Head of IT Data Operations

Head of IT Data Operations

Guernsey, Haywards Heath, Home Office (Remote) or Manchester
up to £118,000 depending on level of experience
Technology and Data
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We’re First Central Insurance & Technology Group (First Central for short), an award-winning innovative insurance and technology organisation, delivering market-leading motor insurance, underwriting, distribution, finance, technology and legal services.

Job purpose:

We currently have an exciting opportunity for a Head of IT Data Operations to join our Technology and Data team in either Salford Quays, Manchester, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, or our offices in Guernsey. 

As the Head of IT Data Operations, you will be accountable and responsible for the IT Data Operations teams at First Central, this consists of IT Data Ops, Data as a Service (DaaS) and Power BI teams.  You will ensure the Company’s operational data systems and platforms are highly available, resilient, scalable, secure and performant and delivered in-line with business demand and to agreed service levels.  This includes management of operational service and remediation of any service impacting issues or risks. You will also need to maximise the value of our technology estate, operating best practice processes to ensure they remain current, secure and fit for purpose, ensuring SLAs and KPIs are met, whilst ensuring the business receives a high level of service and platforms remain operational. You will also be responsible for the day to day delivery and long term strategy of the teams ensuring strategic change, and BAU change is delivered on-time and to budget, engaging with Development, Architecture, Data Change, IT Ops as well as business teams, and senior stake holders. You will drive evolutionary change, coach, and drive forward new behaviours, create a vision, build, and develop the team in support with the IT Operations Director.   

To be successful in this role, you’ll need to:

  • Be an experienced professional, with a strong leadership and technical leadership background gained within a fast pace environment.
  • Have a deep understanding of Cloud platforms and services; Microsoft Azure DevOps, ITIL, Azure Synapse, Databricks, Power BI, Data Factory, HD Insights, Python Sparks, with a strong IT service background.
  • Be able to maximise the value of our technology estate, operating best practice processes to ensure they remain current, secure, fit for purpose and ensure the Technology Services team are well directed and motivated at all times.

Job responsibilities:

  • Responsibility and accountability for the continued development and delivery of the IT Data Operations support teams.
  • Develop and implement an annual strategy which is aligned to the wider IT strategy containing objectives, departmental initiatives, SLAs and KPIs
  • Develop, implement, establish and manage a world class technical function
  • Responsibility and operational management of a highly scalable, secure and available infrastructure platforms, ensuring that it can operate 24x7
  • Responsibility and operational management of a highly scalable, secure and available Data Platform, ensuring that it can operate and deliver reporting 24x7
  • Develop and implement long term strategic initiatives, such as frameworks and technology, best practices, standards, techniques and business deliveries that will apply throughout all the Technology and business teams to increase quality and efficiency.
  • Develop, implement, establish a technology life cycle and continuous improvement/ development (CI/CD) of applications and systems.
  • Support/ lead the priorities of the team, ensure high performance and availability of technologies for our stakeholders
  • In collaboration with the all teams, work to reduce or eliminate manual or repetitive tasks, reduce or remove bottlenecks and inefficiencies across the business.
  • Robustly manages budget and re-forecasting to support the wider Technology deliveries.  
  • Manage delivery using internal team and partners
  • Manage the relationship of key technology partners, holding them to account to achieve the highest levels of service
  • Lead the prioritization, planning and execution by partnering and collaborating with the teams and resources across the business.
  • Identify and implement key technologies that will allow us to implement automation's
  • Nurtures a culture of learning and personal development, in line with the Company strategic direction
  • Positively communicate with team members, colleagues and stakeholders.
  • Ensure that the Company Values feature at the heart of department activities.
  • Ensure compliance with Company and other relevant standards/ regulations at all times.
  • Continuously evaluating and representing the Function with Senior Leadership and other Directors.
  • (Imbedding) Strengthen and evolve existing agile methods and lean thinking to improve time to market, while reducing operational and commercial risk
  • Any other reasonable duties as required.

