. And no…don’t come with that line “oh…but how can you possibly watch a movie more than once”….hmm…but then you are mostly movie bloggers reading this so I think that comment is redundant…oh whatever…here are my fours…

Four Jobs I’ve Had

  1. General office assistant at the Consulate General while a student;
  2. Part-time book seller while a student;
  3. Piano teacher (yes…how did you guess…while a student);
  4. Business Intelligence (Analytics) and Data Warehouse Consultant (not as a student).

Four Things I Don’t Eat

This one is hard because I pretty much eat everything.

1. Uhm….hmmm…actually….I don’t know…I’ll come back to this one…sometime…

Ok…I’m back…brain…that I won’t eat. And fruit in meals…like, in main meals – dinner. So, for example pineapple in Riz Casimir or raisins in pumpkin. That’s about it. And primary school camp meals.

Four Places I’ve Lived

  1. Lambton, South Africa (yes, yes, I’m a Germiston girl);
  2. Dowerglen, South Africa;
  3. River Ridge, South Africa;
  4. Because “lived” is past tense…I can’t put down my current location…so, you’re left with three entries above I’m afraid.

Four of my Favorite Foods

  1. Sushi;
  2. Roast Chicken with roast potatoes and the works;
  3. Raclette;
  4. Chocolate (that’s a food right….? Daft question…of course it is 😀 ).Chocolate

Four Movies I’ve Watched More Than Once

Only four????? What???? Ok, fine…four it is:

  1. Last of the Mohicans (I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen this one);
  2. Catch and Release;
  3. The Magnificent Seven (1960);
  4. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Four TV Shows I Watch

I don’t watch TV…sorry.

Peaky Blinders (does that count?)


And Rome….many years back…

Four Things I’m Looking Forward to This [Coming] Year (2018)

  1. Taking things as they come;
  2. More experiences in my new home in the northern hemisphere;
  3. Seeing my mother again when she finally joins us here in our new home;
  4. Spending time with family and friends.

Four Things I Can’t Live Without

Hmmm…I know this sounds all soppy but having made this big move to Europe from way down South Africa way…I’ve realised that there is only one thing I can’t live without…family and pets. Other than that, I missed absolutely nothing while I was waiting for the container. Neither do I miss the items I left behind altogether. I realised that we accumulate way too much and don’t really need most of it.

Now back to the lighter things…

Four Places I’ve Visited

  1. Argentina;
  2. New York;
  3. Thailand;
  4. Cape Town.


Four Pet Peeves

Hmmm…going to give this one a miss – I mean, I’d rather focus on positives…

Four Things I Wish I Could Do

  1. Parkour – it looks soooo awesome;
  2. Speak Mandarin (I’ve started once before but didn’t have the time to learn);
  3. Climb the Eiger Nordwand;
  4. Finish writing the screenplay I started more than 5 years and just never get around to working on.Eiger (3.970 m, Berner Alpen, Nordwestseite), von Kleine Scheidegg aus

Four Subjects I Studied at School

  1. History;
  2. Mathematics;
  3. Physical Science;
  4. Computer Studies.

in contrast to my Uni subjects:

  1. Philosophy;
  2. Classics (Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt, Death and Dying in the Ancient World and all those exciting things);
  3. Practical Music Studies (Piano and Organ);
  4. Composition Techniques and Form.

Four Things Near Me Right Now

Hmmm…how near is near?

  1. A tower pile of DVDs awaiting a first watch…some a re-watch;
  2. A mountain of paperwork;
  3. A mountain of rock, grass, trees and snow at the top;
  4. A world of new experiences awaiting me here in my new home.

So…now for the hard part…tagging fellow bloggers…oh, well, guess what, I’ve just tagged you! Yes…you…


Thank You and Happy New Year…

…to all of you out there who touch on my blog in some way or other. Every “Read”, “Comment”, “Like” or even quick glance is appreciated. Thank you. And most importantly, for your own posts.

Thanks for your support during this last year where I was in full blogging swing until life took its own course and blogging, unfortunately, but realistically, had to take a back seat. Bring on 2018!

Happy New Year 2018

I’ll be back…

…just as soon as I find my feet and manage to touch sides. With moving to a new country, starting a job, filling in reams of paperwork and everything else (including leaving for work just after 5am and getting home late)…I’m not managing to find any time to read, watch movies or just relax. So…until I manage to regroup I’ll be lying low for a while.

I’ll still be doing the Now and Then Blogathon with Realweegiemidget Reviews and the 2 Reel Quirky Cat (P)reviews but I can’t promise much more. I mean, I need time to watch movies, read and listen to music in order to blog about such topics…and I’m finding no time at all.


Five Flaming Hotties

FiveFlamingHottiesNew.pngIt’s time to go back to teenie days. To be shallow. Of course this post was bound to come up at some point. I mean, I’m human after all. Besides, Realweegiemidget and I always end up on a tangent around eye candy (you can find hers here). And..based on our interactions, she thinks she knows who my five flaming hotties are…little does she know…

In fact…this post may have some entries on it that may come as a bit of a shock surprise…I’m really opening myself up for judgement here..what am I doing????? Oh well…here goes anyway….

