Silva Homes has been undergoing a major transformation over the last 18 months and the way we use technology is at the heart of this change. This is a major change for a business that had been pretty sceptical about the importance and role of IT.
When I joined Silva, I soon realised that my role was about more than just managing technology; it’s about managing the relationship that my colleagues have with technology and helping them understand how it can make their lives easier.
One of the core principles for our transformation is about creating a genuine business partnering model whereby people in support services such as IT recognise that their role is to help the business deliver front-line services to customers. That’s why I’ve worked hard to build relationships with colleagues at all levels.
I have regular catchups and discovery sessions to make sure we understand and respond to what the business wants and needs. I also think it’s important to make it as easy as possible for people to access IT and our support. We’ve introduced new working practices and replaced some of the more antiquated systems and processes. I also regularly visit customers in our independent living schemes as well as colleagues who aren’t office-based to ensure that everyone has good access to technology and give them help with any particular issues.
Working for a customer-focused housing provider is a new experience for me; I’m enjoying working for a business that recognises the importance of technology, not for the sake of it, but as a tool to drive change.
Of course, there are things that we need to improve and areas in which I want to see more change. Being a woman in IT also has its challenges and, although there are two other women in our team, we are still a minority within the sector as a whole.
My philosophy has always been to inspire others and I’m passionate about encouraging more women to seek a career in IT. For example, I actively support the IT Service Management Forum by speaking at conferences and writing articles and books. I also provide practical advice on common IT issues, such as de-escalating a tricky situation and how to allocate IT resources for the benefit of our customers. I am also providing mentoring to a young woman who has joined Silva’s new graduate scheme, and I work closely with the two other women in my team to help develop their careers.
Housing providers are finally grasping the importance of technology, but I’m not sure that those of us working in IT have always communicated with our businesses as well as we could. That’s what I love about my role; it’s about inspiring people to get the most out of technology and if in doing so, I can help get more women into IT, then that would be brilliant.
Vawns Murphy is the lead IT partner for service delivery at Silva Homes.