Affinity Sutton is a housing provider based in the UK, which specialises in providing affordable and community focused housing. It is one of the UK’s largest housing providers, offering 56,000 houses to residents in 120 local authorities. The organisation has worked with around 161,000 residents throughout the UK. Affinity Sutton is one of seven housing associations in the country, which help to provide rent, repair and housing management services. Affinity Sutton also has a housing development programme, last year building 1,049 houses, which are split between affordable rent or shared housing agreements.

When did you start your current role?
June 2012

Have you completed an MBA?
Yes

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

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

Technology strategy and spending

What is the major transformational IT project that has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation?
After a significant amount of work in understanding our future business requirements we secured support and funding to deliver transformational change across our business. This includes the delivery of an ERP system, redesigning our ways of working (including developing a new Target Operating Model) and developing a new customer strategy. This is a ground breaking piece of work for this sector and is targeted to digitise everything we do, with mobile as our default platform.
What impact will it/does it have on the organisation?

This impacts every part of our organisation, our people, our customers and our service providers. It means we will for the first time have a 360 degree view of our customers and our assets (58k homes) which will provide us with the analytics required to make better informed commercial decisions, deliver better customer service and provide a greater level of intervention (e.g helping our tenants to avoid going into arrears). It also means we will be more efficient in how we operate as a business and supports our growing mobile workforce.

What new strategic technology deals has your organisation struck and with whom?
The contract award for an ERP system and systems integrator is currently under procurement (OJEU).
We have recently signed a deal with 'Good' for the provision of our BYOD app offering.

Name your strategic technology suppliers?
Microsoft, Citrix, Cisco, HP, Civica, Good.

What is the IT budget?
£5m revenue £8.5m Capex (14/15)

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
To reflect the ambitions of the organisation in the selection of a system and partner to deliver an enterprise wide solution which radically changes the way we do business. To push the digitisation of our services and our functions. To process data into knowledge that informs business decisions, utilising Big Data and Analytics wherever possible.

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?
Personally responsible for the inception and development of the business case to deliver the ERP enabled change programme. Even prior to procurement this programme has transformed how we think about our working practices and service delivery, including the introduction of a number of interim measures in preparation us for the migration to come which also deliver immediate benefits. One example is the implementation of an interim mobile working solution which we have rolled out to much of our mobile work force which has had a significant impact on their productivity.

The delivery of Videoconference services to all major offices and to mobile/tablet devices (including personal devices) which has seen on average >200 meetings per month being delivered in this manner. From a national business this has resulted in a significant reduction in travel costs (financial and environmental).

Beyond technology, can you describe a business transformation programme that you own or contribute to?
Customer Strategy tasked with defining our service offering for the future (self serve, channel shift etc)
Developing our Target Operating Model which will underpin all future service delivery
Data Strategy
Accomodation Strategy
Communications Strategy

What key technologies are being considered to enable transformation?
ERP, Mobile platform,

What percentage of your applications / infrastructure is run from the Cloud?
25%

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?
Each of these tools have a positive impact on our ways of working. We encourage the usage of personal technology, provide our mobile workforce with tablet devices for use in the field and utilise social media heavily to interact with our residents. Our customer satisfaction remains in excess of 80% which is very high for the social housing sector.

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 recently delivered a full BYOD offering including a clearly defined policy, secure app and interest free loan facility to encourage take up. We did this through piloting an approach with a number of key stakeholders to obtain their support and then developing a business case which outlined the financial, operational and environmental benefits. The environmental aspects were perhaps the most persuasive with our executive and resulted in them supporting the loan scheme and the procurement of an appropriate app to protect our data and systems. To-date approximately 15% of the workforce access our systems securely through personal tablets/smartphones. Thanks to our Citrix Access Gateway we have been able to provide access to our systems from personal PC's for a number of years.

Where do you seek transformational inspiration from?
Everywhere, generally outside the sector and often outside the workplace. Teenagers have got some great ideas.

The CIO role in the business

Who do they report to?
CFO

Does the CIO have a seat on the board?
 No

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?
We have a number of Digital Champions, of which I am one, who are tasked with the digitiation of services to our external customers.

What percentage of IT budget do you control and what percentage of IT budget does your digital peer hold?
Separate budgets. I hold 100% of the IT Budget.

The IT department

How many staff make up the IT team?(What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff)
45 staff -  80/20 split.

Describe the CIO’s management team, do you have direct reports that develop the relationship and services between the business and IT?
Direct reports: Head of IT, Head of Business Systems, Head of Business Integration. Each of them have responsibility for developing the relationship with the business, as does every member of IT (it is part of everyone's personal objectives).

How many log-in accounts do you issue across you organisation?
1500

What is the primary technology platform? Microsoft Windows 7, Citrix, Office 2010, Civica Housing System & CRM