Cape CIO Dave Jones helped the industrial services company develop its own works control system, rather than go with an off-the-shelf alternative, to manage a multimillion pound project which has been a strategic differentiator for the organisation and help it win more business.

Job title

Company name
Cape plc

How are you influencing the products, customer experience and services your organisation offers to its customers?
Cape’s products and services go to global customers in international locations. My role influences how we deliver these large-scale industrial services, and how technology can assist our service delivery. For example, in 2014 Cape won a major contract to deliver scaffolding, access and painting services on the Chevron-operated gas construction project in northwest Australia. One of my first challenges in the group CIO role was to collaborate with the regional managing director and his team so that we could develop bespoke systems to manage the project that would deliver better project controls than the off-the-shelf products that did not meet our requirements.

The business became aware of the merits of this approach, and we developed the systems which are now embedded into the site’s operations. In 2016 we were awarded additional work packages, based on delivering operational excellence, innovation in project management, and cost savings through productivity and workforce management. With the additional services and work packages, the revenue for this project grew significantly.

These types of systems have been branded internally as OnSite and viewed by our clients as a strategic differentiator. Our Asia Pacific business in particular states that none of our competitors offers the same kind of system today, so this gives us a real competitive advantage and is cited as a major reason for recently winning more business, such as a project for Woodside-operated Karratha gas plant life extension.

A key project throughout 2016 was the global ERP selection, defining the shortlist and reviewing the systems. The critical influence for my position was to ensure the selected product would not only meet the organisation’s current requirements, but more importantly be capable of supporting the future vision. Ensuring we selected a product which was cloud-ready, and able to integrate with current systems like OnSite and with emerging technologies such as IoT and support further mobile and digital transformation.

Define the key business outcomes that you have delivered over the last 12 months and their impact on your organisation’s performance
A key business outcome has been delivered through the globalisation of the group IT/IS function, infrastructure, systems and organisation. Previously operating autonomously at regional level, with IT departments run from the UK, the Middle East, Asia and Australia, the department has been transformed into a truly global IT function, implementing a global strategy with local execution.

Cape has led the sector during the implementation of a cloud strategy, consolidating numerous non-standard messaging and communications platforms on one global platform. It has provided Cape with a corporate identity when dealing with global blue-chip clients. The internal impact has been connecting the global Cape workforce in 19 countries, in areas with remote and hostile environments. We have provided a group-wide communications platform, driving the sharing of best practice, innovation and ideas.

The ability to instantly communicate with individuals and groups within the organisation has resulted in significant performance improvements, quicker decision-making and major reduction in travel costs. The business has developed teams of TAs (technical authorities), who are supporting and collaborating on technical issues and opportunities globally. The technology provides a perfect platform to enable this – it typically saves each individual up to two days’ travelling time for international meetings.

From a service delivery function we have migrated to one ITIL-based service desk system, replacing several regional systems. We now know the volume of calls is around 2,500 per month and which countries they are coming from, and can plan our resource to provide the optimum support resource. We have visibility of customer satisfaction: 82% of users surveyed are satisfied or very satisfied with our response. A global IT team enables the organisation’s support function to offer the business ‘follow the sun’ support 18 hours per day, compared with the previous regional offering of nine hours a day.

This extended support has a direct impact on the organisation’s performance due to speedier resolution of issues. Since implementing the new model, the business has benefited – for example, the UK team intercepted and dealt with a ransomware issue for an Australian user working a night shift. The incident was isolated and dealt with, avoiding what could have been a high-impact incident prior to the global shift.

IT security products have been globalised and standardised, replacing regional variances, and new products have been implemented. These have given us a group-wide view of security incidents and helped us eliminate problems such as ransomware. In the first three quarters of 2016 Cape suffered 13 ransomware incidents, including in the UK, Qatar, the UAE, the Philippines and Australia – with two were categorised as high impact due to some lost productivity.

Throughout 2016 we delivered a user educational project to increase our workforce awareness on IT security and risk. This included posted campaigns, which were translated from English to Hindi, Arabic, Tamil, Malayalam, Nepalese, Bangladeshi, Tagalog and Russian to maximise the impact throughout our diverse workforce, many of whom are unable to read or speak English.

What has been your involvement with innovation at your organisation – in particular, with products, business model and technology – over the last 12 months?

