Catherine Doran has been Group CIO of Royal Mail through its privatisation over the last two years.

Royal Mail was established in 1516. The company's subsidiary, Royal Mail Group Limited, operates the brands Royal Mail (letters) and Parcelforce Worldwide (parcels). General Logistics Systems, an international logistics company, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Mail Group.

The company is responsible for mail collection and delivery throughout the UK. Letters are deposited in a pillar or wall box, taken to a post office, or collected in bulk from businesses.

When did you start your current role?
Sept 2011

Have you completed an MBA?
No

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

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

Technology strategy and spending

What is the major transformational IT project that has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation?
There are several, but a key programme that is scheduled to be rolled out in the summer of 2014 is Mailmark.

What impact will it/does it have on the organisation?
This will have huge impact both on Royal Mail and on our  retail, access and business mail customers. It combines a new barcode with innovative optical technology and digital performance reporting. It offers transparency (where is the customers mail), timing (to provide better planning capability and reporting (to maximise performance).  

What new strategic technology deals has your organisation struck and with whom?
Currently active in the market to replace our current outsource contracts with a multi-vendor approach, where we leverage best of breed suppliers across our estate.

Name your strategic technology suppliers?
Currently CSC, Lockheed Martin, Cap Gemini, Accenture

What is the IT budget?
£350m

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
Let the new contracts (Desktop, Data Centre, App Dev, App Maintenance) and transition to new suppler base through the next financial year with little or no busienss disruption..

Transformation achievements

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

Describe the transformations you have led / been involved in, how did they transform operations, customer experience or the organisation?
For a number of years IT was under-invested in Royal Mail. This has resulted in a number of technology challenges, which have driven key priorities in the last 2 years - rebuilding the in-house IT function so we can support the business transformation, repairing the IT infrastructure to make it fit for purpose, devising a 5 year IT strategy in line with the RM business strategy (a key plank of the privatisation programme), determining our go-to-market strategy to replace our long standing outsource contracts (currently in the final stages of selection).

In parallel with this there are a number of key business initiatives for which IT is a key enabler - Mailmark, (as outlined above), underpinning technology to support the Parcelforce expansion programme, a multitude of initiatives to support the privatisation programme (eg employee share options, pension changes - boring items, but critical to the successful launch). alongside all this IT is a major player in the Parcels Transformation Programme (see below)

Beyond technology, can you describe a business transformation programme that you own or contribute to?
Parcels now account for > 50% of RM revenue and the growth in parcels, fuelled by on-line shopping, means that building the Parcels business is a key strand of the RMG strategy. Royal Mail transports  more then 1Billion parcels through the core network every year and we track a very small minority of these. The parcels transformation programme is a multi-year, highly complex programme which provide the capability to barcode all parcels and track them through the network.   

What key technologies are being considered to enable transformation?
Parcels automation to transform the handling of parcels, barcoding and scanning enhancements.

What percentage of your applications / infrastructure is run from the Cloud?
In terms of proportion of applications - very low - say 5%, in terms of traffic - quite high - say  40%

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?
Limited at present. Employees use kit provided by RMG, but this is an area under active consideration.

RMG has a very active presence on Twitter, which we use to engage with customers when they have queries, complaints or compliments they wish to raise.

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?
As above, we are in dialogue re the use and management of BYOD

Where do you seek transformational inspiration from?
Being part of an organisation that is undergoing a major transformation across the totality of the business creates its own momentum. RMG actively tracks developments in the marketplace, both in the UK and abroad, to identify and assess opportunities to help drive the business forward.

The CIO role in the business

Who do they report to?
CEO

Does the CIO have a seat on the board?
No

How often do you meet with the CEO?
Weekly

Does your organisation have a digital leader and what is the difference in their responsibilities to yours?
Yes. the digital leader in RMG has the remit to devise the digital strategy and drive up revenue and traffic through the channel. technology has the task of developing the website and running and supporting it. The roles are totally symbiotic.

The IT department

How many staff make up the IT team?(What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff)
c.2000, 500:1500

Describe the CIO’s management team, do you have direct reports that develop the relationship and services between the business and IT?
Business IT directors to face off to the business areas, Strategy&Architecture, Solution Delivery, Service Delivery, Business Operations  

How many log-in accounts do you issue across you organisation?
30000 desktops, 75,000 Hand held devices for front line staff

What is the primary technology platform?
Adress recognition, tracking systems, SAP for back office support