David Wilde, CIO of the City of Westminster, is keen on cloud and shared services and has no truck with those who moan about the lot of the public-sector IT boss
Q. Where were you born?
A. RAF Wegberg, West Germany (army family).
Q. How many people work in your IT department?
Q. What is the size of your annual IT budget?
A. £15m running costs per annum, £27m capital programme over five years.
Q. What percentage of annual turnover does IT represent?
A. 1.5 per cent.
Q. What is the basic structure of your IT department?
A. IS Strategy, ICT Service Delivery (operations managing outsourced providers), education ICT support, web services, information management (records management, legal compliance on info governance), social care ICT services, city management ICT services and corporate systems (HR, finance, procurement, property).
Q. Who has/have been the most influential people in your career?
A. Michael Bichard, for focus on public sector and how it needs to change and focus on information governance; David Miller, former boss in my policy days who taught me how to work effectively with ministers and politicians in a public-sector environment.
Q. Do you believe in mentoring?
A. Very much. I have found mentoring extremely useful in moving from central to local government and in operating in a political environment.
Q. Which tools or tactics have given you most success in communicating?
A. My years as a staff trainer and then training manager, where to be effective you have to be clear, listen, adapt to ever-changing circumstances whilst not losing sight of the objective or strategic goal.
Q. What has been your biggest mistake?
A. Staying in frontline services in central government for too long. Once I moved out and into policy then local government I found many more choices open to me and was able to make a bigger contribution.
Q. And your greatest success?
A. Design, build and roll-out of the New Deal for Schools and Annual Schools Capital bidding and assessment systems. We put it together in just a couple of months and were able to keep pace with a very rapidly changing political and policy environment.
Q. How do you keep up to date with the march of technology?
A. A mix of web, publications and networking across the public and private sectors.
Q. How do you deal with stress?
A. Gardening, cricket and rugby – doing the first and watching the second and third these days.
Q. What profession would you most/least like to attempt?
A. Most like to: map surveying in uncharted territory. Least like: insurance sales.
Q. Which word or phrase do you most use/overuse?
A. Customer focus (most use, certainly not overused! Not done enough in ICT.)
Q. Which business (or other) books have been influential in your career?
A. I have a lot of time for Ade McCormack’s books as they really hit the nail on the head about where the IT profession needs to get to. I enjoy Terry Pratchett’s books as they are great for catching social and political moments and reflecting back the madder ones for what they are, and in a funny way. In business I am fascinated by the way in which Hanson keeps succeeding in a volatile market like construction and of course who can’t be impressed by the rise of Google?
Q. Do you have a sport you practise or sportsperson/team that you follow?
A. I like to keep track of Bath in rugby union and Essex in county cricket.
Q. What else do you do outside of work?
A. The younger members of our family keep us busy! I have had a long interest in 19th century American history