Ben Smith

Chief Operating Officer

So, who are you and what do you do?  

 

Hello, I’m Ben, the chief operating officer for Isobar UK, based out of the London Office. I’m also responsible for commerce delivery for dentsu in the EMEA region.

 

I joined the company back in 2008 when it was known as eCommera then it became part of Isobar UK in 2016. My key responsibility is managing our client delivery teams that implement solutions for our global clients, such as adidas, Shiseido, Signify and Asda.

 

 

Tell us a bit about your background

 

So, I started off my career at the University of Manchester where I studied computing studies with business management. I had a hunch it was an industry I wanted to get into because it’s ever evolving and goals focussed, and I was right. I’ve been working in ecommerce for 21 years.

 

My first roles were engineering and architecture focused. I then worked as a technical program manager, head of development, CTO and then COO, where I am now. I’m glad I have the experience of implementing technology at every level, it gave me a really full understanding of the projects and services we deliver, and the teams that do it.

 

 

What does your normal working day look like?

 

Every day is pretty varied. My job is a whole mix of activities from supporting new business opportunities, planning for growth as well as ensuring the smooth delivery of work for our current B2B, BTC and D2C clients. Depending on the client needs, we can implement a wide range of experience & commerce solutions including Salesforce, Adobe, Sitecore, SAP Commerce (Hybris) and headless solutions, which means every project is pretty unique.

 

Most of my working day is split between strategy and operations – both are vital to the success of the business and our clients. I spend a lot of time in 1 to 1’s or group calls to ensure the teams have all the support they need and are collaborating in a way that produces the best results.

 

Our operational meetings ensure we’ve got the right people, doing the right things, at the right time so we can deliver outstanding work for clients. These calls also help us plan for the future, it always helps to stay one step ahead.

 

 

What skills and expertise do you need to be good at your job? 

 

I would say a good understanding of commerce and technologies is a good base, it’s also beneficial to have a strong insight into the experience of customers on ecommerce platforms. Afterall our clients come to us looking to enhance and sometimes completely transform this.

 

Being a team player is also massively important. At any given time our teams are distributed between many locations including UK, Bulgaria, Portugal and India.  This is great because it means we can hone in on the different talents and expertise within our business and use our experience of successfully building distributed teams and managing projects. I enjoy assembling and rally teams with different locations, cultures, languages and uniting them with the common objective to meet our clients' needs.

 

Then lastly, being able to welcome change is really important. Isobar specialises in digital transformation and delivering innovative solutions to business challenges. That means that for us there’s always room for continuous improvement in the way we work with our clients, we love pushing the boundaries of what’s currently possible. Then of course, as technologies innovate and improve, the way our teams deliver it also has to. 

 

 

What’s your favourite thing about your role? 

 

For me it’s definitely watching my colleagues grow and develop in their roles and expertise. We’ve got plenty of people that have been with us for 5-10 years and it has been fantastic to see them progress through the company, and excelling in new roles. Then for newer members of our teams, it’s rewarding to see them settle in and enjoy being part of Isobar.

 

 

 

Do you have any advice for someone starting out in their career? 

 

My advice would be to stay focused on the task at hand, which in a business like ours is making sure you can help the client succeed in whatever objective they’ve set. Regardless of your role or team, if you’re set on that then you’ll do well.