At RSA Darren Price is one year into a three/five-year transformation programme to ditch the insurer's expensive-to-run legacy systems and equip it instead with world-class IT that will deliver market-leading products and services.
CIO of RSA.
When did you start your current role?
What is your reporting line?
Directly to the chief executive.
Do you meet with and discuss business strategy with the CEO every week?
I meet the chief executive every two weeks.
Are you a member of the board of directors?
What other executive boards do you sit on?
The RSA executive committee, the RSA group investment board and the RSA group audit committee.
Does your organisation have a CDO?
What different responsibilities does the CDO have?
The chief digital officer is responsible for setting RSA's global digital strategy across design, technology, data analytics and digital marketing in the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, Canada and Latin America. This individual reports directly to the chief information officer.
What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation?
I’m also responsible for global strategic sourcing, digital, operations and the project management office.
How many employees does your organisation have?
Does your organisation carry out significant trade in the EU?
How many 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?
I regularly visit our offices in the UK and other regions including Canada, Latin America and Scandinavia. I spend time with the IT teams as well as the people who are in the call centres dealing with customers. This is also complemented with speaking to customers, so I can get feedback straight from the horse’s mouth.
RSA 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
I’ve played a major role in a number of initiatives in the past year, including telematics, driverless cars and UK SME e-trading. Alongside these, I’ve also been driving RSA’s digital strategy, which will deliver customer-focused solutions in direct personal lines, our intermediated business (brokers) and internally.
What major transformation project has been recently completed or is under way at your organisation?
When I joined as CIO for RSA, I inherited a complex business which was operating legacy systems and expensive to run. To address this, I carried out an end-to-end strategic review of the function and developed and commenced the delivery of three to five-year transformation programme. We are one year into this and by the end of the programme RSA will have a world-class IT capability – based on people, partners and systems – a transparent governance model, and a strong technical roadmap. From a KPI perspective, the aim is to be benchmarked in the upper quartile by 2018. I made great progress in delivering against this plan in 2014. Steps taken include completing the strategic review, developing the transformation plan and commencing its implementation, creating better alignment across the business, appointing a chief digital officer, and restructuring the IT leadership team. The IT plan is also aligned to the wider business transformation strategy currently taking place, which will lead to RSA delivering market-leading products and services to its customer base.
What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation?
Actual changes taking place include:
• Modernising the technology our employees use by upgrading our Windows desktops, migrating to a new Microsoft mail and calendar platform and using cloud-based solutions like Sharepoint and Yammer to support global collaboration and new ways of working.
• Implementing a component-based architecture to provide agile and cost-effective solutions to our customers, and also addressing our legacy and complexity challenges by more than halving the number of applications that run the business.
• Through this simplification work we will decommission our mainframe legacy platforms and move towards standard enterprise solutions such as Guidewire and SAP and utilise a global cloud platform to host applications.
These changes will deliver improved speed of change, particularly in key areas such as pricing, data and analytics, the underwriting discipline and document and workflow management.
Where we haven't done so already we will continue to consolidate to regional datacentres and are continually looking to improve the quality and efficiency of how we support our employees in our helpdesk and EUC services.
How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project?
Getting support from all key stakeholders for the IT transformation plan wasn’t easy and my ability to build strong relationships was a key contributing factor to getting buy-in. I was successfully able to challenge and influence key stakeholders and get executive support for the programme.
What key technologies do you consider enable transformation?
Giving our people and customers the tools to effectively serve our customers/themselves. Firstly, it’s important to ensure you’ve got the basics right. I’ve upgraded our end-user computing systems and employees now have a newer version of Windows. Sharepoint and Outlook are also being rolled out. My focus is now turning to the next step of digital deployment where I’ll be looking to deliver online self-service, improvements to our operational processes, creating a single customer view and quote-to-buy on multiple devices. Alongside this, technological solutions will be put in place to improve our claims service and pricing and underwriting sophistication.
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 establish an IT infrastructure that enables us to use information and data to develop sophisticated underwriting, claims and pricing tools and implement systems that will be future-proof. Customer experience and communication is also key and this will be complemented through innovation in areas such as telematics and driverless cars and the creation of a single customer view and personalised customer journeys.
How is mobile and social networking impacting operations and customer experience?
It is significantly impacting customer experience, and companies need to harness it to make things better for customers. RSA aims to lead the industry in the use of social tools to deliver better customer service, new and better products, and better ways of connecting with our customers and partners. To lead the industry in social we are focusing on more than just our brand reach and balancing that against three other key areas: cost reduction, customer experience and sales. As an example, we’re already getting positive feedback from customers of our More Th>n digital servicing team, who are using Twitter and Facebook to respond proactively to customers’ problems faster than could be done by phone. We’re looking at ways we can expand this on other channels, to other customer groups and for other RSA brands globally.
Describe your strategic vision towards shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives and employees around choice?
A significant number of our employees have moved to mobile working and now use iPad and Good technology. BYOD is also already happening in our Canadian office. Our focus is on ensuring that our employers have the choice of working in a way that suits them and that’s our priority.
What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom?
We’re creating a private global cloud solution with BT, improving our claims processes with the support of Guidewire, and enhancing our network and communications with Vodafone.
Who are your main suppliers?
Accenture, IBM, CSC, CGI, BT, Vodafone and Endeavour.
RSA IT security and budget
Has your organisation detected a cyber intrusion in the last 12 months?
Has cyber-security risen up your management agenda?
Does your organisation understand the potential cyber-security threats it faces?
Has this led to an increase in your security budget?
What is the IT budget?
Cash spend of £425m including change spend.
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 continue delivering the transformation plan while at the same time focus on attracting and retaining talent, creating an agile business that is customer-focused, and ensuring RSA continues to embrace disruptors such as driverless cars and pet and home telematics.
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?
Are you looking for recruits in the EU to fill the skills shortage you have?
RSA technology department
How would you describe your leadership style?
Inclusive, energetic and people-orientated. I place a lot of emphasis on people because I believe the key differentiator between good and outstanding businesses is the people, and the culture you create is central to the success of firms.
Explain how you’ve supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and vision
My team and I spend a significant amount of time presenting on the progress being made in IT to the group board and non-executive directors to ensure we have their support and they understand how the IT plan is aligned to the overall strategy of the business. Presenting at this level isn’t always easy, which is why I’ve worked hard over the past year with my leadership team to support them in developing skills in this area.
How many employees are in your IT team?
What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff?
70% outsourced and 30% in-house.
Does your team include key skilled workers from the EU?