Nick Burton really has transformed business at Belron. The understanding he has brought of the way technology can transform business operations has resulted in the creation of a platform that supports the move of the UK operation to a 100% mobile model. This has resulted in the closing all the vehicle glass specialist's branches and enabling all its technicians to work flexibly with a mobile device, underpinned by automatic scheduling and workforce management solutions that optimise their daily schedules in real time, a reconfigured supply chain that delivers to a much larger number of dropboxes multiple times a day, together with an integrated web booking process. It has brought significant fixed cost reductions, better alignment of technician resources to customer demand, and will enable faster service.

When did you start your current role as head of group IT at Belron?
April 2012.

What is your reporting line?
Group customer director.

Do you meet with and discuss business strategy with the CEO every week?
Every two to three weeks. With the group customer director (responsible for group operations, supply chain, sales, marketing and IT) every week.

Are you a member of the board of directors?

What other executive boards do you sit on?

Does your organisation have a CDO?
Yes. I am the CDO as well as CIO.

What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation?
Customer-facing websites/apps/multichannel strategy, digital marketing  SEO, digital leadership team.

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?
Directly responsible for 250 at head office, functionally responsible for all IT delivery to the 25,000 staff globally, delivered via local IT directors in each country.

How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business's products?
Extensive customer experience research and testing, and time spent personally in our business units and out in the field with our technicians each year. I also led the development of an 'in the shoes of our customers' workshop, which makes our local leadership experience the customer experience directly.

Belron 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
Implementation of our fully integrated web-based booking, scheduling and service management capability in a number of major markets. Development of the digital leadership team, including taking our group exec to Silicon Valley to help them understand the opportunities and threats. This resulted in digitisation becoming one of our four corporate priorities in 2015.

What major transformation project has been recently completed or is under way at your organisation?
Moving our UK business to a 100% mobile model, closing all our branches and enabling all our technicians to work flexibly with a mobile device, underpinned by automatic scheduling and workforce management solutions that plan their working time and daily schedule (with real-time optimisation), a reconfigured supply chain that delivers to a much larger number of dropboxes on a regular (multiple times each day) basis, together with an integrated web booking process that removes the need for CCC intervention.

What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation?
Significant fixed cost reduction, better alignment of our technician resources to customer demand, improved speed of service, reduced CCC handling costs.

How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project?
I have provided inspiration on how technology can allow us to approach service delivery in a radically different way, and curiosity to innovate the way we deliver the solutions that underpin this change.

What key technologies do you consider enable transformation?
Workforce management, automatic scheduling, mobile apps and social collaboration for our employees, cloud-based solutions (from IaaS to PaaS), solid ERP foundation.

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?
Information delivered to the people who can take action based on it in a timely manner. Analysing our information (eg customer NPS verbatims) to understand key drivers of frustration and address them.

How is mobile and social networking impacting operations and customer experience?
Mobile is key to the way we deliver our service as most of our technicians now receive and manage jobs directly on their mobile device. Mobile is also key to our customer experience. Over a third of online customers now book using a smartphone and this is growing rapidly, so we have adopted a mobile-first approach to our online customer experience, covering the full lifecycle of their interaction with us. Social is also key, both from a customer service perspective (where we continually monitor and respond to customer questions and issues across all social channels), and to drive advocacy of our brand through customer-generated reviews.

Describe your strategic vision towards shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives and employees around choice?
We embrace it. We actively introduced BYOD at Belron, and have seen great benefits for everyone as a result. We will introduce CYOD for PCs this year. Our role in IT is to embrace and support shadow IT initiatives and to help to take them into the mainstream.

What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom?
AWS for cloud IaaS, Microsoft for Azure, ClickSoftware for cloud based automatic scheduling.

Who are your main suppliers?
AWS, Microsoft, Oracle, ClickSoftware, Salesforce.

Belron 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?
Central €8m, group €102m.

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
Accelerate shift to the cloud for infrastructure, increasing our agility and aligning our cost closer to our seasonal and rapidly changing demand.

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?

Belron technology department

How would you describe your leadership style?
Authoritative, inspiring, collaborative.

Explain how you’ve supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and vision
By giving autonomy, support and coaching to help them deliver their objectives. By raising the profile of technology and digital and opening the door for them with the rest of the business, and by being there for them when they need a helping hand.

How many employees are in your IT team?
28 (central), 400 (global).

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

Does your team include key skilled workers from the EU?