Welcome Break operates 35 motorway service stations in the UK and is the largest motorway service operator behind Moto. David Willock is one of the longest-serving IT directors in the UK.
When did you start your current role?
Nine years ago
Have you completed an MBA?
Order the following sources of advice/information by value to you:
3. Peer group
Technology strategy and spending
What is the major transformational IT project that has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation?
Integrated EFT. Integrating our Epos system with our EFT solution in order to (i) significantly improve speed of service at the till point and (ii) eliminate the hugely time consuming Epos txn vs EFT txn till by till reconciliation process.
The solution was rolled out to our business by summer 2013 and has had a transformational impact across the business.
At the recent annual Payment Awards ceremony we won "Retailer of the Year" because of the transformational impact this has had on our business.
The solution was developed in such a way that it minimised the impact on our Epos system, specifically regarding minimising changes to ensure continued PCI compliance.
What impact will it/does it have on the organisation?
Transformational! Each of our Sites has reduced back office headcount, and we had the busiest trading summer ever - partly because our customer throughput capacity was increased due to faster transaction speeds.
Our business is very critical normally, and yet this solution has received widespread internal support for the positive difference it has made to our Sites.
What new strategic technology deals has your organisation struck and with whom?
In addition to the above, we are also rolling out the Business Execution suite by Success Factors. This is designed to help our employees execute their roles better. We are mid way through this programme.
Name your strategic technology suppliers?
Success Factors, Phoenix, Vodafone, Vodat, Retalix, BT, Guestline, HP, Change++
What is the IT budget?
£4m pa capex & revenue
What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
To work with other Senior Business leaders to deliver key strategic project areas (i) Site Back office transformation - next stage, (ii) Business Execution - next stage, (iii) KPI reporting and (iv) Customer Loyalty projects.
Would you describe the CIO role as a transformation leader in your organisation?
Yes, working to support other senior colleagues eg CEO, Finance Director, HR Director, Commercial Director, Operations Directors
Describe the transformations you have led / been involved in, how did they transform operations, customer experience or the organisation?
(i) Epos / EFT Integration has transformed our transaction speed at the till point and simplified reconciliation, which has helped streamline our back office functions, and headcount across our Sites.
(ii) Business Execution - our "Project Drive", working with our "People Team" has already improved some of our HR / People processes regarding HR data capture, recruitment and social collaboration across the business. The next steps are to focus on E-Learning management, and individual performance management.
(iii) Project Eagle, led by our Finance Director and involving IT, People, Finance and Operations has significantly improved our Site back office processes and reduced our headcount.
Beyond technology, can you describe a business transformation programme that you own or contribute to?
I am Chairman of the Pension Trustees, responsible for the safe management of our DB/DC pension schemes. This includes complying with legal requirements, managing our pension assets and investments, improving the scheme administration, and ensuring Members are paid their pensions.
What key technologies are being considered to enable transformation?
We have further extended our use of mobile technology (iPads etc), and have rolled out BYOD to 200 users.
What percentage of your applications / infrastructure is run from the Cloud?
Difficult to give a percentage. We have key applications that run in the cloud (eg Hotels, part of our Forecourt Epos system). We have key applications that run at Sites and at our Head office over the WAN / Citrix.
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?
As mentioned above, we rolled out BYOD to 200+ users last year. This has had a tremendously positive impact on those individuals (eg access to email, calendar, MIS information).
We rolled out 80+ iPads to our business in the last 18 months - again for acess to key applications.
Our business has significantly improved our social media presence, with a dedicated Facebook site, Twitter site and other social media channels.
We are one of BT Wifi's largest customers with over 25,000 customers each week using our service.
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?
BYOD we have a very clear policy, which has proved successful. We use Good Technology software to "sandbox" the corporate elements of the solution.
I am a senior manager within the organisation, and part of the Senior team that meets weekly to discuss business performance and strategy. I influence through this route. I see my role as working across all levels within the organisation.
Where do you seek transformational inspiration from?
Some key suppliers - including Vodafone and BT. For instance I was at a wonderful BT CIO Event in the BT Tower just this week, networking with other CIO's and understanding BT's roadmap for WiFi and mobile technologies - really interesting!
The CIO role in the business
Who do you report to?
Does the CIO have a seat on the board?
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?
Yes, we have "Digital Darren"! He reports to the CEO, operationally manages our Social media/Website content and works closely with all parts of the business including IT.
What percentage of IT budget do you control and what percentage of IT budget does your digital peer hold?
I control 100% of the IT budget. Our digital manager manages content, not IT/Application/Infrastructure development.
The IT department
How many staff make up the IT team? (What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff)
21 in house, supported by 55 suppliers....15 of which are essential / strategic.
Describe the CIO’s management team, do you have direct reports that develop the relationship and services between the business and IT?
I have 5 direct reports - 3 are project managers and 2 are Service Delivery managers.
All my direct reports play a part in developing the relationship between IT and the wider business.
What is the primary technology platform? ( for example ERP, Website, trading system)
Epos - Retalix, Sites run Citrix Xenapp over a BT IP Clear WAN, Microsoft op systems, Office & Exchange, Dell hardware.