Easyjet and its CIO Trevor Didcock epitomise the real story of British business and the role of the CIO by demonstrating a creative zeal to reinvent a sector with technology at the heart of how the organisation does business. That it does all this on one of the smallest IT budgets in the airline sector is all the more impressive. Didcock’s position on the board and as leader of the easyJet transformation programme further demonstrate the creative thinking of the company and it’s CIO.
Easyjet demonstrates that if an organisation has a lean operation, enabled by a strong IT strategy that makes good use of hosted/cloud technologies then it can offer its customers a low cost service which will entice them to use your company.
“The cause is to make travel easy for customers by making the costs transparent. By the time a customer adds the extra bits, they still have a lower price,” Didcock says in a CIO interview. That transparency comes from its web presence that the CIO claims is the most visited travel website in Europe. That only works because the CIO and IT operation deliver reliable IT services to the customer and the workforce, largely. Any website that can capture £3bn of revenue a year is a reliable operation.
Didcock is at the heart of the board of easyJet and has been tasked by the CEO to lead the ‘turn Europe Orange’ programme to increase the amount of revenue easyJet makes per seat on its aircraft. Judging the CIO 100, former CIO Richard Sykes says, “he’s clearly sitting alongside the CEO.”
Adding; “He has a tight budget and doesn’t have a myriad of consultants, just a few that bring in some sharp insight.”
As a CIO Didcock is using technology to improve operations by introducing cloud based wireless technology that reduces costs and has the potential to improve the customer experience. Mobile Apps and better customer profiling could also improve the commercial potential of the organisation.
“Technology is at the heart of everything they have done,” says Mike Altendorf. “You look at their website and there are lots of little innovations which are about making it an easier user experience.
“I don’t enjoy the easyJet travel experience, but by Christ I don’t half use it a lot. But it’s easier to drive change through that business because there is a lack of complexity. It is a complex business process getting an aeroplane off the ground. So although there is no legacy it’s still a CIO driving change and pushing the business forward.
“They turned a lacking innovation industry on its head, just as Virgin did but don’t do any more, “ says Neil Ward-Dutton.
“With sourcing he’s thinking cleverly about other resources.”
“I’m a change junkie he says in the interview, that is what a CIO should be about,” says Jerry Fishenden.
Read the CIO interview: