Mike McMinn exploits shadow IT as the key mechanism for gaining support for the technologies and initiatives he wants to introduce at brewer Marston's. And he sees mobile and social listening tools as being just as important for the company as BI. What the judges said "I like the way he's seen, created and delivering services the customer facing land lords need such as the telecoms service, that shows customer insight." Mark Chillingworth "He has done a lot of culture change within IT and then taken those learnings across the company. He's been in the job long time and really understands the business well." Richard Sykes "It is an entry that is very good on customer sentiment." Mike Altendorf Job titleGroup IT director of Marston's Brewers. When did you start your current role?1998. What is your reporting line?CFO. Do you meet with and discuss business strategy with the CEO every week?No, but I do meet up with the main exec on a regular basis, am part of the leadership group and have regular meetings with the CFO. Are you a member of the board of directors?No. What other executive boards do you sit on?Leadership group. Does your organisation have a CDO?No. The head of digital reports into the director of retail marketing but works closely with IT. Responsibility is to develop, implement and ensure best digital practice in line with digital strategy co-developed with IT. What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation?General business, and am also managing director of Marston's Telecoms, which I set up a few years ago to enhance our capability in our own market and to create further commercial opportunities. How many employees does your organisation have?10,000. How many users does your department supply services to?10,000. How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business's products?Over 30 years' experience and complete immersion in all aspects of the business, including retail wholesale, distribution and administration. I also keep up to date with what is happening in the retail and hospitality sector, through peer contact, industry forums and general market information. Marston's technology strategy and agenda Is your organisation being disrupted by the internet, mobility or technology-oriented start-ups?No. Are you empowered by your organisation to disrupt from the inside?Yes. Describe a disruptive measure you’ve led or played a major part inI introduced the first industry B2B customer portal to offer closer ties through mutually beneficial online services and products, and created a specialist retail telco to provide consumer Wi-Fi access, general back-office connectivity and more importantly data gathering and analytical capability. What major transformation project has been recently completed or is under way at your organisation?Cultural change in the workplace, starting with main office relocation and rebuild to provide a more social working environment and increased mobility through agile working practices. What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation?Increased cross-functional collaboration through workplace/practice changes should engender positive behavioural change and increased innovation through all tiers in the organisation. How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project?I have been one of the main protagonists/influencers of this initiative, having introduced it in the IT function over 10 years ago and subsequently supported and promoted these ideas at every opportunity to do so. What key technologies do you consider enable transformation?Obviously robust and high-capacity networking, open and flexible architectures to support mobility such as Microsoft Lync, CYOD and BYOD policies, desktop virtualisation and private/internal social networking technologies. 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?We are currently poorly served in this respect. The current project will move from simple information reporting to dashboards consolidating information from multiple internal and external sources in a way that enable focus on priorities and drives behavioural change. Information and analysis needs to be fast, current and mobile. Microsoft Dynamics CRM, cloud, Business Objects and SAP Hana will be key technologies in play. How is mobile and social networking impacting operations and customer experience?Mobile will have significant impact and is already doing so from an operational standpoint. Not only for administration and management but also within consumer-facing situations where bar staff and outlet managers need to excel at customer service. Marston's is a social business and social networking is clearly a key component of both operational and customer experience strategies. We use social listening tools to understand customer sentiment on the web and react to online questions/comments and feedback through our CRM systems with workflow controls to maintain high standards. Describe your strategic vision towards shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives and employees around choice?I happily encourage shadow IT. It is a main mechanism by which I can gain support for the technologies and initiatives I feel we need to be using. It simply shortcircuits the influencing process. IT's intervention is then only necessary to ensure compatibility, reliability and scaling. Equally it gives access to budget that IT may not have access to ordinarily. I think BYOD is a non-issue. If you create a flexible architecture, then choice of device becomes irrelevant. I need only concern myself with secure access to our systems. Choice is then up to the end-user. We have created a CYOD environment and this will be further developed into a self-service offer for onboarding employees and supporting role changes. What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom?• Microsoft Enterprise Agreement – software• SAP – Hana – data architecture• BT Openreach• BT Wholesale• TalkTalk, Vaioni and Ruckus for our communications architecture Marston's IT security and budget Has your organisation detected a cyber intrusion in the last 12 months?No. 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?Capex around £4m mainstream IT, £10m retail IT, with approximately £6m opex. How much is the IT operational spend compared to the revenue as a percentage?1%. What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?Transformation of our retail business from both an operational and customer point of view. Provision of the supporting infrastructure to substantially increase business agility and therefore margin. 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?Yes. Does your IT organisation operate an apprenticeship scheme?Yes. Marston's technology department How would you describe your leadership style?Democratic, team-oriented, hands-off and I trust my team to get on with it. High standards but tempered with honesty and pragmatism. Creative, entrepreneurial and determined (sometimes 'grim' determination) to succeed. Explain how you’ve supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and visionI work on long-term relationships. My team have mostly been with me for a long time. I work hard to understand what drives them and encourage them to play to their strengths. They are in their positions because they know what they are doing, I don't need to interfere and they are given a high degree of autonomy albeit I'm always available for advice and counsel. I don't need to be the constant face of IT and therefore they represent the IT function at divisional and leadership boards, committees, groups, teams and in supplier relationships. I hold regular monthly meetings with each of them and we run one monthly team meeting where half of it is for open free debate, not only about current items but perhaps more importantly those objectives and the vision that we are working to. For sure I have introduced and developed the vision but not in isolation – the business has and is as heavily involved in its development and constant refinement as my senior management team are. We're always busy but never so busy that we can't stop for a moment of reflection and sense checking, especially when that curved ball technological opportunity suddenly appears. How many employees are in your IT team?35. What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff?33/2.