Q&A: Stuart Lynn, CIO at Sage

The CIO of the UK-based firm gives us his thoughts on topics as wide-ranging as BYOD to Windows 8.

From an infrastructure perspective, what is your main concern?

Resilience. We support thousands of businesses in the UK. We have 400 telecoms support staff and if they can't access data then they can't help customers. Similarly our sales staff wouldn't be able to sell products.

To avoid problems, we run two datacentres in Newcastle. The two datacentres are mirrored, so I can lose a whole datacentre and the other will fill in. If we lose power, we've got a generator on the roof. We've also got everything backup every 10 minutes to a disaster recovery site as a contingency. So the maximum we'd ever loose is 10 minutes of data.

With Windows 8 on the horizon, can you share some of your thoughts about the operating system? Do you plan on upgrading early on?

We're up to date with Windows because we build software for customers, so we have to test it out on the latest platforms.

We're tracking Windows 8 and the development team is already building apps for it. I've played around with the Metro interface and I'm not sure about it, but when people first saw the iPad they weren't sure either and look at it now.

The Metro UI does work great on the Windows Phone, especially with the Live Tiles updating information. It will be interesting to see what Microsoft comes to market with. It usually tries a lot of ideas and then cuts back when it releases the final version.

Before we upgrade to Windows 8 we will identify the business benefits. Windows 7 was fantastic, after Vista. It made supporting desktops much easier so we updated to it straight away. If Windows 8 has any major benefits, the same principle will apply.

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