After graduating with an accounting and finance degree from London Guildhall University, I worked for cleaning company Rentokil Initial as a business analyst and then a finance manager. My next role was that of financial controller at the Sloane Square Hotel in London.
It was there that I gained the CIMA qualification in 2008. This has equipped me with the skills to analyse a business from a numbers perspective and also, by assessing its commercial and operational arrangements, gain a good understanding of risks it is running. I can now apply all this knowledge and tailor the way my teams work.
Later that year I started at security services company G4S as a commercial manager, becoming head of finance for G4S Service Partnerships in 2010. Two years on from that, I joined my current organisation, G4S Philippines. This group of 11 wholly owned and licensee-affiliate firms offers manned security, electronic security and cash management services nationwide. It has 5,500 full-time employees.
One of the first things I noticed--and struggled with--when I arrived was the inadequacy of the organisation's core IT systems, particularly its email software. Over the preceding five years the organisation had almost tripled in size, but its investment in IT had not kept pace. It was obvious that the business had outgrown the technological infrastructure supporting it.
G4S Philippines did have an IT manager and a highly capable team. But, with no direction or investment, the department was operating in a silo and merely reacting to situations. I saw this as an opportunity to modernise and make life easier for our IT users, as well as increase their productivity.
As the quasi-director of IT, my initial step was to formulate a strategy. I decided that the top priorities should be to deliver basic services efficiently and ensure data security. Having brushed up on my Microsoft Project skills and worked through a number of scenarios with the group's regional IT specialists, it became clear to me that the only economical and timely option would be a combination of in-house and outsourced solutions.
We started to realise various parts of the plan in early 2013 and are now two-thirds of the way through it. First came a "quick win": a new email system. Here we migrated from freeware to Microsoft Outlook. The next tasks were to upgrade our...