Product innovation: We have worked in collaboration with the operational excellence director and supporting teams to develop bespoke systems to manage our activities and services on large industrial assets. OnSite is a group-wide, standardised, single-instance database that integrates sites as they are added, allowing them to adopt its systemisation and data collection methodology. It enables us to share, measure and track information, and deliver site management and client feedback. It provides a platform for all of our system innovations to be rolled out across Cape.

Business model innovation: The systems developed are ahead what our key competitors can offer. By demonstrating these systems to our blue-chip clients, we provide evidence that we have the management information they require. For example, for scaffolding we can show the client all standing scaffolds on their assets, location, time in situ, full history of inspection details, time and cost to erect, time and cost to dismantle, and materials used. This information demonstrates we are operating safely and efficiently on their assets and projects. This drives a key element of our business strategy relating to customer intimacy. These systems have been cited as a key reason for recent current major contract wins or extensions.

Technology innovation: The oil and gas, petrochemical and power generation environments we operate in are varied and often subject to stringent policies on safety and security. The technology we deploy to deliver accurate and reliable information ranges from web-based applications to mobile technology using intrinsically safe tablets and mobile applications. My role often includes collaboration with our clients to obtain permission to use the technology when there are concerns regarding safety and security – for example, where we operate in nuclear power stations. We are often the first contractor on sites to request to use such technology and therefore have to satisfy the client that we can comply with their site safety and security regulations.

How have you delivered cultural and behavioural change as a CIO within the IT department and/or more broadly across the organisation?
Within the IT department the CIO role has successfully affected the cultural behaviour of the team by providing a group-wide vision and strategy that aligns to the business requirements. The behavioural change for the IT teams has required them to compromise some of the previous regional autonomy. The senior IT team was formed at the beginning of 2016 and is now functioning as a truly global service to the business.

IT led the way and was the first global shared service to the business. The wider impact on the business is that other functions have seen how this has developed and can follow a similar model. Standardisation is the key, and other departments are following suit. An example is the implementation of a group-wide applicant tracking system to replace regional solutions, resulting in a single interface to apply for roles within Cape. This project is expected to result in significant savings in 2017 by enabling the company to identify employees for re-hire, therefore reducing training costs and improving employee productivity.

The globalisation, simplification and standardisation of the infrastructure and systems are enablers and a platform for major strategic programmes such as Microsoft Dynamics implementation.

I encourage all my senior team members, from IT operations, service delivery, security, and application and development to attend networking events. This in some cases takes them out of their comfort zone, but offers them the opportunity to realise that many organizations have similar challenges and opportunities and discuss how others are approaching them. Feedback post-event has often been along the lines of ‘I thought it would be a waste of time, but I made some really good contacts, who can help with x and y.’

How have you worked with your CEO and/or board to communicate whatever ‘digital’ and IT means to your organisation/sector and improve digital literacy at the highest levels of the organisation?
The board fully understands the potential of implementing and standardising on systems such as OnSite. Our strategy recognises we are implementing industry-leading site systems for projects and maintenance contracts, and group-wide management information system for all functions. These points are included in our formal strategy presentation to investors.

Technology is supporting the business strategy in an increasingly digital age.

How have you worked with the technology and IT vendor market to achieve your business goals? How have you been able to influence IT suppliers and successfully manage your partnerships/relationships with large IT companies, SMEs and startups?
Throughout 2016 we have been working very closely with KPMG and the business, completing workshops for each major function within the business, and identifying the systems requirements for the new ERP solution. This exercise has included reviewing solutions from Microsoft’s certified Independent Software Vender network to identify solutions required which are not covered by the core solution.

I have also been in discussions with a number of vendors to discuss opportunities in our sector – for IoT, for example. I’ve been in discussions with Microsoft and several partners that have delivered solutions in sectors similar to Cape.

Specifically I have been investigating how we can take advantage of connected industry and IoT to track our assets and plant, and generate information on location and utilisation, and the possibility of tracking employee movement and using data to enhance health and safety by using sensors in protective clothing. The solutions I’m looking at are beyond what the business may be considering. I use partnerships with organisations that have delivered successful solutions in similar sectors to educate our business about what is possible.

Some funding is available to proceed on initiatives. However, due to the vast array of opportunities available, the next step is to present some use cases to the business and agree on where we want to focus our resource, time and effort to achieve the best results for the business.

How have you tried to develop the diversity of your team?
Due to the global nature of the support team, we have a wide range of diversity in terms of location, religion, race, etc, already.

