Day in the Life: Mark Sutherland, Royal Bank of Scotland

Life in the IT department of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group presents plenty of challenges for IT infrastructure project manager Mark Sutherland.


The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) presides over a sparkling array of brands including private bank Coutts, National Westminster bank and the motor insurance business Direct Line.

Mark Sutherland

IT Infrastructure Project Manager
Size of IT department: undisclosed
Size of IT budget: undisclosed

With such a diverse collection of businesses and IT projects to manage, the IT department is kept busy. Recently, the bank rolled out mobile services to 13 million customers. To keep his skills up to date in such a dynamic work environment, Mark Sutherland joined the bank’s graduate programme.

What’s your day job?

It involves working on a range of telephony projects within RBS ranging from installing call recording equipment in customer contact centres to deploying workforce management software to many business areas within the bank. I do the scoping and planning of telephony projects as well as the project finances. A normal day would involve managing different technical specialists, planning project testing and implementation activities- and checking back with the business to ensure they are satisfied with the development of the project.

How did you start out in IT?

I studied computer science at university and then worked for a telecoms convergence specialist supporting Avaya telephony systems and CTI applications. I joined the RBS Group Technology Graduate scheme in 2006.

What’s the best thing about your job?

A. There are so many different types of technologies being utilised in RBS that every day ends up being a school day. Learning all about the new systems, applications and how they affect the customer is challenging but extremely interesting.

What’s the worst?

With any large organisation there has to be controls in place to ensure any new processes or technologies do not affect the service availability of its systems. This can lead to red-tape and long-winded processes. Thankfully, RBS have placed continuous improvement as a top priority and through organised workouts and discussions that red-tape is slowly being disposed.

What’s your biggest career mistake?

I can honestly say I have not made a career mistake yet. The important thing is to recognise when you are in a job that is not challenging and does not appeal to you. If I do find myself in a job where I am getting no satisfaction then I would proactively seek for a new job role.

What’s your techie high point?

My first project involved upgrading of two RBS collection centres. The site's Automatic Call Distributors and Dialler were upgraded to expand their operational and flexibility. To make this a success, new software had to be deployed remotely to desktops, new hardware was installed on the ACDs and Dialler and telephone routing had to be changed.

What’s your career tip to others like you who are just starting out?

Always choose a job that strikes some fear into you or has some challenges involved. You will find yourself raising your performance and learning new skill sets to deal with these new challenges. This will be beneficial when moving up in an organisation or if you want to move into a completely new area of IT, as you will have experience in new areas and a plethora of new skills.

What would you be doing if you weren't in this job?

I’ve always been drawn to customer-facing roles. I would probably be running my own bar and restaurant in the heart of Glasgow.

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