By engaging with the business at the heart of the business, Andrew Turner has positioned IT as a key project partner for Crossrail. The commanding position IT now enjoys has allowed it to give team workers at the project's 41 construction sites what they really need from IT.
IT director Crossrail.
When did you start your current role?
What is your reporting line?
Crossrail's finance director – member of the executive board.
Do you meet with and discuss business strategy with the CEO every week?
Weekly with the FD and usually monthly with the CEO to discuss technology strategy.
Are you a member of the board of directors?
What other executive boards do you sit on?
Digital railway programme board, which is developing the digital strategy for Crossrail.
Does your organisation have a CDO?
No. Digital development falls into my area and we work closely with TfL as well on the development of digital technology.
What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation?
Responsible for representing the executive team at site visits to brief construction teams on business progress, as well as promoting Crossrail's core safety values. I lead a monthly leadership tour to a chosen site to review construction progress and safety practices. I am also part of the migration strategy group, which is planning the handover of the new railway in 2018.
How many employees does your organisation have?
Around 3,000 people work for Crossrail, but we also support approximately 7,000 workers employed by the various construction firms supporting Crossrail.
How many users does your department supply services to?
Around 3,000 active users across London.
How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business's products?
Crossrail is a very dynamic project that is split into a number of key phases. Being close to the delivery teams to understand their issues and dependencies is essential. I am also actively involved in shaping the technology strategy for the new railway, and understanding the digital design opportunities and constraints is critical to making an effective contribution.
Crossrail technology strategy and agenda
Is your organisation being disrupted by the internet, mobility or technology-oriented start-ups?
Are you empowered by your organisation to disrupt from the inside?
Describe a disruptive measure you’ve led or played a major part in
The availability and quantity of data relating to the new railway is tangibly greater than any other UK railway has ever experienced. This is due to more sophisticated data capture during the construction phase, but also the availability of real-time data through telemetry. Equipment installed on the railway and in the stations is now able to automatically report much more information about its status and operating condition. In a very positive way this is disrupting the traditional views of railway maintenance and operations. The railway is being significantly impacted by the internet of things and this is providing a wide range of new opportunities to operate and maintain the railway. More importantly it is also providing a great opportunity to use information to significantly improve the customer experience for our passengers.
What major transformation project has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation?
Now that we are nearly at the end of the tunnelling phase, the Crossrail organisation is going through a major restructuring to meet the challenges of fitting out the new stations and installing the railway systems. This has major implications for our systems and information and we are working closely with the business to understand their requirements for the next four years – anything from reporting through to new mobile solutions.
What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation?
The transformation is essential to ensure that technology is properly aligned with the Crossrail business teams and helps us manage the complexity of the project very effectively.
How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project?
By ensuring that IT has a commanding position in the design and implementation of the new organisation and that we are able to identify opportunities to improve the effectiveness of the project through the use of IT. By being engaged in the heart of the business I have been able to position IT as a project partner. This is not just about attending board meetings, but just as importantly is about being in touch with the team leaders at our 41 construction sites to ensure that we really understand what the delivery areas need from IT.
What key technologies do you consider enable transformation?
1. Mobile has been a key feature of the transformation work we are engaged in with our site teams. There is a huge opportunity to improve the effectiveness of our construction teams through the use of mobile.
2. Telemetry within much of the equipment we will soon be installing across the new railway will provide huge amounts of really valuable real-time data about its status that we can harness and exploit for operational advantage.
3. Wi-Fi in the stations will enable many new applications to help manage the infrastructure and provide a much more effective and seamless passenger experience.
Are you increasing the number of cloud applications or infrastructure in use at your organisation?
What is your information and data analytics vision for the organisation?
The primary goal is to capture as much information as we can from the equipment and services supporting the new railway and to integrate and interrogate this data to a level never seen before. The intelligent use of this data will help us to make far more effective decisions and provide a far better response to improving rail services.
How is mobile and social networking impacting operations and customer experience?
We are developing a number of mobile solutions to help manage the construction project more effectively and this has been through highly effective collaboration with members of the business community. Social networking has been less of a feature due to the nature of Crossrail, but internally we have done a lot recently to improve collaboration and knowledge sharing. We are increasingly looking at how we can share information more effectively with other projects, such as HS2.
Describe your strategic vision towards shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives and employees around choice?
We have embraced a number of shadow IT initiatives and by creating a positive alignment we have been able to deliver a much better outcome for Crossrail. The mobile developments that we have delivered in the past year are a great example of this. Ideas that started as small tactical developments have been nurtured and are now being rolled out across Crossrail, so that more people can share in the benefits.
We are currently enhancing our mobile and BYOD offerings as we believe that as long as the BYOD platform is well designed it can have a very positive impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of the people that work for Crossrail.
What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom?
We have a number of key technology partnerships with leading system integrators who provide systems and support to help manage the highly complex programme.
Who are your main suppliers?
We have a strategic partnership with Fujitsu.
Crossrail IT security and budget
Has your organisation detected a cyber intrusion in the last 12 months?
Has cyber-security risen up your management agenda?
Has this led to an increase in your security budget?
What is the IT budget?
How much is the IT operational spend compared to the revenue as a percentage?
What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
To successfully reorganise Crossrail for the next four years and to ensure that we continue to remain on budget and deliver the railway in 2018.
Are you finding it difficult to recruit the talent you need to drive transformation?
Has recruitment and retention risen up your agenda as a CIO?
Does your IT organisation operate an apprenticeship scheme?
Crossrail technology department
How would you describe your leadership style?
Inclusive, but not to the extent of shrinking away from making tough and bold decisions.
Explain how you’ve supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and vision
Through active mentoring I have helped them to play a more strategic role in the development of IT within Crossrail and encouraged them actively to take on more responsibility across the Crossrail project.
How many employees are in your IT team?
What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff?
30 in-house, around 70 outsourced.
Does your team include key skilled workers from the EU?