Ben Eggleston, Managing Director at Capita Transformation, speaks to the MCA about his vision for the firm's future, Consulting Excellence, his advice to the public sector in the post-Brexit climate and the qualities he looks for in modern consultants.
You were announced as Capita Transformation’s new managing director earlier this year. How did the business get to where it is now? What is your vision for the future?
Capita Transformation is actually only two years old this December, but we have existed in previous guises for the last 15-20 years, taking on more and more responsibility for delivering big transformations for Capita customers. We’ve achieved a lot in these last two years and, going forward, we aim to continue on that trajectory, working on more complex transformations, continuing to utilise and exploit technology where ever possible.
We will also continue to build an environment that is a great place to work and grow for our people. What’s good about working at Capita is that there are a host of different opportunities to explore across the whole of Capita Plc, not just within Capita Transformation.
Capita is famous for its role as an outsourcer and, while a lot of outsourcing is, essentially, transformational, not all transformations are just about outsourcing are they?
Clearly Capita is in the outsource industry, but yes, it’s about much more than that. Some of the new generation deals don't have any outsourcing at all.
It must be one of the most diverse companies in the world in terms of the range of capabilities – from bespoke software development, to outsourcing and everything else in between. We can pull together all those different capabilities and solve some really big complex problems for customers. What holds that all together is Capita Transformation, as the centre of excellence for delivery. The more diverse and deep the rest of Capita's capabilities get, the more compelling the overall transformation becomes.
Every day I find out something new about Capita. I don't think there are many people who know everything we do, the breadth is phenomenal. Most of our work is of national significance, be it public or private, affecting millions of people’s lives in one way or another. That is what gets me out of bed in the morning.
What would be your advice to ministers and senior management in the public sector in the post-Brexit climate?
The big thing for me is how the public sector as a whole can ensure that every pound it spends is actually making a difference, be it central government, local government or the NHS. We need to invest in meeting the needs of the communities more than we have ever done before. So this is about investing in real customer insight to design the systems that make a measurable difference.
What are the qualities you are looking for in a modern consultant?
I think we are a little bit different to other consultancies in the sense that we are far more orientated towards delivering an outcome. What we look for in a consultant is someone who can clearly understand a client problem, design a solution and stick with it right the way though to successful delivery. I think having that full lifecycle experience is what makes a good recruit.
We want people who can bring real life experiences of delivering something tangible. Not everyone gets to experience that, but that is what we need in our business. There is no blueprint we look for as everyone brings something unique to the table.
Our people come from a host of different backgrounds, with or without a consulting background, but they have one thing in common – they all know how to deliver.
What challenges does that create in terms of professional development?
Meeting the needs of both our graduates and our experienced hires is quite interesting. We have a separate programme for our graduates called the Pathway Practice. As part of this, they have tailored experiences and training. We invest in CMI qualifications and they get mentor support from a more senior consultant.
For experienced hires, that path is less well-defined as everyone’s starting point is different – particularly if people have not come from a traditional consulting background. In this instance, bespoke support and coaching from seasoned consultants is always essential.
Can you tell us how Capita Transformation views the development of Consulting Excellence?
We are a very big advocate of the Consulting Excellence initiative. There was unanimous support from MCA member firms, but it will also benefit the industry as a whole.
Customers and potential recruits expect much more from consulting organisations now. They want to know more about how we work, behave and act. To address this in a professional framework is really important as all parties can take something from it.
The initiative has landed really well in our business because our people relate to it. Our Capita values system, which we call VOICE, plays to many of Consulting Excellence’s principles. Committing to a professional framework is a great reminder of what needs to be done. To continue to attract the best talent we have to live up to that.
Can you tell us a bit about your career and how you made it to Managing Director?
I started working at Deloitte Consulting in 2001 as a relatively fresh-faced graduate. After a few years, I went into industry but realised it wasn’t for me. In 2005, I came back into the consulting industry and worked for a niche organisation, that I helped to grow, and I ended up running the consulting division.
I joined Capita in 2010, and for the first three years I looked after one of our sectors. For the second three years I was the operations director, running the business day to day. In July this year, I became the managing director of Capita Transformation.