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An interview with James Fairhurst, CIO of Atlanta Group (Swinton, Autonet and Carole Nash)

We recently met with James Fairhurst, CIO of Atlanta Group (Swinton, Autonet and Carole Nash). James is leading the business through a huge digital transformation involving the creation of an IT Shared Service, the deployment of new technologies and the cultural and strategic alignment of all three businesses. Although the task at hand is a very large one, James has the air of an optimist with an exciting job to do. His passion and ambition are evident as he talks through his vision for the “Shared Service”, which has been named ISS (Information Systems & Services).

“We’re building a single IT organisation to service all three Atlanta brands and any future acquisitions”, he says. “Everything is new. We’re growing and we need to use technology to collaborate and create three digital businesses. There’s no point sticking a plaster on the problem - we want to future-proof our businesses. We want to get it right first time, and that means a whole lot of change for the better.”

And it seems that with this change comes a whole lot of opportunity for employees within ISS.

“We need to make about 30 permanent hires across our three IT divisions - Systems, Operations and Programmes. We’re not just looking for more people, we’re actively trying to diversify our in-house knowledge by hiring people with new skills and experience from a range of backgrounds.”

So, what does it take to be an Atlanta Group employee? According to James, it’s all about the right attitude and a desire to keep learning. “I’d say if you’re looking for a predictable, repetitive role then maybe our team isn’t for you. But on the other hand, if you want to challenge and be challenged, have your voice heard and ultimately have real influence over our transformation and culture then there’s a space for you here.”

New technologies, agile working and challenging problems to solve are all amongst the benefits on offer for the right candidates.

“The great thing is that we’re really just beginning our transformation; you get to work on greenfield projects but with the security of a large business. At the same time, we’re also investing in the latest technologies to help us deliver outstanding products and services to our customers.”

But, according to James, all these factors come second to the culture they have created. “We’re lucky to be building a tech hub across three much-loved UK brands that are all renowned for their friendly, close knit cultures and excellent customer experience. That ethos shines through in our teams. Yes, it’s hard work, but we’re in it together, we all have one vision and we make sure we try to have some fun along the way.”

Are you interested in an IT career at Atlanta Group? Check out all the latest vacancies here.