IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation, with headquarters in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and markets computer hardware and software, and offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology.

IT leader: Simon Meredith, CIO - IBM UK & Ireland.

In role since: 18 years with IBM UK, head of IT since January 2009.

Reporting line: Director of Operations and Transformation.

How often does the CIO meet with the CEO: Quarterly and as required for key initiatives or projects.

Board level seat: No, not a seat on the board. However, board level involvement for all projects or initiatives involving IT and Technology through a collaborative approach, executed and supported by a highly-skilled team both locally and globally.

IT estate and or number of log on accounts under the control of the IT leader: 25,000 main log-in accounts.

Level of the workforce that relies on technology to carry out their tasks: 100% of the UK & Ireland workforce.

IT staff currently employed: IBM has a combination of in-house employees and partners delivering the IT service. CIO employees set strategy, direction and have accountability for service, transformation and budget. IBM has an internal partner, Global Technology Services, delivering the core elements of infrastructure and applications. For network, fixed voice and mobile it partners with external providers.

IT management team and reporting structure: As part of a global CIO organisation I manage a team of 250 with skills supporting not only UK & Ireland but global missions and projects. The three key direct reports are Transformation Leader, Infrastructure Manager and Business Operations Manager.

Primary technology platforms at the organisation: IBM Connections, Lotus Notes and the IBM intranet web enabled applications, driving cross business and country collaboration.

Primary technology suppliers: AT&T, Lenovo, Vodafone, IBM.

Percentage of your applications/infrastructure run from the cloud: IBM has taken major steps to consolidate and simplify both its IT infrastructure and application Portfolio. As part of this activity major elements are in a 'cloud' environment, a pertinent and pervasive example being the IBM Connections implementation enabling the 400,000+ IBM workforce to collaborate globally.

Major technology or transformation project recently completed and how did it transform operations, customer experience or the organisation: Launch of phase one of a new SalesForce automation initiative that has the vision to deliver integrated, intuitive and real-time sales execution processes.

Did the above project reach its cost, timing and transformation objective: It is in the early stages of the a live environment but it delivered on cost and timing, it's transformative objective will start to be measurable by year end 2012.

Business transformation programme – beyond technology – that the CIO owns or is a major contributor to: In the CIO role, I am involved in many varied business activities. However the key business transformation programme I am accountable for delivering to the UK & Ireland business is the implementation of the integration and harmonisation of all back-office processes across IBM then its partners, and suppliers.   This entails driving globally agreed common processes and technology across all lines of business to aid simplification internally supporting 2015 productivity goals.

Strategic aim of the CIO and IT operation for the next financial year: To continue to support the 2015 IBM road map by investing in the application of appropriate and leading edge technology to further drive integration across all back-office processes among IBM, its clients, partners, and suppliers. As a globally integrated enterprise, the company is now embarking on the next generation of its transformation in which new capabilities and technologies including business analytics and cloud computing will drive performance. The proven principles of the globally integrated enterprise will be applied to all of the company’s spending to continue to drive additional productivity benefits in shared services, integrated operations and end-to-end process transformation.

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 mobile workforce, IBM has embraced the use of mobiles and BYOD with very positive effect. Social networking is also encouraged both internally through the use of IBM Connections and externally through the use of tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

Strategy for dealing with shadow IT and BYOD including influence and engagement with executives, to place the right controls around employee choice: This all relates closely to governance. Over the last few years the CIO organisation at IBM has developed a strong governance model encompassing both local and global level priorities that ensures business executives are fully aware and engaged with the enterprise wide IT decisions and strategy. It is critical in enabling key decisions to be made for the benefit of the wider organisation not just a specific business or country. The combination of budget ownership, resource alignment and a collaborative approach with the business by the CIO has been highly effective in dealing with debates over shadow IT.

Bring your own device has been one of the most pressing initiatives in the last 18 months. The IBM workforce is highly mobile with many working at client sites, home and other locations outside corporate buildings. IBM has long had a corporate managed mobile-phone plan that historically has focused on BlackBerrys. We needed to be in front of the issue of BYOD, especially the security given the amount and nature of corporate information potentially at risk.

IBM's BYOD programme is about supporting employees in the way they want to work, using the most appropriate tool to get their job done, device agnostic and enabled and managed securely. To that end, the company has issued a series of "secure computing guidelines" to employees in an effort to raise awareness of online security and the sensitive nature of corporate data.

Employees who want to use their own devices have to agree to IBM, which include that their device be wiped once they leave the company.

Technologies being considered to enable transformation:

  • A new system to manage key human resources functions such as payroll and benefits.
  • A sales-force automation initiative to simplify sales activities as mentioned above.
  • Integrating all back-office processes among IBM, its clients, partners, and suppliers.

Transformational inspiration sources: A combination of our own IBM thought leaders in the business, our research teams and just as importantly our interns and graduates who regularly give a fresh insight into the future and what is important - makes things simple and uncomplicated. Make the technology invisible.