City of London Corporation CIO Sean Green Q&A - Security, cloud migration, apprenticeships and the future of the corporation

City of London Corporation have recently gone through a 'significant IT transformation programme' underpinned by a migration of infrastructure and applications to the cloud. The City of London Corporation, which includes City of London Police, will support mobile working and new digital change initiatives according to its CIO Sean Green.

Green, who joined the organisation in January 2017, discussed with CIO UK how he is tightening security, training staff members, and future opportunities for the City of London Corporation. (See also: BMJ Chief Digital Officer Sharon Cooper Q&A - Retaining IT talent and increasing creativity at BMJ.)

What new technologies are you currently developing at the City of London Corporation?
We are going through quite a significant IT transformation programme so our focus is on replacing our wide area network across quite a diverse site. We cover quite a number of open spaces like Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest, for example, so there is quite a lot of challenges in terms of infrastructure. For example in terms of a new wide area network and local area network there is a complete replacement and a refreshment of IT skills. We are also currently rolling out a desktop transformation deploying Office 365 enabling users to work in a mobile way.

How are you training your staff members?
In the IT team we are running a successful change programme. We get that 10% of the effort in successful transformation is getting the technology right the 90% challenge is training, culture, processes and adopting a new approach to working. So we are investing in a change programme alongside the rollout of new technology. We have engaged with business colleagues throughout the journey and have a really active group of business champions and advocates called the business user group to help the Corporation get the most out of our multi-million pound technology investment.

How are you engaging with younger talent at the corporation?
We have a core programme in place which recruits 60 apprentices providing them with support to the network infrastructure and desktops. We also run 200 100-hour apprenticeship programmes, not only with us but also other third parties that might be working with Google, Microsoft or for a Council sponsoring and supporting the talent through our programme. This year we are looking to get a couple of apprentices into my own team where I run a corporate IT function. I have got a team where there is diversity getting apprentices to support developers for one or two years.

What keeps you motivated in your role?
There are a couple of things I like getting involved with, such as innovative technology. At the moment I like a lot of the diversity I have in my role in providing the shared service to the operations side but also working with a smaller organisation called the London IT Council, which is about 150 people. It is separate organisation compared to mine who provide IT to a shared network. That aside, the national bodies I get involved in but also the policing, which is of interest to me, and the national working parties. But ultimately, it is about the people that I manage and working with them in terms of their skills set and supporting them to reach their own personal goals.

How are you raising awareness of security within the organisation?
In terms of security we are highly vulnerable to attacks because of our brand name, but also because of the City of London Police having highly sensitive information and data which people want to get their hands on. We are making ongoing investments in IT and security to monitor, track and protect ourselves. There is also the training and communication side in which we provide to our staff to be security aware but also keeping track of the latest data and security breaches.

What does the future hold for the City of London Corporation?
The future is exciting with tens of millions of pounds being invested in our infrastructure, new ways of working, automation and digital change. We have 4,000 people in the corporation and the police force is probably equivalent to a London-sized council. User experience is important to me and agile working in terms of the quality and work life balance for people to work anywhere and any location. Integrated crime reporting using multi-media that is exchanged with all parties in the crime chain will also be in place in the next two years. (Read next: Eurostar CIO Laurent Bellan Q&A - Cultural change and the future of Eurostar.)

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