When it comes to furnishing the hard facts that demonstrate the power of IT, Michael Ibbitson has little problem. His implementation of process changes and new systems has raised Gatwick Airport's aircraft turnaround performance from 50 to 55 an hour, with a multiplier revenue effect observed in everything from car parking to retail.
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?
At least once per month. Depends on his availability.
Are you a member of the board of directors?
What other executive boards do you sit on?
Does your organisation have a CDO?
What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation?
How many employees does your organisation have?
What number of users does your department supply services to?
2,500 internally/23,000 externally.
How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business's products?
The airport is a very diverse environment, encompassing airfield operations, security and passenger processing, retail and food and beverage, hotels and car parking, and production-line facilities in baggage processing. This requires a varied approach to understanding our business, from working shifts in passenger security and night shifts in baggage handling, to visiting and learning from alternative and similar industries. Walking the passenger experience and understanding how to make it simpler, easier and quicker are all tools that we utilise.
Gatwick Airport 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
We are developing an alternative to the traditional hub and spoke model of the airline industry, focused on mega-hub airports. Mega-hubs rely on one airline and its partners to bring passengers and transfer them to maximise route capability, usually at the cost of competition, consumer experience and price. At Gatwick we are developing a product that allows consumers to search, book and travel using any combination of airlines that operate at our airport, without the restrictions of alliance agreements, thus enabling transfers between low-cost airlines and full-service airlines.
What major transformation project has been recently completed or is under way at your organisation?
Gatwick has recently implemented a number of process changes and system implementations to increase the throughput of aircraft from 50 to 55 per hour. The programme was called ACDM55 (airport collaborative decision-making - 55 movements per hour).
What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation?
It is significantly increasing the number of passengers and aircraft that Gatwick can process, leading to increases in revenue across all aspects of our business, from car parking to retail.
How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project?
My leadership style is one of energy, enthusiasm and vision, with the personal resilience to see through even the hardest decisions. On ACDM55 we had the vision of a shared airport-wide web portal for sharing and driving all airport, airline and ground-handler performance data. The adaptation of a traditionally conservative industry with firewalled, on-premise solutions to one that accepts data sharing, web portals and off-premise solutions has been a journey.
What key technologies do you consider enable transformation?
The redevelopment of our integration platform enables our business to share data with multiple partners and also allows us to utilise SaaS more effectively.
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?
We have been running a programme of pulling all relevant data we can into our data warehouse platform to perform analytics. In the past two years we have built integration with our retail partners to pull in over 90% of transaction value into our data warehouse and help drive future retail performance. We are also buying in data on specific topics, from search engines to enable improved market insight. The long-term vision is to use tools like Spunk to enable real-time data analysis complemented by the historical data warehouse.
How is mobile and social networking impacting operations and customer experience?
Gatwick has a very active social networking programme for customer service. The IT team is assisting by demonstrating the power of social media engagement and analytics tools to this team. We use internal social networks to improve staff engagement and assist in disruption operations. There is still work to be done to leverage social media for commercial benefit.
Describe your strategic vision towards shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives and employees around choice?
Gatwick has a BYOD and mobile-first approach to application development. We have been fully BYOD for smartphone and tablets for over two years. All new applications are specified with smartphone and tablet applications and web portal interfaces as standard. Executives were engaged early on by ensuring they had multiple great reasons to use BYOD, such as email anywhere, files anywhere, corporate social network anywhere. We also chose to reward employees that switched to BYOD with an allowance to contribute to the cost; it was cheaper for the business and offered more choice and services for the employees.
What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom?
We worked closely with Amadeus to develop the ACDM Portal as a SaaS solution and rolled it out to 300 users across 50 partners in eight weeks. We have struck an important deal with HRS to develop our Airport ID pass system as a SaaS solution. This has been rolled out to 2,000 users across all airport partner organisations in the last two months. It has reduced incorrect applications from 8-10% to 0.15%
Who are your main suppliers?
Xchanging, Getronics, Okta, Box, ServiceNow, Yammer, Microsoft, SAP.
Gatwick Airport 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?
Opex £16.5m, capex £12m.
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 improve real-time data and insight, and to continue to transform IT services to deliver improved efficiency in terminal and airfield operations as well as improve passenger experience.
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?
Does your IT organisation operate an apprenticeship scheme?
Gatwick Airport technology department
How would you describe your leadership style?
Inspirational vision, energy enthusiasm and resilience.
Explain how you’ve supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and vision
The entire leadership team has been recruited in the last two and a half years. They have been selected from multiple industries to ensure they bring new ideas and innovation to the team. We have worked to ensure they understand the importance of experience for our passengers, partners and staff when using our IT services. Experience means everything, from user interface and mobile accessibility to how you are treated when calling the service desk. Every single member of the team goes to professional media training to help them understand how to develop strategic messages and presentations, and influence audiences of all types. This is essential in converting the technical solutions into accepted business influence and results.
How many employees are in your IT team?
What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff?
55% in-house, 45% outsourced.
Does your team include key skilled workers from the EU?