Interview: John Lewis Partnership, UK IT Industry Awards finalist

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Rob Hornby, Platform Product Manager & Engineering Manager, John Lewis Partnership
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Rob Hornby, Platform Product Manager & Engineering Manager, John Lewis Partnership

"Many businesses talk about Purpose but we walk with it."

Information technology keeps businesses going, whether you're referring about a small single proprietorship or a massive complicated multinational. In today's fiercely competitive global market, organisations simply cannot thrive without advanced IT equipment and systems.

The UK IT Industry Awards are the largest and most well-known event in the technology industry calendar. Owned and operated by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and Computing, the awards enjoy a level of professionalism and industry knowledge not seen at other shows.

This year's winners were announced at a live awards ceremony yesterday.

One of the finalists was John Lewis Partnership, in the running for the Best Place to Work in IT.

Before the awards we were caught up with Rob Hornby, Platform Product Manager & Engineering Manager at John Lewis Partnership, to find out why his company deserves to win.

Rob describes himself as a versatile Engineering Manager with a background in software delivery in DevOps and agile delivery environments, who has been lucky to work in and lead great teams.

"I'm not going to build the tech, I will help build effective teams with the right skills, direction of travel/roadmap and ways of working to enable a high quality digital platform. Throughout the focus is on measurement and value outcomes," says Rob.

Computing: Please provide some background on your company for our readers.

Rob Hornby: For over 100 years, the John Lewis Partnership has set out to be a force for good, that principle is alive and well within our business today, across our two brands John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners.

Many businesses talk about Purpose but we walk with it - aiming to make sufficient profit to create a Partnership that is fairer and more sustainable for all Partners, customers, suppliers and communities we serve.

Our Purpose promise "Working in Partnership for a Happier World" is not just a slogan. It is a deeply rooted and unshakable commitment that acts as our guide, inspires all our principles and influences every decision we make.

Through it, we not only do things differently, but better. Always striving to make the world a better and happier place for everyone and everything our business touches.

What makes you different from other technology companies?

As co-owners we all have a share in the business and a shared commitment to go above and beyond for each other and our customers.

We have a unifying Purpose created by Partners, for Partners. Our Purpose makes it clear why we exist, our ultimate aim as a business and gives us an exciting opportunity to do things differently.

This extends to the engineering outcomes that we produce.

What one company achievement in the last 12 months are you most proud of?

We've been focused on building our Digital Platforms to be focused around the ownership of those services by those who build them. In doing so we want to measure the value that brings through improving developer experience and use of DORA metrics to continually improve at what and how we deliver for our customers.

What are you working on this year?

Ensuring the skills of our Engineers are maximised and our ways of working are efficient as they can be building on our culture of empowerment to deliver as much value as we can for our business in very uncertain times for retail.

Why are events like the UK IT Industry Awards important to the IT industry?

Industry awards allow us to recognise hard work and celebrate achievements and successes. They allow us to compare ourselves against the best of the best in the industry. Additionally we appreciate the opportunity to talk publicly about the John Lewis Partnership, which we passionately believe is the best place to work in IT!

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