Transport for London is the public authority responsible for almost all forms of transport in London including the famous red buses, the new bicycle rental scheme and over-ground trains. Its role is the implementation and management of the London transport strategy, with the actual services in many cases being run by private operators or in part, such as Serco operating the cycle hire scheme. Transport for London took over the running of London Underground in 2003, three years after Transport for London was formed by the Greater London Authority Act in 1999 that created a London Mayor and assembly. ManyTransport for London workers were recognised in the 2006 New Year honours list for the work they did following the terrorist bombings on July 7, 2005. Workers were recognised for the help they offered those who suffered during the terrorist attack, but also for quickly getting the city transport system operating again.
IT Leader: Steve Townsend, CIO, although there are other directors within TfL with IT responsibility
In role since: Five years
Reporting line: Reports to the Managing Director of Finance
Board level seat: No – but I have direct access to the board when required
IT budget: TfL’s IT budget over the current business plan is £326m (includes £71m capital expenditure). This is roughly eight per cent of TfL’s total budget.
IT estate and or number of log on accounts under the control of the IT leader: 22,000 staff members within TfL have IT user accounts.
IT staff currently employed: 650
Split between in-house/outsourced staff: We have approximately 500 in-house staff plus 150 contractor staff. In addition we outsource a number of services to CSC, Fujitsu, Damovo and Axon amongst others.
Primary technology platforms at the organisation: ERP
Primary technology suppliers: Fujitsu, CSC, SAP, Microsoft, Oracle, Damovo, AMT Sybex and HCL AXON
Significant strategic technology deals been struck in the last 12 months: TfL has extended its primary contracts with Fujitsu and CSC to secure their support throughout the period of the London 2012 Games.
Strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year: To stabilise TfL’s IT systems and provide a robust service to the Business throughout the period of the London 2012 Games. In particular, the CIO has been asked to lead on resilient communications for Transport Command and Control Centres and vital personnel during the period of enhanced service levels required for Games-time operations.
Technologies considered by the leader to offer their organisation potential: Consumer-IT will change how the transport industry operates in future as the big innovations target consumers rather than corporates. Social, local and mobile capabilities will drive how we collaborate internally, provide value, and engage with our customers.
Open standards and open data
Getting data into the hands of the travelling public is crucial in enabling the customer to make better travel choices. Open standards such as HTML5 and open data initiatives such as Digital London and the London Data Store promise much for the future.
Sensors which monitor every aspect of our operations promise to be the driving force behind the ‘smart city’ of the future.
An always-online customer base represents a world of opportunity to TfL and will vastly improve our ability to keep customers informed and to keep London moving. Roll-out of wifi to key stations in time for the London 2012 Games will prove particularly important.
Big data and data science
TfL is a data driven company; and as the volumes of data available to us increase, our ability to translate what we gather into actionable insight will be crucial. An example of this is how we use Oyster card usage data and information gathered from Journey Planner enquiries to respond to travel demand.
IT / ITS / Engineering convergence
The worlds of ITS, engineering and IT/IM are being thrust together as both camps realise that there are significant benefits to be had from a joined up approach. The work we are doing today with our engineering and ITS colleagues (such as planning the future of the deep tube lines) will position us well for the future from a technology and a capability perspective.
New business models and lean approaches
Although not a technology per se, there’s a broad body of knowledge that large enterprises can learn from those being applied today in the world of start-ups. Methods such as lean, business model innovation, agile, user experience/design thinking, customer development and similar could provide significant rewards for large organisations such as TfL.
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