IoD Norfolk Branch Ambassador Introduction
Your name: James Allison
Your title/role and company name: Title: Strategic IT Consultant; Company - EasylifeIT
Your IoD branch: Norfolk
Your IoD Branch Ambassador role: IT, Digital & Tech
Your social media handles:
Q: How long have you been involved with the IoD?
I’ve been a member since 2014.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your career to date?
I spent 16 years with leading UK book manufacturer Clays Ltd. Producing millions of Harry Potter books and countless other UK bestsellers taught me a lot about workflow management and the value of good systems. For my final 4 years I was Commercial Director, responsible for all aspects of IT strategy and delivery.
In 2012 I left Clays and began a new career as a consultant specialising in managing change with business systems at its heart. In common with most of my clients, I come from a non-technical background; it means I talk their language. I have a passion for demystifying the often bewildering world of IT. I recognise that people and process are just as important as the technology in most IT projects. I enjoy working with executive teams and IT professionals to get the best out of everyone’s skills and ensure that the outcomes are sustainable and really solve problems.
Q: What do you hope to achieve as an IoD Branch Ambassador?
One of the challenges I enjoy from working in the IT sector is how quickly things change. It is such a diverse field that you can never be an expert in everything. The best way to keep up to date with emerging issues and ideas is to engage with the wider business community. I hope to pass on knowledge I have gained, as well as gaining new knowledge from listening to and learning from the wide range of companies and industries represented by the IoD membership.
Q: If you could give your 21 year old self some advice what would it be?
Self-awareness is a key skill. It’s ok to recognise and be open about your weaknesses. You will get a lot more out of yourself and others if you play predominantly to your strengths. You can waste a lot of time trying to fix weaknesses in people, time you could have spent getting better results by concentrating on things they were good at and enjoyed doing.
Q: What keeps you busy outside of work?
My main job – being a good dad and husband. And when I’m not doing that it’s playing and watching football or enjoying a pint of real ale.
Q: Are there any business related or policy issues that keep you awake at night?
I’ve had a lot of experience of working in or with businesses that have had to deal with traditional threats to their survival, such fires or floods. But no business continuity issue has concerned me as much as cyber crime. Individuals and companies have so many vulnerabilities to consider. And the challenges are not just securing your systems but also protecting your staff. Criminals hack people, not just computers.
Q: Why do you think business leaders should join the IoD?
It’s a really well balanced offering. I’ve used many aspects over the last 4 years including training, networking, legal advice and quality office space I can drop into when I’m travelling.