Iain Bain, Head of IT Delivery at AG Barr, caught up with Chris Lowden, Nine Twenty Client Engagement Manager, to talk about his role at AG Barr and plans for his team in 2017.
What is your role at AG BARR?
I am the IT Delivery manager, holding accountability for infrastructure and business applications. Leading a small, high performing team, we split our time keeping the lights on, supporting business projects, reducing risk and enhancing technology aligned to business strategy and growth aspirations. The role also involves negotiating and managing a number of service partners & contracts who work alongside the team to deliver & support many of our critical cloud based systems.
What key projects have you worked on over the last few years?
Since June 2014 when I joined AG Barr, a significant amount of projects have been completed with a small number still in life. These include implementing Active Directory, Blackberry to Smartphone and a further smartphone refresh with a new provider, introducing room based VC, UK wide client hardware refresh including cloud based management tool and latterly, new clustered firewalls, LAN redesign and refresh while introducing a new, more aligned managed services partner. On the application front, much of our time has been spent stabilising legacy systems, enhancing service and improving system reliability and performance. Risk and security compliance form our framework and will even more so going forward.
What is the plan going forward for AG BARR and IT?
Much more of the same, de-risking and driving change through technology adoption and enhancement. This year we plan to refresh the LAN equipment across other sites including the factory and our warehouse at Cumbernauld, extend further support to the supply chain function and we install a new PET line in our Milton Keynes factory. The biggest challenges this year however will be driving forward a new telephony/UC strategy and replace several ageing traditional PBX systems.
Nine Twenty have recently placed some people in your team, but in the future, what type of skill set do AG BARR look for?
Within the team, I will always look for solid technical experience. Although we are well down the cloud adoption road, we will always have infrastructure and systems to support and enhance. The additional key characteristics I'll also look for is commercial and business acumen, after all, IT are and always will be a valued business partner and exist to ensure customers are happy and we help the business on their journey.
How does Technology improve AG BARR as a business?
Working smarter, the right tools for the job and improving work life balance. Technology, early & ongoing business engagement along with process improvement all contribute to the success of technology investment. With technology, you can no longer provide and pray. Successful change initiatives start with cross functional engagement and good communication, a recent example of this being our recent hardware refresh. It wasn't just about providing new and improved laptops, it was always more about improving process, ways of working and new tools while ensuring we enhanced security, governance & support and to deliver a plethora of measurable benefits for IT and the business.
If you are interested in IT opportunities with AG BARR, you can contact Chris Lowden at Nine Twenty Technology by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the office on 0141 231 1260.