Kingston Communications, the £450 million East Yorkshire telco, has been through major changes in its business over the last few years. Especially internally where the company’s group IT director, Philip Raddon, who in his own words has led a process where, “we developed a vision of where we wanted IT to be – then we had to work out how to get there”.
Raddon has held the role at Kingston Communications for four years, having previously occupied the equivalent position at Eircom in Ireland, where he led a transformation of the telco’s IT organisation from an internal function to a standalone external line of business.
Raddon says that he sees his value-add to the business as being around change management and business transformation, which meant he could hardly turn down the chance to move to Kingston Communications when it was presented to him. “The company was on the brink of making really significant inroads into major communications opportunities in the UK but was being held back, in senior management’s view, by an IT organisation that wasn’t delivering,” he says. “To get to where it needed to be, there had to be a big change – what was there wasn’t suitable for that job, there wasn’t the robust platform and delivery of IT that was necessary. So I saw the challenge as a combination of inaugurating major change and also as a great opportunity.”
The intervening years have been about such transformation. Does he feel he has succeeded? “In many ways, yes. But we had a lot to do. We soon realised that we could hardly talk to our peers in the business groups about what we could do for them when IT was in such a shambles,” says Raddon. “We had to start by building greater credibility, by getting IT more active and involved in business problems.”
Many organisations might have considered outsourcing as a solution – not Raddon. “If anything I’d say we’re doing more insourcing. We believe in involving our people in change, about getting IT to help look at where the group as a whole wants to go.”
Key to moving forward, for him and his 200-strong IT team, has been working on strategy, defining critical success factors and improving the project management framework.
Raddon decided not to focus on techniques like IT Infrastructure Library. “We didn’t go down that route – more useful to us has been the idea of the balanced business scorecard. I find that a great way to measure progress and achieve strategic aims,” he says. In fact, so successful has been IT’s use of the approach that Kingston as a group has started making much more use of the technique. The organisation has also committed to the European Foundation for Quality Management process.
"We developed a vision of where we wanted IT to be – then we had to work out how to get there "
Philip Raddon, IT director, Kingston Communications
Raddon adds: “I am a big believer in continuous improvement and investing in people.” So more change is on the cards for the organisation, it seems.