Encore Tickets is based in Holborn, London and are one of the major providers of theatre and tourist attraction tickets to both direct consumers as well as third-party organisations. In addition to covering the UK theatre market, Encore also provides tickets for New York theatres and attractions. Encore tickets is a business-focused ticket provider that distributes and organised theatre and attraction bookings on a large scale for clients such as airlines and group organisers. The company also provides online ecommerce solutions for its client’s websites such as white label and Xml solutions.

When did you start your current role?
2011

Have you completed an MBA?
Yes

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

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

Technology strategy and spending

What is the major transformational IT project that has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation?
We have recently completed the rollout of our new ecommerce platform (TeCom), to over 400 national and international websites. As part of this we also launched and begun the rollout of our new REST API service to our XML affiliates.

What impact will it/does it have on the organisation?
It has already had a dramatic increase on online conversion and revenues.

What new strategic technology deals has your organisation struck and with whom?
We are predominantly an in-house IT team and therefore most of our applications and solutions are built by the team using open source technologies. We are looking to bring in a third party CRM application this year, but the deal has not yet been struck.

Name your strategic technology suppliers?
Maindec, HP, Oracle, Drupal

What is the IT budget?
£2.5 Million

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
To expand on our market leading digital proposition by adding further enhancements to our digital platform including a world class mobile offering.

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?
Together with the commercial director we completed the world first introduction of direct connectivity to a core theatre ticketing system. This has vastly improved our access to tickets for a number of major shows, and has resulted in significant incremental revenue to the business. It has also provided a business case for further connectivity projects going forward.
With the marketing director I have continued to lead the digital transformation, migrating our web platforms from old disparate sites to a market leading world class web presence for our B2C and partner sites. This has had a dramatic effect on conversion and attachment rates leading to increased overall revenues, turnover contribution and market share.
Finally we have transformed internal access to information with the continued rollout of the real time business and management information and stock planning tool.

Beyond technology, can you describe a business transformation programme that you own or contribute to?
As a board member I am involved in and contribute to all the projects and programmes undertaken by Encore. In the past year one of the core transformational projects has involved a focus on the renewal of our London breaks proposition.

What key technologies are being considered to enable transformation?
We are looking at a number of key areas to improve and build on our mobile transformation, specifically in the region of responsive front end web technologies.

What percentage of your applications / infrastructure is run from the Cloud?
20%

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?
Core business tools are provided by us; however most employees will have their own devices that are used for email and other activities. The feedback we get on our mobile and other offerings from our employees is crucial. We also encourage the use of social networking and feedback as to how we can incorporate and enhance our proposition via these channels. In addition our employees often promote our own Facebook and Twitter pages which are gaining popularity all the time.

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?
We are extremely responsive and maintain regular and positive dialogue with the rest of the business. This reduces the incentive to engage in shadow IT. We have found however that there are certain products and applications that can be utilised directly by the business without the need for direct IT involvement. In these instances we act in an advisory capacity and oversee these technologies, with the option to become more involved as and when the business requires us to.

Where do you seek transformational inspiration from?
Predominantly from my incredible team, and colleagues. Encore is a business that always wants to do better and consistently improve; this drives constant transformation which has resulted in tremendous sustained growth. The resultant achievements and success is incredibly motivating and inspiring.

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?
Monthly

Does your organisation have a digital leader and what is the difference in their responsibilities to yours?
The marketing director is responsible for the commercial and trading elements of the digital strategy.

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

The IT department

How many staff make up the IT team?(What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff)
24 in house 2 contractor

Describe the CIO’s management team, do you have direct reports that develop the relationship and services between the business and IT?
The IT leadership team consists of a director of architecture and technology, a programme manager, a head of development, a systems architect and an infrastructure and support manager. All develop direct relationships with the business

How many log-in accounts do you issue across you organisation?
180

What is the primary technology platform?
Drupal