With IT operations outsourced, MEC's Trevor Attridge acts a one-man force for business transformation, forming ad hoc project teams as required. That requirement has included the global deployment of business intelligence tools complemented by data acquisition and processing technologies to help build a flexible, scalable and robust 'invisible infrastructure' to service the needs of the business.

Job title
Global director, data and technology.

When did you start your current role?
2012.

What is your reporting line?
CSO (chief strategy officer).

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

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

What other executive boards do you sit on?
Global IT exco/global analytics and insights.

Does your organisation have a CDO?
Yes.

What different responsibilities does the CDO have?
They focus on our organisation offering as it relates to clients.

What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation?
Business transformation.

How many employees does your organisation have?
5,000.

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

What number of users does your department supply services to?
35%.

How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business's products?
Business transformation element of the role ensures close understanding of the current state of the organisation (products and services), encompassing both operational and client aspects - exco positions and alignment to the strategy officer provide necessary input to aid with now/near and next strategic roadmaps.

MEC 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?
Continued investigations into AI/expert systems and advanced analytics.

What major transformation project has been recently completed or is under way at your organisation?
Business intelligence tools deployment (globally), complemented by significant focus on data acquisition and transformational and processing technologies. A blended online and expert-led training programme supported this initiative.

What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation?
It empowers end-users across all facets of the business to build flexible and robust data (small/slow/big/fast) solutions, leveraging clean data with clear lineage and management reporting for governance purposes. It improves operational efficiency and agility, and the capability to quickly test, learn and share at scale.

How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project?
Open and encompassing, and collaborative engagement with the key users and stakeholders has ensured successful delivery.

What key technologies do you consider enable transformation?
Microsoft BI/SQL, including DQM/MDM and MPP technologies. Also a strong focus on business engagement and change elements.

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?
An 'invisible infrastructure' that provides a flexible, scalable and robust platform to service the ad hoc and operational needs of the business.

How is mobile and social networking impacting operations and customer experience?
Internally, acting as a positive catalyst to improve internal communication and information dissemination beyond traditional collaboration technologies.

Describe your strategic vision towards shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives and employees around choice?
Shadow IT falls within my remit, as it is typically outside of 'operational IT', which is managed by central technical teams.

We have a framework combined with an approach to encourage, identify, share and review ideas through the organisation. MVP (minimum viable product) and innovation through the organisation is a priority, with mechanisms to fund, scale and deploy where applicable.

BYOD is classed as operational IT and outside my remit. However, our platforms are device-agnostic, primarily to allow our clients and partners access when required.

What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom?
AI partners, IBM for cloud and outsource services across WPP for operational IT, MSFT for O365.

Who are your main suppliers?
MSFT, IBM, Abinito, SAS, open source.

MEC 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?
No.

Does your organisation understand the potential cyber-security threats it faces?
Yes.

Has this led to an increase in your security budget?
No.

How much is the IT operational spend compared to the revenue as a percentage?
5%.

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
CIO (my role) aim is for business enablement and delivering on digital and data culture through the organisation. IT operations have been transitioned to IBM.

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?
No.

Are you looking for recruits in the EU to fill the skills shortage you have?
Yes.

Does your IT organisation operate an apprenticeship scheme?
Yes.

MEC technology department

How would you describe your leadership style?
Open, collaborative with a focus on EQ.

Explain how you’ve supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and vision
Inclusive and open dialogue, collaboration and focus on understanding of the business elements and needs. Active encouragement towards business transformation and client projects to gain deep and meaningful understanding of the application of technology for our advantage and our clients' advantage.

How many employees are in your IT team?
1  I operate across the business function, building project teams as needed.

What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff?
For operational IT, 10/90.

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