CIO Profile: OU's David Matthewman pioneered home banking

See Also:
- CIO Profile: The Open University's David Matthewman on the business of education
- CIO Profile: OU's David Matthewman on learning technologies

David Matthewman is the Open University's first CIO. Joining in August 2010, he replaced the outgoing IT director, who was leaving to retire. Matthewman is sanguine about the change in title. For him it's about the reporting model and scope of the role that's important.

"I think it depends on the scale of the organisation," he says.

Before joining the OU, he was CTO for Directgov, but he maintains it was more of a CIO/IT director role, as even though it was a compact organisation in some ways, it dealt with 18 departments of state, meaning pretty well every department, with the exception of the MOD, was a customer of DirectGov.

At the OU, Matthewman reports the COO and has a dotted-line of reporting to the Vice Chancellor, the academic equivalent of the CEO. Matthewman sits on the operational board.

He says: "I have two roles to play. One is getting IT to the point where it's supporting the university well. It's good today, but there is more we are going to need to do as the market changes and the other role is playing an active part in the running of the university and shaping and advising."

Matthewman's IT career elegantly mirrors the vision behind the OU and its remit to bring higher education to people who would not automatically go down that route.

One of his earliest jobs was as an IT administrator back in the late 1980s at Trustee Savings Bank (TSB – now a part of Lloyds Bank), although he learned basic programming skills at home on a Commodore Vic20.

In those days basic IT infrastructure was simple, but not very stable and Matthewman was able to demonstrate a talent of keeping the banks IT up and running enough to be recruited into the IT team. Once on the team, he went through a series of on-the-job courses to keep him up to speed and develop his coding skills.

He says: "I'm a classic OU-type student. I left school at 16. My parents hadn't been to university. It was never in anyone's thinking and there was an imperative to earn a living. Through TSB I did some A-Levels and through BCS I got myself qualified a little later on in my career. That's a similar sort of journey to the ones many of our students go through."

In the early 1990s, TSB decided to move offices, but Matthewman didn't want to relocate, so he found a job at the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society (N&P), a mid-sized retail financial services organisation based in the East of England. In 1995, the company embarked on an ambitious project to introduce home banking.

Mattewman managed to get on the team, leading and designing the security application. The delivery channel was cable TV, Mattewman recalls — not the channel of choice, now that the internet is widely used by consumers, and N&P switched to internet banking as soon as this became apparent.

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