DX Group is a British mail, courier and logistics company, with operations throughout the UK and Ireland.
With operational hubs and head offices in Iver, Northampton, Nuneaton, Warrington, Wil-lenhall and Dublin, DX Group has established a network covering 99.7% of UK & Ireland business and residential addresses.
Established in 1975, amongst the Royal Mail postal strikes of the 1970s, DX Group has been in private ownership since 2006 and combines DX Network Services Ltd, DX Secure (previously Secure Mail Services (SMS)), DX Business Direct Ltd and as of 15 March 2012, Nightfreight GB.
DX Group employs over 3,000 people within the UK and Ireland, many of them couriers.
What most impressed the CIO100 panel was Sturrock's strategy to use fast young vendors and as Richard Sykes pointed out, the sheer amount of transformation in a short space of time was impressive.
Jerry Fishenden also noted that Sturrock always has the customer as his focus.
IT leader: Mike Sturrock, Group CIO.
In role since: September 2011.
Reporting line: Report to the CEO.
How often does the CIO meet with the CEO: A formal 1-2-1 every week, as I’m driving a lot of change in the organisation and need to both keep him abreast of progress and seek his support and guidance on some issues.
Board level seat: One of three C-level execs on the board. With the CEO and CFO.
IT budget: £15 million, 5% of revenues of £300 million.
IT estate and or number of log on accounts under the control of the IT leader: We operate about 2000 login accounts.
Level of the workforce that relies on technology to carry out their tasks: Approximately half the workforce.
IT staff currently employed: 49 within DX and a further 21 within NightFreight.
Split between in-house/outsourced staff: Approximately 1:2 with 100 outsourced staff offshore and with other suppliers.
IT management team and reporting structure: Five direct reports;
- Head of Business Delivery.
- Head of Enterprise Architecture.
- Head of Development and Apps Support.
- Head of IT Services.
- IT Director (Nightfreight). We have just acquired NightFreight and I’ve decided not to merge the IT function yet but have their IT Director reporting to me.
Primary technology platforms at the organisation: The existing core technology is a legacy of small logistics applications that I’m currently in the process of replacing whilst transforming the operations of the business.
Primary technology suppliers: Attenda for Hosting, Quinnox for Indian offshore development and support, Cognito for mobility and handheld connectivity.
Significant strategic technology deals struck in the last 12 months: I’ve implemented the Software AG integration package WebMethods to transform the middleware element of our estate and provide the building blocks for legacy transition.
We are close to finalising the replacement of the legacy tracking systems and implementing Oracle Transport Manager and Oracle RealTime Scheduler which will be a £1.5 million deal.
Percentage of your applications/infrastructure run from the cloud: Currently none, but as part of the technology transformation underway we have plans for moving some commodity applications out of our direct control and into the cloud such as email, ftp and invoice printing.
Major technology or transformation project recently completed and how did it transform operations, customer experience or the organisation: CIO's express remit is to transform the organisation from both a technology and a process point of view. I’ve mobilised a programme of legacy transformation that has focused on addressing the inefficient logistics processes across the company (we are a transport, logistics and delivery business) with a view to significant operational cost savings, improved customer service and bringing new products to market. This programme has already delivered efficiency savings of £1 million per annum through process redesign and convergence and we are close to signing the deal with Oracle for the technology solution to support further improvements.
Did the above project reach its cost, timing and transformation objective: We have so far exceeded our expectations with regard to efficient savings and are well on course for removal of the legacy estate that is holding back the company.
I have been brought into the organisation not simply to address the huge under investment over many years that the company has experienced, but to transform the way the organisation runs and to build value in this Private Equity funded business. Through the process and system transformation work already described and through acquisitions such as NightFreight we are on course to achieve this.
Business transformation programme – beyond technology – that the CIO owns or is a major contributor to: Lead executive sponsor, and initiator of the Operations Convergence programme. We had two distinct delivery networks across the UK, with different hubs, vehicles, drivers, systems and sales forces. I proposed and am now delivering the programme to bring these operations together and create a single set of services, reduce the number of sites from 100 to 60, reduce the number of 18 wheel vehicles by 25% and reduce operational costs by 35% over the next two years. I have put together the programme funding, approach, team and plan and that team are now delivering on the changes required.
Strategic aim of the CIO and IT operation for the next financial year:
- Fix the foundations. Address the years of under investment and deliver an infrastructure, IT department and processes that’s fit for the future and the growth of the company that’s already underway.
- Deliver on the Operations Convergence programme. People, Process and underpinning technology that brings the operations together.
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: In conjunction with my HR Director we’ve implemented a social media and device policy to lay down how we expect our employees to behave. We have put in place the security capability to allow employees to use their own devices for access to email and through a VPN to our internal systems. We have recruited a social media specialist into marketing and have just embarked on a complete rethink of our website architecture and social media strategy as we look at all our channels with our Customers and how they want to work with us.
Strategy for dealing with shadow IT and BYOD including influence and engagement with executives, to place the right controls around employee choice: There are three prongs to my plan:
Create credibility with my board colleagues and ensure they see the route to best value and performance from technology is through me and my department. This has largely been achieved through delivery of solutions and service though I’m conscious of not taking the situation for granted.
Mop up any existing shadow IT and bring it into the department, demonstrating proper management and support for the solutions. This is in place now and again we’ve created the environment where people want us to take care of solutions as they see us as partners, not people to get in the way.
Ensure we continue to innovate and explore new opportunities. Although open to suggestions from anywhere in the business about the technology and its uses we’ve built up a reputation for innovative thinking that limits the desire for Shadow IT.
Technologies being considered to enable transformation: Web Methods for systems integration, Business Process Automation and Business Process Orchestration is the key tools I’m using to allow me to transform the legacy processes and systems in the organisation. Building a common User Interface to connect up legacy applications then replace the legacy estate whilst the common user experience doesn’t change.
Transformational inspiration sources: A variety of sources. Gartner, Transformational Leadership by Bernard Bass, Lead from the Heart by Mark Crowley and from those around me, First Break all the Rules, by Marcus Buckingham and my CEO is an inspirational character and a great boss who provides the environment where I can flourish.