We have enhanced the age diversity of the team in 2016 by recruiting at apprentice level. Prior to 2016 we would traditionally look to fill roles with a degree of experience. The apprentice hires have been a breath of fresh air and although we recruit only small numbers, everyone so far as impressed. The apprentices have offered fresh ideas and approach, particularly for product development, with exposure to some of the newer technologies than those currently used. Our team now has a good balance of apprentice-level and senior employees who have been with the company for 20 years or more. We have an opportunity to pass on the tacit knowledge, and provide the apprentices with great career paths.

Describe how you organise and operate IT and how this aligns effectively with business strategy and operations
The mission of Cape’s IT group is to actively support the implementation and execution of the group’s strategy through the efficient and effective deployment of the group’s global IT resources.

The objective is to deliver a reliable, accessible, resilient IT Infrastructure while reducing risk to group-critical information and providing our internal and external customers with quality service delivery.

Business systems are selected, implemented and developed to meet the business requirements, and global standard processes, data and procedures will be adhered to.

IT resources will be mobilised and managed to provide all users with the same secure access, functionality and support wherever they are in the organisation in a standard, reliable and cost-effective way, capitalising on economies of scale for procurement and utilisation wherever appropriate.

The follow the sun model reiterates our commitment and flexibility to respond to emerging operational requirements.

What strategic technology deals have you made in the last year and who are your main suppliers and IT partners?
In 2016 we selected Microsoft Dynamics 365 as our standard ERP system. A group-wide project has now commenced to implement this platform across the business, replacing a variety of legacy systems across all the countries we operate in.

KPMG (CrimsonWing) is the implementation partner, chosen for its global footprint, reputation and regard within Microsoft.

In 2016 we became one of the first UK-based companies to review and implement Cylance across the organisation to provide enhanced protection against emerging security threats.

Currently our main suppliers include Microsoft, SAP, Sage, Pronto, Coins, BT, Telstra, Daisy group, Cylance and KPMG CrimsonWing.

What are your key strategic aims for next year?

  • To support the Dynamics implementation and help deliver the business benefits identified at the outset.
  • To support operational excellence initiatives continuing the implementation of Onsite and the continued development of productivity-enhancing mobile applications.
  • To fully explore the potential in our sector to deploy solutions using connected industry and IoT, specifically for asset tracking and people tracking to improve health and safety performance.


When did you start your current role?
March 2013

What is your reporting line?

Are you a member of the executive leadership?

Are you a member of the board of directors?

What other emerging roles does your organisation have and what is their relationship to you?
Operational excellence director and the programme director for Dynamics are where my main relationships exist.

How often do you meet with your organisation’s CEO or equivalent?
I present to the executive committee and board as required. I meet with the CFO also as required, but typically every couple of weeks.

How many people at your organisation does your function supply services to?


What percentage of your budget is operational spend (ie keeping the lights on) and how much new development (ie innovation, R&D, exploratory IT)?
75 /25


Rank the following sources of advice/information in order of importance:

  1. Analyst houses
  2. CIO peers
  3. Industry bodies
  4. Consultants
  5. Media


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

Are you expecting an increase in budget specific to security in order to tackle the cyber threat?

Does your organisation have a designated security professional – CISO or otherwise – and what is their relationship to you?
Yes, appointed in 2016. Direct report.


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 or planning to bring skills and the ability to react to needs in-house?


Which technologies or areas are you expecting to be investing in over the next year?

  • cloud
  • data analytics/business intelligence
  • ERP
  • datacentre/infrastructure/server
  • IoT
  • security
  • enterprise applications
  • machine learning/artificial intelligence
  • devices (mobile)
  • devices (desktop)
  • wearables.

Which technologies or areas are you expecting to be investing in over the next one to three years?

  • cloud
  • data analytics/business intelligence
  • ERP
  • IoT
  • AR/VR
  • enterprise applications
  • machine learning/artificial intelligence
  • wearables.

What emerging technologies are you investigating or expect to have a big impact on your sector or organisation?
AR/VR, wearables and IoT can all potentially offer significant improvements to our service delivery on our clients’ assets. The group has already delivered a very successful safety training programme using VR technology.


Does your organisation do a significant amount of trade with the EU?

Does your department include technology staff from the EU?

Are you or have you been looking to the EU to recruit key skills?