Hayley McMillan is a Product Owner in the Digital Product Development team at Arnold Clark, which has won multiple awards in 2016. Hayley’s team is at the forefront of utilising technology to add to value to the experience of Arnold Clark’s customers.
“…Over the last year I have seen an increase in the number of women joining the department. Currently, there’s an equal gender balance of Product Owners and we have been employing more female graduate developers and testers…”
Hayley, please can you tell us about your career to date and what made you want to work in tech?
My background is in marketing and for nine years I worked in various roles within Arnold Clark’s Marketing Department. I was given the opportunity to trial working as a Product Owner in Digital Product Development for a month. I was terrified at first, as I didn’t feel like I had any technical knowledge but I started learning so much on a daily basis and a year later I’m continuing to learn every day and love my role.
What does your role at Arnold Clark involve on a day to day basis?
As the Product Owner, I deal with managing the workflow through the development team. This mainly involves prioritising upcoming work, gathering requirements from stakeholders and helping to meet our business needs. I work in a team with five developers and a UX [user experience] designer, communicating with them in our daily meetings, planning sessions and retrospectives.
Why is tech so important to the company?
Arnold Clark is a company that is continuing to grow at a dramatic pace and we want to ensure that our customers are receiving the complete motoring package. Over the years, ArnoldClark.com has become our digital showroom and we want to make the car buying experience as hassle-free as possible.
There are also over 11,000 employees spread throughout the UK and technology is very important in assisting us in communicating with each of these employees.
How are vehicles changing and becoming more sophisticated?
There are so many different ways that vehicles are changing and becoming more sophisticated, with the introduction of many in-car apps and park assist technology has taken things to a whole new level with cars being able to practically park themselves. The biggest change is obviously the hype surrounding driverless cars. It’s so interesting and difficult to actually believe this could be coming our way soon.
How important is mobile as a digital channel?
Mobile is extremely important and is going to continue to grow and become bigger and better. People want their information to be as accessible as possible, so mobile is very much at the forefront of facilitating this.
How does a tech-based approach attract more staff to work in branches?
Interesting question. I would like to think with all of the development going into making our customers’ buying experience hassle-free it has a knock-on effect for branches and helps streamline their processes, not only in the sales environment but in aftersales (for example parts and servicing) too.
Tech is still perceived as male-dominated. How is Arnold Clark working to break down this perception?
Over the last year I have seen an increase in the number of women joining the department. Currently, there’s an equal gender balance of Product Owners and we have been employing more female graduate developers and testers. It’s great to see an increase in the number of women joining the team and hopefully this will continue to grow.
What is coming up next for you and Arnold Clark?
There’s always something exciting happening in the department and we’re constantly striving to improve the customer experience and communicate better with our large workforce. For me, I’ll hopefully continue to work in Digital Product Development, continue learning and help keep the business moving forward.