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Informing the UK's business technology leaders

The CIO 100 is compiled each year to reveal the most transformative CIOs in the UK business economy. CIOs that are driving business change, process improvement, enabling greater collaboration and innovating in new market opportunities join this exclusive group each year. The technology strategies of the CIOs and their achievements and ambitions towards transformation are judged in comparison to their IT sourcing strategies and vendor influence. The CIOs with the most transformative vision are also judged on their place within the business; and whether they put technology into the board level position and discussion.

CIO 100 - 2012 - #34

Experian

CIO 100

Financial services

Experian

John Finch , Executive Vice President Development

Experian is a FTSE 100 listed global information services company supplying business and financial information, but is more famous for its personal credit check services. It has operations in 41 countries and employs 15,500 people with its primary operational base in Nottingham, England and a corporate headquarters in Dublin. There are significant operations in the US and South America too.

IT Leader: John Finch, Executive Vice President Development, UK&I & EMEA

In role since: Six years and 3 months  

Reporting line: Report to Mike DeVico, President, Experian Global Product and Technology Services. John also has a matrix line to the Managing Director of UK&I and the Managing Director of EMEA

Board level seat: John is a member of the UK&I Executive Board and The EMEA Executive Board. He also sits on the Global Technology and Product Technology team.

IT budget:  In excess of 10 per cent of turnover is invested in technology and product development for our clients. Experian do not disclose specific capital investment in R&D and IP

IT estate and or number of log on accounts under the control of the IT leader: As a provider of data and analytics services to clients across 90 countries (we operate in 40 countries), technology is crucial to the long term growth of Experian.  

We provide our services through hosted and managed services using SaaS cloud services and deploying software to our clients for detailed analytics. We employ over 3000 technology and product experts to deliver these services to our clients. We have approx 15,000 employees across the company worldwide, which means we have circa 20,000 email and log in accounts, all employees have access to a knowledge management, internal social environment based on SharePoint 2010, all employees have access to an ERP (largely Oracle) environment allowing for electronic management of procurement, sales forecasting & sales pipeline management, payroll, recruitment, employee management.

Level of the workforce that relies on technology to carry out their tasks: 99 per cent

IT staff currently employed: 3000

IT management team and reporting structure: 750 FTEs in the organisation across UK&I EMEA. Responsibilities include business liaison, services, requirements definition and project portfolio management . Many people falling are client facing  and around150 people who talk to clients every day.
Primary technology platforms at the organisation: Oracle ERP, Microsoft Sharepoint 2010 and the Microsoft Desktop and Outlook suite

Primary technology suppliers: Dell, IBM, Oracle

Strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year: To always deliver successfully for our clients, which includes constantly striving to improve client Net Promoter scores and improving on other client feedback and exceeding expectations

Continue to develop our internal talent around the company to support our business growth

Continue to drive product and data innovation and to extend the scale and reach of the global organisation – continue to join up our global workforce, drive productivity

Technologies considered by the leader to offer their organisation potential: As one of the largest online processing organisations in the world we handle many terabytes of data, millions of transactions (and tens of thousands of concurrent transactions) both on and off our mainframe. Our global server farms have many thousands of servers. All internal, development, test and UAT environments in our mainframe environments are virtualised and a high proportion of some of our production services are also virtualised. The only instances where we have not virtualised are where there are specific client (or compliance, security etc) requirements. Because of the size of our datacentres, energy consumption is an area we closely evaluate and virtualisation is one of the drivers towards a more green computing environment.

I believe that whilst cloud offers huge potential opportunity for enterprises to better scale and manage their applications and infrastructure at lower marginal costs it is still very much a case of ‘buyer beware’. Cloud is at the height of the ‘hype curve’ to my mind with adoption rates and real breakthrough use trailing behind. Enterprises must assure themselves that the ‘capability on demand’ offerings can deliver scalability, security, performance, guaranteed availability & concurrent transaction response times, DR and BCP capabilities especially ability to recover data.

At Experian we have been providing secure, available, scalable managed hosted services to our clients for  more than 20 year. I believe fundamentally that over time cloud will evolve but will look much more like a guaranteed, managed service via trusted third parties running mega datacentres. Experian, already a trusted third party for many organisations across the globe will be a part of the ‘managed cloud’ eco-system.

We are watching this very carefully and working with our clients to develop a multi channel digital marketing strategy so that they can serve the needs of their customers. We have some of our building blocks in place, for example the recent Techlightenment acquisition.  Hitwise and Cheetahmail are also Experian capabilities. We are also closely looking at the impact of social and mobile on areas such as credit, identity, fraud, authentication etc with real focus on crowd and cloud sourced structured and un-structured data.

Future transformation and technology vision for the organisation: Technology enabling data and analytics is at the heart of the Experian business. Adoption and application of new and existing technologies is a huge driver in delivering genuine business transformation.  For example, it is enabling us to: enter new geographies – for example, in India – more easily. We have signed an agreement recently in Australia with a number of banks to create a credit business there – this will be predicated on our Next Generation of Credit Bureau and analytics capability develop new businesses and products - for example the many services we offer to UK central and local government enabling them to be more efficient and deliver better community services at the same time join up our global workforce to operate more effectively, un-leashing innovation and aggregating capability for quicker client delivery.

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