Mike Sturrock has been CIO at logistics specialists for the last two years and has previously been a business technology leader at easyJet, BSkyB and mobile network Three.

DX Group is a British mail, courier and logistics company, with operations throughout the UK and Ireland.
With operational hubs and head offices in Iver, Northampton, Nuneaton, Warrington, and Dublin, DX Group has established a network covering 99.7% of UK & Ireland business and residential addresses. DX Group employs over 3,000 people within the UK and Ireland, many of them couriers.

What the judges said:
The judging panel said Sturrock had shown a strong development on the strategy he has put in place and the devices to drivers strategy that will come to fruition this year will clearly make significant changes to the business.

When did you start your current role?
September 2011

Have you completed an MBA?

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

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

Technology strategy and spending

What is the major transformational IT project that has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation?
We have just completed the combination of our Secure and Network Services Divisions, providing the back office and on-the-road technology to allow any item to be processed and delivered on any vehicle anywhere in the country.

What impact will it/does it have on the organisation?
This drives much improved Customer Service (more ontime deliveries) whilst reducing operating costs by approximately 3%

What new strategic technology deals has your organisation struck and with whom?
I'm just completing new deals to implement the latest handheld technology on the road (giving a host of new features to drivers that improve efficiency, maintain up-time and improve service to the Customers), implement a dynamic routing & scheduling capability to provide timeslots for Customer deliveries and I've just signed a nationwide deal with Talk Talk Business for a new data network to all sites. Additionally I've just insourced the IT Service Desk and implemented a cloud Service Desk solution from Cherwell to provide self serve capability to our Colleagues as well as track & manage open incidents

Name your strategic technology suppliers?
Talk Talk Business

What is the IT budget?
£10m Opex and £9m Capex

IT operational spend compared to the revenue or company turnover as a percentage?
Opex amounts to 3.4% of revenue

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
Having made huge changes in the past year to people, structure, technology and process the strategic aim in 2014 is to capitalise on those changes and deliver the large programme of work that we've shaped, gained approval for and funded that drives new revenue streams and implements further significant operational efficiency.

Transformation achievements

Would you describe the CIO role as a transformation leader in your organisation?

Describe the transformations you have led / been involved in, how did they transform operations, customer experience or the organisation?
I joined DX on the ticket, and track record, of driving transformation. The first transformation to implement was to move IT from a backroom cost centre to a front office driver of business benefit. This has been largely successful though its never complete.

Through a combination of cultural change, new/better people, proven delivery and solid contribution at every level of the organisation the technology team are seen now as partners for other business Colleagues and trusted by Customers.

The second transformation was to implement the culture and discipline of delivering projects. Not just for technology but for the company. This has been very successful and IT new owns the PMO function and manages the Capex for the company, the governance of all projects across the company and the maintenance of quality.

The final transformation worth mentioning was the drive to combine the two operational divisions of the company which previously had two Ops Directors on the board. With my position on the board and being a direct report to the CEO I worked to get the two divisions combined under one Director with one vision for the future and underpinned with a technology strategy that drives efficiency and customer service. The bringing together of the two divisions has been successful and the technology programme is delivering the benefits I outlined and will continue to do so.

Beyond technology, can you describe a business transformation programme that you own or contribute to?
I implemented a governance structure called OneDX. With representatives from all the disciplines across the business and the governance around that group to drive the changes we need to see to modernise the organisation, cut complexity, deliver new solutions in a fast changing market and approve all the Capex required to achieve this. This process has been in place for a year now and is working very well and maintains focus and discipline on the things that matter most and stops any off-piste distractions.

What key technologies are being considered to enable transformation?
Optimisation. Using state-of-the-art optimisation algorithms, as I used in my previous CIO role at easyJet, to process the billions of combinations of delivery locations, item sizes, available vehicles and sites to drive the best service for the Customers and improve efficiency within the Operation.

Cloud. I'm implementing a lot of new capabilities for the organisation but am keeping the Operational Budget of Technology  flat by driving more efficiency with the existing estate through taking some of the solutions we traditionally managed in house or with expensive hosting partners and moving to Cloud providers.
Big Data. DX produces a lot of data and we're looking at how we process and handle that data, both for ourselves and possibly as a revenue stream or marketing tool. Technologies to help us with that are being looked at such as Hadoop.

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

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?
I've put in place a policy around the use of BYOD and Social Media  that gives flexibility whilst maintaining the security we need on a business that trades on its security. We have the occasional issue with inappropriate comments from employees on social media but of more impact is the comments from Customers and a delivery doesn't arrive when they expect. We've recruited a digital marketeer and are putting in place the disciplines through the organisation to manage our profile on Social Media much more actively.  

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?
To my previous answer, we have a BYOD policy and my approach is not to try and control everything.That's not credible. I can provide the mission critical services for the business, and ring-fence data that needs to be. Beyond those controls I see it as a strength of the company, and my department, that we can accommodate innovation and challenge from all sides and sometimes incorporate it into the mainstream if it's appropriate to do so.

Where do you seek transformational inspiration from?
My peers, Colleagues, Gartner, CIO Magazine and other reading and media. The trick is to allow enough time for proper thinking and reflection and not to spend too much time absorbed in the day-to-day issues that appear as urgent but mostly aren't.

The CIO role in the business

Who do they 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?
No. I work very closely with the Head of Marketing and together we've recruited a Digital Marketeer to help us with our charge into this space.

What percentage of IT budget do you control and what percentage of IT budget does your digital peer hold?
100% controlled by me.

The IT department

How many staff make up the IT team?(What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff)
I have 85 permanent staff plus approximately 10 contractors. Additionally I have a number of Partners onshore and offshore with a range of dedicated and shared resources that amounts to approximately 100 FTE's.

Describe the CIO’s management team, do you have direct reports that develop the relationship and services between the business and IT?
I have 4 direct reports. The are: Head of Architecture, Head of Business Delivery (all the portfolio, programme and project management), Head of Solutions Delivery (All the analysis/design, Development, Testing),  and the Head of Service (Manages all the Data Centres, Service Desk, Infrastructure). Across all four Direct Reports there are external providers which each one of them owns the relationships with to achieve their objectives.

How many log-in accounts do you issue across you organisation?
Approximately 4,000. Most of the staff are on the road and don't login direct to the core systems but use the handhelds,

What is the primary technology platform?
Implemented JDE as the ERP system and the core operating systems are bespoke.