News Corp CIO Dominic Shine has taken the media organisation on an Enterprise Tech Transformation programme over the last year, delivering more the $70 million savings with the modernisation of the infrastructure, platforms and processes. Collaboration tools are at the heart of the new News Corp platform, as well as data services to improve information flow around the massive global company.
How are you influencing the products, experience and services your organisation offers to its customers?
I am responsible for the ongoing transformation and operational aspects of all our customer facing digital products and services including Digital news (e.g. The Times, Wall Street Journal), Book Publishing, B2C and B2B real estate products ( e.g. Realtor.com). My focus here is to ensure that customers receive excellent performance, reliability and integrity. Additionally I am overseeing the transformation of the platforms and tools that are used by our customer sales, marketing, service and finance teams. Again the emphasis here is to provide our 25,000 staff with modern capabilities to allow them to provide an excellent customer experience.
How as CIO have you affected cultural change and / or behaviour in your organisation and to what extent?
Since the formation of new NewsCorp (separated from 21st Century Fox in 2013), I have been leading a strategy to drive technology transformation across our 13 businesses, including significant introduction of shared services. This has been a highly collaborative approach where we have gradually refined an approach that allows us to have strong coordination of strategy and transformation delivery from the centre, whilst keeping the key resources embedded in our businesses, organised around regional management. This has kept a strong sense of ownership and accountability for the transformation in each business (and all of the plaudits for delivery), whilst keeping a strong guiding hand on overall direction without the need to create a large central team. It has also led to an unprecedented amount of co-creation of solutions and sharing / networking by technology people across the group which in turn has led to faster innovation, removal of duplicative effort etc. This model has been seen as a real success culturally in our diversified group and is now being adopted by business functions e.g. Finance, HR who are looking to share more.
Define the key business outcomes that you have delivered over the last 12 months and their impact on your organisation’s company performance
Over the last 12 months, the Enterprise Tech transformation I am leading has delivered over $70m of savings through consolidation and modernisation of infrastructure, teams, business process and platforms and through global tech procurement on a large number of partner and vendor deals. Additionally we have facilitated major improvements to sales and marketing outcomes (increased revenue and response rates) through improvements to sales and marketing platforms, much increased collaboration across all our business units through the introduction of Google Apps, Dropbox and (selectively) Slack across the entire group. The rollout of Workday for Human Capital Management has allowed us to increase the self service capabilities available to employees and make the HR function more efficient. The rollout of Okta for Single Sign On across the entire group has led to improvements in employee satisfaction, a significant reduction in helpdesk traffic and workload through increased automation of processes surrounding all areas of account management. Finally, we have strategically reinsourced service desk functions from outsourcing operations and delivered major improvements to employee satisfaction through the introduction of walk up 'Techbars' in all business units where support can be obtained face to face, in addition to streamlined support available by phone and email.
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 put collaboration tools at the heart of our platform, in addition to very strong structured data services. This has led to significant creation of information flow within the group, across and within business unit lines and also with large numbers of external collaborators e.g. news sources, freelance journalists for news, artists and distributors for books, real estate brokerages for real estate etc. We aim to make this collaboration seamless through secure sharing of content using Google docs / Drive, Drobpox and Slack.
Describe how you organise and operate IT and how this aligns effectively with business strategy and operations
We have implemented a virtual global organisation for Enterprise Technology across the group. I lead the team with two central staff and have three regional leads (North America, EMEA, Australia). Each regional lead is embedded in the largest business unit in the region and manages all of the Enterprise tech teams and functions in each business in the region. The three regional leads work with me as a global team to define strategy and overall transformation and within their region drive transformation and consolidation of teams, functions and services. This aligns very well to our federated culture as it gives us enough control to drive the required outcomes from the centre but keeps the resource and the detailed execution very close to the business units. Each regional lead is also accountable to their local business and has the authority to execute the transformation plan in a way that fits with the rhythm and priorities of the local businesses. We measure the transformation and operational activities in a consistent way with monthly reporting that is shared with a senior business and technology audience across the group.
Describe your role in the development of digital strategy in your organisation
I play a leading role on the Global Technology board which drives strategy around digital platforms, products, sharing across the teams. I am also accountable for the operation of all our Digital products and services.
Describe how you use and promote technology to redesign the processes, services and organisational structures of your organisation to enable it to become more efficient and customer-focused
This operates at a number of levels. Our major transformation programmes are driving major process improvements across sales, marketing, publishing, finance and HR. All of this is enabled and informed by best in class platforms (e.g. Salesforce.com, Workday, Wordpress etc) that bring opportunities to drive innovation, improve efficiency and customer service. As we have introduced these new platforms, we have used them to stimulate new thinking on the best way to organise teams and processes. Secondly, we put a lot of emphasis on investing in the best collaboration tools (Google Apps, Dropbox, Slack etc) to power up the informal networks and information flows across the business.
How do you engage regularly with your organisation (e.g. via a blog/seminars/newsletter etc.) about your team and the role of technology in the organisation and what impact is this having?
