Aston Martin Lagonda Limited is based in the UK and specialises in the production of luxury sports cars. The group also owns a sports car racing team, Aston Martin Racing as part of a partnership with engineering company Prodrive. Previously part of the Ford Motor Company, it was brought by a joint venture company in 2007 for £479 million. Aston martin is arguably most famous for its DB5 model due to its association with the James Bond films.

The company’s headquarters are based in Gaydon, Warwickshire, where an extensive amount of the cars design and production is carried out. Aston Martin has around 1,250 employees, which continues to expand as the company distributes its operations to a growing amount of countries. Currently, it has expanded to Poland, Croatia and Taiwan. The company’s future focus is on emerging markets such as China, India and the Middle East. As the financial crisis has not affected the luxury car market in a significant way, Aston Martin’s profits continue to grow. The revenue for the company in 2011 was £474.3 million, which was an increase of over 36% from the previous year and its net profit was £7.6 million. Most of its profits have come from its emerging markets.

Simon Callow is Aston Martin’s head of IT has previously held roles at Produce World and Siemens Enterprise Communications. Previous to Callow taking up the post, the company had installed a new data centre and put in a new local area network. Aston Martin had also put in place Siemens Product Life Management (PLM) to help streamline the company’s global processes. The previous CIO, Bradley Yorke-Briggs worked with Verizon, an IT and security systems provider, to put in place a system whereby Aston Martin could react quickly to changes in their business demand.

IT leader: Simon Callow, Head of IT.

In role since: March 2012.

Reporting line: CFO,

How often does the CIO meet with the CEO: Weekly.

Board level seat: No.

IT budget: £7 million; IT operational spend compared to company turnover as a percentage is 1.4%.

IT estate and or number of log on accounts under the control of the IT leader: 1,800.

Level of the workforce that relies on technology to carry out their tasks: 70%.

IT staff currently employed: 54.

Split between in-house/outsourced staff: 70% in-house, 30% outsourced.

IT management team and reporting structure: Eight direct reports – ERP Manager, Development Manager, Customer Experience Manager, PLM Manager, Service Delivery Manager, Infrastructure Manager, Test Manager, Strategy Manager.

Primary technology platforms at the organisation: Microsoft Dynamics AX (part implemented), Microsoft Office 365, Siemens PLM systems.

Primary technology suppliers: Microsoft, Siemens, Verizon.

Significant strategic technology deals struck in the last 12 months: Managed print deal with Canon. Enterprise Licence agreement with Microsoft.

Percentage of your applications/infrastructure run from the cloud: We have MPLS cloud, Office 365, Web and limited storage in the cloud.

Major technology or transformation project recently completed and how did it transform operations, customer experience or the organisation: Migration of website hosting to Azure. Simple slider bars to manage server needs with simple and immediate changes at a fraction of the cost.

Did the above project reach its cost, timing and transformation objective: Yes. Huge cost savings and rapid up-sizing as required.

Business transformation programme – beyond technology – that the CIO owns or is a major contributor to: The move to ERP. We currently use Dynamics AX for financials and CRM only. Over the next year the entire business will migrate to a full business-led ERP solution.

Strategic aim of the CIO and IT operation for the next financial year: After a frugal year the aim is to ensure that the business invests in the IT infrastructure. This will enable the CIO to add value and take cost out of the business and through the use of technology, reduce the time-to-market for our products. Add to that the implementation of a full ERP platform.

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: We support employees using their own technology and the adoption of Office 365 has assisted in that. As we are a single site set-up the need for mobility solutions is dramatically reduced within operations. We have a number of applications in the Apple arena which serve both our customers’ needs and the needs of our aspirational followers. Aston Martin Lagonda are active on Twitter, particularly with recent product launches and Le Mans successes. We have applications on tablet devices that are used at trade shows and launches to update our CRM system with leads which are pushed to our dealer network.

Strategy for dealing with shadow IT and BYOD including influence and engagement with executives, to place the right controls around employee choice: The majority of the shadow IT is in the manufacturing environment. My approach to this issue has been one of collaboration. A number of failure instances have occurred and I have sought to show the value in having the solution supported by the IT function for increased resiliency. From one such incident I was then able to acquire a list of all the shadow IT systems and their severity/criticality. I am now working through these trying to find more robust solutions and educating my support team on them. The sell to the business was it would free up their resource to get on with something a little more important. BYOD was dealt with during the implementation of Office365. This allowed us to quarantine all devices, educated people as to the rules on BYOD, get them signed-up to the HR policy and then let them loose again.

Technologies being considered to enable transformation: Microsoft Dynamics AX, Siemens Teamcentre, ZAP BI, Azure.

Transformational inspiration sources: From our end product, the beautiful Aston Martin.