With a good CIO, even aggregates can become exciting. Mike Gibbons hasn't just allowed the business to improve customer relationships and salesforce performance by implementing sales in the cloud and BI. He has also used telemetry information from asphalt pavers to create a mashup app that can map to the metre asphalt laid, together with atmospheric information and volumes for quality checks.

Name and job title
Mike Gibbons, CIO, Aggregate Industries.

How are you influencing the products, experience and services your organisation offers to its customers?
I have co-founded a construction CIO forum. This is a collection of the 10 biggest companies CIOs from the construction sector, who also happen to be our most strategic customers. This has helped us understand how our customers are interacting with and how they wish to. It has allowed us to share our findings and value creation with new and existing technologies. It also allows us to work closely with our national commercial teams, particularly on the large projects.

How as CIO have you driven cultural and behaviour change in your organisation, and to what extent?
I have been active in the UK and globally across the parent company in identifying future business capability and the potential for innovation through better collaboration and longer-term thinking. This has helped the business extend the traditional short-term planning cycle that is a flaw within the sector. This has led to the formation of a technology radar forum that brings members of our executive committee, third parties and representatives from our customers.

Define the key business outcomes that you have delivered over the past 12 months and their impact on your organisation's performance
We have delivered a cloud digital mobile app facility, which offers both the business and our customers a secure accelerated solution delivery facility. This has been particularly valuable in aiding our critical health and safety initiatives with automated data collection combined with BI delivery via Qlik apps. This has also been the case with the recent implementation of Oracle SalesCloud implementation, once again combined with the Qlik BI facility, allowing the business to improve customer relationships and salesforce performance. This has been a major factor in AI outperforming the market. The implementation of Anaplan as our financial planning and commercial forecasting has also created slicker and more cost-effective processes.

Describe how you have used organisational and third-party information to provide insight that has benefited your organisation, its customers and products or services
Our investment in Qlik BI has allowed us to capture information across the organisation (including telemetry data created by operational machinery) that has been presented back through the Qlik BI apps. This has provided critical information on financial, commercial, market, health and safety and operational areas allowing us to deliver our products and services safely, internally efficiently, externally effectively, and allowing product innovation based on our demand and capability. The delivery of this information has played a significant part in differentiating the AI business and allowing us to outperform the market.

Describe how you organise and operate IT and how this aligns effectively with business strategy and operations
Over the last five years we have been shaping IT governance to be business demand-focused. Demand is processed for return on investment and alignment with longer-term business capability and strategy. Effectively we have introduced an enterprise architecture maturity level that is appropriate for our business strategy. However, we have introduced an accelerated solutions delivery capability based on kanban methodologies that has allowed us to embrace a digital mobility facility. It is worth noting that we have resisted two-speed IT and have strived for multi-speed IT, whether dealing with traditional ERP change or mobile apps. Go fast where appropriate, based on active risk management.

Describe your role in the development of digital strategy in your organisation
I have led the birth of a digital strategy within the organisation that has encompassed IT, commercial and marketing, operations, HR, legal and finance. It has meant close engagement with the leadership teams across the operations and functions. And it has meant extended workshops with the business to understand future capabilities and forums to explore new technologies that can help realise the future capabilities and the value these can unlock. We are also exploring creating digital competencies outside of IT, particularly in the marketing team.

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
As mentioned, the IT governance has been designed to capture business demand and treat it against business strategy and return on investment. We have created what we call the radar technology forum to recognise the high potential demand and match this to the most appropriate technology. The radar looks five years ahead, with the emphasis on years one and two. It comprises leaders from our business, our customers and third-party technologists, with input from other sectors through networking establishments.

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 engage with the business through a combination of structured governance forums (IT steering committee, executive committee, regional and divisional meetings, demand committee and radar technology forums). Through more informal methods we reach all employees (IT roadshow clinics that visits our strategic sites, and apps that can be accessed via personal or corporate smartphones). We work closely with the one team, one vision employee collaboration and innovation mechanism, which brings the views and ideas of our employees into focus for delivery. Through Google enterprise we have turned on hangouts, allowing our 4,500 employees across 300 sites to collaborate more effectively.

How do you use social networks to engage in conversations across the industry about the opportunities and challenges technology is creating?
I have used Twitter and LinkedIn to access technology and industry experts, but am more of a traditionalist when it comes to creating lasting and value-adding relationships in that I like to meet and really get to know key people.

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?
The creation of firstly the IT steering committee and latterly the radar technology forum, which brings together the business, key customers , key suppliers and technology experts both within and outside our sector. The creation of the construction CIO forum has also allowed the sharing of technologies across the sector.

Describe how you keep up to date with developments in technology and IT management
I am part of the CIO Connect advisory board, a Qlik luminary, have spoken at the cloud summit and am regularly asked to speak on BI, cloud and digital transformation. Am recognised throughout Lafarge Holcim (parent and largest construction materials company in the world) as a highly business-oriented CIO and innovator. I have been involved in the development of BIM (building information modelling) and in advances in our product technologies (eg, 3D concrete printing).

