SMAC and its promise of extensive disruption is coming down the line fast. Is Lance Fisher worried? Hell, no! It's a great time to be a CIO, says recruiter SThree's IT boss, who puts the savings he makes in running the business into investing in enablement technologies that can grow the business. When did you start your current role?December 2010. What is your reporting line?To CEO. Do you meet with and discuss business strategy with the CEO every week?Formally every month and then ad hoc and frequent, dependent on initiatives. Are you a member of the board of directors?No. What other executive boards do you sit on?Global exec, and I run the global data committee. Does your organisation have a CDO?No. I cover data in the CIO role. So, for instance, data compliance reports to me. Quite a responsibility when we have 11 million CVs globally and need to ensure we cover all data protection rules. What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation?SThree is an international specialist recruitment firm, so I have a heavy influence on what technology skills we recruit for (we are focusing on Salesforce at the moment). I also have a stake in some of our brands, which is a broader business perspective. How many employees does your organisation have?2,500+. What number of users does your department supply services to?2,500+ internal staff, 8,000 contractors globally. How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business's products?When I started I went on the sales floor. I spend a lot of time in the business, so I understand what we do and the IT and data we use to enable the business. I am a very external-facing CIO, which is why I like and support the CIO 100. I spend a lot of time networking with peers, our competitors and recruitment industry vendors. SThree technology strategy and 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 inThis is an exciting year for us. We are taking what we do with our data and some patent pending search stuff we have been pioneering and mixing it with some BI and cloud technologies. Will this be disruptive to the industry? I'm not sure. Will it give us an edge? Yes. What major transformation project has been recently completed or is under way at your organisation?Our well-documented pioneering move to Good technology is enabling our sales workforce; we are consolidating to a next level with Good Enterprise. We also have a large project to upgrade our desktops to Windows 8.1 and Office 365 this year, and move to Salesforce for our CRM and recruitment front-end. And then the disruptive stuff is also coming. There's a lot going on. It's a great time to be a CIO at the moment. What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation?I have a 'run the business' versus 'grow the business' model. Simply put, as we reduce our on-premise and legacy spend by efficiencies, we channel the savings into SMAC – social, mobile, analytics and cloud. The overall impact is that my IT cost is not going up as we grow global sales heads, yet we are delivering significantly more business enablement from our systems. How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project?I am very consultative and work well with my fellow execs and peers. I have a very open style with no hidden agendas. What key technologies do you consider enable transformation?SMAC – social, mobile, analytic and cloud. Are you expanding the number of cloud applications or infrastructure in use at your organisation?Yes. What is your information and data analytics vision for the organisation?CV data and then analytics from that – well, that's our chocolate sauce! How is mobile and social networking impacting operations and customer experience?We had a huge success with Good technology. Overnight it wiped out our Blackberry estate and enabled all our recruiters to have secure email wherever they are. We are on the next phase of our recruitment app, which we are working with Salesforce. Socially we use many networks and have strategic deals and relationships (for instance, LinkedIn), enabling our consultants to improve the customer experience, which is what we are doing now. We see more customer-focused apps coming as the next phase. Describe your strategic vision towards shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives and employees around choice?We don't have shadow IT at SThree. I would consider my role a failure if we did. My users are generally happy with the applications, data and services we provide. That's because we are partners. IT and data enable the business. For BYOD, it's all cloud and mobile. We provide apps to the business that they run on their own devices. What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom?We have a lot. The big-name strategic partners are Oracle, Salesforce, Microsoft and SAP. We have just done a strategic deal with Dell to refresh all our desktops this year. We also have a lot of niche partners who help us greatly: Bluefin and Tquila in particular are helping us develop new apps. SThree IT security and budget Has your organisation detected a cyber intrusion in the last 12 months?Yes. Has cyber-security risen up your management agenda?No. Does your organisation understand the potential cyber-security threats it faces?Yes. Has this led to an increase in your security budget?No. What is the IT budget?This year it will be around £17m on core IT. Data, etc, is extra. How much is the IT operational spend compared with the revenue as a percentage?2%. What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?To enable SThree's business drivers. The main one is to be the most profitable specialist recruitment company. 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?No. Does your IT organisation operate an apprenticeship scheme?Yes. SThree's technology department How would you describe your leadership style?Consultative. Explain how you’ve supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and visionWe work as a close team and they know I have their back. Our strategy is very clear, the projects we need to deliver are clear, but also they are empowered to own and deliver them. The normal issue is running IT; as you run leaner it is keeping the business running while introducing the game-changing technology. That skill needs a close-knit team. How many employees are in your IT team?110+. What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff?All in-house. Does your team include key skilled workers from the EU?Yes.