Experian is a global information services group with operations in 44 countries. The company now employs 17,000 people with corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland and operational headquarters in Nottingham, United Kingdom, Costa Mesa, California, and São Paulo. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

IT leader: John Finch, CIO.

In role since: Seven years, CIO for one year, Previously Executive Vice President Development, UK&I & EMEA.

Reporting line: Mike DeVico, Group President Technology and Marketing Service Global Business Line.

How often does the CIO meet with the CEO: A few times a year, frequent interactions with the COO and most days with my immediate boss a Business President.

Board level seat: UK & Ireland Executive.

IT budget: In excess of 10% of turnover is invested in technology and product development for our clients. We do not disclose specific capital investment in R&D and IP.

IT estate and or number of log on accounts under the control of the IT leader: We have around 20,000 email and log-in accounts, all employees have access to a knowledge management, internal social environment based on SharePoint 2010, all employees have access to an ERP (largely Oracle) environment allowing for electronic management of procurement, sales forecasting & sales pipeline management, payroll, recruitment, employee management.

IT staff currently employed: 3,000.

Split between in-house/outsourced staff: Mainly an in-house team with between 300–500 people supporting us through offshore partners.

IT management team and reporting structure: Seven direct reports. Roles include EMEA IT, SVP of Architecture, and SVP of global corporate systems.

Primary technology platforms at the organisation: Internally - an Oracle ERP configuration and the Microsoft Desktop and Outlook suite.

Significant strategic technology deals struck in the last 12 months: A five-year deal for Dell Services to provide Experian with a range of desktop and collaboration services across North America, UK and Ireland, India and EMEA. The contract will enable Experian to further improve connectivity and collaboration between our 12,500 colleagues across the regions. Dell will help us manage and maintain 12,500 end user-computing devices in 30 countries.

Percentage of your applications/infrastructure run from the cloud: A very small percentage. As custodians of client data and insight we run our own hosted services for clients that we manage and control.

Major technology or transformation project recently completed and how did it transform operations, customer experience or the organisation: Between 2008 and 2010 Experian undertook global transformation programme (known as Project Gemstone) that:

  1. Delivered one global accounting and HR system to 10,000+ staff in 24 countries – replacing many local legacy solutions acquired via acquisition (Experian’s 70 acquisitions between 2009 and 2011 had created a localised organisation with over 50 different Finance and HR systems across the globe.)
  2. Enabled global finance shared services with centres in Santiago and Nottingham.
  3. Implemented an integrated reporting, planning and financial reporting solution.
  4. Enabled consistent application of risk and control processes and procedures across Experian’s corporate operations.

The initiative transformed business processes, reduced costs, improved speed and quality of reporting and facilitated the rapid integration of acquisitions.

The 16-month programme was successfully completed on time, to budget and has delivered key benefits, including a reduction in overall IT costs. Following ‘Go Live’, the Experian business has continued to grow aggressively in new and existing markets. The solution now allows Experian to service in excess of one million client accounts through its shared service centres. The application service is delivered 24x7 from Experian’s state-of-the-art data centre in Nottingham processing in excess of 55 applications from Oracle. In addition a new shared service centre has been established in Kuala Lumpar. Finally, the deployment of Corporate applications with the associated infrastructure has been a forerunner for the deployment of global product applications, a true value add.

The drive for consistency has also reduced the cost of ownership of Experian’s corporate systems by over 60%.

The project won Best Enterprise Cost Reduction Project – Oracle Customer Awards 2011.

Did the above project reach its cost, timing and transformation objective: Yes it was completed on time, to budget and has delivered key benefits.

Strategic aim of the CIO and IT operation for the next financial year: Clients - To always deliver successfully for our clients, which includes constantly striving to improve client Net Promoter scores, improving on other client feedback and exceeding client expectations:

  • People - Continue to develop our internal talent around the company to support our business growth.
  • Innovation - Continue to drive product and data innovation.
  • Extend the scale and reach of the global organisation – continue to join up our global workforce, drive productivity.
  • Pace - execute at the pace our business and clients require.

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: Technology enabling data and analytics is at the heart of the Experian business. Adoption and application of new and existing technologies is a huge driver in delivering genuine business transformation and is crucial for allowing our people to do their own jobs well.

Most employees are equipped with mobile technology – for example, smart phones, laptops, VPN connection enabling them to work from a variety of locations which is necessary as many people work across different sites and different countries. Mobile technology joins up our global workforce helping them to operate more effectively.

We have also recently implemented a new global online collaborative portal using Microsoft’s SharePoint 2012 called Zoom.  Zoom is helping our people find the colleagues and information they need to succeed at their job. Zoom has document collaboration capability and is the platform for global collaboration and a virtual community for all employees. It also acts as a source for global, regional and business line company news and information.

Strategy for dealing with shadow IT and BYOD including influence and engagement with executives, to place the right controls around employee choice: We are currently running a series of mobile and BYOD proofs of concept and proofs of technology and engaging with our security and infosec teams to develop meaningful and enabling BYOD and mobile policies.

Technologies being considered to enable transformation: Social and mobile, cloud and on-demand services, virtualisation.

Transformational inspiration sources: From the talented team of people I work with every day and clients, suppliers and partners.