EasyJet is now the largest airline of the United Kingdom, measured by number of passengers carried, operating domestic and international scheduled services on over 600 routes in 32 countries. As of 30 September 2013, it employed 8,300 people, based throughout Europe but mainly in the UK.

EasyJet has seen rapid expansion since its establishment in 1995, having grown through a combination of acquisitions. The airline operates over 200 aircraft, mostly Airbus A319.

In 2013, EasyJet carried over 60 million passengers. CIO Trevor Didcock was number one in the 2012 CIO 100 and is considered by the CIO 100 judging team a standard bearer for the role of the CIO.

What the judges said:

“If you want the corporate market then you need to be on the global distribution systems (GDS). So the work he is doing is a major change and not one that will happen over-night. But he could well be reshaping the market in his work with the GDS suppliers.” Mike Altendorf

“He clearly has a great deal of IT refreshment to manage too.” Ian Cox

When did you start your current role?
2010

Have you completed an MBA?
Yes, Cranfield Full Time

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

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

Technology strategy and spending

What is the major transformational IT project that has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation?
Many and varied transformation projects over the last year, from broadening the mobile platform with our flight tracker and blog, completion of the industry leading safety management system, moving the market towards real time XML connectivity between airlines and the Global Distribution Systems (Amadeus, Travelport, Sabre) as opposed to the filing of static fares and the start of the implementation of a self service HR and Payroll system using Workday.

The big thing I am now leading is the IT Transformation Programme which includes a full review of the architecture for all commercial functions (reservations and channels) and operations functions (aeroplane and crew management), whilst rethinking our IT organisation, sourcing and operating model.

What impact will it/does it have on the organisation?
The principle objective is to increase agility in bringing changes and new products / channels to market, but it will also professionalise the IT function further, improve customer experience and mitigate a number of key board level risks.

What new strategic technology deals has your organisation struck and with whom?
Much of the new sourcing work is underway so the partners will be chosen this year. Recent deals include Workday, new deals to work closely with GDS partners and develop their systems in line with our vision, particularly Amadeus, Kana/Ciboodle for Contact Centre management, Vistair for Safetynet

Name your strategic technology suppliers?
Microsoft
Savvis
Sopra
EPAM

IT operational spend compared to the revenue or company turnover as a percentage?
c0.8%

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
Delivery of the IT Transformation Programme

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?
Led the Turn Europe Orange programme in its early days (15 months) setting up the major cross-business transformation programme and ensuring it delivered on its objectives (9 figure impact on the bottom line). Helped to drive much greater ability to deliver cross-functional change within the organisation and to establish a culture of governance and control.

Key player in the delivery of allocated seating and the other commercial deliveries as part of the programme to significantly increase revenue per seat and key operational deliveries and BI to support the significant improvements in operations making easyJet one of teh most punctual airlines in Europe.

What key technologies are being considered to enable transformation?
Increased use of cloud, more extensive connectivity with service partners in the aviation ecosystem with XML and SOAP, Big Data technologies, integrating social media more closely into mobile offering etc

What percentage of your applications / infrastructure is run from the Cloud?
c25%

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 assiduously avoid an open BYOD policy but enable the use of specific applications on employee devices. We support Yammer as an aid to social media/interaction, particularly for pilots and crew. We are increasingly integrating social media into our monitoring of customer views and real time incidents.

We are also increasingly using mobile devices and the use of 3G and wifi into operations, notably the award winning Halo boarding application in trial at 8 airports and have formed a relationship with EE where we will look to incorporate 4G

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?
All IT spend and activity comes through IT and we have recently simplified and tightened the single route through the board for all new activities. As above we do not allow uncontrolled BYOD and manage the use of people's own devices through policy and awareness

Where do you seek transformational inspiration from?
Everywhere!

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?
There is a Head of Digital Marketing reporting to the Marketing Director. My Head of Commercial Systems works hand in glove with him to drive digital strategy and implementation

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

The IT department

How many staff make up the IT team?(What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff)
Between 100-150 internal, about a further 150 through third parties / contractors

Describe the CIO’s management team, do you have direct reports that develop the relationship and services between the business and IT?
Hybrid - three roles working closely with three parts of the business to drive strategy and implementation, three roles to deliver all cross functional strategy,architecture, implementation and operations

How many log-in accounts do you issue across you organisation?
About 8000

What is the primary technology platform?
Website 90%, other channels 10% all underpinned by bespoke reservations platform. Operations delivered through highly customised packages and a range of cloud / BPO services