Projects and problem solving

There's always lots going on in our digital services teams. But what's it really like working here at NICE? We talk to a member of the team to find out.

Black and white photo of Tom kneeling in front of his 2 dogs in a grassy field.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi, I’m Tom Proudman and I’m a business analyst at NICE. I’m 39 and originally from Reading but I now live in Barton in West Cheshire. I work in our Manchester office but I drive to Crewe and get the train from there, so it’s not too bad actually. I live with my partner Hannah and our 2 rehomed dogs, Tessie, a Labrador, and Masie, a Border Terrier. Believe it or not, they get on really well together! When we’re not spending time with the dogs, Hannah and I enjoy going out, eating and drinking, going on holiday, travelling to new places. The usual stuff, I suppose!

When did you join NICE?

I joined NICE in October 2011, so I’ve been here a while now!

What was it that made you want to work with us?

I’d previously worked for the former National Strategies Programme, which did similar work to NICE but for education. It fell under the Department for Education. They were essentially producing and delivering guidance to help raise standards in primary and secondary education. I was looking for a change and NICE seemed like a really interesting organisation. I’m passionate about the NHS, it’s a fantastic institution. But I also recognise that it’s not perfect. With this role, I saw an opportunity to improve the health and social care system by helping to make NICE’s guidance more accessible. The Manchester office location was quite attractive to me as well. It’s a great city with lots going on.

Describe your career journey so far.

I did a degree in technology and management at The University of Bradford back in 1998. I had two 6 month industry placements over the 4 years of my degree. Then I went into an events management role with the national strategies programme. From there, I went into project management. While I was in that role, I worked with a business analyst who was doing a lot of process analysis/mapping work. It was the first time I’d ever become aware of that kind of role and it looked interesting. Then a position opened up for a junior business analyst and I applied for that. I spent about 3 years there. Then I had a brief contract with a company that ran air miles reward schemes for British Airways and other companies. After that, I applied for a contract role with NICE then applied for a permanent position here about 3 years ago.

My career with NICE has been pretty varied. I’ve worked on a lot of different projects, like transitioning other organisations into NICE. For example, the National Prescribing Centre and the National Electronic Library for Medicines were originally separate organisations that were merged into NICE. I worked on how we brought their digital offerings into NICE’s portfolio. That was about analysing what services they currently had, what would be continued and what would be decommissioned. I helped migrate a medicines information email service and also looked at content management systems, as there was a lot of content to re-home. And I was involved in the NICE Docs appraisals project. It’s really good to be able to be involved in something from conception right through to delivery. Digital services maintain more than 30 live services and I’ve been involved to a lesser or greater extent with all of them! It’s never dull.

What does a business analyst do?

The job title is slightly misleading! To a lot of people it would probably imply someone who analyses the financial side of a business. But really, in digital, it’s about analysing problems. It’s about understanding what the problem is and what a particular initiative is looking to deliver. And then working with people like user experience designers, user researchers, information architects, software developers and testers to design and deliver a solution that works best. It’s about not taking a problem at face value but really digging into it, which I enjoy. And requirements can change over time, particularly in software. So you’ve got to think about how you manage that over the lifetime of a project.

How has NICE supported you in achieving your goals?

NICE is a really interesting place to work. That’s why I applied for a permanent role, I wanted to stay here. Even though that meant a bit of a pay cut for me, having been a contractor before! The work is always very varied, there are lots of different challenges to tackle. And I really like the people I work with. It’s really good having a personal development plan and being able to set and work to specific goals and objectives with your line manager. The line management support and support from colleagues is great here. And not just from people in the same disciplines, but from across the whole organisation. There’s a good culture of collaboration, which is great.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The variety, I think. And just how interesting the work is. It’s not the same old stuff day after day. NICE has set some pretty big goals to transform the way we produce our guidance and allow people to access it. So that’s a good balance of exciting and challenging!

What do you think is the biggest perk in working for NICE?

The flexible working is absolutely fantastic! Being able to have a good work life balance is so important. You can’t really put a figure on it, moneywise. But it’s also the trust you get when you work here, that’s part of the culture. Trust and mutual respect. There are also NHS-specific perks like the lease car scheme and the pension, which is good. And the Manchester office is a really nice office too, with lots going on socially.

Describe the culture of NICE in 3 words.

Respect, collaboration and work life balance. I know that last one isn’t technically one word, but it’s definitely an important part of the culture here.

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