by Martin Veitch

Jerry Fishenden quits Microsoft: Redmond’s loss may be state IT policy’s gain

Jun 03, 20092 mins
IT Strategy

Microsoft UK National Technology Officer Jerry Fishenden is leaving the software giant to spend time on other projects, including an attempt to improve government technology frameworks.

For quite some time now, Microsoft has attempted to de-fang itself by hiring people who don’t repeat the matra of ‘Windows/Office/Exchange’, no matter what the question. Fishenden’s role was to build bridges with governments and the public sector to help them make sensible IT policy and procurement decisions. Before joining the software giant, Fishenden held a series of senior IT positions at the NHS, the City of London and in the Houses of Parliament.

For now, he is staying mum on his precise plans but in an email to me he says: “I’m planning to work with a few folks on the development of a full-fledged ‘manifesto for technology’ — a guidebook for politicians and policymakers about what does and doesn’t work in terms of delivering an effective technology policy. We urgently need to bridge the divide between IT and policy. And, if opposition proposals to have an ’empowered CIO’ across the public sector are to come to fruition, what exactly does that role look like (the Obama approach?), what sort of person could fill it — and how would you put the team together around them to have a real impact on delivering more effective governance across architecture and procurement?”

Fishenden is a straight shooter with a good sense of humour, and he always seemed to me to have avoided the brainwashing some people receive when joining the vendor ‘dark side’. He could be an even more effective voice without the Microsoft-branded loudspeaker.