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Inside story: Group Technology and Change

Gemma O'Brien

IT Change Manager


Group Technology and Change (GTaC) is responsible for devising the strategic IT direction across all businesses within Bank of Ireland.

In addition, it delivers, manages and assesses the current IT landscape and assists business units migrate to the long term strategic IT vision. Both objectives empower Bank of Ireland to deliver superior customer and staff experiences through efficient and highly scalable world class enabling technology.

So, want to know what it’s like to work in Bank of Ireland? Gemma O’Brien is an IT Change Manager in GTaC and she told us about her Bank of Ireland journey to date.

Gemma O'Brien IT Change Manager

"Bank of Ireland invests heavily in their workforce, and is very proactive in providing further education and training opportunities."

What does your role involve?

I’m an IT Change Manager within Group Technology and Change (GTaC) in Bank of Ireland. I manage all changes to Bank of Ireland’s IT environment to ensure that only authorised and fully tested changes are implemented.

What qualifications do you have?

I’m a science graduate, with an honours degree in Biochemistry with Cell Biology from Trinity College Dublin. I’m currently engaged in continuous professional development in the form of the IT Information Library (ITIL). This is the industry standard best practice in IT Service Management.

What is your previous work experience?

My work experience spans across a number of different industries. When I left college, I worked in various technical and supervisory roles for the Microsoft gaming console, Xbox.

After 18 months, I progressed to working on a large scale mapping project for Google, where I spent 2 years.

In 2014, after taking some time out to travel around Asia, I joined Bank of Ireland on a temporary contract working as a Geocoding Data Analyst in the Customer Analytics and Leads section.

Bank of Ireland has plenty of career advancement opportunities so after a couple of months working in Customer Analytics, I applied internally for the Change Manager position and thankfully was successful in securing the promotion.

What attracted you to the role?

The role presented a great opportunity to work in a busy environment, interacting with numerous departments, managers, stakeholders and teams across the bank.  Bank of Ireland invests heavily in their workforce, and is very proactive in providing further education and training opportunities.

What is the best thing about your job?

The people! My colleagues, at all levels, are very friendly and supportive, which is important when faced with the challenges of a new role. There’s also a big focus on work/life balance, with plenty of opportunities to get involved in social activities outside of the working day like yoga, book clubs and running groups.

And the biggest challenge?

The changes we consider on a weekly basis can vary from minor software coding changes, to full application roll outs, to vast infrastructure upgrades and decommissions. Being prepared for the sheer scope of the changes we discuss, can be a little daunting at first, but the positive, can-do culture in Bank of Ireland makes this easier to overcome.

What other skills do you need for your job?

My day to day job requires interacting with many different stakeholders and teams, so interpersonal and clear communication skills are crucial in ensuring everyone is kept up to speed. Ability to problem solve, multitask, and attention to detail are necessary.  Advanced knowledge of applications like Excel has also come in handy to be able to extract meaningful information from data for reporting purposes.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

As a new employee, in 5 years’ time, I expect to have gained a greater understanding of the bank as a whole, and GTaC in particular.  I would hope to have earned more responsibility and further progressed my education and career within Bank of Ireland. Hopefully, I’ll have continued with my ITIL certification, and potentially have completed a Masters with the support of Bank of Ireland.

What advice would you give someone considering a career in your profession?

I would advise anybody considering a career in IT Service Management, to attempt to gain a broad understanding of IT Infrastructure as a whole. There are countless free courses available on the website, Coursera, which provide such knowledge. Most importantly, be ready to work in a fast paced, challenging and constantly changing environment.

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