Voice and data convergence, mobile tools, a cloud-based adult social care purchasing system available directly to service users – innovation and disruption are what it's all about for Essex Council CIO David Wilde.

Job title
Director for information services (CIO) at Essex County Council.

When did you start your current role?
July 2011.

What is your reporting line?
CEO for senior information risk ownership, executive director for strategy, transformation and commissioning support for operations.

Do you meet with and discuss business strategy with the CEO every week?
No, monthly.

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

What other executive boards do you sit on?
Outcomes board (joint political and directors board).

Does your organisation have a CDO?
No. Setting strategic direction for digital adoption and related total service transformation and implementing delivery plans to achieve it is part of my remit.

What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation?
Information governance and senior information risk owner for the council, information management, digital strategy and delivery, supporting economic growth through infrastructure and skills development.

How many employees does your organisation have?
8,600 excluding schools, 48,000 including them, plus trading services delivering to another 3,000 users.

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

How many users does your department supply services to?
61,000.

How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business's products?
Clear and concise service delivery model through ITIL best practice, coupled with a range of user engagement channels. Customer surveys (including public as well as staff) and regular benchmarking with others to triangulate relative performance, reporting accountable directly to the management, outcomes and political boards.

Essex Council technology strategy and agenda

Is your organisation being disrupted by the internet, mobility or technology-oriented start-ups?
No.

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
Dynamic purchasing system, cloud-based and targeted at the adult social care market, designed to broaden the available vendor base by making it available directly to service users through personal budgets and as a result reducing reliance on the state to provision.

What major transformation project has been recently completed or is under way at your organisation?
Adoption and deployment of converged voice and data coupled with mobile end-user computing as part of a complete mobile technology managed service, meaning our workforce mobility has moved from 20% to 85% in 18 months.

What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation?
It has already meant rationalisation of the corporate estate. We have gone paperless in many areas, staff are able to work anywhere, anytime, and uptake of e-tools for comms (virtual meetings, IM, desktop sharing, collaboration) is now mainstream, driving productivity gains that have unlocked over £32m in direct technology savings and another £60m in business benefits.

How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project?
Majoring on influencing and inspiring the workforce to want the change by building the compelling case to act and bringing the organisation on the journey to execute the plans, so it's about total service change and not IT-driven. Above all, tying it back to how and why this benefits our prime customer base, residents.

What key technologies do you consider enable transformation?
Converged network capability (has to cover voice, video, data, wired and wireless together); collaboration tools that cross organisation boundaries; simple, resilient, standard and well-supported end-user environments; and master data management for customer-centric capability.

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?
Adoption of advanced and predictive analytics as tools to drive better decision-making on outcomes-based delivery that is people/place-centric.

How is mobile and social networking impacting operations and customer experience?
Mobile is dramatically changing both fundamentally, with frontline services reaching out to service recipients where they are rather than where staff are based. Social networking means we are reaching a much wider base of residents through mediums they prefer, improving democratic accountability and communication around what is going on, especially in extreme situations (floods, snow, major crime).

Describe your strategic vision towards shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives and employees around choice?
We stay ahead of the game around what technology can do and have built a strong base as trusted advisers to the organisation, while being flexible on technology solutions in play for business areas rather than being dogmatic. It means we don't have much shadow IT and what exists is in partnership with us and very little demand for BYOD because we deliver an experience the user likes.

What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom?
Microsoft around EA and Lync. Dell for end-user devices through a model that gives choice linked to comparative prices that don't limit the range. Converged networked managed services with Daisy Updata Consortium, enterprise corporate systems as a managed cloud service with Fujitsu.

Who are your main suppliers?
Dell, Microsoft, Daisy Update Consortium, Fujitsu, CoreLogic.

Essex Council 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?
£42m revenue, £20m capital.

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
To develop the trading capability further, enable cross-agency technology, embed information governance and data sharing, maintain security, adopt new integrated health and social care around self-service, and deploy new tech infrastructure for economic growth.

Are you finding it difficult to recruit the talent you need to drive transformation?
Yes.

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?
Yes.

Essex Council technology department

How would you describe your leadership style?
Inspirational, collaborative and outcome-based.

Explain how you’ve supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and vision
By developing our transformation plans and delivery models together and encouraging them to look outside the organisation for examples we can bring in and use and connecting them with experts and leaders in the various technology fields through my networks. Make sure they are confident they have the authority and capability to get things done and support them when it gets hard.

How many employees are in your IT team?
450.

What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff?
305/145 in-house/outsourced.

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