Claudette Jones is adamant that the sourcing strategy is to consume rather than produce IT services. This has allowed her to avoid the issues that come from developing bespoke solutions and to leverage joint buying power. Her reprocurement of the main ICT contract has delivered £45m of cashable savings over seven years and £46m of added value to deliver business transformation programmes.
Name and job title
Claudette Jones, Chief Information Officer, City of Edinburgh Council.
How are you influencing the products, experience and services your organisation offers to its customers?
We have brought a more agile approach to product development. Rather than spending months on requirements capture and business case development, we are using a more iterative approach, getting in quickly, and if ideas don't work we realise this quickly. We have also been able to offer some very innovative products to our customers at low cost with this approach.
How as CIO have you driven cultural and behaviour change in your organisation, and to what extent?
ICT has led from the front in terms of delivering at pace, understanding our customers and engaging with them directly to deliver solutions that matter to them – for example, by segmenting our customers on their demographics and in co-designing our responsive website.
Define the key business outcomes that you have delivered over the past 12 months and their impact on your organisation's performance
As part of the reprocurement of our main ICT contract, we have delivered £45m of cashable savings over seven years, with £46m of added value, which can be used to deliver our business transformation programmes. We have also implemented a channel shift platform which has our top 40 customer-facing transactions fully automated into our back-end systems.
Describe how you have used organisational and third-party information to provide insight that has benefited your organisation, its customers and products or services
We have consolidated external data from sources like Experian with our own internal data to gain insights into our customers – for example, should we put a particular transaction online? Are the people who use that transaction trusting of online services, for example.
Describe how you organise and operate IT and how this aligns effectively with business strategy and operations
We have an overarching ICT strategy and work programme aligned to the organisation's stated priorities. These are then managed with a council-wide work programme and a subset of departmental strategies and projects, aligned to specific needs.
Describe your role in the development of digital strategy in your organisation
Digital strategy development sits with the ICT function, it is not separate. We developed our digital strategy by engaging with partners, staff, elected members, SMEs, partners and large ICT companies to gain best practice and to continually challenge ourselves to be the best.
Describe how you use and promote technology to redesign the processes, services and structures of your organisation to enable it to become more efficient and customer-focused
We take a qualitative and quantitative approach. So, we hold face-to-face customer workshops with different customer groups to test what our data is telling us. This has led to additional useful insights. For example, when designing our channel shift platform some customers who do not have English as their first language told us their preferred method of communication was live chat.
How do you engage regularly with your organisation about your team and the role of technology in the organisation, and what impact is this having?
We have annual roadshows at our main sites each year, where we encourage staff to come and tell us their issues, and see our new systems in action. We also have a monthly newsletter, which is distributed to all staff with updates on items of interest and with contact details for further information.
How do you use social networks to engage in conversations across the industry about the opportunities and challenges technology is creating?
Having recently been involved in a high-profile procurement exercise, I have had to absent myself from social media. However I do "watch" social media for trends, etc.
How do you bring the organisation together to explore and discuss technology and its challenges and to develop stronger alignment of the technology function with the full business?
My role is on the council's top-level board. This enables me to understand the organisation's strategy and challenges. I also have dedicated relationship managers for each area of the business, who sit with each business and understand their challenges, and use their knowledge of what is happening across the organisation, and in the wider industry to recommend business changes and ICT and digital solutions. We also run an innovation forum where we encourage staff to come with specific issues and invite potential solution experts to advise. This is also helpful in corralling shadow IT developments and suppliers who attempt to engage with different areas of our business.
Describe how you keep up to date with developments in technology and IT management
We are members of a number of organisations in order to keep up to date with technology developments. Most notably we are members of Scotland IS, which is the trade body for ICT in Scotland. Although we are a public sector organisation focused on consuming not supplying ICT, we wish to get as close as possible to our ICT industry, particularly SMEs.
Provide an example of how you have developed the diversity and improved the culture of your team
We were particularly pleased recently to hire a number of modern apprentices to our team. This is a change from our normal graduate programme. The apprentices have reduced the average age of the team and are willing to be very hands-on.
Tell us how you have developed your own management, leadership and personal skills
I believe in continual personal development. I set leadership objectives every day, and journal every evening to look at what I achieved on a daily basis and how I personally can do better. I also meditate every day, which enables me to manage stress and to be able to focus.
What new technologies are you investigating, tracking or experimenting with?
We are using 3D printing in schools across our organisation. We are experimenting with wearable technology and its uses, particularly in healthcare. We have an internet of things pilot, which uses iBeacons to help visually impaired citizens to cross the road safely.
How do you decide where to apply the best technological approach?
Our approach is always to consume services and deliver them ourselves only as a last resort. We want to focus on understanding our customer and business needs, and getting the best out of specialist suppliers, not developing in-house bespoke solutions.
Do you give yourself and your team time each month to assess or learn about technology vendors outside of the established providers?
Our staff have innovation targets set as part of their annual objectives. We run Dragons' Den-type sessions with ICT to allow staff to bring their out-of-the-box ideas for consideration. In our last event business staff also invited themselves along.
Describe your sourcing strategy and your strategic suppliers
Our sourcing strategy is to be a consumer not a producer of services. Much of local government services is the same – we should not need specific services which are not used elsewhere. We want to leverage joint buying power and we don't want to have the issues that come from developing bespoke solutions.
We have a single managed supplier model, with CGI as our main supplier, but within our contract we have the flexibility to choose what suppliers/systems our main supplier provides. There is also a target to provide 25% of our services from SMEs as we want to grow our economy but also to gain the flexibility and innovation that comes from smaller suppliers. We also want to make it easier for SMEs to do business with an organisation of our size.
Describe the technology innovations that you have introduced in the past year and what they have enabled
We have introduced interactive technology in museums, showing Edinburgh as it looked in the past and allowing users to scroll back in time. There is also technology that allows visitors to look at physical museum exhibits and get additional digital media, such as pictures. This has increased footfall in the museum where this is being piloted.
What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom? What uniquely do they bring?
We have signed a seven-year partnership with CGI, who will take over services from BT in April 2016. This contract allows us to have all our services on a pay-as-you-go basis, with individual services costed on a clear utility basis, and visible termination charges. The deal is also unique in that 50 other public sector organisations across Scotland are named on our contract, which means they could leverage Edinburgh's buying power, but also could use the contract to purchase ICT for shared services. We also have targets around SME involvement, new jobs in the city and modern apprenticeships.
Rate how important your sources of innovative technology suppliers are
- Often use: consultants, CIO peers, industry body, media.
- Occasionally use: analyst houses.
Has your organisation detected a cyber intrusion in the last 12 months?
How is cyber security led and discussed by senior management?
Cyber security is discussed by the council's risk committee, and is regularly audited and tested.
When did you start your current role?
What is your reporting line?
Are you a member of the board of directors?
What is the annual IT budget?
How much of your IT budget is capital and how much revenue?
£25m revenue, £5m capital.
What is your budget's operational/development split?
How many users does your department supply services to?
20,000 staff and 40,000 pupils.
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?
Does your IT organisation operate an apprenticeship scheme?
How many employees are there in your IT team?
Are you increasing your headcount to bring skills and the ability to react to needs in-house?
What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff?