Trevor Attridge has been Global Technology Director for advertising and communications firm MEC for the last two years.

MEC is the fifth largest media agency network in the world, with domestic and international clients generating global billings of $20 billion. MEC, which is headquartered in London and New York, employing 4,000 people worldwide. It is a founding partner in GroupM, the WPP Group media investment management operation. Its core business is media buying and media planning but as the media landscape has become more complex it has diversified its capabilities.

When did you start your current role?
Jan 2012

Have you completed an MBA?

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

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

Technology strategy and spending

What is the major transformational IT project that has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation?
Advancement in analytical capability : -

Full-pathway Digital Attribution captures the cookie level data on unique consumers and allows the tracking of individual consumer touch points from ad exposure through to their target online behaviour.

Various data projects removing manual acquisition and transformation of data (described in detail later)

What impact will it/does it have on the organisation?
Significant incremental revenue, rationalisation of existing point solutions, more accurate data for measurement of Digital Media performance driving more effective and efficient allocation and optimisation of clients investment.

What new strategic technology deals has your organisation struck and with whom?
Narrative Science

Name your strategic technology suppliers?
Google, Microsoft, Ab initio, Adobe, HP,Globant

IT operational spend compared to the revenue or company turnover as a percentage?
5% of company revenue

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
Build and scale technology platforms and connections to more efficiently collate, integrate, share and analyse data.  

Leverage technology to improve and support operational best practice

Oversee the cascading of global and multi market products into local / regional offices.

Create a sustainable and execution focused innovation culture within the organisation.

Transformation achievements

Would you describe the CIO role as a transformation leader in your organisation?
We have separated operational IT from the transformational aspect - to allow for each to operate with the focus they need. My role is within the transformational side.

Describe the transformations you have led / been involved in, how did they transform operations, customer experience or the organisation?
Shift from manual report collation. Internal and client use.

Two projects, in different verticals of the business - one within analytics the other within our trading group.

Spanning 33/50 markets respectively moved a previously manual task to an automated data ingestion, transformation, aggregation,application of complex business rules and logic platform.  Reduced turn around times from multiple months to weeks, reduction in effort at all levels, improved employee moral, improved data quality supporting key business decisions at local, regional and global level

During the transformation leverage data operations offshore in India reducing overall costs while improving technical governance.  

Project involved technology design, build and deployment - fundamental changes to business process with key stakeholder engagement from within the business and final delivery to client.

Beyond technology, can you describe a business transformation programme that you own or contribute to?
2013 I started Business Process Management teams in USA and now in  2014 the UK.  Their focus and aim is across the business, focusing on process improvement and change.  Where possible leverage technology to support the process or business changes.

What key technologies are being considered to enable transformation?
Data transformation / integration tools such as SSIS / Ab Inito.  PDW, Azure for the storage and analysis of data at scale.  Open analytical platforms such as R to develop new products which are hyper scalable to cope with the increase in data volumes and complexities.  At a lower level the wider deployment of tools such as Power Pivot and Power view to enable front line teams to make informed decisions in the course of day to day business surfacing through portal technology and reporting tools such as Sharepoint and Tableau / QlickView.

What percentage of your applications / infrastructure is run from the Cloud?
5% - however infrastructure is located in key hub locations.

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 allow all employees to connect to corporate email through personal devices, we have deployed Jive social networking throughout the organisation alongside Jabber for IM.  Customers are able to connect to data  in traditional form through direct connections between our organisations, through mobile apps such as Roambi and Tableau mobile services.

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 am Shadow IT - therefore the plan is to have someone in charge of all such projects.  Innovation in a lot of cases comes from these projects (where they are business transformational) and therefore are treated separately from the traditional operational IT.  I work with the central IT operational function to ensure projects are within corporate guidelines for standards and governance and act as a source of business requirements which form part of the overall operational IT strategy.  Therefore compared to other organisation I have worked within, IT is delivering value back into the business as they are absolutely driving and defining requirements.  From an influence and engagement level I work directly with our corporate ExCo and strategy leads - therefore it is built into the relationship / engagement model.  For BYOD I am not involved as this is classed as operational IT.

Where do you seek transformational inspiration from?
Inside the organisation in emerging markets - we often find those with the least resources have brilliant ideas which can transform our business and relationships with clients.  Externally companies such as Google and Apple who have fundamentally changed and defined new business and operational models and of course, Jeff Bezos.

The CIO role in the business

Who do they report to?
CSO - Chief Strategy Officer

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?
Yes.  They focus on client "product" and definition of our organisation offering.

What percentage of IT budget do you control and what percentage of IT budget does your digital peer hold?
Budgets are separate - we control 100% each.

The IT department

Describe the CIO’s management team, do you have direct reports that develop the relationship and services between the business and IT?
I define and develop relationship and service between the business and IT.  No direct reports as I operate in a matrix fashion engaging with all facets of the business

What is the primary technology platform?
Microsoft lead technologies across key technical verticals (finance,CRM,mail, development)