Among the vast number of objects connected to the web in the internet of things, Keith Hopkinson can contribute one more type: cows. The initiative is among the new information-based applications that underpin new customer services and the complex biotech products being brought to market by his rollout of such scientific computing capabilities as a Hadoop processing environment. By demonstrating what technology can bring to the business, he has so stimulated the business desire to use technology that the IT group is set to grow by 50% over the next nine months.

Name and job title
Keith Hopkinson, Chief Information Officer, Genus.

How are you influencing the products, experience and services your organisation offers to its customers?
With new web-based offerings using HTML5 that are customer-facing mobile applications to improve customer experience. With new information-based applications that have enabled the company to market new services to customers. And with new scientific computing capabilities, including a Hadoop processing environment, that are enabling new complex biotechnology products to be brought to market.

How as CIO have you driven cultural and behaviour change in your organisation, and to what extent?
By working with groups to demonstrate what technology can bring to the business. The business desire to use technology has resulted in plans to increase the size of the Genus IT group by 50% over the next nine months.

Define the key business outcomes that you have delivered over the last 12 months and their impact on your organisation's company performance
The rollout of mobile applications and mobile devices across the worldwide business enabled improved customer experience and service, and new product offerings, which are seen as key by business leaders to transform the business model. New high-performance scientific computing capability enables new products to be developed and brought to market.

Describe how you have used organisational and third-party information to provide insight that has benefited your organisation, its customers and products or services
Genus has used big data (internally called real-world data – a combination of organisational and third-party information) to develop and offer new services to customers – for example, TransitionRight Genetics.

Describe how you organise and operate IT and how this aligns effectively with business strategy and operations
IT is split between support, infrastructure, applications, development and knowledge management. Each of my direct reports in these areas also has a dotted line responsibility into different business leadership teams. This ensures close business alignment and a relationship at board level, operational level and down through the business and IT organisations.

Describe your role in the development of digital strategy in your organisation
I play the leading role in working with the wider business to define our digital strategy (as effective acting CDO).

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
Close working relationship with business, working to identify improvements in processes and service.

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?
Meetings, discussions, videoconferencing and presentations to the board.

How do you use social networks to engage in conversations across the industry about the opportunities and challenges technology is creating?
Member of various discussion groups on social media.

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?
Trough specific project groups and steering committees, and the IT organisation linked to the business leadership groups.

Describe how you keep up to date with developments in technology and IT management
Discussion with fellow CIOs, attending industry events, reading articles and the web, CIO Plus events.

Provide an example of how you have developed the diversity and improved the culture of your team
We seek to ensure we have resources spread around the world, working together in virtual teams. 26% of our IT group is female, and we have 10 nationalities within the group.

Describe how you collaborate and influence the organisation and its leadership team
Regular meetings and discussions both at CxO level and encouraged down through the organisation.

Tell us how you have developed your own management, leadership and personal skills
Over the last 12 months I have attended two residential training courses: advanced leadership training and managing high-performing teams. I am also a school governor, which brings a good cross-fertilisation of management, leadership and personal skills.

What new technologies are you investigating, tracking or experimenting with?
Data analytics, IoT – devices connected to cows.

How do you decide where to apply the best technological approach?
Very much horses for courses. We use the cloud for services, as well as on-premise. As well as standardised products, we use both in-house and external development teams for bespoke work.

Do you give yourself and your team time each month to assess or learn about technology vendors outside of the established providers?
Talking to new vendors on a needs basis.

Describe your sourcing strategy and your strategic suppliers
We focus on standardised systems and devices where possible – purchased outright. Strategic suppliers: Oracle, Microsoft, Dell, Apple, EE.

Describe the technology innovations that you have introduced in the last year and what they have enabled
MDM – control of mobile devices. Virtual meeting rooms – technology to allow audio and visual connectivity from any to any technology (VC systems, Lync, Skype, web, cellphones, etc) and for both for internal and customers/partners/suppliers.

What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom? What uniquely do they bring?
Purchased Snow s/w asset management to bring global visibility and control to our software estate. Moving our intranet into the cloud for improved connectivity and functionality. Moving to the cloud for our HR systems – bringing standardisation to our applications.

Rank in order of importance your sources for innovative technology suppliers
1 Analyst houses. 2 CIO peers. 3 Media. 4 Consultants. 5 Industry body.

Has your organisation detected a cyber intrusion in the last 12 months?
Yes.

Is cyber security led and discussed by senior management?
Yes.

When did you start your current role?
2009.

What is your reporting line?
CFO.

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

What is the annual IT budget?
£10m.

How much of your IT budget is capital and how much revenue?
20% capital, 80% revenue.

What is your budget's operational/development split?
70% operational, 30% new developments.

How many users does your department supply services to?
2,500.

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?
Yes.

Does your IT organisation operate an apprenticeship scheme?
No.

How many employees are there in your IT team?
44

Are you increasing your headcount to bring skills and the ability to react to needs in-house?
Yes.

What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff?
Currently 37%, but will fall to 10% as we increase the size of the IT group this year.