A&N Media is part of the Daily Mail and General Trust media company which publishes the tabloid Daily Mail national newspaper as well as regional titles and has a significant interest in the UK’s commercial television sector. Viscount Rothermere is chairman of the London Stock Exchange listed company and also the controlling shareholder.
The panel agreed that the innovations labs, mobility and cloud take Henderson into the top 20 for the 2013 CIO100. With the media under so many threats in the last year Associated Newspapers CIO David Henderson and his organisation have remained on-course with the transformation agenda.
Mike Altendorf said: "He's navigated a way for the technology department to get more involved with the business."
The media industry, both globally and nationally, is in turmoil. Since the turn of the century new technology has disrupted the sector, changed business models, removed the its former position in society and the Leveson Inquiry has done little to help the public perception of the industry.
Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) publish the Metro free newspaper, Mail tabloid titles and an impressive estate of online products.
CIO David Henderson says that Salesforce Chatter and Facebook are now the primary tools of DMGT. Journalists tell the CIO that they get the many of their stories from Facebook.
That has meant a change of attitude by all senior management at DMGT to accept social media tools as both business and personal web pattern and a complete attitude change to technology has pervaded the publisher which Henderson clearly relishes.
The mantra for this CIO and his team now is to make IT as easy as possible for everyone in the organisation.
That entails embracing consumerisation with a discount scheme that has seen widespread take up of the Apple iPad. "Journalists have to sign on to different systems all day," he says of the multi-platform digital distribution world of the media.
A single sign-on methodology across the technology infrastructure not only makes things easier for the employee, it ensures the organisations content is delivered on all online platforms.
Henderson has had the full backing of the board with the adoption of consumerisation and his information management strategies.
He says the chief exec understands the need for simplicity and the importance of being device agnostic.
"The chairman is thinking of the big picture; and in the round you want people to be tech savvy as it is a good investment."
The strategy is already seeing email usage decline and allowing Henderson to put his efforts into innovation for the organisation.
He is putting the organisational infrastructure onto Amazon and moving finance, HR and advertising systems into the cloud with SaaS providers.
Henderson never avoids admitting that a bold embracement of cloud and consumerisation is helped by the media being in an unregulated sector.
Although DMGT is the holder of large amounts of personal customer data that is regulated.
Henderson joins up security and modernisation with a focus on data security rather than device lock down.
"There are a lot of iPads here and between 500 and 1000 people connecting via Wifi, so rather than tightly manage those devices we track all data.
My department doesn't just track the data as a police force, we share how the data is used, which provides management insights," he says.
"The Ideas Factory is an internal ideas board that all staff vote on projects to be trialled," explains Henderson. "The Sprint Suite then is a full time incubation lab that takes a small number of revenue generating ideas from the Ideas Factory vote."
Examples include the idea for an App for the cruise holiday market, as the company discovered that 41% of cruise sales in the UK are sold through the Daily Mail.
"Sprint Suite has 30 people in it that can take an idea and create the finished product. That is completely different to how we have done things in the past. It is really interesting for me as a CIO as we have to be more trial and error focused and that is confidence building. It feels better to be in the debate rather than waiting to change," Henderson says.
IT leader: David Henderson, CIO.
In role since: Seven years.
Reporting line: COO.
How often does the CIO meet with the CEO: Fortnightly.
Board level seat: Yes, at A&N and on Risk and Investment Committee.
IT budget: £50 million, circa 4.5% of revenue.
IT estate and or number of log on accounts under the control of the IT leader: 7,000 users.
Level of the workforce that relies on technology to carry out their tasks: 100%.
IT staff currently employed: 350.
Split between in-house/outsourced staff: 75% in-house, 25% outsourced.
IT management team and reporting structure: Five reports; CTO, Business Technology Director who covers relationship management.
Primary technology platforms at the organisation: Atex publishing, Salesforce advertising and Aggresso ERP.
Primary technology suppliers: Cognizant, Verizon, Open Text, Salesforce, Atex and Microsoft.
Significant strategic technology deals struck in the last 12 months:
- Salesforce & Cloudsense – CRM and Advertisement Hub.
- Cognizant – IT outsourcing.
- Savvis - Datacentre.
Percentage of your applications/infrastructure run from the cloud: 35%. Email – both corporate and outbound marketing - intranet, CRM, ecommerce, web publishing, distribution.
One of our businesses, a daily deals site called Wowcher with more than a million customers is now 100% run from the Amazon cloud and the lessons learned here are now being applied to our more established publishing businesses.
Major technology or transformation project recently completed and how did it transform operations, customer experience or the organisation: We have just completed a transformation of the content management approach for Metro that moves it from being a si day a week daily free newspaper you pick up at the train or tube station to an urban brand that helps you get more out the city.
We also launched Mail plus on the Kindle and have expended Mail Online so that it has dedicated channels for the American market.
Did the above project reach its cost, timing and transformation objective: We have built and launched award winning Facebook and iPad Newsstand apps and moved the content production process to near real time should we need it, building in awareness of gamification and building customer management into Metro for the first time. These were done on time and on budget from project teams in London and in Chenai, India.
A&N Media looks to technology to drive change and implicit within that is the need for the CIO to advocate change and lead by example. Part of this is getting the basics right, every day, and part of it is getting the right talent on board who can articulate the need for change without alienating the other business functions along the way.
Business transformation programme – beyond technology – that the CIO owns or is a major contributor to: Overseas expansion is a major thrust for DMGT and the challenges here have been as much people and process based as technology. Getting new offices with newsrooms working against tough deadlines and getting collaboration working with London has been a major challenge over the last 12 months but extremely rewarding. Our two new USA offices have witnessed Mailonline website traffic doubling from 10m to 20m unique users a month over the past 12 months. This has helped make Mailonline profitable and the most popular English language news site in the world.
Strategic aim of the CIO and IT operation for the next financial year: We have done much of the back office heavy lifting and now its time to leverage insight from data, both in terms of consumer propositions and content management.
It’s all about data this year and the CIO has a pivotal education and facilitation role here.
Less sexy but probably as important, I am also starting to raise the profile of Cyber Security so our board is fully aware of the growing threats here.
Strategy in the use by employees of their own technology, use of mobiles and how social networking is impacting operations, customer experiences or the organisation: It’s speeding up the news gathering and reporting process. Many stories during the Olympics were written on iPhones or iPads and the number of stories that reference Facebook or Twitter is increasing every day. The line between work and personal use of these tools has blurred to the extent it’s a trust relationship and most restrictions on which sites can be browsed have been lifted.
Strategy for dealing with shadow IT and BYOD including influence and engagement with executives, to place the right controls around employee choice: Go with it and not try and beat against the tide. We initiated a campaign called “Make IT Easy” to make all apps browser based and available from a single portal called My Hub. In addition we aim to make every app single sign in (six apps added this year). Instead of locking down devices we are monitoring data better (eg with Symantec DLP tool) so we are agnostic if it’s a company PC or an employee-owned Mac Airbook - as long as they are an authenticated user. We also hold Genius Days where we encourage our staff to bring in their devices (corporate or personal) to sort out issues face to face.
Technologies being considered to enable transformation: Salesforce is important as the force.com platform is at the heart of our customer data and advertisement hub.
Subsidising iPads is still an important part of the story as getting staff engaged and technology literate is crucial to getting collaboration and productivity in the future.
Transformational inspiration sources:
Team GB Olympic Gold Medal Winners who show anything is possible with good planning, sound coaching, decent metrics, the right environment, relentless hard work and a determination to make a difference.