Aston Martin Lagonda Limited is based in the UK and specialises in the production of luxury sports cars. The group also owns a sports car racing team, Aston Martin Racing as part of a partnership with engineering company Prodrive. Previously part of the Ford Motor Company, it was brought by a joint venture company in 2007 for £479 million. Aston martin is arguably most famous for its DB5 model due to its association with the James Bond films.

The company's headquarters are based in Gaydon, Warwickshire, where an extensive amount of the cars design and production is carried out. Aston Martin has around 1,250 employees, which continues to expand as the company distributes its operations to a growing amount of countries. Currently, it has expanded to Poland, Croatia and Taiwan. The company’s future focus is on emerging markets such as China, India and the Middle East. As the financial crisis has not affected the luxury car market in a significant way, Aston Martin’s profits continue to grow.

Simon Callow is Aston Martin’s head of IT and has previously held roles at Produce World and Siemens Enterprise Communications. Callow spoke at the 2013 CIO Summit in London about being a small IT shop at a big brand, and trying to get C-suite peers on board with business transformation.

When did you start your current role?
March 2012

Have you completed an MBA?

Order the following sources of advice/information by value to you:
1. Peer group
2. Analyst
3. In-house
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?
Microsoft Dynamics AX implementation business wide

What impact will it/does it have on the organisation?
It involves nearly all business areas and is transforming the way the business operates and taking time and cost out of standard processes in Manufacturing, Product Design, CRM and a host of other areas
What new strategic technology deals has your organisation struck and with whom?

AX system migration to the Azure cloud, Office 365 implementation across the business again hosted in the Azure cloud. Presentation showcase agreement with Autodesk for collaboration software to expedite the surface design release

Name your strategic technology suppliers?
HP, Microsoft, Siemens PLM

What is the IT budget?

How much is the IT operational spend compared to the revenue or company turnover as a percentage?

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
Increase efficiency in the organisation and deliver organisational change

Transformation achievements

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

Describe the transformations you have led / been involved in, how did they transform operations, customer experience or the organisation?
A massive push to remove single points of failure from within the manufacturing end-to-end processes removing over 60 disparate systems. Downtime is almost non-existent.

The move to Office 365 has given the organisation visibility anywhere and has proved to be a great success.  On the back of that we led the press campaign with Microsoft which appeared all over the UK and on the back of the May edition of the CIO magazine, raising the profile of Aston Martin as a technology leader

Beyond technology, can you describe a business transformation programme that you own or contribute to?
Gaining sponsorship for the Centenary celebrations. I was able to bring in the only Platinum sponsor for the year which funded a great deal of the celebrations and enhanced the Brand of IT in the organisation. Very important.

What key technologies are being considered to enable transformation?
Microsoft Dynamics AX across the enterprise. HTML5 for app replacement. BI for the people (not just Finance), Global car dealer systems, virtual verification platforms to improve design efficiency and reduce cost
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?
We have provided a brand new wireless infrastructure to further enhance the options for our employees to embrace technology. We allow Office365 on personal devices. AML is not a big user of social media. My big achievement this year was to get the banning of use of social media removed from HR policies!

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?
I'm fully engaged with the business on shadow IT and one of the major success from last year was the eradication of a large percentage of 'shadow IT'. We support BYOD through the use of Office 365 secured through InTune. Whilst we are a Microsoft house, our solutions allow us to be totally agnostic to mobile  devices

Where do you seek transformational inspiration from?
From those who have a desire for it wherever they may be. I am past trying to force change on those who do not want it. Breeding success through willing volunteers leads the way for future change.

The CIO role in the business

Who do you report to?

Do you have a seat on the board?

How often do you meet with the CEO?
We converse very regularly but have no formal meet

Does your organisation have a digital leader and what is the difference in their responsibilities to yours?

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

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?
I have a team of Managers that work in a matrix. They have responsibilities for areas such as Enterprise Architecture & Planning, but each also leads a business engagement function.

And how many log-in accounts do you issue across you organisation?

What is the primary technology platform? ( for example ERP, Website, trading system)
Microsoft application set