by CIO Staff

University of Cambridge CIO Martin Bellamy Q&A

Oct 02, 2015
GovernmentIT Strategy

Martin Bellamy, Director of Information Services at the University of Cambridge, was appointed by the Cabinet Office as the first programme director of G-Cloud in 2009, and as such is a proponent of cloud computing as a driver of transformation.

Bellamy also has a focus on enabling the university to benefit from quality digital services to continue the world-leading institution’s excellence in research and education.

Job Title Director of Information Services, University of Cambridge

When did you start your current role? March 2014

What is your reporting line? Chief Executive Officer (Vice Chancellor)

Do you meet with and discuss business strategy with the CEO every week? No – this meeting takes place on a monthly basis

Are you a member of the board of directors? Yes

What other executive boards do you sit on? Information Services Committee

Does your organisation have a CDO? No

What different responsibilities does the CDO have? My remit includes the CDO role as well as the CIO role.

What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation? Responsible for building links with the local community, including local businesses on information-related opportunities including technology, with the objective of facilitating the exchange of ideas and initiating partnership working for mutual benefit.

How many employees does your organisation have? 12,000

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

What number of users does your department supply services to? 50,000

How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business’s products? Via a combination of personal contact with academics, students and senior leaders across the University, and a new IS relationship management organisation that ensures regular engagement across the collegiate University on the breath of service, information management, project and strategy and innovation initiatives and opportunities.

University of Cambridge IT strategy and agenda

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? On being appointed by the Cabinet Office as the first G-Cloud programme director in 2009, I led development of the (now implemented) strategy that proposed that a marketplace of “ready to use” value for money cloud computing services be established for the public sector, bringing the ability to discover, compare and pilot use of new services far more quickly than traditional procurement models permit.

What major transformation project has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation? Integration of four predecessor University wide IT teams into the new “University Information Services” organisation, with the brief to deliver the excellence of IT services to underpin research, teaching and learning and student experience that is appropriate for one of the world’s leading universities.In parallel, transitioning the organisation to a services-based model, strategy and culture.

What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation? Enable the university to continue to benefit from the quality of digital services appropriate for a world leading institution, enabling continued excellence in research and education.

How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project? Success in a large organisation always depends on effective teamwork. I enjoy progressing a collaborative approach, and this works well at the University both in achieving consensus on the way forwards and in engaging colleagues in driving the design and implementation of change.

What key technologies do you consider enable transformation? Cloud computing delivery models (services-based approaches), digital internet-based standards, integrated end-user computing platforms (including mobile), the ever growing capacity and cost efficiency of storage and processing solutions.

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? Data in “systems of record” is systematically organised, non overlapping and retained for appropriate periods. Other source of information created across the University (for example for research projects) are discoverable, with sharing possible subjects to the appropriate agreements. A wide range of analytic models can be applied to datasets, organised into “templates pipelines”, enabling frequent analytic methods to be applied with minimal overhead – and adapted as necessary to meet specific needs.

How is mobile and social networking impacting operations and customer experience? Significantly enhances engagement and convenience, widely used by the University, its staff and students.

In 2014 we extended our university Wi-Fi network to provide “public Wi-Fi access” to several areas of the city centre including one of the largest open areas, Parkers Piece. This facility has been used by many tens of thousands of individuals, and saw particular use when the Tour de France came to Cambridge in summer 2014

Describe your strategic vision towards shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives and employees around choice? The strategy is to embrace distributed development of IT, not to regard it as “shadow IT”. This is essential as the collegiate University consists of approaching 200 institutions, for example departments and colleges. Each of these need to be excellent in its own right and needs to be able to put in place the IT need to underpin its unique strategy and research projects. However as the IT teams intrusions are relatively small, sinful support is needed to ensure innovation can happen at pace, and be cost-effective.

What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom? Oracle – Enterprise Applications, Dell/Intel – High Performance Computing, CISCO – Communication and Collaboration

Who are your main suppliers? Oracle, Dell/Intel, CISCO, Microsoft, Apple

University of Cambridge security and IT budget

Has your organisation detected a cyber intrusion in the last 12 months? No

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? £45m

How much is the IT operational spend compared to the revenue as a percentage? 5%

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year? Implement integrated organisation. Transition to services based model. Implement improved capabilities to underpin research, teaching and learning and student experience.

Are you finding it difficult to recruit the talent you need to drive transformation? No

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? No

Does your IT organisation operate an apprenticeship scheme? No

University of Cambridge IT department

How would you describe your leadership style? Collaborative, supportive and visionary, yet detailed orientated.

How have you supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and vision? A new integrated organisational structure is currently being implemented, with significant senior recruitment underway.

How many employees are in your IT team? 260 centrally working with approx 300 IT colleagues across the other 200 university institutions

What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff? Close to 100% insourced

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