by CIO Staff

Sky CTO Didier Lebrat Q&A

Sep 02, 2015
Media and Entertainment IndustryMobileSmall and Medium Business

Didier Lebrat has been Chief Technology Officer at BSky since December 2006 and see mobile technologies as the biggest transformation driver for the business with the opportunities in both customer products and enterprise applications for employees on the move. The current focus for the CTO and the Sky technology team Lebrat aims to empower is the complete re-engineering of their strategic customer platforms and a focus on the customer to support revenue growth, as well as a cost-efficiency programme to improve the media company’s delivery costs.

What is your reporting line? CEO

Do you meet with and discuss business strategy with the CEO every week? Yes

Are you a member of the board of directors? No

What other executive boards do you sit on? Executive committee

Does your organisation have a CDO? Yes

What different responsibilities does the CDO have? Digital revenue and the customer experience.

What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation? Technology procurement and IT security.

How many employees does your organisation have? 3500

Does your organisation carry out significant trade in the EU? No

What number of users does your department supply services to? 11 million customers through CRM and TV, broadband, and telephony products we develop and operate), as well as 23,000 employees.

How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business’s products? Ongoing customer surveys.

Skytechnology strategy and IT agenda

Is your organisation being disrupted by the internet, mobility or technology oriented start-ups? Yes

Are you empowered by your organisation to disrupt from the inside? Yes

Describe a disruptive measure you’ve led or played a major part in? Biggest OTT (PayTV over Internet) in Europe through leading Sky Go and NowTV products.

What major transformation project has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation? Complete re-engineering of CRM and OTT platforms, which were developed in house.

What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation? Revenue growth, lower operating costs.

How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project. Empower the best people to execute a clearly defined strategy.

What key technologies do you consider enable transformation? Mobile, both for customer products and employee corporate applications

Are you increasing the number of cloud applications or infrastructure in use at your organisation? Yes

What is your information and data analytics vision for the organisation? Big Data to complement traditional BI.

How is mobile and social networking impacting operations and customer experience? Significantly to enhance product capability and enable personalisation and real time interaction with customers/audience.

Describe your strategic vision towards shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives and employees around choice? The only way to avoid shadow IT is to provide a better alternative. The rule should be full transparency (i.e. no decision to be made by the business without informing the technology department) to ensure compliance in terms of security and data protection. The technology has ultimately the right to veto. BYOD is encouraged for mobile and smartphone access for a limited set of corporate applications in a strictly controlled environment.

SkyIT security and budget

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

Has cyber-security risen up your management agenda? Yes

Does your organisation understand the potential cyber-security threats it faces? Yes

Has this led to an increase in your security budget? Yes

What is the IT budget? IT is an integral part of the technology department dealing with Customer Product, Broadband Network, and Broadcast TV on top of traditional IT (corporate systems and CRM). The total cash budget is greater than £1 billion.

How much is the IT operational spend compared to the revenue as a percentage? 2%

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year? 1. Complete the complete re-engineering of two strategic platforms (CRM and OTT) to support customer growth 2. Deliver the technology components for the launch of new strategic customer products supporting revenue growth 3. Cost efficiency programme to further improve our delivery costs.

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

Are you looking for recruits in the EU to fill the skills shortage you have? Yes

Does your IT organisation operate an apprenticeship scheme Yes

Skytechnology department

How would you describe your leadership style? Inclusive and empowering. Select accountable and competent people to work for you and support them.

How have youe supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and vision? Ongoing interaction complemented with leadership training courses organised at company level (one of the key benefits is networking with peers in other departments i.e. Marketing, Content etc).

How many employees are in your IT team? Total technology 3500, IT circa 2000.

What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff? Circa 70% in house (including some individual contractors). Very little use of large integrators, some offshoring (300 people).

Does your team include key skilled workers from the EU? Yes