Innovation comes naturally to Richard Gifford. He plans to use IoT sensors imbedded in concrete to determine thermodynamic characteristics. With that information used to refine the algorithms that control that characteristic, the result will be a higher-quality product for customers and a more efficient operation.
Name and job title
Richard Gifford, CIO and transformation director, Carillion.
How are you influencing the products, experience and services your organisation offers to its customers?
The Carillion trading model is B2B. However, we include a high degree of innovation in all the bids we work on. Increasingly we are surfacing opportunities to our key suppliers where selective deployment of capex will expand the services offered to our customers and yield additional revenues.
How as CIO have you driven cultural and behaviour change in your organisation and to what extent?
We are driving innovation across the group and to this end have set up an innovation and productivity group made up of a cohort of senior and operational mangers. This team work to promote innovation where cultural change reinforced with incentives is at the core of their activities. We have also set up a technical innovation group whose role it is to find technical solutions, prototype and deploy into our projects and contracts.
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 the first phase of our digital workplace, enabling staff to work from any location in a collaborative fashion. Building information management has been deployed to improve the process of delivering facilities. Through this we have brought many sources of data together to simulate the planning, design, construction and operation of the facility. .
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 continue to drive our BI strategy to empower decision-makers to use information to improve performance and drive strategic decision making. We are actively looking into areas where third-party information can be combined to advantage. We have plans in this area but have yet to implement. At its simplest level we are going to use IoT sensors imbedded in concrete to determine thermodynamic characteristics. This info is then stored in the cloud and used to refine the algorithms to improve accuracy. The benefit of this is a higher quality build for our customers and an improvement in efficiency of our operation.
Describe how you organise and operate IT and how this aligns effectively with business strategy and operations
We have recently re-organised our ICT team, retaining only the demand function and with all supply activities provided by our ITO partner and other strategic partners. This allows the retained organisation to focus on driving the business goals through strategy, architecture, business relationship and security.
Describe your role in the development of digital strategy in your organisation
This starts with briefings to the top team and then cascades down through the diverse business units. We have also been working with a number of UK universities, which advise and fast-start initiatives.
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
Working closely with our in-house operational excellence team, we go into business units to redesign processes where the focus is on the customer and support this with technology. This year we have spent a good deal of time working with a part of our civil engineering business to achieve this, The outcome will be to be leaner and have additional capacity to bid and take on further work for key customers.
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?
In addition to having representation at business unit management meetings, we use Yammer to promote key messages and discussions.
How do you use social networks to engage in conversations across the industry about the opportunities and challenges technology is creating?
We bring in a number of social feeds and use Yammer internally.
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?
We do this via representation on the business units' management teams and via our technology innovation group, which has representation from all parts of our business.
Describe how you keep up to date with developments in technology and IT management
We attend focused events which support our strategy, use a number of advisory bodies and attend CIO roundtables.
Provide an example of how you have developed the diversity and improved the culture of your team
This year we have recruited and promoted a number of women into our team. The team is made up of a number of non-UK nationals and 80% of the team is based in India.
Describe how you collaborate and influence the organisation and its leadership team
Formally through attendance, briefings at management meetings, working on projects and one-to-ones. Informally via pre-established relationships where expertise is recognised.
Tell us how you have developed your own management, leadership and personal skills, perhaps through mentoring, training or external activities
I have undertaken a number of training courses over the past year and provide external consultancy.
How do you decide where to apply the best technological approach?
Our approach is cloud first and only if this is impractical seek to deploy an on-premises solution. We minimise in-house development to areas where we will obtain clear strategic benefit but do have an in-house apps team.
Do you give yourself and your team time each month to assess or learn about technology vendors outside of the established providers?
Yes, this is very much encouraged although we do not measure it each month.
Describe your sourcing strategy and your strategic suppliers
We have a number of primary partners including Wipro, BT, 02, Microsoft and IBM. We will use other suppliers for specialist services.
Describe the technology innovations that you have introduced in the last year and what they have enabled
There have been many. The key one that has not only reduced costs but been made available to the majority of our employees is Skype for Business. This has greatly enhanced the way people work, collaborate and meet.
What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom? What uniquely do they bring?
02 and Microsoft underpin the previous answer. We are currently in negotiations for replacement of our core systems that underpin our business services and which will provide additional business capability.
Rate how important your sources of innovative technology suppliers are
- Always referred to: analyst houses.
- Often use: industry body, media.
- Occasionally use: consultants, CIO peers.
Has your organisation detected a cyber intrusion in the last 12 months?
How is cyber security led and discussed by senior management?
This is a board-level conversation.
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?
What is your budget's operational/development split?
How many 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?
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?
20% in-house, 80% outsourced.