Former director of the ICT futures, Liam Maxwell was appointed from inside the Cabinet Office when he replaced Bill McCluggage to become the Government CTO. Reporting to digital director Mike Bracken, Maxwell discussed the government's digital strategy with CIO UK last year and explained why the cross-governmental CIO role was being removed for a CTO with a number of digital leaders in different departments.

When did you start your current role?
2011

Have you completed an MBA?
No

Order the following sources of advice/information by value to you:
1. In-house
2. Analyst
3. Peer group
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?
Building a digital government based on user needs. Creating a central government technology function to deliver
1) common (commodity services) like desktop, hosting, networks, directory services
2) great people - grow our own, recruit or hire on interim basis
3) technology leadership and expertise to ensure the right standards and strategic decisions are taken
4) reform, to create technology functions that meet user needs

What impact will it/does it have on the organisation?
Change from the procurement of design, development and technology integration services to an organisation that designs first, designs to meet the user need. By understanding the performance information around services and disaggregating the technology service provision it consumes services that meet the need and the scale required. Our internal capability will grow markedly and our reliance on external expertise will become more targeted, focusing more on innovation and higher value services and less on commodity services.

What new strategic technology deals has your organisation struck and with whom?
The G Cloud has enabled 56% of our new technology business to be delivered by SMEs freeing up innovation. This has reducing the cost by more than 50% and creating an ecosystem of effective suppliers.

What is the IT budget?
We don't really do budgets, but central government spend is circa £7bn.

If you can’t tell us the IT budget, how much is the IT operational spend compared to the revenue or company turnover as a percentage?
that is approx 0.4% of GDP.

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
To work with Technology Leaders in departments to help transition away from expensive legacy contracts to cheaper, better services.
Provide technology for our colleagues that is as good as they find at home.
Deliver a crown hosting service to rationalise our legacy estate.
Further reform our procurement approach to enable more innovation and economic growth in our supply chain.
Ensure that design, security and the needs of the user are balanced effectively.
Increase internal capability and reshape technology functions so that we have the future leadership that will embed and continue these reforms.

Transformation achievements

Would you describe the CIO role as a transformation leader in your organisation?
Technology Leaders, Digital Leaders and COOs drive the change together with great teams.

Describe the transformations you have led / been involved in, how did they transform operations, customer experience or the organisation?
We help with over 30 transformation cases each month. A particularly fun examples would be working with the Home Office on transformation of the border systems programme. 

Beyond technology, can you describe a business transformation programme that you own or contribute to?
Almost all of our work involves technology, but it is not just about technology.

What key technologies are being considered to enable transformation?
Open Source databases and data services. Cloud services.

What percentage of your applications / infrastructure is run from the Cloud?
Less than 5% at the moment. The legacy estate is (in terms of cost) large. This will transform as we move 25 of the 50 top services to digital. This completes in 2015.

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?
Massive cultural change. Some departments won't allow it for security or cultural reasons. Some security types are against it (I have been criticised for saying civil servants should use Twitter .... on Twitter!) However there is a very strong push right from the top to enable social media usage.
See here, and we see it as fundamental to our ability to interact with the citizen.

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 plan to give colleagues technology as good as they can find at home. So that Choose Your Own Device is a positive choice.

Where do you seek transformational inspiration from?
Users - the user need drives all our thinking
My colleagues at GDS who are among the most imaginative people I have worked with.
Jaan Priisalu in Estonia and Nimrod Koslawski in Israel have been great pointers to what can be done. Nigel Shadbolt, Park Guen-Hye and Toomas Ilves show how clear intellectual leadership can cut through the confusion. And Mike Bracken who provides a true north for all our thinking.

The CIO role in the business

Who do you report to?
Head of GDS

Do you 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?
Technology reports to digital

What percentage of IT budget do you control and what percentage of IT budget does your digital peer hold?
We exercise spend controls over all projects with lifetime cost greater than £5m

The IT department

How many staff make up the IT team?(What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff)
50 in te central technology function. We have more in each department.

Describe the CIO’s management team, do you have direct reports that develop the relationship and services between the business and IT?
5 teams
Tech Leadership and Deputy CTO
Common Services
People
Reform
Team 5

And how many log-in accounts do you issue across you organisation?
GDS would be circa 350