by CIO Staff

Oxfam CIO Peter Ransom Q&A

Sep 07, 2015
IT StrategyNonprofits

Peter Ransom has been Chief Information Officer at Oxfam since May 2010, and believes technology has a crucial role to play in the global humanitarian charity’s fight against poverty. Having recently introduced Rapid Application Development, Ransom’s biggest challenge is accessing a reliable network infrastructure to support the huge network of Oxfam employees around the world, who are often out in the field and hostile working environments.

When did you start your current role? May 2010

What is your reporting line? via Finance Director

What executive boards do you sit on? Transformation programme Board, Digital Strategy Board

Does your organisation have a CDO? No

What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation? Run the programme Management Function and part of the Business Continuity group

How many employees does your organisation have? 5,500

What number of users does your department supply services to? 5,500 permanent and 22,000 part time

How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business’s products? My team and I have regular meetings with business peers and their reports and also have standing business representatives on IS planning meetings. We also have a business engagement function.for reviewing IT projects and developing ideas.

Oxfamtechnology 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? We have introduced Rapid Application Development as an option into the business project areas which requires significantly different ways of working form business peers.

What major transformation project has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation? We are setting up shared services across other Oxfam units across the world.

What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation? It is likely that there will be centralised functions for core services

How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project? Is was seen as leading the way with its setting up a semi informal shared services operation ahead of other parts of the business.

What key technologies do you consider enable transformation? Reliable Network infrastructure across the world.

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? Increasing use of data analysis toolsets in the field and knowledge management systems.

How is mobile and social networking impacting operations and customer experience? Significant impact on infrastructure to meet ever increasing bandwidth needs that causes issues with ability to deliver in all areas of the world we operate in. This means some user have different experiences to others. Cloud-based systems suffer from poor networks so need to be carefully considered.

Describe your strategic vision towards shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives and employees around choice? We have a set of guiding principles that allow business areas to have development projects and by use of a governance function, the Business IT Board, we jointly manage technology/  BYOD is a direction we have partially implemented.

What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom? We have relationships with Microsoft, IBM, BT and Cisco

Who are your main suppliers? Microsoft, IBM, BT, Insight

OxfamIT 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? £7 million opex

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? Infrastructure upgrades and platform moves on to more cloud technogies

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? No

Oxfamtechnology department

How would you describe your leadership style? Create a Vision then enable the teams to deliver.

Explain how you’ve supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and vision Worked with the team to identify the needs and the challenges then reorganised as appropriate and developed talent from within and recruited from outside.

How many employees are in your IT team? 75 in UK around 65 around the world in the countries we work in

What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff? 60% in house

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