London is huge, with more than 8.4 million residents within its nearly 660 square miles. With an annual budget of some \u00a310.9 billion and more than 27,000 full-time employees, TfL is responsible for the daily operation of London\u2019s entire public-transport network, which includes the city\u2019s buses, the London Underground network, Docklands Light Railway, London Overground, Barclays Cycle Hire, Tramlink and five percent of the city\u2019s road network. Leading TfL\u2019s IT team for the last two and half years is Steve Townsend.\nWhat are some of your top challenges?\nWe\u2019re looking at back-office processes around our ERP solutions. How can we get the organisation to think differently about working practices to drive greater collaboration between silos or pillars of activity, such as HR, finance and customer relationships? What layers of technologies do we need to support it? For that, we have a program called Run Better, and it\u2019s really gathering momentum.\nWe\u2019re also looking at what we do with data. People would say big data is necessary for what we\u2019re doing. I would say it\u2019s more about smarter data. That is, what have we got? How can we deliver it to make people think differently? How can they do their jobs differently?\nAnalytics help us, too. What\u2019s happening with transport generally around London? Where are the flows? Where are the bottlenecks? Also, we want to make that information available not just to those people who control it, but also to the people who have to think about it.\nProductivity is important. So we\u2019re looking at how we utilize some of the data assets we collect from people who use our services around London \u2014 whether that\u2019s a bus, taxi, riverboat, traditional railway overground or underground, Docklands Light Railway, or even a cable car across the Thames.\nA long list. How do you manage it all?\nIt used to be that we\u2019d do a project, and then we\u2019d refresh it every five years. But since I've been in the chair, we\u2019ve taken a different approach. Now we\u2019re constantly refreshing and changing the way we deliver data to people. So, as opposed to completing a project and then stopping for a couple of years, this is a process of constant improvement. What\u2019s forcing this is the realization that a \u201cone size fits all\u201d mentality cannot work in such a complicated organisation as ours.\nHow do you communicate and coordinate with the business \u2014 that is, TfL\u2019s many disparate operations? \nIn the past, we used to run good, old-fashioned governance meetings. Now we\u2019ve actually turned that on its head: We go to our operating businesses and utilize their meeting structure and their collaboration forums to understand what it is that they\u2019re doing. So instead of a technically led environment, it becomes a business-led environment.\nThe other thing we do is to actually understand our operating businesses. So instead of having a developer, infrastructure engineer or service-desk person work in almost complete isolation, as we did in the past, now we invite them to work with the operating businesses. That way, they can understand what languages the businesses utilize and what their problems are.\nTechnology as-a-Service is transforming the IT world. How about at TfL?\nYes, it\u2019s something we utilize where appropriate. But people think that you can deliver all of your services right away across a public sector organisation. In some cases, that works well, because the information classification works well as a service; in other words, we\u2019re not overly concerned with where that data is. But there are other areas where we have to hold the compliance and regulations clauses a little closer to the chest.\nAre you using the cloud? If so, how?\nYes, we\u2019re already using public cloud for certain elements of our data management. We provide huge amounts of real-time information for external developers and develop applications for Apple and Android services. We use Microsoft Azure services for those.\nSo how about security in the cloud?\nSecurity is very important. As a public sector organisation, we need to be transparent and get external demands about where our data can be. And whilst I think security solutions are arriving, I don't think we\u2019ve cracked them yet. Especially when you overlay the complexity of our line-of-business and operating applications. We have more than 1,000 applications that are utilized daily, some of which are years old and deal with legacy equipment. Once they\u2019re upgraded, I\u2019m sure we\u2019ll have a different view.\nIt\u2019s said that the CIO\u2019s role has changed. Do you find that to be true?\nYes, you could say that a CIO needs to be more of a digital native, and you need to understand the power of mobility and collaborative tools. I suppose that\u2019s shaping how CIOs think.\nBut one key skill is being forgotten: We\u2019re still here to devise and educate the organization on how to best use technology. That shouldn\u2019t change. We can\u2019t let the latest shiny toy become strategy. We still need to be advising the organisation on how to get the best return on investment.\nAbout this article:\nThis interview first appeared in the report about the CSC Global CIO Survey, 2014-2015. Visit www.csc.com\/ciosurvey\nSelf assessment test: At the bottom of csc.com\/ciosurvey is the self assessment function that will compare someone's own results (that they key into the microsite) against the report's findings.