Bill Wilkins leads technology at challenger energy provider First Utility and has been instrumental in helping the Warwickshire start up organisation move from its original strategy of focusing on smart metering to become a data driven rival to the big six energy firms.

What the judges said:
The consensus amongst the judges was that they were impressed with the alternative selection of vendors that Wilkins has opted for. Richard Sykes and Mark Chillingworth were impressed with the approach First Utility are taking towards digital and improving the customer experience.

When did you start your current role?

Have you completed an MBA?

Order the following sources of advice/information by value to you:

1.    In-house
2.    Peer Group
3.    Consultant
4.    Vendors
5.    Analyst

Technology strategy and spending

What is the major transformational IT project that has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation?
Implementation of a new customer care and billing system.

What impact will it/does it have on the organisation?
This provides the central platform on which the business manages customers and supply contracts.

What new strategic technology deals has your organisation struck and with whom?
LogNet for the customer care and billing system, Appcelerator for the mobile platform, Salesforce for the CRM, NewVoiceMedia for cloud-PBX, DataStax for big-data framework

Name your strategic technology suppliers?
LogNet, Salesforce, DataStax

What is the IT budget?
£8 million

IT operational spend compared to the revenue or company turnover as a percentage?

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
Continue to improve operational efficiency through automation and data quality improvements.
drive customer retention through innovation in web and mobile platforms.

Transformation achievements

Would you describe the CIO role as a transformation leader in your organisation?

Describe the transformations you have led / been involved in, how did they transform operations, customer experience or the organisation?
New care and billing systems support new operational model.
New online web portal for customer experience
New CRM system to improve contact management
New mobile platform to extend reach of engagement platform

Beyond technology, can you describe a business transformation programme that you own or contribute to?
Billing operations
New consumer product development

What key technologies are being considered to enable transformation?
MapReduce frameworks (Hadoop), Clustered NoSQL databases (Cassandra)

What percentage of your applications / infrastructure is run from the Cloud?

How is the use by employees of their own technology, use of mobiles and social networking impacting operations, customer experiences or the organisation at present?
Little to no impact.

Do you have a plan in place for how to deal with shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives, place the right controls around employee choice and engage with the organisation on this issue?
Tight coordination within C-Level team to ensure that we invest in single approaches were it matters and allow flexibility where that leads to efficiency or the potential for parallel innovation.

Where do you seek transformational inspiration from?
From the wider team. what we need to do to be successful is very clear to us.

The CIO role in the business

Who do they report to? CEO

Does the CIO have a seat on the board? Yes

How often do you meet with the CEO?

Does your organisation have a digital leader and what is the difference in their responsibilities to yours?
We have a Head of Online UX that reports to our CMO (peer of CIO). Their role is to ensure that all of the large functional elements are brought together as a cohesive experience.

What percentage of IT budget do you control and what percentage of IT budget does your digital peer hold?

The IT department

How many staff make up the IT team?(What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff)

Describe the CIO’s management team, do you have direct reports that develop the relationship and services between the business and IT?
3 directs: Align (data and architecture), Build (internal software build and integration), Run (networks, systems, vendor management). All have direct interaction with their peer Heads of Departments within the business operation functions and have regular meetings with all of the C-Level team.

How many log-in accounts do you issue across you organisation?

What is the primary technology platform?
Customer Care and Billing (ERP for a consumer business).