Just to be clear though…this is about HOTTIES and not favourites. It’s for us to be shallow and have a good gaze stare drool appreciation.

Well…here we go…the five stars (screen and I’ve taken the liberty of one musician and one sportsman) that feature on my hotties list…in no particular order..oops, wait…just to warn you…you may think I’m nuts (if you didn’t already) but we all have our moments:

Sizzling number 5: I’d seen him around a few times but was only really introduced to him in The Bourne Supremacy. I seem to be the one who never “falls” for the lead. He’s the only one I noticed despite his small-ish role. He’s just fine to look at. And has a cheeky, mischievous smile. What more should I say? Here’s Karl Urban:


Flaming 4: Let me say this…I support(ed) any team which has this goalie. Where were we introduced? Who knows? Some World Cup or other match. Not sure. Don’t really care. Just that in the crowd, of all the players, my eyes zoned into this one. As is the case with hotties…can’t say what the appeal is…it’s just there. May I introduce Diego Benaglio


Gorgeous 3: Here I’m allowing myself a woman who I think is absolutely beautiful and if I was a male, would deem her “hot”…

The first role I’d seen her in was Serendipity and her role, her screen presence came across as genuine and real which made her appearance even prettier. Then came Underworld…oh my…she’s just so stunning (and let’s face it, hot). I wish I could pull off leathers like she does. So, why do I like her…purely because of her looks and the roles she takes on. Kate Beckinsale


Oh gosh…I really need to think who I should put down…uhm, Fassben…no, Gregory Pe…uhm,  oh…Daniel Cr… you go….

Hottie number 2: This is the one you didn’t see coming. There’s just something about this man. Oh swoon. I was even in the front of the concert…for those of you who know him, here’s my hottie Richard Z. Kruspe

I “met” him on the cover of a CD. Something just appealed. Not sure what and why. Then along came the live show DVDs (see, so, I’ll just say it is film in some form) and just like that I was a goner…there’s just something about him. His stage presence. The way he holds himself while playing that guitar. Don’t they say…there’s something about guitarists? Well, even if they don’t…I have something for guitarists.


Which makes the last hunk I can pick…whew…this is really hard…but let me go with the man I’ve always liked to watch since my teenage days. He was my crush since I spotted him in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and to this day I have a soft spot for him. His voice…there’s a gruff softness, his looks, and despite his wild past (supposedly) he still comes across as nice. Of course it is…Christian Slater


Hmmm…I seem to have a trend going looking at it. I would have added Shane West to the mix too…if I was going for an all-male lineup…


maybe James Marsden too…

James Marsden2

Now it’s your turn…(see rules further down):


Film and TV 101

Drew’s Movie Reviews

Tranquil Dreams

Silver Screenings (We tried so hard but oops…we duplicated tagging you…sorry)

The Humpo Show

The Ü

The rules are simple (to keep it clean)…

  1. Mention the name of the Blog you were tagged by. Also mention Realweegiemidget Reviews and Thoughts All Sorts. Link back to all Blogs involved.
  2. List five of your greatest hotties from TV and/or film i.e. crushes/objects of your affection. If you want to (I know some of you who do), musicians and sports stars can be included.
  3. Tell us how you were “introduced” to them and why you like them/what appeals (keep it clean).
  4. Add some pictures (once again, keep it clean. Strictly no nudity. Nice pictures.).
  5. Tag seven bloggers for their Five Flaming Hotties.
  6. Oh…and post the rules…

We’ll meet you on Twitter next week to chit chat about your hotties. Join @2reelquirkycats.

Head on over to Realweegiemidget Reviews for her hunks…cropped-cat2

What’s your favourite….?

…that one movie that you never have to think about. Not even for a second? The one you watch at least once a year. That special movie that never ever loses the number one spot on your favourites list?

Mine…without a moment’s hesitation…

The Last of the Mohicans

Here is a stunning clip I found (it does contain spoilers)…enjoy. *sigh* I’m in urgent need of another watch…

As for the soundtrack…oh my. It is simply stunning. And without even having the visuals present, evokes such emotion. I can totally lose myself with this wonderful music playing. Everything else is forgotten.

A Colourful Reminder…


…that it’s almost time to bring all your colours for

The Colours Blogathon

8 & 9 September 2017


It’s not too late to join in. Anything colourful goes. In any language. And I’m happy to push the boundaries…chocolate and rose are colours in my book.

Here’s the original post…Announcing the Colours Blogathon

If I’m distant…it’s not you…

…it’s me.

So, just to let you know that if I’m not commenting or liking posts as often as I used to – I haven’t lost interest. I’m just totally snowed under (in packing boxes) at the moment. Lots on the go (I’ll update you all soon-ish). Any Blogathons I’ve committed to, I’ll still contribute to and I’ll try be “around” as much as possible for other posts.

