The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is the British admission service for students applying to university, including post-16 education as of 2012. UCAS is primarily funded by students who pay a fee when they apply and a capitation fee from universities for each student they accept.

When did you start your current role?
Feb 2012

Have you completed an MBA?
No

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

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

Technology strategy and spending

What is the major transformational IT project that has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation?
Upgrade of UK undergraduate admissions services using public cloud technologies to deliver extreme scalability, relaibility and predictability

What impact will it/does it have on the organisation?
Allows us to provide a service to Universities and Colleges, Applicants, Parents, Schools and Advisers which responds to the extreme demands of the UK examination and admissions cycle; especially on A level results day in August

What new strategic technology deals has your organisation struck and with whom?
Cloud services - Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure
Capability augmentation - Attenda
Service Management outsourcing - TBA

Name your strategic technology suppliers?
AWS, Microsoft, Oracle

What is the IT budget?
c£10m pa

IT operational spend compared to the revenue or company turnover as a percentage?
c10%

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
Complete outsource of Service Management towers; complete transition of critical services to the cloud, secure admissions services delivery for 2014

Transformation achievements

Would you describe the CIO role as a transformation leader in your organisation?
Yes, but role is COO as it covers all operational service delivery including technology

Describe the transformations you have led / been involved in, how did they transform operations, customer experience or the organisation?
* Transition of mission critical services to cloud - massively enhacing customer experience
* Launch of new cloud based application tracking service on Microsoft Azure - with very high customer satisfaction results
* Delivery of new cloud based Course Search service - excellent performance and customer satisfaction scores
* Exceeded deadlines for delivery of examination results to Universities through implementation of massively scalable cloud services

Beyond technology, can you describe a business transformation programme that you own or contribute to?
Admissions services improvemements
Outsourcing of "burst" contact centre capability to Serco

What key technologies are being considered to enable transformation?
Public Cloud - AWS, Azure
Tibco
Service Oriented architecture

What percentage of your applications / infrastructure is run from the Cloud?
80%

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 won the European Call Centre Awards for the best use of Social Media in 2013. Very active Twitter and Facebook channels for handling applicant (mainly 18 - 19 year old) service requirements. We also use SM as a key outbound communication channel.
We have converted ucas.com and our new applicant services to run effectively on mobile and have seen a major shift towards mobile devices.

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?
Not really an issue for UCAS

Where do you seek transformational inspiration from?
Customers, colleagues

The CIO role in the business

Who do they report to?  CEO

Does the CIO have a seat on the board?
Yes

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?
It is me

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

The IT department

How many staff make up the IT team?(What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff)
100, all in-house now; transition to outsourced service managment starts early 2014

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 Head of IT as a direct report. He has in his leadership team: Head of Service Management, Engagement Manager, Head of Applications, Head of Strategy and Architecture

How many log-in accounts do you issue across you organisation?
500 in-house plus 1,000s in Universities

What is the primary technology platform?
AWS, Azure based bespoke web, database and application services