Abigail Allman speaks to workingmums.co.uk about her ERP technology business, about getting more women into technology and about being a finalist in the FDM everywoman in technology awards.
As a child, Abigail Allman was “surrounded by computer chips”. Her dad was an electronic engineer and worked for a range of different companies. He talked enthusiastically about his work to Abigail and her three brothers and that enthusiasm was contagious. “I remember how he showed us some early technology for what was to become Zoom. It blew my mind,” she says.
Abigail studied information technology at A Level and started a course in information systems.
However, finding herself to be the only female on the course where all the teaching staff were male, she dropped out after a year and switched to business management and marketing – unlike her brothers who are all programmers.
Now, though, her life has come full circle and she has recently signed up for a coding course, inspired by a fellow finalist at the recent FDM everywoman in technology awards.
Not only that, but she is making a difference herself through a podcast that she set up.
Abigail has worked in ERP [Enterprise Resource Planning] technology for 10 years, on the marketing side, but says: “I don’t often see myself reflected in the technology roles in the businesses I go into.” After having her son a year ago and returning to work, she felt isolated with no female peer to talk to. So she set up the podcast for women in ERP technology.
It has been running for two months now and features conversations with guests, such as a social media expert, about their experience in the field. Abigail is now developing it into a community platform to support the advancement of women in the field. It will launch in April and will include a Slack space where women can collaborate. Men are also welcome as members.
Abigail, who has three children aged nine, two and one, began her marketing career working for a media company that produced a magazine on health and wellbeing for the NHS. Soon after she had her first daughter and, being a single mum at the time, she moved into the technology sector where there was more money and started working on ERP technology.
When she later got married she worked for a short time on an infrastructure-based technology project for the NHS near to home because her daughter had chest problems which meant lots of hospital visits as well as additional stress and anxiety.
She then took a break for a couple of years to plan the expansion of her family, which she loved, but she felt she lost her sense of self in the process. She also wanted to give her children a positive role model and show that she is more than a mum. A former work colleague helped her get back into work.
A year ago she joined ERP Dynamics as an independent contractor and six months later took a 30% stake in the business. She also has a consultancy business which she has been running for the last seven years. Working for herself has been a bonus as it gives Abigail the flexibility she needs to get everything done and to see her children. She doesn’t use childcare and instead plays tag team with her husband, a pilot, so they both have hands-on time with the children.
Abigail, who loves to cook from scratch and grows her own vegetables, says: “I would never have been able to achieve the level I have if I was working for someone else within the 9-5 constraints. It means I get to experience the joy of the children and have no guilt.”
ERP Dynamics has four employees and has partnered with Enterprise Analytics. They share an office in Newcastle and own half of Enterprise Analytics UK. Abigail says the business is very busy and looking to grow.
She adds that she is really proud to have been a finalist in the FDM everywoman in technology awards – for the Digital Star Award for excellence in a digital role, sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group – and brought her podcast co-host with her to the event. She feels there is strength in networking and in numbers and hopes that she can make a tangible difference in her industry. She says: “I was quite naive in the past and accepted that the world of technology was run by men. Now I have children and I am waking up to what is wrong and asking questions about why it is so male-dominated.” Watch this space.