By optimising resources, technologies and processes, Jane Moran has delivered enormous savings – 25% on operating expenditure and 50% on capital expenditures to date. By leveraging the scale of the organisation and building centres of development, as well as by focusing on talent development and diversity, she has delivered a much more effective operating model as measured by productivity and a reduction in consultancy.

Job title
CIO

Company name
Unilever

How are you influencing the products, customer experience and services your organisation offers to its customers?
IT is a key partner in helping to deliver the digital capabilities to reach 1B consumers through digital marketing, e-commerce and traditional commerce channels. We are a key partner in our R&D labs, helping to digitise our research and laboratory work. We are a key partner with supply chain and marketing, helping both to manufacture and market for our consumers. IT at Unilever underpins every part of the business in delivering for our consumers.

Define the key business outcomes that you have delivered over the last 12 months and their impact on your organisation’s performance
Overall, I would describe my last year as the Unilever CIO as helping the organisation shift to both a digital and an agile IT organisation, while maintaining fit-for-purpose legacy in the most efficient way possible. Significant accomplishments include:

  • currently leading transformational change programmes on key software applications globally to align to strategic application architecture
  • driving simplification and standardisation of business systems to provide greater impact on business outcomes measured by improving the ratio of strategic to legacy systems, and increasing the percentage of staff working on strategic
  • delivering planned budget and realising savings (25% opex, 50% capex to date) through optimisation of resources, technologies and processes
  • managing global team of approximately 2,100 internal FTEs and 5,000 external resources, delivering significantly more effective operating model measured by productivity and reduction of consulting resources by leveraging the scale of the organisation and building centres of development, as well as focusing on talent development and diversity; this programme includes a significant shift to dev/ops and agile methodologies globally
  • transforming application of portfolio by moving to strategic application architecture, and retiring legacy systems; inherited 4,000+ applications and 8,000 technology services, with half designated as legacy; almost 50% of legacy has been retired, and there are plans to retire the remaining 50% over the next two years.

What has been your involvement with innovation at your organisation – in particular, with products, business model and technology – over the last 12 months?
IT is a key partner in helping to drive product and business model innovation in our organisation through our work with many of the business functions, including marketing, R&D, supply chain, HR and finance.

With regards to technology innovation, while Unilever embraced digital for marketing over three years ago, we are now in a world where digital is everywhere – supply chain, finance, employee, R&D, etc. In addition, while it was fashionable to outsource many of the IT capabilities five, 10, 15 years ago – now it’s an imperative to have core technology thought leadership and capabilities within an organisation. I developed an IT strategy featuring a strategic application architecture with a platform-based approach. Key applications include Salesforce.com, Workday, SAP, Microsoft, Adobe and Oracle. This new strategy includes insourcing key technology roles.

How have you delivered cultural and behavioural change as a CIO within the IT department and/or more broadly across the organisation?
As mentioned above, the shift in IT to move to a platform-based strategy includes a significant shift to dev/ops and agile methodologies globally. Most of the team has been trained or is in the process of being trained in new technologies and ways of working.

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?
I have presented to the Unilever board three times in three years to review the IT/technology strategy and progress of the strategy, as well as quarterly updates to our executive team.

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?
As part of the new IT platform strategy, I am working closely with strategic software vendor partners, including CEOs, CTOs, CIOs, to influence roadmaps and ultimately reduce the need for internal customisations.

How have you tried to develop the diversity of your team?
Unilever has worked hard over the past four years to improve gender diversity specifically, which has moved from approximately 30% in 2013 to almost 40% today. We also believe all types of diversity (age, race, culture, sexual orientation, and gender) create more creative and more productive teams. We actively recruit with culturally diverse candidate slates.

Describe how you organise and operate IT and how this aligns effectively with business strategy and operations
We are organised into teams supporting three main areas: 1) business engagement and portfolio management delivers capabilities supporting our business functions, 2) core technology includes IT strategy and shared services (release management, incident management, helpdesk), information/cybersecurity and enterprise architecture, 3) geography IT supports the technology in the markets we serve.

What strategic technology deals have you made in the last year and who are your main suppliers and IT partners?
Our top suppliers include: Salesforce, Microsoft, SAP, Workday, Oracle, Adobe, AWS, BT, Accenture, Cap Gemini, IBM, HCL and Infosys.

What are your key strategic aims for next year?

  1. provide enhanced IT portfolio management
  2. drive competitive advantage – drive and pioneer technology to drive competitive advantage including AI, blockchain, robotics, cyber, etc,. and deliver and extend key programmes
  3. continue to build a high-performing IT team.

How are you preparing for any impacts Brexit might have on your organisation?
IT works closely with the rest of our organisation on all potential global, social, political impacts – including Brexit.

YOUR ROLE

When did you start your current role?
June 2014

What is your reporting line?
I report to our CFO.

Are you a member of the executive leadership?
No

Are you a member of the board of directors?
No

What other emerging roles does your organisation have and what is their relationship to you?
None.

How often do you meet with your organisation’s CEO or equivalent?
Quarterly

How many people at your organisation does your function supply services to?
Over 100,000

CIO INFLUENCES

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

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

IT SECURITY

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

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

Does your organisation have a designated security professional – CISO or otherwise – and what is their relationship to you?
Yes – our CISO reports to me.

RECRUITMENT

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?
2,100

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

TECHNOLOGY

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

  • cloud
  • data analytics/business intelligence
  • ERP
  • CRM
  • datacentre/infrastructure/server
  • IoT
  • security
  • AR/VR
  • enterprise applications
  • machine learning/artificial intelligence
  • social
  • devices (mobile)
  • devices (desktop)
  • wearables
  • 3D printing
  • networking/communications
  • robotics.

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

  • cloud
  • data analytics/business intelligence
  • ERP
  • CRM
  • datacentre/infrastructure/server
  • IoT
  • security
  • AR/VR
  • enterprise applications
  • machine learning/artificial intelligence
  • social
  • devices (mobile)
  • devices (desktop)
  • wearables
  • 3D printing
  • networking/communications.

What emerging technologies are you investigating or expect to have a big impact on your sector or organisation?
All of the above.

THE EU

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

Does your department include technology staff from the EU?
Yes

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