Centrica operates the British Gas and Scottish Gas energy supply utilities in the UK as well as operations in the US. It supplies electricity and gas and is the UK’s largest energy provider.

When did you start your current role?
2010

Have you completed an MBA?
No

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

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

Technology strategy and spending

What is the major transformational IT project that has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation?
Cloud & Platforms projects- We have been driving business cases to replace legacy infrastructure, apps and datastores, using public cloud technologies.

What impact will it/does it have on the organisation?
Amazing speed of change compared to before, as well as putting control in the hands of our business customers - the impact on innovation, creativity and willingness to experiment has been profound. We see this value in raw business performance in the areas where it counts for us - Safety, engagement and financials.

What new strategic technology deals has your organisation struck and with whom?
Over the last year, we have struck new global deals wth Capgemini for SAP apps management and Avanade for more specialised business apps. We have also done a series of new deals and relationships with a large portfolio of platform providers, ranging from the large (Salesforce) to more niche providers

Name your strategic technology suppliers?
SAP, Microsoft, Vodafone, CapGemini, Avanade, Salesforce.com

What is the IT budget?
£100m+

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
Maintaining momentum on tech transformation
Driving (more) excellence in serving our colleagues
Delivering our promises on costs

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?
For the IS organisation, I conceived and drove a programme to change our IS organisation away from "organisation by skills" and into organisting around our cusotmers (i.e. our businesses). Our customers (colleagues) used to say that IS never fully understood the business, and that it felt remote from their issues. Nowadays, we are an integral part of our business, building and curating specialist skills and knowledge to help our businesses suceeed. By showing clear and distinctive value, we show that investing in the IS team is a value activity, and that the things that we do have a direct relationship to business success This has been a critical component of our business success over the last three years, as well as creating a vibrant and challenging enviroment for my coleagues within the IS function.

Beyond technology, can you describe a business transformation programme that you own or contribute to?
CE has an ongoing programme of culture change, called CE Way . A large part of it is about "Pioneering Spirit" - I've been part of the leadership team driving the basics of those values - innovation, "finding a better way" and drivign the culture change to create the right atmosphere for creativity, challenge and innovation. From the last three years of efforts, we're seeing much better employee engagement, more innovation adn ownership of innovation in our offshore and power engineering and a higher overall level of individual and team performance in our operational businesses

What key technologies are being considered to enable transformation?
Any tools that accelerate change velocity or business velocity - we've had the best successes with cloud collaboration, app stores and cloud infrastrcuture providers.

What percentage of your applications / infrastructure is run from the Cloud?
20-30% and growing like topsy.

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?
It's creatign "pull" for emergent technologies in a hugely positive manner - colleagues are used to mobile, used to online and this reflects in the way they think abotu how to create, and consume, IS services. My colleagues are also more aware of the issues with technology, especially security, privacy and the need for controls to protect thier interests.

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?
In both cases, we are workign to create governance an controls oriented around a digital landscape. We see BYOD and Shadow IT as opportunities, not threat (after all, what could be better than a cusotmer who can self-serve 100% of thier needs?) - we see the right landscape as erecting "guardrails", not barriers - we want colleagues to explore and drive ideas, including working with their own technolgy and partners - provided it's within the confines of the law (especially privacy) and the wishes of our board (especially strategy and investment), our job in IS is to create as wide a playing field as possible, but stop people going over the edge.

Where do you seek transformational inspiration from?
I speak to a lot of peers, both in the US and the UK. I make a point of speaking to colleagues a lot - at all levels within the company and in all geogrpahies - probably my best source of inspiration and challenge. Typcially, those with the least interest in technology deliverrthe most profound insights!

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?
Not specifically, but I work with a broad church of people who are delivering/experimenting with digital in their brands and assets

What percentage of IT budget do you control and what percentage of IT budget does your digital peer hold?
100% and nil

The IT department

How many staff make up the IT team?(What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff)
Our core team is 150, supported by a large (and constantly flexing) team of partners

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, each of whom is wholly accountable to their business unit for service, change and advice.

How many log-in accounts do you issue across you organisation?
18,000

What is the primary technology platform?
ERP, Commodity Trading.