The Lead Principal Associate Series: Meet Craig Ambler

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 Craig Ambler to learn more about his background and how he will be working with Definia going forward.

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

Craig: Over the last 20 years I have been a CIO for many organisations (medium-large) across multiple sectors and seem to have found my niche in turning around transformations, IT organisations and engagement. Not to mention delivering leading innovative digital and technology products.

For the last 7 years as an independent consultant I have continued the ‘recovery’ theme in addition to creating directional strategies for an organisations technology aligned to their overall goals which have turned into programmes of work which I have overseen along with performing overall transformation directorship roles for organisations going through an acquisition or divestment.

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

Craig: Well, what I can say is that you have a number of different scenarios…from businesses whose technology is impeding them from growing and being great, to organisations who want to maximise their recent investments to organisations that need help in navigating the path they need to take on their digital and technology journey.

These decisions are compounded by external factors in the economy such as the unique ‘global elections’ we face ourselves in within 2024 which could swing how the UK is impacted, to the trillions of dollars of ‘dry powder’ within the investment space that is slow at being invested across the globe which creates a cautious and more focussed approach for businesses to any technology & change initiatives.

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

Craig: Actually the initial thing any business should be looking at is people. Is the business ready for change? By conducting an initial assessment of the organisation and its employees readiness to go through change will give great insights on how to really deliver a sustainable initiative that benefits all.

The second thing I would focus on is becoming an experimental engine. What I mean by this is driving criteria driven experiments of digital and technologies aligned to the business goals. Too many digital and technology initiative/change programmes are given an identified outcome and benefit before actually testing whether it will drive a ‘business’ growth or improvement goal. The result of this is over 78% of transformations and change initiatives don’t deliver the initial benefit set at the onset of the project or programme.

Finally, and building upon experimentation, business’s should lean in hard to Generative AI. I see a lot of people being cautious and not taking controlled risks and experiments which could result in not having the opportunity to grow exponentially as a organisation or drive significant efficiencies. This comes with the advice that you should approach it with the lens of five components –

  • Business Strategy – Does it align to the strategy
  • Clear cases – Create clear use cases to conduct your AI experimentation with defined criteria
  • Data – Ensuring your are constantly assuring and protecting your data and growing the quality of the data you have
  • Leadership & Culture – a leadership and culture that embraces this new way of working
  • AI Governance & Compliance – creating clear governance, controls, processes and structure that provide protection of your assets

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

Craig: There really are two components; the ability to take controlled risk rather than avert away completely and having the capability to really have that end to end from idea/use case to embedding an initiative or change to ensure it is a sustainable part of the organisation.

Digital and technology are still seen by some organisations unfortunately as a necessary evil of the business i.e. they know it is needed but don’t see it as the success or failure of the business.

Businesses need to have digital intertwined with their operational, commercial goals and strategy.

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

Craig: As a Lead Principle Associate, it is my role to go into an organisation, really get to understand their goals, challenges and DNA, and complete a full health check. This will be in all aspects of digital, technology and the organisation, creating clear tangible recommendations for their journey forward with digital and technology based upon my wide experiences as a professional and senior consultant within the industry.

I am really looking forward to translating the recommendations into clear deliverables seeing positive outcomes for the customer.

Becca: If an organisation ready for a transformation is reading this, how can you and Definia help them?

Definia have experts in key sectors and technologies and are ‘really good’ at change. They provide a customer with honest and comprehensive recommendations with the benefit of having the resources to deliver this competitively using a mix of fractional resources ensuring best in breed.

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