At Heathrow Airport, Chief Information Officer Stuart Birrell has completely remodelled the IT operating model to address the modern challenges of digital automation, AI and business expectations.

He has been reimagining the IT function to lead, coach and support the business in innovation. He has been laying the foundations for an innovation hub to bring together tech, operations and sustainability to address the business's core strategic challenges. It all builds on work his team's work from 2017 using IT to help teams across Heathrow meet their business challenges, running trials and creating and launching apps. In the past 12 months, he has hosted trials of autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, biometrics and blockchain-based digital identity.

Refreshed corporate devices, Microsoft Office 365 and Windows 10 were rolled out in 2017, and all staff migrated to the cloud. The goal is to give colleagues more choice over when and how they work. Colleague WiFi has been deployed across the airport, and the old intranet replaced by a new online collaboration space that can be accessed from any device, bringing all staff together for the first time.

Birrell has been satisfying the big appetite to move away from manual paper-based processes to cloud-based machine learning. In the past 12 months, his team has built a business intelligence hub in the cloud that pushes out real-time insights and generates predictive analytics. Airline partners can now use a dashboard to check things like which flight connections are at risk and the number of passengers affected – all from a mobile device.