Five Minutes With: esure’s CIO

Insight & Opinion

From the outside insurance companies don’t always appear to be the most exciting places to work, however, with an environment more akin to a start-up (lean and flat) esure (whose brands include Sheilas’ Wheels and Gocompare) are slowly changing perceptions.  We caught up with Graham Bolton, CIO at esure to discuss…

What attracted you to work at esure?

The business is big enough to have a real impact in the market place but small enough to get your arms around and see / touch all aspects.

What do you love about your job? What don’t you like as much?

What I love…The opportunity to make a real difference and help grow the business and develop an IT function we can be proud of.
What I don’t like… As a business we can move at a pace that the larger corporates cannot but I want IT to be able to move even faster.

What is the culture like at esure? How do you foster a good working culture / team bonding at esure?

esure has a collaborative and friendly culture, it has been in existence for 15 years so still has the feel of a company wanting to work as one to achieve its potential. We can continue to grow that culture by getting IT even closer to the business frontline, not just providing services and technology, but been part of achieving the business targets and outcomes.

Why is the IT department transforming?

The journey that esure has gone through over the past five years from private to public company has required a certain focus. We now need to look forward at growing the business and the associated technology challenges this brings.

What’s unique about working in the IT department at esure?

None of the challenges esure faces are unique, what I do feel is that we have the right the support from the Exec and business leaders, we have the underpinning culture and we are of the size that means we can move at pace, be flexible and can quickly make decisions and act on them.

How is IT viewed across the business?

Like any financial services firm we have challenges with some of our older heritage technology but my job is to ensure the services and capabilities we provide are of a high standard. The collaborative culture within esure means that business leaders are supportive and we jointly make decisions on investment.

How are flexible working patterns supported at esure?

Where possible we are open to flexible working, the challenge we have at times is the size of some of the teams which means we do have to balance operational needs against individual requests.

Does anyone in IT work in other positions / spend time in other departments? If so, tell us about why you do this / the key benefits?

Agile delivery teams mean that we have IT and business colleagues working together and where possible the IT delivery teams to sit next to the business areas they support. The closer IT are to the business, the more they understand the business challenges and the better we can support.

What opportunities are there for graduates to follow a IT path at esure?

Currently esure does not have a graduate programme / scheme but we have recently appointed a Learning & Development Manager with the plan to create a scheme across all our sites for the future.

What career progression opportunities do you offer employees at esure? Do you have talent programmes in place. If so, tell us more…
Rising Stars…

The Rising Stars programme is designed to help talented colleagues develop the competency and confidence required to reach the next stage of their career. The programme blends personal development with increasing their business knowledge and helps give colleagues a greater understanding of esure. Colleagues gain insight and understanding of different departments and are able to broaden their network as they are meeting and working with new people.
We are currently nearing the end of our second Rising Stars programme and it has proved to be a great success, with many colleagues who took part in the programme securing new opportunities across the business as a result.

Future Leaders…

Continuing our series of talent programmes, we have recently opened our applications process for esure’s first Future Leaders Programme.
This is an excellent opportunity for participants to experience business master classes, stretching personal and leadership skills development, to be mentored by one of the senior leadership team and have the opportunity to work shadow another member of the senior leadership team too. The programme launches later this year.