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How Transport Systems Catapult IT Director Alex Farr and his team add value, helping businesses transform and grow

Matt Egan | March 10, 2017
We find out about the ups and downs of Alex Farr's career in IT.

"We want to shift that mindset from being an overhead and a cost to a business unit with a P and L.

"Rather than just being seen as an overhead, which stereotypically is how IT departments are described, we try to get into our customers' mindset.

"Whenever we're speccing up a solution, or taking on a project, we think about how we can we make this impact us in a minimal way, so that in the future we're not supporting it. We want to deliver something, hand it over, and then not worry about it. We want to move on to the next project." 

Ahead in the Cloud

Farr is passionate about the Cloud as an enabler for IT leaders. A platform which gives the next generation of digital disrupters a toolkit from which to innovate.

"We didn't really have a choice but to go for the cloud, as we started in a short-term rented office space.

"I didn't have time to build back end infrastructure, because I was too busy working on the long term strategy and identifying our innovation centre. I adopted Cloud very early on, with use of Azure, Office 365 & SAP. Cloud technology has kicked on in the past four years even further, and we've been able to design the systems, and again the processes in which we operate on in order to flex. There is no legacy.

"And because we have no legacy, and because I don't need three or four people looking after, or worrying about back end systems, my team can focus on helping our partners, and the people we collaborate with, adding value to the organisation."

The future

Farr is clearly passionate his job and his industry, but he also takes his own career seriously. Admirably so. He has a commitment to personal development, and a clear vision of where he wants to go. And that is as a leader - business and technology.

"I've got ambitions to become a CIO. I need more time where I am, and I need exposure in different organisations, in similar roles. I've been fortunate being able to build stuff from the ground up, but I need to experience dealing with an organisation entrenched in legacy.

"A lot of my personal development is focused away from technical side of things. I've just done my level five in leadership management. I'm doing finance for non-financial managers.

"I think it's important to get that wider view. My current role has given me exposure to other parts of the business without losing the IT bit, which is really what I'm interested in. But it has given me a wider view of the world."

Source: CIO UK 


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