Learn With Leaders — Building Business Services Solutions with Joy Chambers

Welcome to our November edition of Learn With Leaders. This month we hear from Joy Chambers, Director of Business Services Solutions (BSS) at Allstate NI.

Learn with leaders, Building business services solutions with Joy Chambers.

BSS is a diverse area incorporating a broad range of teams outside of the Technology footprint at Allstate NI. BSS comprises:

  • Investments & Finance
  • Corporate Accounting
  • Marketing Analytics (MARA)
  • Global Data and Reporting
  • Marketing & Graphic Design
  • Supplier Management
  • Allstate NI Engagement

Skills include data and analytics, continuous improvement, accountancy, expense management, investments technology and management, graphic design, corporate communications, and programme & project management.

The area started small with a team of 12 finance professionals in 2017 to over 140 employees in 2021. Hear from Joy about the journey in building a team from the ground up.

"In August 2017 we were challenged to build a brand-new function in Northern Ireland. Allstate NI (ANI) was known for technology; this was an expansion into other business areas and a welcome diversification for the company. ANI partnered with established teams in the US leveraging our global experience to build new skills with young teams and talent. We started with the Investments area; we had the mindset that 'we did this before in Technology, we can do this again!'.

The US teams had little experience of global working, so a comprehensive plan was needed to make this a success and a have clear vision of how we wanted to develop the NI model. We wanted to ensure that the ANI teams were not staff augmentation, not a disparate set of employees, and that they would feel valued and engaged.

The BSS leadership team was built to be an integral part of the objective setting, bringing a wealth of global experience. The teams themselves started out in junior positions; we have seen many of them move into leadership roles as the team has grown. This was a major objective for the ANI model, career progression was a key part of our plan.

In the early days we faced the challenge to change the perception of Allstate Northern Ireland as more than a technology company. It took courage for the initial few employees to come on board and help us grow the finance function and build the ANI finance brand. Another key to our success was our focus on continued partnership with the US leaders on providing local support, developing ANI leadership skills and bringing delivery ownership to NI.

As we grew it was logical to incorporate all non Allstate Technology, Services & Ventures (ATSV) teams within BSS. Having MARA as an integral part of the unit brought a level of maturity and technical expertise which helped drive an agenda of innovation and continuous improvement.

Another area of focus was culture, we were very deliberate in the set up of our engagement strategy and associated work tracks i.e. Growth & Development, Meaningful Work and Rewards & Recognition. This has instilled high levels of engagement and trust. We credit our success to being transparent. Our engagement tracks allow the whole area to deliver value outside of their day jobs by exploring new ways to learn, collaborate, and celebrate as a team.

We're excited about the future of our team. We have had consistent growth since 2017 and with new partnerships developing, it's a testament to the reputation that we have built with our US colleagues. This is down to the hard work of the BSS team over the last five years."