Get to know Helen Jones, Managing Director of Software and Certification at Alcumus

Could you tell our readers a bit about yourself, including your career to date?

I graduated from the University of Birmingham with an MEng degree in Mathematical engineering.

The majority of my career was spent at Carillion where I undertook a wide range of roles grounded in Engineering, Facilities Management and Construction and then moving onto other roles including Head of Sustainability, HR Director and Group Head of Mobilisations and Demobilisations. Following the compulsory liquidation of the company, my role developed to support the demobilisation of assets, people and contracts around the Group, along with coordinating the delivery of transitional services agreements with companies taking over Carillion contracts. That was a challenging time for the team and, having spent much of my career there, the task in hand was tinged with sadness. However, I took great pride in ensuring the smooth transfer of operations and keeping my team upbeat and motivated.

I loved my time at Carilion and the variety of roles I held gave me an unrivaled experience across the business. It also gave me some great insight into what truly makes organisations tick!

On a personal note, I am married to Neil and a mother of three – Phoebe (7), Libby (5) and Conor (3), who are also fondly known as Jones PLC! I am a keen runner and recently completed the London Marathon, which was a fantastic experience, albeit it didn’t go quite as planned! I also practice yoga and go to the gym but most of all I enjoy days out with the family and ensure that no matter how busy my schedule is, we still have quality family time.
 

You’ve been with Alcumus for the last year, with responsibility for our certification division, ISOQAR. What service improvement have you made that you are most proud of?

We are extremely lucky to have a great team at Alcumus ISOQAR and clients who we continue to retain year after year. That said, I wanted to understand how we could improve both our client and employee satisfaction further. I’m a very hands-on person and after spending time discussing challenges with our various teams, it was clear we needed a technology strategy to improve our service delivery.

The project is still underway, but we are making great headway with some interim changes already making a huge difference and I’m excited for the improvements it will bring both our employees and clients.

I’m also incredibly proud of the ISOQAR culture that has developed – innovative, focused and dedicated to working together as a team. It makes me so happy to see people solving problems together.
 

We are delighted to see you now heading the Software division of Alcumus, including our Info Exchange and Sypol products. What can our software customers expect you to deliver in the next 12 months?

I’m hugely excited about the developments taking place within the software division at Alcumus. For example, this year will see us improve the user experience and functionality of both the Sypol and Info Exchange platforms. We have just successfully launched the Sypol improvements and it has been great to receive such positive feedback from our clients. I am looking forward to extending those improvements to our Info Exchange software when we launch later this year.

Over the coming months I will be meeting with as many clients as I can to understand their needs and how we can continue to improve our software as a service to them.

We have also recently announced the acquisition of a new company in North America that have a great product called eCompliance. This product expands and compliments our range of software solutions in the UK and we have already identified a range of clients who may benefit from it.
 

What does a typical working day look like for you?

It is a cliché, but no two days are the same at Alcumus!

I try to fit in some exercise in the morning as I feel it gets me ready for the day ahead, including the interesting challenge of getting three young children ready for school or nursery (I have a very supportive husband!)

As Alcumus spans five offices, I’m not often in one place as I try to split my time between my business areas which are based in Aylesbury, Manchester, Stratford Upon Avon and our HQ in Cardiff.

I work closely with the senior management team to align the strategies across the various parts of the business, such as how we can help our clients overcome their particular challenges through the wide variety of services Alcumus can offer.

I also think it is important for me to regularly spend time with the different teams; this gives me an opportunity to ensure that our strategic plans align with the operational delivery of our services. It also gives me a chance to learn more about the team at Alcumus and build relationships with them, something that is really important to me.

As clients are at the heart of everything we do here, I try to get out and meet as many of them as I can. I love seeing first hand how we help make our clients businesses safer, healthier and stronger and learning about what more we can do for them.

Once the working day is over, I return home to spend some quality time with my family. We have a very busy schedule, especially as the children are like me and love being active! You can often find me ferrying them around to karate classes or swimming lessons.
 

What is the piece of technology you couldn’t live without?

I’m going to have to pick two - I know this tends to be the go-to answer for this question, but the first has to be my mobile. As I explained, I am all over the country with work and combined with a busy home life, I would be lost without it! My second would be my iWatch. I use a wide range of the functionality including fitness tracking, maps (I like to walk between meetings where I can), train tickets, Apple Pay and I even track key business KPI’s through the Power BI app. If I forget my charger, I am in trouble!
 

You must be excited to work with a new part of the Alcumus business, especially one that is extremely forward thinking with regards to technology. Where do you think software will have the biggest impact within the health and safety industry, in 2020 and beyond?

Technology is truly placing safety in the hands of the worker, providing a greater ability to collect real-time data than ever before. As a direct result, the industry is getting much better at understanding and utilising their data to improve performance and save lives.

This was echoed at our recent client conference when we asked our customers what had been the greatest benefit of implementing our software - 60% answered greater and improved data collection.

We are already seeing our software clients utilise data more effectively and use analytical tools/data warehouses to make informed decisions in the workplace. The development of more tools to support this way of working is something we will be looking at closely in the future. We want clients to have the ability to look backwards at trends but also forwards with predictive analytics, ultimately reducing accidents and saving lives.