As part of a retained campaign to recruit a Senior IT Procurement Consultant for ITAA, Tom spoke to James Dobbin, Director and Head of Practice for Procurement Heads‘ Financial & Professional Services sector to discuss the sort of person they are looking to hire.
You can watch their conversation below.
Can you give us an overview of ITAA?
ITAA is a really interesting company, I am only just getting to grips with all of the things that we do.
ITAA was started by three partners, all have different skill sets and expertise across the software industry, and combined all of those together to create an organisation that initially was focused on software, audit defence, software optimisation, and advisory negotiations.
That has gradually grown and grown over the last couple of years to include different service lines including software asset management and most recently commercial, IT and commercial, which is why I joined and is where my role came from.
Apply for the Senior IT Procurement Consultant role at ITAA here:
How is business at the moment?
Good actually, in terms of the numbers it is doubling every year, which is aggressive and now my numbers are having to double next year which is always a great challenge to have.
Outside of the numbers, it is a really interesting and varied client base, we have got some really large very recognisable brands that we work with across the whole suite of services.
Then we are also working with some smaller companies in completely different ways which again is very exciting in its own way.
So yes, it is a really interesting and changing time.
Could you give us a background of your career to date, what you’ve been brought in to do here and ultimately why you’ve decided to join the business?
Mine is a fairly typical procurement journey from Buyer through to Head of Indirect at a large corporate, with lots of changes in industries, roles and categories.
During all of that, I had got to a point where my next logical step would have been a Head of role and at that point.
I reflected as to whether or not it was something I wanted to do and somewhere I wanted to go and took a bit of a pause, had a career break, and took some interim roles to give me the space and bandwidth to try and make the next right step in my career.
That is when Procurement Heads came along and talked to me about ITAA and it was one of those opportunities, the more I got into it the more interested I became and the more engaging the conversation was with you and ITAA and the owners.
I felt it was somewhere I could take all the skills that I had learnt from a procurement background and apply them in a different way for different customers with a really entrepreneurial background, have a level of autonomy and flexibility that would really give me the opportunity to add value and impact customers which made it a really exciting opportunity.
There is a great opportunity here at ITAA for someone to go on the journey with you, could you tell us a bit more about that?
The commercial vertical within ITAA has grown month on month, year on year and I have come in to increase our footprint across our existing clients and new clients.
Already we have got an opportunity to bring in a new person in a commercial role within ITAA.
So it would be working for me but actually working autonomously across a very good group of existing clients, an opportunity to find and grow new clients all largely across the IT and procurement landscape.
What kind of person do you think this would suit?
It is going to suit someone who has a really strong procurement background and has spent a lot of time working with stakeholders at all levels and is used to that boardroom environment but also used to working intimately with business areas.
In terms of the type of person, very much a role that lends itself to someone that is value-driven, creative, intelligent and wants a high degree of autonomy in their role because there is a real opportunity to make a difference and insert a real value into clients.
It is a team environment but people are given the space to grow in areas of interest to them.
In terms of the functional competencies that you are looking for – you are looking for someone with a strong technology procurement background with good software procurement experience ideally delivering on those kinds of projects but also across the whole gannet of technology procurement would you agree?
Our foundation as an organisation is software, our partners we mentioned earlier they’ve come from absolutely deep expertise in SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM so a lot of the work we have initially got from clients lends itself to a software background.
I am generally quite relaxed about competencies across an indirect procurement landscape but do feel that IT experience is needed for the role and largely that is because I take it as a given that any good procurement person can run an RFP and negotiation and benchmark and supplier relationship management.
What I am looking for, that I look for in myself and therefore in the service we offer clients is that impact, that value-driven approach that gives you really meaningful outcomes to clients.
We talked about the behavioural competencies and that ability to be proactive and develop but not necessarily win you new clients to begin with although that would be a plus but being able to see and seize opportunities and really own them…
I looked at a very similar role myself when I was coming into this and one of the things that I had reservations about was that business development, consultancy label or badge as that is not my background actually from talking to people, I quickly realised that the consultancy and business development element actually largely comes from the intimacy you have with your stakeholders and the business.
That is where the value comes from and how you can deliver it.
It is very much suited to somebody that wants to ensure that value is at the heart of everything that they do.
What is the culture like?
Really broad here at ITAA, we have got a real mixture of people, backgrounds and nationalities.
We are largely UK-centric but have people all across Europe and have partners dotted around the United States, Canada and Australia.
The culture is really diverse, behaviourally it is really open, really transparent and really accessible.
You used a nice word earlier around meritocratic, and it describes us really well.
There is quick access to any individual in the organisation, the owners the partners.
Very open to challenge and change.
I keep talking about autonomy but it is because it is true.
If there is something someone wants to do and change you can do it in ITAA, we have structures and plans but they are evolving all the time.
It is really exciting to be a part of that and be able to drive and make a difference internally.
Why would people want to join here above other opportunities they may be looking at?
It is a very different proposition to the classic procurement journey; it still requires those skillsets that have been gained through that but there are a couple of real differentiators in my view and what I have experienced is that it is the opportunity to get in at a relatively early stage in an exciting company.
We are doubling every year and the targets are getting more aggressive and continue to be achieved for me joining earlier and being part of that is really exciting.
It is entrepreneurial in its nature so really lends itself to somebody wanting to get stuck in and make a difference.
I guess alongside those aggressive targets and interesting work also comes opportunity and there is a financial reward for achieving targets we have a really healthy business development incentivisation scheme which is for any procurement professional who has ever said ‘I wish I had got 1% of that saving I have made’ it will certainly resonate as an opportunity to make a change.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Spending time with family and friends – so socialising at the weekends.
A combination of spending time with my wife and my two young-ish boys tends to take up the majority of my time.