Experience & knowledge

  • Significant experience in a senior data role.
  • Deep experience/understanding of all elements of data engineering (extract/transform/load), visualisation, analytics and machine learning
  • Defining strategic and operational plans.
  • Designing, deploying, maintaining and developing data systems and controls.
  • Creating and implementing data policies and procedures.
  • Excellent understanding of data delivery with an IT Service
  • Deep experience/understanding of all elements of data management
  • Demonstrable experience of delivering highly scalable data platforms
  • Operating at a Senior Management level reporting to a Board of Directors
  • Budget preparation and management
  • Team building, management and development.
  • Technology service delivery best practice, including ITIL, COBIT
  • Supplier & contract management
  • Deep experience/understanding for CD/CI process.
  • Processes, tools and techniques used to deliver highly available, performance and scalable platforms and systems to distributed customer and user communities.
  • Strong understanding of data system architectures including storage, compute (including analytics & machine learning)
  • Insurance products, insurance distribution channels, claims handling, technology, data sources and databases, and the wider motor insurance industry.
  • Strong understanding of the Company objectives and operations.
  • Relevant legislation including GDPR
  • Good understanding of regulatory requirements specific to the Company and the functions under control.

Skills & Qualifications

  • Strategic decision making.
  • Understanding and detailed knowledge of Microsoft Azure DevOps, ITIL, Azure Synapse, Databricks, Power BI, Data Factory, HD Insights, Python Sparks, and have a strong IT service background.
  • An understanding of Lean / Continuous Improvement tools, thinking and methodologies
  • Excellent communication, both verbal and written.
  • People management and leadership and ability to motivate employees in a high pressurised environment.
  • Influencing and negotiation.
  • Good time management and organisation.
  • Dispute resolution.
  • Change management.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills, identifying root causes and offering solutions
  • Excellent stakeholder management skills and the ability to influence key decision makers internally.
  • Strong numerical literacy with the ability to understand and suggest improvements to operation processes
  • Strong written communication, including the ability to document complex issues and processes in a way that can be understood by a wide audience.
  • Coaching – focused on the development of others, including recognising skills and potential, matching with relevant assignments and providing constructive feedback
  • Knowledge of the UK Insurance industry
  • Experienced in delivery of commercial targets in complex environments


  • Strong leadership.
  • Commercially focused.
  • Self-motivated and enthusiastic.
  • Target driven and results focused.
  • Calm under pressure
  • Organised and pro-active.
  • Takes initiative to make decisions
  • Emphasis on attention to detail and accuracy.
  • A flexible approach and positive attitude.
  • Strives to deliver performance targets and drive business improvements to contribute to the success of the Company.
  • Ambitious.
  • Agile
  • Collaborative.
  • Takes ownership
  • Strives to drive improvements to contribute to the success of the business

What can we do for you? 

We believe we can offer you a great working environment as we’re so passionate about our people. Here are just some of the benefits and perks that we offer…

  • Fantastic training and development opportunities
  • Employee benefit packages to suit your lifestyle
  • Flexible working
  • YOUday – we give you an extra day off to celebrate a special day
  • The opportunity to take a paid day off each year to do charity work
  • A health cash plan
  • Help with travel expenses
  • The opportunity to buy additional holiday
  • Company pension scheme
  • Group life assurance
  • Enhanced maternity and paternity pay
  • Professional subscription fees paid

Employee wellbeing is high on the agenda here too. We provide a weekly free fruit delivery, discounted membership at a local health club and access to an Employee Assistance Programme, which promotes physical and emotional wellbeing at work and at home. In addition, we provide wellbeing events throughout the year to support physical and mental health.

For further information on what we can offer and to learn more about this role, feel free to contact our dedicated Recruitment team.

If you’d like to work for an award-winning employer in a fast-paced environment, apply now!

We pride ourselves on being a great place to work. Check out our Glassdoor page to see what our employees think about working here.

We’re happy to discuss flexible working during the recruitment process .

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86% of people would recommend a friend to work at First Central

Based on 150 Glassdoor reviews (October 2021)


View all benefits >

Flexible working

We support colleagues who wish to work flexibly whilst meeting the needs of the business.


We give you an extra day off to celebrate a special day.

Holiday Extra

Not only do you get a generous holiday entitlement, you can also buy additional leave.


Get a day off each year to take part in volunteering activities.

Health cash plan

Claim money back on your healthcare costs, such as dental check-ups and eye tests.

Season ticket loan

We provide interest-free loans to cover the cost of season tickets for rail, bus or car parking.