Just give me another week or so…

Not so popular popular (Unpopular Opinion Tag)

There are always those “popular” movies that everyone raves about but that just don’t gel with me. Imagine everyone had the same likes and dislikes.

Richard over at The Humpo Show tagged me and I enjoy these things so…why not? Thanks Richard! Your tag is much appreciated.

And, without further ado (be warned though…you might just want to unfollow me or throttle me or shake your head in disgust)….here are the three movies that I really don’t like despite popular opinions.

Immediately to mind comes this one:

No Country for Old Men. I’m sorry but I absolutely HATE this movie. I know, I know…hate is a very strong word but in this case…I HATE it! It is sooooo disturbing. It ends off with this feeling of hopelessness. I know that is often reality but the reason I watch movies is for escapism and there needs to be a glimmer of hope. I never got that from this one.

The other one that was all hyped up and just left me feeling down:

Up. I’m sorry…go ahead, unfollow me if you want. The opening few minutes were cute and then I was sad for the rest of the story. And despondent. And wondered why such a depressing movie was made. Definitely not one for kids. But that’s just how I feel.

And finally….

Gone with the Wind. This is based purely on my memories of watching it years and years ago. I can’t tell you what I didn’t like or why, but I remember being all excited to watch it and then….disappointed. I recall hoping for a happy end which I don’t think ever came. Ok, maybe I’ve forgotten how it all pans out. Maybe if I watch it now (yeah, right, like that’s going to happen) I’ll take a more mature view on it and enjoy it….hmmm….

The blogs I’ll tag for this one are, in no particular order (see the rules further down):

Plain, Simple Tom Reviews


Caftan Woman

Reads & Reels

Jason’s Movie Blog

Often off Topic

Taking Up Room

and Realweegiemidget, I’d double-tag you but you have this habit of adding to my To Watch list. Ok…you’re tagged again


1 – Pick 3 films that are well liked by most people, except you!

2 – Tag 5 or more people to get involved.

3 – Thank the person that tagged you. 🙂

Whiplash…I know the feeling

The ability to totally understand the emotions of a character in a movie is rare. Yes, we empathise, but how often do we really, truly come close to “I know how you feel”? Of course we can never know exactly how anyone feels as we are all different but we definitely have levels of understanding based on experiences. For once, I can say, I know. I have been there. I’m on about Fletcher (J.K Simmons) shouting at Andrew (Miles Teller) “You’re fast”, “Now you’re slow” and on and on. Most people don’t understand this…really, really, understand this. I do: It was inevitable that on those days when screeching resonated down the passage from behind that scary closed door, you were about to be in for a similar experience as the poor sod finishing off their piano lesson. I dreaded lessons on those days because no matter how I tried or what I did, I too was playing either too fast or too slow or just not quite getting it and when I eventually got it right, I had no idea what I had done different to the previous 30 or so times. In my novice opinion (as was made clear to me then), that last correct attempt was no different to the first incorrect one. But, something minuscule, inaudible to my ears must have been. Yes, agreed, the second attempt was usually exaggeratedly too slow resulting in a highly irritated “Lovey…” accompanied by eye-rolling and some additional comments on being such an amateur or that now I’m just being ridiculous. The 3rd attempt was naturally then way too fast but I had to do something, anything, to get through this hour of hell. Gosh, thinking back, I’m so glad she was perched next to me and didn’t see the glistening eyes. She definitely would have increased her fire-breathing had she had the slightest idea that “I am upset” as Andrew puts it. So yes, Whiplash really hits home. Very hard. For some of us, not so much fiction is it? Even I ran off to the practice rooms to really pound those torturous bars into my brain only to play them even worse during the following week’s repeated torture session. Interesting enough was that until the day before the exam the particular section that was considered shocking and worthy of failing was suddenly “beautifully played…Lovey”.

The question raised is how far does one go? I’m definitely not the one to take it to the same extremes as Andrew did. His goal was to be the best, no matter what. But then why shouldn’t we aspire to be the best? What’s the point of doing something half-heartedly? Doesn’t mean you have to be the best but at least make the best possible attempt you can. Personally, I don’t think it is all Fletcher‘s doing. If Andrew wasn’t that way inclined to start with, no matter what Fletcher did, Andrew wouldn’t have done it. The point is, he accepted it in some masochistic pleasure.

I must say, I believe that the speech around Charlie Parker becoming Charlie Parker because Jo Jones threw a cymbal at him may have some truth to it. If Charlie Parker hadn’t been humiliated, would he have pushed himself and in doing so become great? Also the fact that Fletcher brought on Connolly as a motivator is a good strategy. Nothing like instilling some competition. I think it is our natural make-up to want to win or at least be good at things. Well, where it comes to our passions. Wouldn’t work for something we don’t really care about.

Looking back on my student days, I can laugh about it. But back then, it was by no means a laughing matter. In fact, the daily question piano students asked was “What mood is she in?” And each week we all swore we’d had enough and would transfer to another teacher. We never did.