Ever wondered what being a Head of Service Delivery & Support entails? I’ve spent time with Mike Hargreaves following completion of his 1-year anniversary with Spica Technologies Ltd, and am excited to share some insights about his experiences over the past 12 months.
- What attracted you to Spica and how did you come to join the team?
Well, I was innocently working away as a Business Analyst at Coventry University and I was approached by SPICA having worked with Gemma previously whilst at TNT. My initial contact was with Paul Jones and Lynda Gillson and I was immediately impressed by the experience and passion they had when speaking about Spica and it’s rapid growth.
- How did you find the recruitment process?
My experience was quite amusing as my telephone interview took place on the day of the Christmas party. Well Spica is an incredibly busy small team and getting people together for interviews is never easy, but it’s only afterwards I found out my interview interrupted some of the games that had been organised. In all seriousness, I was immediately attracted to the company and it’s friendliness and because I like to be open and honest it was refreshing that all the people I spoke to were too. If we hadn’t absolutely got on like a house on fire it wouldn’t have been right.
- What were you doing prior to your current role?
So, my role started in I.T, dare I say it, 20 years ago. I graduated and worked on a Service Desk, quickly moving into Coordinator roles and then growing technically. Although I grew up wanting to do something in graphic design or art as a kid, I actually wanted to be a Trainer or Business Analyst as I forged my career in I.T. at TNT. Following restructures and takeover I braved a move from there and had various Business Analyst roles, but it’s taken until now to truly find a friendly hard working company that shares a lot of my values.
- What is the most important personal attribute that you bring to your role?
Honesty, team work, positivity. I’m sure I must annoy people in the team but I’ve found I have to try and lift everyone through challenges at previous companies/roles and here is the same. Last year was intense with never enough time to do everything we wanted but now we’ve got through 2019, re-grouped and we go again.
- What does a typical day look like for you in your role?
Normally it would be tickets, calls with a key client for the biggest project I’ve worked on here and our now daily scrum to get the UK & Ireland IoT roll out completed. I spend a lot of time chasing suppliers preparing for physical installations and coordinating visits. Of course, I always try and find time for development as there is a lot to learn in this company. Relationship building is massive for me. I invest in that and hope the trust works to build an honest work relationship.
Every day there is something new, something to learn and improve on. Our products are evolving and of course we have to continuously think about context as there is always opportunity to improve, suggest new products, improvements and challenge the team to keep learning and developing.
- What have enjoyed working on most since joining?
Has to be deploying our solution in a brand new headquarters for one of our customers in Copenhagen. It was hard work but really rewarding to be part of a new building and chance to help our customer to showcase IoT in such a modern building.
- If you had to describe your team in one word what would that be?
- What has surprised you most about working at Spica?
How approachable senior management are. The first example of this was watching developers being asked in to discuss and understand the product not just deliver requirements already designed and documented.
- Did you know in your early career that this was where you would be at this point?
Being completely honest, I’m amazed I’m alive still after the years of highs and lows being a football fan. 10 years ago I would have been happy to still be a business analyst as it had the perfect mix of skills for me. I never enjoy just one silo’d role in a large corporate. I like spinning a number of IoT devices and integrations, helping across delivery and change. Helping to grow the business with our focus on our Customer means we have to be a lot more multi-skilled and focused and so actually this size of business suits me really well. If we are able to grow a little I’d like to think we all grow together.
- What do you like most about working with new technology?
It demands change and development but regardless of industry it is being introduced into, it requires you to keep focus still on why you are working with it. The business value and drive for change has to always stay in the forefront of why you are introducing something. The helps keep everything focus and believing in what we are doing.
- Have you learned anything new since starting your role as Head of Service Delivery & Support?
Lots. It would be impossible not to. As a business we have to learn, evolve, improve and for anyone not sure whether to join Spica or go into a larger graduate role or big corporate business, you will not get anything like the exposure we have to great minds and leadership. However, we are all seriously learning!
- Name two things you consider yourself to be very good at?
Diplomacy, positivity. I wouldn’t have spent so many years working between the business and I.T. firstly in TNT or between Suppliers and Customers if I hadn’t honed these skills.
- What do you like most about working at Spica?
Variety firstly. I would love to one day have a team of people with really well-defined processes and consistent roles, but I am really enjoying seeing how you far you can stretch people and yourself. Secondly it has to be the Spica family. Without trust and honesty, I couldn’t work in a smaller business. We absolutely have to be working towards the same goal for this to work.
- What is your biggest accomplishment since joining?
Surviving a Christmas party. It’s a milestone within Spica and in all seriousness because of the challenging year and push on completing the installation of a national rollout I had to have a focus and target. Solution related it has to fixing hardware issues for a customer with a footfall use case. That felt like taking a solution that was on the edge of being thrown out because of the supplier configuration and through open, honest and fortunately a damn good customer we were able to turn it around and have a cracking solution in place which I still hope will develop into more buildings.
- What do you like doing in your spare time?
Football first. My life is either going to be a very ‘high high’ this season or well apparently jumping in the Mersey is a good way to go. I have to work really hard as my family are at an important stage and giving them opportunities has to come first. But only joint first with my Liver bird. I love films, Guinness or Corona and Mario Kart and all that goes with that.
If Mike’s interview has sparked your interest and you would like to know more about working with us at Spica please contact me directly or visit our website to find out more about current opportunities https://spicatech.co.uk/