The Lead Principal Associate Series: Meet Alex Clixby

Definia is a leading Transformation Consultancy dedicated to empowering organisations across industries to achieve sustainable growth, adapt to change, and optimise performance. This is why our advisory services are delivered through our ‘Lead Principal Associates’ who bring a wealth of experience being consultants, industry experts, analysts, and technical specialists.

With all our experts providing specialist skills , we wanted to shine a light on each individual and showcase just why they are the people to help you with your transformations.

In the next of our Q&A series, Definia’s Brand Manager, Becca Boulton, sat down Alex Clixby to learn more about his background and how he has helped SME transformations in the past.

Becca: Welcome to Definia! Can you tell us more about yourself and your professional background?

Alex: I have worked as an IT Leader for over 26 years. I was a commissioned officer in the British Army for 16 years, where I specialised in IT leadership, working in the UK and globally, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. I left the Army in 2012 and worked as an IT leader for several companies, climbing the ladder to the role of IT Director responsible for all operational IT and for a team of 130 IT professionals. In 2020, I set up my own IT Consultancy and I now specialise in providing fractional CIO services and IT consultancy to SME businesses.

Becca: In your view, what are the biggest challenges facing businesses today?

Alex: Financial uncertainty is a significant challenge for many businesses, which often has a knock-on effect on technology budgets, resulting in the business not investing sufficiently in IT and not having sufficient IT leadership. Investment in technology and Information Security is usually a really critical requirement for a business to grow and develop, but it’s important that the business is getting the right guidance and advice on where and how to invest.

Information Security can also be a significant challenge faced by businesses, with the increase in cyber crime and the increased risk of cyber breaches and data loss.

The successful delivery of technology and change programmes is also a considerable challenge for many companies, potentially resulting in lost investment, failed delivery, and missed opportunities.

Becca: From a technology perspective, what should businesses be looking at?

Alex: Businesses should be looking at getting the most optimal technology that they can afford, and ensuring that they are getting good Return of Investment (ROI) for their IT. They need to have an IT Strategy that aligns with their business strategy and that delivers the right capabilities for their business, to allow it to grow and prosper. 

Businesses should look to get the right levels of maturity for their IT, to ensure that they are getting the best possible service, with suitable levels of process and governance. Reducing technology and Information Security risk, should also be an aspiration for all businesses. 

Where businesses have technology and change programmes to deliver, they need to focus efforts, resource and priorities to achieve delivery and reap the benefits that the change and/or new technology brings.

Becca: What are the biggest stumbling blocks to achieve what you mentioned above?

Alex: A lack of IT leadership experience can be a significant stumbling block to achieving the right technology, a good ROI, the right levels of IT maturity, and suitable levels of governance. If a business does not have sufficient levels of IT leadership experience and if their senior business leaders are not getting sound advice on IT and information security, it’s possible that bad decisions will be made and investment will not be effective and IT will be suboptimal.

A lack of resource, leadership, prioritisation and investment can result in programmes becoming significantly delayed, going over budget, or potentially failing.

Becca: You will be working closely with Definia as the Lead Principle Associate focusing on SMEs. Can you tell us more about the role and what you’re looking forward to?

Alex: My role will be to provide Definia customers with IT leadership support, board level advice, thought leadership, and strategic guidance to help get the most out of their IT.

I can offer an IT Service Review, where I review their IT across People, Process, Governance, Technology, Risk, costs, Security and Disaster Recovery, and provide them with a roadmap to improve the IT Service, in the form of an IT Service Improvement Plan (SIP). This review can be delivered as a separate works package or as part of a wider, fractional CIO service, where I will provide IT leadership, board level advice, and strategic guidance.

I am really looking forward to working with the Definia team and the wider, The In Group team, as well as working with their customers. I get real satisfaction from new challenges and from helping businesses to optimise their IT, so this will be an amazing role for me.

Becca: If an SME is reading this with limited IT maturity and capability, how can you and Definia help them?

Alex: Initially, I would suggest that we have a conversation with key stakeholders from the SME, so that we can understand where they may have challenges. Assuming they want our help to resolve any of these challenges, we would usually recommend that we undertake an IT Service review, based on a mutually agreed scope. This review will include a clear and prioritised IT SIP, which we can support with or lead on the delivery of. It is possible that we will then recommend that fractional IT leadership is provided to fully embed into the business to provide optimal leadership support.

If you would like to talk more about an upcoming project and how Definia can help you, reach out to the team today.