Peabody was founded back in 1862 by George Peabody, a banker who believed that housing was the way to tackle poverty in his adopted home of London. Today the organisation has over 20,000 homes which house 50,000 Londoners and has a mission to “Make London a city of opportunity for all by ensuring as many people as possible have a good home, a real sense of purpose and a strong feeling of belonging”.
When did you start your current role?
Have you completed an MBA?
Order the following sources of advice/information by value to you:
1. Peer Group
Technology strategy and spending
What is the major transformational IT project that has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation?
We are undergoing a period of significant refresh of our IT systems. We replaced six back office systems with one single integrated system in October 2012. We have also replaced our web site, and laid the foundations for increased digital transactions and digital enablement and underpins the philosphy of getting more residents on line. Our HR and payroll systems has been replaced, with a SaaS service, and in flight is the repalcement of our Finance system and Intranet.
What impact will it/does it have on the organisation?
The goal of the transformation programme is to improve the level of service to our residents and reduce risk to revenue and reduce cost. Some of this has been achieved by a more integrated systems, that is simpler to use and acessible from a wider range of devices. Housing providers are being squeezed on many levels, through reduced grants to build, increased revenue risk through the changes embeded in the Universal Creidt reforms, and at the same time increased pressure to deliver the core proposition of building decent quality affordable homes. We have embarked on a strategy of building technology platforms, and adding small bits of needed functionality through small sprints; avoiding multiple large projects and reducing cost and time to delivery. Our Intranet upgrade will be deliverd in four months, our HR payroll system was deliverd in four months and our new sales web site will be delivered in five.
What new strategic technology deals has your organisation struck and with whom?
Mobility is another key aspect of enabling our organisation. Our technology deal was struck with First Touch, and enables us to use thier new HTML5 based platform on an enterprise basis. The platform integrates fully with our housing systems, and provides staff with the ability to use tablets to access and update data about residents and properties alike.
Name your strategic technology suppliers?
Microsoft, Aareon GB, Citrix, First Touch, Infor, Core.
What is the IT budget?
£3.4m annual operation costs and £2.6m annual Capital expenditure. On top of this is depreciation at around £1.5m per annum.
What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
The strategic aims are to assist the organisation to grow, to manage the business better and deliver great services to our residents. We are building more units than ever before, over 1,000 in 2014- 2015. We have acquired another housing association and moved from owning 20,000 units to 27,000 units and need to integrate all aspects of the IT operations. We will help manage the risk of Universal Credit by providing analytical tools that bring actionable insight to our revenue teams. IT will helping the remainder of 20% of residents get on line through a series of activities including training and access to low cost online services.
Would you describe the CIO role as a transformation leader in your organisation?
Yes, the role is a combination of innovator, disruptor, deliverer, diplomat and referee.
Describe the transformations you have led / been involved in, how did they transform operations, customer experience or the organisation?
The key transformation is the move from six systems to one. This was a difficult transformation and was a typical people, process and technology; 10 years of data was migrated into the new systems (probably 7 years too much but was decided before I arrived). The transformation process was slow and labourious. New processes were developed by operational teams and have seen an improvement in efficiencies, from simple things such as processes letters to more complex things such as reconciliation of housing benefits.
Beyond technology, can you describe a business transformation programme that you own or contribute to?
As Peabody has grown, and become more of a risk-taking organisation, the culture has changed. This has been noted by our executive Board and embarked on a leadership and management development programme to move culture towards empowerment and individual ownership. I have been a significant contributor in that process and worked closely with the HR Director to look at new ways of upskilling the Senior Management teams; including investing in IoD training.
What key technologies are being considered to enable transformation?
Analystics are the next big thing for us; increasing our footprint in the home and getting access to our residents through multi-channels - not only smartphones, but smart TV's, and working with partners in energy and health to provide an integrated service to our residents.
What percentage of your applications / infrastructure is run from the Cloud?
10%, but it will increase as our hardware lifecycle runs out over the next 3 to 4 years.
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?
Employees are more demanding, as am I of IT. People expect IT to be cosumed at any time anywhere and simply. Our applications have been in the dark ages when it comes to look and feel, and we are changing that. Our new HR system has a simple modern feel that will be rolled out to employees to allow them o book time off on smartphones and tablets. Our new Finance system is from Infor, where Charles Philips strapline is to develope beautiful software. Social networking is being integrated into our web site and into our sales web wite, where we are building this on top of Microsoft CRM dynamics.
The other impact is it is changing the shape of our projects. They used to be long, and dull. Now they are short, very focused and more interesting. I have a number of product or technology owners in the business who control these sprints, and thats how the world is changing. People expect rapid small incremental change.
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?
Yes, we are evaluating three products at the moment, which will enable us to fully embrace BYOD.
Where do you seek transformational inspiration from?
I look to those who are slighly obessed and look offbeat, but deliver. F1 team McLaren - and the obesssion with perfection in everything they do, Dyson; for dogged determination, apple obessed with simplicity and Google for thier obsession with innovation and breaking the mould.
The CIO role in the business
Do they report to the: Executive Director Corporate Services
Does the CIO have a seat on the board? No
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?
Head of Digital and yes - the role is more about Communications and Enagement than technology delivery.
What percentage of IT budget do you control and what percentage of IT budget does your digital peer hold?
90% and 10%
The IT department
How many staff make up the IT team?(What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff)
Describe the CIO’s management team, do you have direct reports that develop the relationship and services between the business and IT?
Head of Infrastructure and Service, Head of Applications and Interim Head of Projects
How many log-in accounts do you issue across you organisation?
What is the primary technology platform?
ERP - Aareon QL Housing Management system, integrated tenancy management, rent accounting and property management