Schroders is a British multinational asset management company with over 200 years of experience in the world's financial markets, employing around people worldwide operating from 34 officers in 27 different countries.
As at 31 March 2013, Schroders manages assets worth £236.5 billion on behalf of clients including corporations, insurance companies, local and public authorities, charities, pension funds, high net worth individuals and retail investors.
Head of group IT Matthew Oakeley, who previously worked for UBS for 11 years and is a BCS Fellow, has been in his role at Schroders for eight years.
IT leader: Matthew Oakeley, Head of Group IT.
In role since: April 2005.
Reporting line: COO.
How often does the CIO meet with the CEO: Periodically, as needs require.
Board level seat: No, although I sit on or chair a number of other governance boards.
IT estate and or number of log on accounts under the control of the IT leader: We look after IT for the entire workforce globally of 2,900 staff.
IT staff currently employed: We employ a little over 320 IT staff globally – of these just over 200 are in London. This is in addition to those of our outsource providers.
Split between in-house/outsourced staff: There are about 70 staff providing outsourced IT services in addition to the 200 in London.
IT management team and reporting structure: My management team is made up of: Head of Investment IT, Head of Core Delivery, Head of Application Production, Head of IT Service Management, Head of IT Infrastructure, Head of Asia/Pacific IT; 10 direct reports in all.
Primary technology platforms at the organisation: We operate a best-of-breed business application platform based on the leading industry tools for the Investment Management Industry.
Primary technology suppliers: Microsoft, Oracle, HP, EMC, Lenovo, Computacenter, Simcorp, Charles River, Eagle Investment Systems.
Percentage of your applications/infrastructure run from the cloud: Almost all is run from our own data centres and those of our outsourcer. We do take some specific applications from the cloud such as Salesforce.com.
Major technology or transformation project recently completed and how did it transform operations, customer experience or the organisation: We manage 80-100 IT projects each year ranging in size and ambition. We are currently in engaged in a series of major strategic multi-year projects, but these will not deliver for some time. For existing projects, we have recently delivered a new global intranet using Microsoft SharePoint and have extended this to provide bespoke collaboration functionalities via discussion forums and iPad connectivity. This has opened the door for new ways of working in conjunction with Microsoft Lync for new desk-to-desk communication options. The feedback for this from the sales teams and the investment teams has been very positive.
In addition, we recently implemented a major project for the management of our exchange-traded derivatives. This project was achieved on time and on-budget and had a dramatic effect on the scalability of a growing area of the business as an impact in the risk-profile of derivative-management.
Did the above project reach its cost, timing and transformation objective: The Sharepoint, Lync and collaboration initiatives were not part of the original business agenda for technology, these were initiatives that came from IT’s R&D capability and when we saw the potential, we sponsored the project work from within Group IT. They have been very successful to-date and will form the basis for considerable innovation to come – particularly for the sales teams who are now enjoying secure iPad access to their documents and sales materials using tools built on the foundations of this infrastructure.
The derivatives project also achieved its objectives on all three counts.
Business transformation programme – beyond technology – that the CIO owns or is a major contributor to: I am responsible for the non-IT teams that manage the content and processes supporting our websites, intranet and electronic marketing. We are currently engaged in a programme of activity globally on the way in which teams can get better value from our CRM processes as well as an examination of the way in which we can use collaboration tools.
I am a founder member of our Data Governance Council which oversees the governance and quality of key business data within the organisation.
It is clearly my job to galvanise and lead the technology agenda and to find new ways for technology and technology teams to bring value to our business sustainably. IT departments cannot only implement business-driven agendas they must help the business to see how technology might answer their problems. The modern IT department has less to do with the origination of technology than it used to and more to do with the successful utilisation of available technologies to meet business needs.
Strategic aim of the CIO and IT operation for the next financial year: We are embarking on a significant portfolio of projects to upgrade the systems and data support given to our fund managers. I have taken direct technology ownership of the success of this programme. 2013 will be a year of significant project demands in the face of a tough external financial climate. With growth firmly in our sights, my key objective is to support that growth with technology.
Within IT, it is my goal to support and build the sense of IT as a profession in its own right. I am pushing the use of industry-standard qualifications and career development standards (such as SFIA+) and asking my staff to think of themselves as representatives of the profession of project managers, business analysts, developers, testers etc rather than just people working in an IT department.
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: As a highly regulated industry, great care needs to be exercised in the use of personal devices in a business context. We are proud of the mechanisms we have created to safely allow the use of personal mobile devices within a business context via the use of technology such as ‘Good’ and in-house developed tools for document exchange, as well as our secure remote access service that allows users to work productively from home where this is deemed operationally appropriate.
We see the rise of mobile devices and social networking impacting us in a number of ways – firstly through the provision of information to our clients, intermediaries and commentators in ever more immediate and flexible environments and secondly in engaging information to support opinion-forming. Internally, I believe in ‘Business Networking’ rather than ‘Social Networking’ – communication in an organisation cannot be just based on ‘viral communication’, cascade communication is also very important. We are looking to our new collaboration frameworks to start to develop this internally.
Strategy for dealing with shadow IT and BYOD including influence and engagement with executives, to place the right controls around employee choice: The desktop device is far less important compared to the business applications that we provide and the access to information needed for people to carry out their jobs. To this extent, we have not seen great employee pressure to be allowed to bring their own devices such as laptops and desktops. We do see a desire to use mobile devices that combine personal and professional life, as people don’t like carrying multiple devices. Because of the need to secure data, we do not allow data to sit unencrypted on personal devices and are unlikely in the near term to see personal devices being connected to our networks.
Senior executives are best influenced through direct engagement. Our Windows 7 laptops were rolled out specifically to meet the requirements of specific senior executives in the business. I see end-user tools, whether desktop, mobile or software products, becoming an area whose profile expands considerably in coming years and intend to shift resource into this space to focus on the productivity gains that can come from optimising the way people work with these technologies.
Technologies being considered to enable transformation: We are looking to the combination of Sharepoint, Lync, Win7 and iPads to focus our productivity and collaboration transformations. Instant Messaging and Voice/Video calling via Lync is currently being rolled out, but unlike some others, we believe it is far too early to write off email. As soon as software vendors manage to properly and seamlessly bridge the divide between Apple and Microsoft the better – it is a shame that Word and Powerpoint documents don’t render natively well on an iPad.
Transformational inspiration sources: You’ve got to talk to people: peers, industry figures, thought-leaders, vendors and especially the people who do the real work at the coal-face. Most good ideas need the right interactions to germinate properly. It is important to cultivate your visionaries in your own team – but just as important is to get out there and see what people have to say.