Manchester / Technology

Head of Platform Operations

At Travel Counsellors, we care about our customers, communities and our colleagues more than anyone else and that’s what makes us special. For us, relationships trump transactions and we are there for our customers, connecting with them on a deeply human level through the moments that matter.

We’ve been changing lives for over 26 years as the leading travel marketplace for self-employed travel entrepreneurs, empowering over 1,800 global independent travel agents to run successful leisure and corporate travel businesses as part of a company that truly cares and one that has never wavered from its purpose; to redefine what personal means for a travel business.

Our Travel Counsellors are supported by a team of over 200 super talented people in our Support Offices to help them create unique, inspiring and exciting experiences for their customers, building lasting personal relationships that brings them back to us, time and time again.

We’re fired up for the future as the demand for travel after COVID-19 returns even greater than before, and we’re looking for the brightest and the best to come and join us to take our business to the next level.

The Opportunity

Reporting to Chief Technology Officer you will oversee the use, performance and availability of technology throughout the global Travel Counsellors organisation. You will collaborate with business colleagues and stakeholders to innovate, propose and shape investment, define projects and set out technology designs that underpin the Travel Counsellors proprietary technology platform (Phenix) along with the digital, application and IT landscape. You will be empowered to make big decisions and expected to influence from project to board level. Communication is a critical success factor in this role, with a confident grasp of technology concepts essential.

Travel Counsellors is undergoing an exciting large-scale digital transformation, and this is a new role that has been formed as part of the digital and technology leadership team. The Head of Platforms role is responsible for activities, technologies and resources around build and operations of the infrastructure, communications, environments, and platform software configuration for the whole company and global operations.

As Head of Platform Operations, you will be leading on platform operations overseeing the service, contractual and regulatory requirements of the organisation. The Head of Platforms Operations will be responsible for prioritising the day to day work in the Platform Operations team; ensuring new features are released whilst maintaining an operational platform and balancing development with resolution of incidents. This will include the maintenance of polices and ensuring best practice across internal infrastructure & cloud platforms as a whole. You will be responsible for ensuring a stable, secure and performant operational platform. You will play a leading role in setting the vision and strategy for digital and information technology and will support the development of the enterprise IT and Digital Tech roadmap.

You will provide direction on what technologies could be introduced and integrated to evolve and extend our existing proprietary technology and platform, ensuring that we stay at the forefront of the changing IT and Digital landscape.

Culture fit is extremely important, and we are seeking a caring, entrepreneurial, pragmatic, hands on leader, with an extensive understanding of the ever-changing technology landscape. Experience of both legacy platforms and more leading-edge cloud services/microservices is essential.

Through your entrepreneurial thinking and action, your strong technical experience, excellent IT skills, industry knowledge and your deep understanding of software design and technical development, you will support the wider team to successfully raise the company’s platform offering to the next level.

This is a highly visible role across the business and personal skills are as important as technical. You will be a strong personality with an influential leadership style, able to drive results and inspire teams around you to a future without limits.

You’ll also be responsible for the following:

  • Own and develop the IT strategy to deliver the vision and outcomes aligned to the transformational goals and objectives outlined to the company strategy
  • Deliver IT project management and business change on a transformational scale, managing stakeholder relationships, communications and project delivery across a matrix organisation
  • Accountable for IT service delivery and performance, leading a Service Desk which services >2000 colleagues and over 6000 devices
  • Provide strong IT thought leadership to enhance the business processes and performance
  • Create best practice, ensuring compliance and effective risk and cost management
  • Leverage innovation and technological improvement to deliver strategic and financial outcomes
  • Promote new opportunities to exploit leading edge IT solutions to derive ROI and growth from public cloud and SaaS solutions, appropriate cyber security and ITIL best practice in service delivery
  • Build and operate a best-in-class automated infrastructure platform for the development, running and continuity of the company’s future platform and other online/mobile customer-facing operations, using DevOps principles, global deployment, and more than one of cloud-provided IaaS, private virtualised resources, and dedicated equipment
  • Managing the existing team that builds and administers the in-house infrastructure, desktop and office environment and associated LANs, WANs and WLANs.
  • Ensuring scalability, performance and resilience of the platform, including adequate backups, disaster recovery etc. and ensuring the processes to respond to and resolve to incidents are defined and resourced 24x7 given the nature of a global platform
  • Personally, managing infrastructure and platform projects to build new capabilities or remediate existing ones.
  • Establishing and line managing a best-in-class team of systems administrators, DevOps professionals, and infrastructure analysts and managers.
  • Leading collaboration with the development teams, project management, IT service and support teams and other to support their activities, respond to their needs and respond to incidents
  • Making budgetary reports and recommendations to the CTO as appropriate to existing and planned infrastructure and platform initiatives
  • Working with colleagues to develop plans and strategies to improve performance, service, user effectiveness whilst encouraging innovation
  • Liaising regularly with executive and senior management as well as systems users
  • Developing standard operating procedures allied to best practice, and ensuring written protocols and guidelines are provided for IT staff and all end-users
  • Ensuring written documentation is created and maintained, to include user and system manuals, license agreements and all documentation relating to modifications and upgrades
  • Keeping up-to-date with the most recent technologies and advising on what new technological solutions and their implementation will meet business and systems requirements
  • Negotiating with suppliers of hardware and software to get the best deal, including external support, and being responsible for contracting consultants and making service agreements
  • Creating a budget for each project as well as managing the financial aspects of the entire IT department such as purchases and ongoing budgeting
  • To manage and maintain the existing systems and applications, ensuring the highest levels of system performance and availability

Key Skills & Experiences Required

  • Bachelor's degree in Information Technology, Computer Science, Information Systems, or a related field
  • 8+ years of experience working in IT operations, supervising technology teams, and overseeing large information technology projects
  • Passion for technology and best practice
  • Excellent understanding of computer systems, security, network and systems administration, databases and data storage systems, and telecommunications systems
  • Strong technical understanding of legacy technologies and cloud services/microservices
  • Strong stakeholder management skills – ability to work at board level in a professional manner
  • Experience in managing, mentoring or leading others in a small team environment
  • Comfortable in presenting complex data and information to non-technical audiences
  • Customer centric- putting the customer at the heart of everything you do
  • Able to work under pressure, in an often-impatient environment
  • Excellent technical, analytical, and project management skills

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