Nicola Martin is an Application Engineer at Arnold Clark, where she heads up the company’s second line application support teams.
“…We have an almost 12,000 strong workforce and approximately 25% of that is female, but, for us, that’s not enough. We’ve set ourselves a mission to increase this by 5% over the next three years…”
Nicola, tell us about your career to date and what made you want to work in application support?
I joined Arnold Clark in 2013 as a support analyst before I progressed into our second line team at the beginning of 2017. I now head up one of our second line application support teams. I enjoy the challenge of application support and the daily variety of the work – no two days are ever the same!
Leading a team of six, I oversee escalated support incidents and requests from over 180 Arnold Clark branches throughout the UK. Predominantly supporting dealer management application systems, we cover accounts, service, parts, vehicles and admin and also look after many smaller custom internal applications. In an average week, the team deal with over 500 incidents.
I like to keep hands-on and work with the team on the support tickets, but I also work directly with our development teams to help improve the systems, test new and existing application functionality and to improve the flow of incident management across the group at large.
What is the best part of your role?
Arnold Clark is a constantly growing and evolving organisation with frequent changes occurring daily. Whether it’s the application suite we support or the wider business in general, so there is never a dull day here! The people make this job though – even in an organisation of such scale the company is still very much a family-orientated business and the team is close-knit. It’s a great place to work.
How is Arnold Clark further integrating digital into the customer experience and what’s the impact of this?
Arnold Clark has embraced digital – it’s at the very forefront of everything we do, from evolving our internal applications to make them more intuitive and user-friendly to providing enhanced functionality for our customers on ArnoldClark.com. We aim to provide not just the best digital experience in the motor trade but also the best in retail.
What is the organisation doing to champion gender balance and why it this so important to you?
It’s crucial that as a business we’re representative. We have an almost 12,000 strong workforce and approximately 25% of that is female, but, for us, that’s not enough. We’ve set ourselves a mission to increase this by 5% over the next three years.
To help achieve this, we are doing a number of things including holding demos for school-age girls, facilitating meet-ups with our female apprentices and young girls, and using a lot of our marketing material to highlight the successful females across the company as role models.
As the automotive industry continues to revolutionise itself, we are seeing a wider range of career opportunities. It’s exciting to be able to bring awareness to some of the excellent pathways that exist within Arnold Clark.
What is your advice to women and girls who are interested in careers in application support but aren’t sure where to start?
Vocational qualifications are always good to have in IT but nothing beats hands-on experience. I started from a non-technical background and learned on the job. Work hard, get involved and make things happen.
What is coming up next for you?
There are so many exciting challenges coming up for me and for Arnold Clark. Watch this space!