IT isn't there to play one role, says Thomson Reuters' Christine Ashton. It must be flexible enough to be a consultant, adviser, broker, co-conspirator, and much, much more. Resilient and a calculated risk taker, she puts her faith in experience to drive integration and choice at the point of use by the business units.
When did you start your current role?
What is your reporting line?
Do you meet with and discuss business strategy with the CEO every week?
I regularly meet with members of the company's executive committee
Are you a member of the board of directors?
What other executive boards do you sit on?
A number of internal task forces and externally supplier advisory boards.
Does your organisation have a CDO?
No, we do have a group that focuses on the digital brand and our global digital marketing.
What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation?
Site lead for our London Docklands site. Technology diversity champion. Executive sponsor for a number of our strategic suppliers.
How many employees does your organisation have?
We are a truly global organisation, operating in over 100 countries, with over 50,000 employees.
Does your organisation carry out significant trade in the EU?
What number of users does your department supply services to?
How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business's products?
Building relationships with our key stakeholders to understand current individual business needs and longer-term goals. Tailoring reporting metrics to our business partners' requirements. Capturing feedback from external "Voice of the Customer" initiatives.
Thomson Reuters technology strategy and agenda
Is your organisation being disrupted by the internet, mobility or technology-oriented start-ups?
Our solutions are designed around the way professionals work, and digital channels have proven to be a huge opportunity for us to better connect them with our trusted data and content.
Are you empowered by your organisation to disrupt from the inside?
Yes – Thomson Reuters places a strong emphasis on innovation – a prime example of this is the TR Catalyst Fund, which sets aside dedicated funds for internal innovation and experimentation.
Describe a disruptive measure you've led or played a major part in.
I've introduced sourcing strategies that completely changed how services were supplied.
What major transformation project has been recently completed or is under way at your organisation?
We are transforming Enterprise Business Systems to enable us to become more of a business enablement function. This encompasses helping our business unit partners in a consultative manner to think through longer-term multi-year strategies and tactics for accomplishing their goals. I have introduced the concept of 'silent running' to describe both flawless service delivery and project delivery. It has enabled us to see the true benefits of upfront planning and careful supplier management.
What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation?
It will enable us to partner with key business units to co-create shared plans and viable functional architectures so we can anticipate business needs and plan on a multi-year basis. It means we can better leverage product suppliers product roadmaps. Understanding the performance of our delivered services means we can provide our business units with choice at point of use.
How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project?
By being prepared to take calculated risks and make key decisions. I strongly believe in the transformational capability of IT to improve the quality of business, and getting my leadership team on board with new ways of working means they are true role models that can instill confidence in their staff and encourage them to try out new things.
What key technologies do you consider enable transformation?
I think it's more about mind over matter. It's about confidence, practice and ability to review and continuously improve.
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?
To become truly integrated and very responsive.
How is mobile and social networking impacting operations and customer experience?
We build products designed for professional workflows but we approach mobile with their "day-flow" in mind. Daily patterns - like waking up, looking at your phone, getting in your car, etc. – have an increasing amount of digital elements. So, mobile and social continue to present new opportunities for us to serve our customers.
Describe your strategic vision towards shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives and employees around choice?
IT isn't there to play one role. It must be flexible enough to be a consultant, adviser, broker, co-conspirator, etc. BYOD or other business-led initiatives only work if big rules get followed. I am always keen to get those defined upfront.
What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom?
We have strategic partnerships with many companies in my space these include companies such as: Salesforce, SAP, Adobe, Workday, TCS.
Thomson Reuters IT jobs
What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
Simplification: introducing bill of IT and choice for the business at point of use.
Are you finding it difficult to recruit the talent you need to drive transformation?
No, Thomson Reuters continues to attract the industry's best talent across the globe.
Has recruitment and retention risen up your agenda as a CIO?
Always; it's a key part of being a successful leader
Are you looking for recruits in the EU to fill the skills shortage you have?
Does your IT organisation operate an apprenticeship scheme?
Thomson Reuters technology department
How would you describe your leadership style?
Transformational, modern, progressive, consistent and persistent.
Explain how you've supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and vision?
Continued emphasis on the importance of silent running – earning the right to influence business strategy through excellent performance.
Building strategic skills.
Reinventing our IT supply chain.
Creating a new vision for the business systems platform.
How many employees are in your IT team?
Does your team include key skilled workers from the EU?