Trevor Didcock, CIO for easyJet remains seated in the CIO 100 top 10 for his the organisation’s transformational zeal that runs through the company and the airline sector. Didcock is at the heart of the board and leadership team at easyJet, which is performing well. Didcock told CIO UK that easyJet was increasingly penetrating the business travel market and the benefit to easyJet is the late booking often made by business travellers increases the yield for airline.
“We are hovering up capacity,” he said. “The message is getting out there that we do good for our customers and that we are a nice airline to fly with.
“IT is 98% of the business,” Didcock says of the strategy of easyJet towards technology. “We have made some fantastic commercial decisions and all of these are underpinned by the IT.”
Didcock had been heading up the Turn Europe Orange transformation programme at easyJet, but has now stepped down as lead of that to focus on his CIO responsibilities, which he says include many of the delivery items in the programme.
“Transformation is relentless here and it will be for the foreseeable future,” he says. With easyJet joining the FTSE100 the need to be constantly transforming may well become a regular route for the organisation.
In the last year easyJet has introduced allocated seating and continues with its Turn Europe Orange programme. The panel felt Didcock remained in the top 10 due to his business focused strength as a CIO. Mike Altendorf was impressed with their use of data and Richard Sykes with the way the airline had attracted a new customer base in business travellers through its continues improvements.
But easyJet, like all airlines, is in a difficult sector and Ade McCormack wondered where next the CIO could help them with their financial and business challenges.
Mike Altendorf said: "His execution of the assigned seating was delivered flawlessly and universally loved by easyjet's customers. It has improved the service no end since it was the No 1 pet hate of the customers."
Mark Chillingworth said: "He has incredibly impressive business acumen and is in many ways the poster child of the CIO role."
Rorie Devine said: "But like a CAMRA pub of the year, you can't win two years running!"
IT leader: Trevor Didcock, CIO.
In role since: September 2010.
Reporting line: CEO.
How often does the CIO meet with the CEO: Once or twice weekly (Exec Boards happen 3 out of 4 Tuesday's in the month); 1:1s monthly.
Board level seat: Yes.
IT budget: 0.8% of revenue.
IT staff currently employed: 143.
Split between in-house/outsourced staff: 40:60. Where we have brought people in we have taken out suppliers, we now have more roles and more middle managers.
IT management team and reporting structure: Five direct reports - Heads of: Commercial Systems; Operations Systems; Central Systems; Service Delivery; Architecture.
Primary technology platforms at the organisation: The Sabre and Galileo reservations systems. Primary technology suppliers: Microsoft Azure, Savvis, Agresso, Sabre, Galileo.
Significant strategic technology deals struck in the last 12 months: No major deals.
Percentage of your applications/infrastructure run from the cloud: 25%.
Major technology or transformation project recently completed and how did it transform operations, customer experience or the organisation: We have been through a supplier management consolidation because we have recruited more people. We were 67 IT staff, now we are 143 people and that has taken out a lot of contractors. We now have tighter supplier management on services and costs and in the last year we saved £1 million.
Did the above project reach its cost, timing and transformation objective: Yes.
Business transformation programme – beyond technology – that the CIO owns or is a major contributor to: Allocated seating was a big part of the Turn Europe Orange programme and has delivered a lot of benefits and is transforming customer satisfaction and the implementation went well.
The other two big challenges and dimensions are mobility and how we crack the in-direct market. We have dynamic fares that change every time somebody buys a ticket. We are working with the global distribution players as we want to transact in these systems.
Strategic aim of the CIO and IT operation for the next financial year: We have 28 telecoms suppliers across Europe, we want that to be three or four in a cross-European services deal. We are also doing more with mobile, safety systems and data warehousing.
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: The Halo project is going to a further three airports to offer mobile based departure control using cloud computing. Mobile use by customers is 70% of the traffic to our websites, but is only three per cent of bookings, so is a challenge.
Strategy for dealing with shadow IT and BYOD including influence and engagement with executives, to place the right controls around employee choice: No shadow IT, all IT work through my dept. BYOD handled through dual networks at all sites - company very own device and small number of agreed applications installed on personal devices.
Technologies are being considered to enable transformation: BI, using information in a more real time way so that we can move away from functional and operations to a more dynamic and commercial model that means we can change routes and understand the retail opportunities.
Transformational inspiration sources: David Taylor (The Naked Leader); Lou Gerstner, Steven Covey (7 Habits), Paul Hersey (Situational Leadership).