Spotlight On: Kris Read, Chief Information Officer at AMP

Kris Read, Chief Information Officer

Since joining AMP, Kris has played a pivotal role in supporting the digital transformation of the business.

Kris has introduced significant improvements to customer experience to provide the services of a modern, market leading utility. He has supported enhanced employee experience and engagement, driving cultural and technological change.

Kris discusses his career to date, his achievements so far at AMP and his objectives for the business going forwards.

What led you to a career in IT?

My father worked in IT and because of this I always had an interest in computers from a young age. I enjoyed taking them apart and putting them back together, but I was equally interested in problem solving and working out how to fix them when they went wrong.

At the beginning of my career, I worked on a helpdesk for a busy retail company which enabled me to hone my problem solving and technical skills. It also gave me customer service experience and made me realise that I enjoyed using my IT skills to help people. That experience really made me understand how much IT has an impact on businesses and how it can help shape and benefit organisations.

What were your main objectives when you took on the role at AMP?

When I joined 18 months ago there was no central resource within AMP, so it was difficult for everyone to find the information they needed. The business had grown rapidly off the back of previous acquisitions with each entity having its own way of delivering IT support through third parties or through internal roles.

My immediate priority was to assess what our IT landscape was and how I could pull it all together at a Group level. It was clear we needed to integrate and harmonise our systems to offer a more centralised resource.

I was also keen to harness IT and Information Management (IM) to help enhance customer experience and innovation.

What are the most challenging and interesting parts of your role?

When I joined there was just one other person in the team, and it was clear we needed to build capacity to deliver our objectives. It was also initially quite challenging to inherit multiple email systems and numerous layers of infrastructure across the UK with little of it providing a central information resource for employees.

On the flip side creating a solid IT and IM function was a great opportunity to shape the team and the services we provide. I was also very keen to improve the service we deliver internally by supporting people with the information and technology they needed to carry out their roles.  

At a personal level I’ve now worked in renewables for 13 years and I really enjoy working for a company which supports our journey to Net Zero.

What impact has IT growth and development had on customer experience?

We have created the foundations for the business’ transformation to a modern utility business. By improving customer data, we have been able to support projects which really enhance customer experience and insight.

For example, by harnessing our IoT technology we have recently launched a Carbon Savings Report for some of our customers which helps provide visibility of the ongoing performance of their biomass installations. This can be used for sustainability reporting which is very important to many of the organisations we work with.

We are currently working on delivering customer portals which will make all the information that customers need accessible in one place.

What role has IT played in improving employee engagement?

I have been heavily involved in the creation of One AMP – our employee value proposition which helps harmonise ways of working. Our intranet holds all the information and resources anyone needs in one place.

The pandemic, and the subsequent rise in home working, accelerated the importance of everyone using the same systems to collaborate. The first thing we had to do was an email migration to centralise the many systems.  Using the cloud and Office 365 as our chosen platform, we could then harness well established and easily accessible technology such as SharePoint and also introduce Teams to the organisation, something we are all too familiar with now!

What are your main achievements so far and what are your future goals in your role?

We have created a system architecture which has enhanced customer experience and supported people to perform their roles to the best of their abilities.

We now have a team of five in IT and recently launched in-house IT Helpdesk, which has received very positive feedback so far.

Going forwards I want to further harmonise and reduce the number of systems we have doing the same job which will also help improve our reporting capacity.

Launching a customer portal will be a big step forward in adding value to our customers. Technology evolves constantly so using IT to further enhance customer experience is an ongoing objective.

What do you like to do to switch off from work?

I have a very young family so my own free time is quite limited, but I try to keep as active as possible by running, road cycling and mountain biking. I used to compete in downhill mountain biking races but have found my body doesn’t bounce back as well as it used to! I also enjoy spending time with the family and socialising with friends.