Information technology has become a vital part of businesses today. It aids all corporate sectors in automating their systems and processes to achieve goals, generate revenue, and lessen the inefficiencies of their work.
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 on Wednesday 9th November.
One of the finalists was Lloyds Banking Group, in the running for the IT Team of The Year.
Before the awards, we caught up with Nazia Anwar, Head of IT Service: Insurance, Pensions & Investments to find out what makes her company different from other technology firms.
Nazia and the IT service management team, which comprises eight business focused service managers, play a pivotal role to continuously deliver excellence in all facets of end-to-end IT service and are integral to allowing the organisation to run with minimal IT disruption and fundamental to realising the divisions strategy. The team's reason for being is to ensure the business can operate successfully with IT being a key enabler rather than a blocker.
Computing: Please provide some background on your company for our readers.
Nazia Anwar: Lloyds Banking Group is a financial services business - with millions of customers in the UK, and a presence in nearly every community. It is our role to help businesses and individuals, while making a positive contribution to the communities in which we operate. Our purpose is Helping Britain Prosper. We do this by creating a more sustainable and inclusive future for people and businesses, shaping finance as a force for good.
My team and I are aligned to the Insurance, Pensions & Investments division who help circa 10 million personal and business customers with their long-term protection, retirement and investment needs. The business operates through several brands which include Scottish Widows, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank and Lloyds Bank Private Banking.
What makes you different from other technology companies?
In addition to being a technology provider, Lloyds Banking Group is also the UK's largest retail bank, centred on being there for customers in both the good and challenging times, especially pertinent during the cost-of-living crisis and pandemic.
As a major insurer we understand the need to be there for our policy holders. In response to unprecedented weather conditions during the recent winter storm season, we quickly mobilised a package of additional support, deferring previously planned non-essential IT change and significantly extending hours of system availability to facilitate the handling of customer enquiries and processing of customer claims.
As an internal technology provider, we operate as a trusted partner, motivated to always be a business enabler, consistently centred on customer outcomes. Together we support the Group to achieve its purpose by playing a pivotal role in Helping Britain prosper.
What one company achievement in the last 12 months are you most proud of?
Since the start of 2022 my team have begun to track, trend and eradicate 'Near Miss' Major Incidents. A Near Miss Major Incident is defined as a non-service impacting production incident, whereby without proactive intervention a prospective major business impacting incident would have been encountered.
During 2022 the collective IT service teams have cumulatively averted 34 critical or high production incidents through the 'Near Miss' initiative. This success has been brokered by multiple interventions, including the delivery of enhanced monitoring and alerting tooling, alongside a gradual cultural change requiring many pre-existing processes and procedures to be reengineered, and now being triggered based upon a proactive response to potential or approaching service impact rather than reacting to a live outage or degradation to an IT system.
What are you working on this year?
In February 2022 the group announced it had completed the acquisition of Embark Group, one of the UK's fastest growing financial services businesses and one of the leading retirement solutions providers. The deal unlocks our ability to reach Lloyds Banking Group customers who want to use modern, digital propositions to create savings portfolios using all of the investment products available, including those that wish to manage their own investments. The service management team are working in lockstep with the programme integrating the Embark technology platform, ensuring that it is coupled with industry leading service recovery procedures, enterprise grade monitoring and alerting capability and a strong service ethos.
Why are events like the UK IT Industry Awards important to the IT Industry?
The UK IT Industry Awards provide a unique opportunity to network, showcase IT innovation, share best practice and celebrate progress. Against a modern service expectation, IT is very much seen as a consumable and our customers (internal and external) expect our services to be available on demand, much like any other utility. In 2022, IT is so fundamental to organisational effectiveness, and the Industry Awards provide a platform to showcase innovation across organisational boundaries and celebrate success with industry peers. They are a benchmark of excellence, and being finalists gives both credibility and a morale boost.