In 2014, Doran took the opportunity to completely reorganise the IT supplier matrix across the Royal Mail. Read the full CIO interview here.
By CIO Staff
"In the past, you may not have thought of pace when you thought of the Royal Mail, but in 2014 it was definitely about pace."
"In the 12 months prior to privatisation, we operated as if we had already floated. The timing was not our decision, it was a government push," Doran says of the October 2013 public offering of a former state-controlled organisation."
"People have become a lot more aware of the external factors and think a great deal more about those. We are also a regulated industry for our day-to-day business, and there is a lot of thought about that."
"It's very interesting if I think of the three-and-half years since I got here. The world has changed massively, as the level of competition in 2014 in the parcel delivery business really took off."
"The launch of Amazon's own delivery network has shrunk the addressable market. Parcels has a lot of players going after a small piece of the pie. For Royal Mail that means that we have done a lot things very fast in these 12 months to respond, and we have put a lot of time into our quality of service."
"You can't break promises at Christmas. Before joining I'd never thought about the impact of Christmas and the volumes. But we are thinking about Christmas 2015 now and in April we begin executing our plans."
"There was a 51% increase in scans, with deliveries up from 39- to 60 million. That doesn't just happen and you don't put those increases through your systems unless you think about it. I care because you end up not doing things and then you end up in the press."
"We had our problems in 2011 in my first year here with the website and I will never forget it, but we had a quiet 2012 but for a few problems. In 2013, we had a problem with tracked mail and SMS. So for 2014, we said that we are going to crack those and have a fault-free year."
"The task of barcoding and tracking this level of events means you have to track various points of events. So we have a programme of work, the Parcels Transformation, that has these transformations in it and how we automate parcels to the point of understanding the entry points to our network, and that has to be secured. This is where the PDA comes in."
"Delivery, delivery, delivery. At the beginning of every year, I say that and this year really is about delivery."
"We've done a lot of thinking about the device. It has to be heavy duty to work in all weathers, while battery life is also a major differentiator as it has to work from 6.30am to 4pm on a single charge. Our philosophy is how to use the device to communicate to our people and for them to communicate to us."
"It can be a personal assistant to every member of staff. When you start to think about what you can do, it starts to get very interesting. We have 76,000 devices out there, so it's a big roll out of devices and chargers and a new interface, so that is quite a task. It is a major focus for 2015 to manage this transformation and doing it smoothly,"
"My contention after 12 months in the role was that the rot had started in the 1990s. We had a sub-scale IT function and we had to hire people and understand our estate. It reminded me of being at BT, where in 2003 there were fewer than a million broadband lines. Now look at how we are perpetually online."
"Royal Mail is a 500-year-old business. For 470 years of its existence, it didn't have to know about technology, and it didn't see technology as a critical part of the business, but oh how things have changed."
"We needed to grow. There were 119 in the team, now we are 500 – 120 of whom are contractors – and we will always have contractors as we a peaky business."
"In February 2012, we got the go-ahead to grow the team and we were done by March 2014. But we were very thoughtful about how we went to the marketplace, as you need people that can communicate, manage contracts, work with third parties and deal with a lot of different personnel. We were looking for a seasoned group of people. I wanted people capable of responding to a massive challenge."
"I'm very pleased, we set ourselves a goal of gender diversity, but I won't do a quota just to have someone who wears a skirt. The language of the advertisements for the recruitment meant that at the end of cycle we have 31% of the team is women. The average number of women in IT is about 14%, which is disgraceful as this job is not digging ditches."
"I spend a lot of time with our partners and I have meetings with the senior people in every department every week, as you have to establish good lines of communications when the sun is shining. Then they can call if there is a problem rather than yell at you."
"We have redesigned the customer journey in the past year to make it simpler and we haven't finished. We are doing a lot of work on customer journey flows and working towards three-click ordering across our services."
"For business-to-business customers that is important. We have a lot of interaction with large corporate, while historically the website was used by the consumer or the SME."
"Mailmark is in its second phase, with an imminent launch that will provide our corporate customers with a bespoke reporting tool as we have that data. In mail and in parcels, it is all about the customer's needs and do we fulfil them. The scale of the business means we have to think big because of the volumes we can handle."
"There are similarities between the Royal Mail, Network Rail and BT, so understanding the culture and environment you work in is important. But there is a big ethos around service and providing that service no matter what."
It is like that at BT, with the field force, or at Network Rail, who are out there fixing the line when it disappears in bad weather. I find that sort of ethos energises me, the way the postman closes a porch door accidentally left open, it's everything and it's nothing."