My business is distributed globally so regular communication is key. I do this in a number of ways: Physical town halls in major geographic centres at least twice a year, Attending business and functional management meetings regularly, virtual townhalls using Google Hangouts monthly, video blog periodically, monthly reporting for business teams showing clear information on transformation programmes, goals, dates, outcomes. I also encourage my regional leads to do regular updates within their region.
How do you use social networks to engage in conversations across the industry about the opportunities and challenges technology is creating?
I use Twitter, LinkedIn, Slack and some closed networks as a daily source of inspiration and ideas and I share opinions, engage in debates particularly on Enterprise and emerging tech trends.
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?
Periodically we run innovation workshops where we bring together a diverse set of business and technology leaders and high potential individuals. We did this when we created the new tech strategy for News Corp in 2013 and review and refresh it on a regular basis.
Describe how you keep up to date with developments in technology and IT management e.g horizon scanning, technology strategy workshops, involvement in industry events and bodies
We maintain a small office on campus at Stanford which keeps us very close to emerging trends and ideas. We have close relationships with large and small VC companies on the West Coast and also in Asia which gives us great access to emerging companies, products and concepts. I visit the west coast several times a year to meet with companies of interest. I also participate in CIO level forums in Europe and the US where I spend approximately half my time.
Provide an example of how you have developed the diversity and improved the culture of your team
We have been actively involved with a number of groups who promote the opportunities in tech to girls at school age e.g. girls who code. On transformation projects we always strive to bring together global project teams with involvement and leadership from every part of our global organisation.
Describe how you collaborate and influence the organisation and its leadership team
My role is all about collaboriation. We have 13 business units each with its own CEO and management team and local CTO. I operate my virtual organisation with the active involvement and buy in of these senior stakeholders - nothing gets done if they are not onside! Some 25-30% of my time is spent listening to and talking with these teams to ensure our global transformation and operational approach is adding value, and to explain the rationale behind our plans. I travel extensively to ensure I am spending enough time face to face and have regular catchups by Google hangout.
Tell us how you have developed your own management, leadership and personal skills, perhaps through mentoring, training or external activities
I actively seek out feedback from people I work for, with and those who work for me, so I can understand where I am succeeding and where I need to put more effort in. I mentor team members formally and informally. I am always looking to take on new challenges or projects, particularly those that will take me out of my comfort zone and stretch me.
Are you investigating, tracking or experimenting with: Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence; Data Analytics; NoSQL; wearable technology; Enterprise Apps; Internet of Things; Automation and Robotics; Artificial Intelligence; 3D Printing; the Sharing Economy; Anything else?
Actively experimenting in lots of Enterprise tech areas :Data analytics for infrastructure, AI for management of cloud instances, Enterprise apps - Dropbox to replace all file shares, Slack API integration with core processes and platforms including bots to automate processes
How do you decide where to apply the best technological approach – e.g. from consuming services from the cloud or on-premise products through to spinning up in-house development teams for bespoke work?
We run a global pipeline for experimentation in several new areas where we encourage diversity of ideas and possible solutions. As these mature we look to get consensus on best practices / standards and accept the best ideas from anywhere. This applies to cloud infrastructrure, selection of tools, selection of SAAS platforms, selection of partners, definition of project implementation best practices, support models, and so on.
Do you give yourself and your team time each month to assess or learn about technology vendors outside of the established providers?
Yes we invite new companies, leading vendors to team meetings and we encourage teams to travel to meet new companies and products and attend events to keep exposure constantly to emerging trends. We use the global network of our tech teams to make this more scaleable.
Describe your sourcing strategy and your strategic suppliers
We run a global tech procurement process with a very visible pipeline and workflow for the hundreds of people who need to be involved and informed. Once we have experimented with a product or solution and our teams have self selected to drive it globally we will seek a global framework agreement where we get the best engagement model, terms and support. We also seek to sit on the Customer Advisory Board of each strategic supplier to help with product direction and we are vocal advocates for our strategic suppliers. Examples are AWS, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, NetApp, Dropbox, Okta, New Relic, Apple, Lenovo.
Describe the technology innovations that you have introduced in the last year and what they have enabled
Some examples: Okta - single sign on - improved employee experience, infosec posture and support efficiencies. Google Apps and Dropbox for the entire group for seamless collaboration within, across and external to business units - Slack for certain business teams. New Relic - dramatically improved insights into operation, performance and customer experience on digital products and services. Cloudhealth - much improved capability to manage our significant (over 10,000 servers) public cloud infrastructure.
What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom? What uniquely do they bring?
We bring the strategic suppliers fully into the tent and make them a part of the team and encourage frequent and deep communication - they are a key part of our delivery capability and we are a key part of their product development capability
How do you rank the following as sources about innovative tech suppliers?
1. Analyst houses
2. CIO peers
4. Industry body
Has your organisation detected a cyber intrusion in the last 12 months?
How is cyber-security led and discussed by senior management?
When did you start your current role?
What is your reporting line?
Are you a member of the board of directors?
What number of users does your department supply services to?
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?
Are you increasing your headcount to bring skills and the ability to react to needs in-house?