The Royal Mint eyes fresh IT talent to power digital drive

The government-owned organisation is looking for fresh talent to help shift towards the public cloud and drive more agile digital product delivery

UK Royal Mint
© Royal Mint

The UK's Royal Mint is embarking on an ambitious IT hiring programme to support a growing range of digital propositions as it moves away from simply supplying the country with coins and precious metals.

The Royal Mint has been manufacturing coins for 1,100 years, originally from the Tower of London and, since 1967, from its current site in South Wales. Today, it is the world’s largest export mint, printing 3.3 billion coins and blanks a year, and now is looking to expand its digital reach to serve retail customers online.

These new services include personalised coinage to celebrate major life events, various unique souvenirs and gifts, and even a thriving tourism business for thousands of annual visitors to its facility. In 2020 the Royal Mint will also launch its first financially listed product – a gold-backed electronically traded fund – on the UK, German and Italian stock exchanges.

This expansion into new product areas should help keep the institution relevant as reliance on physical currency diminishes.

"What we are trying to do is move to a point where we can put new products out and be agile around the delivery of new products while not losing sight of core manufacturing of what we sell. That all needs to be in sync," Keith Woodcock, acting chief technology officer at the Royal Mint explained to Computerworld.

"Take that back to IT and you can see how that team needs to support manufacturing but also expand to be strong in ecommerce and digital channels," he added.

To support this digital strategy the Royal Mint has advertised for three key IT roles: head of architecture, head of IT operations and head of applications.

In terms of key skills, Woodcock wants to bring more agility and ecommerce expertise into the organisation, as well as people with experience of running business-critical applications in a public cloud environment. This is particularly relevant for the head of IT operations role, as the organisation wants to continue a broad move towards running on Microsoft Azure, including a planned shift of its ERP system to the public cloud.

Once these three roles have been filled Woodcock plans to give them the freedom to shape their teams, which will involve some headcount changes and retraining.

"To clarify that doesn’t mean job losses or changes. We’ve been investing to grow our IT team as ecommerce becomes increasingly important," a spokesperson clarified with Computerworld.

Woodcock admits that being based in South Wales – despite its great beaches – does present some recruitment challenges, as does recruiting anywhere outside of London.

"Yes, recruiting talent is challenging but you have to be very flexible in how to make that model work, so we as an organisation have been flexible and are clear around when we actually need people in the office," he said.

This flexible approach to working is enabled at the mint by the use of Mircosoft collaboration tools like Skype, Teams and Office 365.

"We measure success commercially by our ability to deliver products and technology that fundamentally reinvents the Mint," Woodcock concluded.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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