Darryl Salmons made his expertise really count following Amey's acquisition of Enterprise Plc, with an IT integration programme that crystalised benefits and savings. A common email system, integrated website and intranet, and a merged service desk for all 21,000 employees were hugely helpful, but the key element was an SAP HR and financial integration that has reduced the number of employees required in back-office functions and increased accuracy.

When did you start your current role?
1 January 2013.

What is your reporting line?
Amey CEO, Mel Ewell.

Do you meet with and discuss business strategy with the CEO every week?
Yes, either at the Amey executive committee meeting or in personal meetings with the CEO.

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

What other executive boards do you sit on?
Amey executive committee, group approvals committee, IT steering committee (chaired by CFO), HSEQ committee.

Does your organisation have a CDO?
No.

What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation?
Providing inspirational leadership to 21,000 employees, strategic development, financial oversight and providing opportunities for innovative thinking.

How many employees does your organisation have?
21,000.

Does your organisation carry out significant trade in the EU?
No.

How many users does your department supply services to?
• ERP online services (SAP)  21,000.
• Mobile devices (including mobiles, tablets, data sims and connected infrastructure)  18,500. 
• Co
re IT services (laptop, desktop, email, Active Directory, Sharepoint, internet)  13,500.

How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business's products?
As a large and diverse company working for public and regulated sectors, our business and customers are very varied from an IT perspective and have widely differing requirements. I recruited four IT directors in January 2014, each one responsible for the relationship with one of Amey's business divisions. This new model has given a far better understanding of the demand from the business divisions and the needs of their particular customers  be that Network Rail, United Utilities, Birmingham Council, the Ministry of Defence or any other customer. Key account management is also in place to focus on the overall service the organisation delivers to specific customers. IT plays a key role in this way of working through early engagement with customers to understand their technology needs and to influence and advise on the solutions available. 

Amey 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
Amey is experiencing an unprecedented change in analytics, mobility, social media and cloud which is changing the fundamental relationships with our customers  UK citizens.

We are structured to take advantage and exploit new disruptive technology. As well as the traditional IT organisation, a new smart data and technology group operates in an agile and non-traditional IT process manner. 

With the advent of the social media, mobility and cloud, I have been running pilots for delivering services on demand rather than on a fixed rota basis. Waste collection and gritting are current examples of disruptive technology, and pilot projects in these areas are currently under way with a local council customer. The results of the pilots will be delivered in April 2015 and are expected to show wins for all parties, leading to greater efficiencies and better customer service.  

What major transformation project has been recently completed or is under way at your organisation?
In April 2013 Amey acquired Enterprise Plc. Following the acquisition, work began on an IT integration programme to realise benefits and savings. The initial deliverables were focused on employee and customer experience – ie, common email system, integrated website and intranet. The programme included merging the two IT service desks (one in-house and one outsourced) to create a single in-house service desk for all 21,000 employees.  

The key element of the programme was the integration of SAP across the new organisation. It has underpinned Amey's efficiency targets and therefore its overall financial goals. SAP is now the core system for all HR and financial transactions across the company and the integration with other applications will increase accuracy, enable workforce optimisation and reduce the number of employees required for back-office functions.

What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation?
Considerable cost savings, with reductions in the number of HR and finance staff, have flowed from the SAP integration. The introduction of a common system has also delivered considerable efficiencies in working practices. Further synergies are now possible and during 2015 there will be a continued review of the processes in place to encapsulate best practice from the legacy organisations and combine it with industry best practice to drive efficiency gains and help IT meet the business's needs.

How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project?
My outcome-driven focus contributed to the success of the programme and ensured that key milestones on the aggressive timeline have been met. I have kept senior stakeholders informed through regular updates at executive level and ensured involvement of a large number of IT staff as well as offering opportunities for personal development.

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

Who are your main suppliers?
Framework agreements are in place with IBM, CapGemini, CSC and CGI. Additional strategic partners are HP and O2 for datacentre and telephony respectively.

Amey 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?
Yes.

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?
£71.4m.

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?
Following an initial assessment by Gartner, a strategic change programme will be launched to deliver increased IT maturity by end-2015 through the implementation of new processes and ways of working.

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.

Are you looking for recruits in the EU to fill the skills shortage you have?
No.

Does your IT organisation operate an apprenticeship scheme?
No.

Amey technology department

How would you describe your leadership style?
I operate in a directional manner  I'm clear about what is required from the team and empower them to deliver the agreed outcomes.  

Explain how you’ve supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and vision
Most of the senior leadership team are new recruits to Amey since 2013 brought in by me. They have been recruited for their skills, experience and ability to support my objectives and vision. As the needs of the IT organisation change, the skills of individuals within the team will be reviewed and development opportunities provided to ensure we have the skills to meet new demands.

How many employees are in your IT team?
261 plus a variable number of contractors at any point in time depending on project demand.

What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff?
195 in-house, 66 outsourced (following the outsourcing of application management to CSC in February 2015).

Does your team include key skilled workers from the EU?
No.