Provide an example of how you have developed the diversity and improved the culture of your team
We have been active in looking at the personal development of all members of my team and their physical and mental health. Last year we introduced the Healthy You initiative to help our employees become healthier and recognise and cope with mental health issues. We have provided coaching in cohesive team building and the concept of DiSC profiling, so they understand themselves and their colleagues better. We have also introduced flexiworking, a concept we saw at Vodafone.

Describe how you collaborate and influence the organisation and its leadership team
I have created close relationships with all the members of the AI executive committee. I work with them collectively and individually. I have created support mechanisms for them through the training of their PAs and carefully selected IT support engineers who have the people skills and technical skills needed to give executives the support to get the most from their deployed technology. We have looked at their behaviour from a cyber security perspective, working with them so they avoid or reduce the real and significant risks that exist today. We have also encouraged them to think more about future capabilities, providing a trusted environment so they are happy to speak freely without being technically intimidated. I can say with confidence I have high levels of trust and credibility with all members of the leadership team.

Tell us how you have developed your own management, leadership and personal skills
I have been mentoring young professionals with non-IT roles in our organisation for several years. I sit on the leadership development panel for AI, advising, mentoring and coaching aspiring leaders in our organisation. As part of this I lecture several times a year at the Loughborough University business school.

I sit on a number of advisory boards including CIO Connect. I am involved in the Action For Children sleep-out initiative called Byte Night, and am in my second year of co- chairing the Midlands Byte Night board. We raised £130k last year and are looking to raise another £150k in 2016.

I have become a luminary for Qlik due to our outstanding work in the BI field. I am also recognised as an innovator and highly effective collaborator across the extended (Lafarge Holcim) business. I am a trustee director of the AI pension scheme.

What new technologies are you investigating, tracking or experimenting with?
We have been promoting data analytics through our Qlik BI footprint and pushing self-service, particularly in the commercial areas. We have been tracking 3D concrete printing and collaborating with Loughborough University, where research is advanced in this area. There are only two other serious research facilities in this area. One is the University of Southern California and the other is in China where the production of homes has already started using this pioneering technology. We are also exploring sensor technology with concrete products in relation to BIM (we are the most advanced materials supplier in this area) and in relation to smart buildings and smart cities.

How do you decide where to apply the best technological approach?
For the past five years we have been developing and following a cloud strategy in combination with a mature ERP estate. This has meant developing an integration strategy and policy around the management of master data.

Do you give yourself and your team time each month to assess or learn about technology vendors outside of the established providers?
Yes. We are quite structured about creating time for my leadership team to network externally effectively. I hold two team meetings each week. One is tactical (day-to-day management of issues and opportunities). The other is a strategic meeting where we will discuss two or three issues that may require research or external resources to advise or guide.

Describe your sourcing strategy and your strategic suppliers
We have a small number of strategic suppliers for key areas of technology or service. We have recently embarked on a strategic deal with Vodafone for our mobile, voice and data estate. They are providing a design and innovation service to bring solutions to us from outside and within our sector. We also have established key relationships with several cloud vendors such as Google, Service Now, Anaplan, Coupa and Salescloud, and shortly with Workday. We have also established a close relationship with an organisation that can both support and develop our ERP footprint.

Describe the technology innovations that you have introduced in the last year and what they have enabled
We have been working closely with the business to share information on the Google Drive facility, weaning them off the MS Office alternatives. This has allowed us to reduce costs and time on the creation of shared documents and information. We have brought together telemetry information from asphalt pavers and created a mashup app using Qlik and Google maps so we can map to the metre asphalt laid, together with atmospheric information and volumes for quality checks.

We have introduced significant improvements in the speed and efficiency of the month-end process by utilising Anaplan technology and Google Drive. We have also introduced a digital mobility app generation facility that uses kanban to deliver health and safety apps (such as an interactive safety tour) and apps for our customers for product and outlet location information.

What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom? What uniquely do they bring?
We have struck deals with Vodafone for their latest data, mobile and voice cloud technologies.

Rate how important your sources of innovative technology suppliers are

  • Always referred to: industry body.
  • Often use: analyst houses, consultants, CIO peers, media.

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

How is cyber security led and discussed by senior management?
We regular meet with the senior leadership team, often bringing in cyber experts. As well as deploying and training and testing the understanding of technical directives, we have worked even harder on behavioural aspects, particularly with senior management. Last year and this year we commissioned short animated features with ITN Productions, creating a character known as the Cybe Hood. These films have been shown around the world within Lafarge Holcim and shared and used by our customers to great effect. I and our head of information security network engage the leadership team, often challenging them on physical as well cyber issues and risks.

When did you start your current role?
2007.

What is your reporting line?
Deputy CEO and CFO.

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

What is the annual IT budget?
£15m.

How much of your IT budget is capital and how much revenue?
70% revenue, 30% capital.

What is your budget's operational/development split?
60%/30%.

How many users does your department supply services to?
4,500.

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?
Yes.

How many employees are there in your IT team?
70.

Are you increasing your headcount to bring skills and the ability to react to needs in-house?
No.

What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff?
70% in-house.