With Royal Mail visiting 29,000,000 addresses six days every week, Catherine Doran has embarked on a programme to use the organisation's many data sources to improve its understanding of delivery methods and gain better insight into its upcoming workload.

Job title
Group CIO Royal Mail.

When did you start your current role?
September 2011.

What is your reporting line?
Moya Greene – CEO.

Do you meet with and discuss business strategy with the CEO every week?
Fortnightly.

Are you a member of the board of directors?
No.

What other executive boards do you sit on?
Chief executive committee, risk management committee, group investment committee, stamps exec committee.

Does your organisation have a CDO?
No.

What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation?
Member of the chief exec committee, member of the stamp exec committee, participate in leadership development.

How many employees does your organisation have?
150,000.

Does your organisation carry out significant trade in the EU?
Yes.

How many users does your department supply services to?
110,000 (30,000 desktop users, 80,000 handheld devices).

How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business's products?
Operate a partnership model with the business teams; site visits; customer surveys; focus groups.

Royal Mail technology strategy and agenda

Is your organisation being disrupted by the internet, mobility or technology-oriented start-ups?
Yes.

Are you empowered by your organisation to disrupt from the inside?
Yes.

Describe a disruptive measure you’ve led or played a major part in
Using data scientists to understand operational trends so as to drive greater agility and efficiency.

What major transformation project has been recently completed or is under way at your organisation?
Letters business. We have recently completed a programme to introduce 2D barcodes for our mailing house customers. This provides a complete trail of postage, which they can use with their customers as proof of delivery. Product has been launched – Mailmark.

Parcels. Major transformation put barcodes on all parcels and enabled track and trace across the core network.

What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation?
When we have developed the capability, we will be able to track all parcels. This will dramatically enhance the customer experience and improve our operational capability. 

How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project?
Active participation in the transformation, energy and drive to see them through.

What key technologies do you consider enable transformation?
Cloud, IAAS, SAAS. Start with mobile and work back from there.

Are you increasing the number of cloud applications or infrastructure in use at your organisation?
Yes.

What is your information and data analytics vision for the organisation?
RMG has vast amounts of data because we visit 29,000,000 addresses six days every week. We have embarked on a programme to use our many data sources to improve our understanding of our delivery methods and to get better insight of upcoming workload.

How is mobile and social networking impacting operations and customer experience?
RMG is active in social networking. We interact regularly with our customers, using their input to respond to their needs. 

Describe your strategic vision towards shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives and employees around choice?
Shadow IT has always existed (consider the use of Excel). The key is ensuring that the business users are aware of and adhere to security standards and the need for data protection. Similarly, with the advent of portable devices, in combination with email, the task is about encryption and education.

What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom?
We have recently completed a major procurement programme to update our outsource contracts. We have signed with a range of partners, on a best-of-breed model. 

Who are your main suppliers?
Atos for infrastructure and datacentre support, Computercenter for EUC, HCL and Capgemini for app maintenance. For development we have a framework agreement with HCL, Capgemini, TCS, Steria, CSC and LHM. PDA managed service with BT and PDA development with TCS.

Royal Mail IT security and budget

Has your organisation detected a cyber intrusion in the last 12 months?
Yes.

Has cyber-security risen up your management agenda?
No.

Does your organisation understand the potential cyber-security threats it faces?
Yes.

Has this led to an increase in your security budget?
Yes.

What is the IT budget?
£350m.

How much is the IT operational spend compared to the revenue as a percentage?
3%.

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
Execute a safe and trouble-free transition to our new partners, with no unplanned outages. Deliver the first phase of the parcels transformation. Select new PDA devices, install new capability and start roll-out. 

Are you finding it difficult to recruit the talent you need to drive transformation?
No.

Has recruitment and retention risen up your agenda as a CIO?
Yes.

Royal Mail technology department

How would you describe your leadership style?
Business-oriented, energetic, results-driven, inclusive, passionate.

Explain how you’ve supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and vision
Team comprises people who have worked for RMG for some years and new hires. This gives the twin benefit of understanding the history, but having new perspectives. Team was chosen explicitly to meet the multi-year transformation that RMG IT has undertaken. we operate as a close-knit team and look to step in and help where problems occur. The RMG transformation is exciting, and having a team motivated by desire to change and improve things is essential. A key part of my role is keeping sight of the big picture and ensuring the team don't get 'change-weary'. 

How many employees are in your IT team?
400.

What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff?
20:80.

Does your team include key skilled workers from the EU?
Yes.