2014 Winner Profile

The Clinical Research Network

Richard Corbridge

RANK: #15

COMPANY WHERE WON: The Clinical Research Network


Richard Corbridge has been CIO of the Clinical Research Network for just over two years and a business technology leader in healthcare since 1998.

The Clinical Research Network supports research to make patients, and the NHS, better, it is part of the National Institute for Health Research - which is the clinical research arm of the NHS in England.

Its role is to provide the practical support that academic and commercial life-sciences industry researchers need for their studies within the NHS, so that more research can take place, and more patients can take part.

When did you start your current role?
August 2011

Have you completed an MBA?

Order the following sources of advice/information by value to you:

  1. Peer Group
  2. Consultant
  3. In-house
  4. Vendors
  5. Analyst

Technology strategy and spending

What is the major transformational IT project that has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation?
The delivery of a self service Business Intelligence (BI) solution for the networked organisation, life sciences industry and for some apps the public. The solution is known in house as the Open Data Platform (ODP).

What impact will it/does it have on the organisation?
The delivery of ODP enables the organisation to have access to all BI from one platform, delivering access to one representation of the 'truth' and ensuring that the most value can be be gained from the date that is collected across the organisation. The phrase 'collecting data to create insight that information can be derived from the enables business intelligence to be gained' has been used to describe the solution.

The solution is the first time that 'near' real time data has been available for the management of clinical research in the NHS.

What new strategic technology deals has your organisation struck and with whom?
QlikTech/QlikView - Partnership to deliver BI tools
Tribal Education - Delivery of bespoke workflow support solution
Oracle - Delivery of private cloud and related infrastructure
Oracle - Pilot of Big Data analytics
Pa/Google - Delivery of Operational Infrastructure tools (Google Docs, Apps and Mail)
In Analytics / Methods - Delivery of Strategic guidance for BI and Tech Architecture

Name your strategic technology suppliers?
QlikTech, Oracle, Google

What is the IT budget?
2012/13 - £9m
2013/14 - £3m

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
Five key objectives:

1 - Consumerisation of technology solutions
2 - Delivery of real time data into BI solutions
3 - Consolidation and where appropriate rationalisation of the strategic infrastructure
4 - Continued world class support of the NHS based research networks
5 - Open up data to life sciences industry to support clinical research in the UK

Transformation achievements

Would you describe the CIO role as a transformation leader in your organisation?

Describe the transformations you have led / been involved in, how did they transform operations, customer experience or the organisation?
The key areas of transformation led by the CIO include:

1 - Delivery of Business Intelligence capability across a network of organisations through both the provision of tools to do this and the creation of the culture and skill set to enable this. The organisation had information management capability that was stretched to its capacity and was distributed across the length of the networked group (102 NHS organisations) with no common tool. The change has been to create one team, the virtual Business Intelligence Unit across the organisation with a common tool set and single data warehouse.

2 - Delivery of an integration framework to enable the NHS to purchase systems that are interoperable with national systems has brought about transformational change to how clinical research is managed in the NHS and the reputation of clinical research in the NHS globally. Rather than procure a solution for the whole NHS the Local Portfolio Management Systems System of Choice (LPMS SoC) contract was put in place. A framework of technology standards, Data standards, service standards and integration capability, ensuring that whatever system was put in place it 'fed' the needs of a national agenda and system.

3 - The delivery of a modern workflow management system that can be accessed anywhere in the NHS for the management of the governance process for permission to deliver clinical research has seen the average time for the NHS to accept a piece of clinical research fall from over 100 days to under 30 days.

4 - The creation of a Reference Data Service (RDS) a solution that enables all NHS meta data concerning clinical research to be referenced from one point in all systems and also 'opened up' to the life sciences industry globally to enable easy access to the NHS to conduct clinical research.

Beyond technology, can you describe a business transformation programme that you own or contribute to?
Business transformation has been born out of a number of technology projects, however a key deliverable has been a change to the culture of the organisation when considering innovation. The CIO has led the implementation of process and cultural change that encourages innovation to be developed, tested in the business and then consumerised for implementation. This has had an impact in the delivery of service management, continuous service improvement and the use of systems and data to support this.

In addition the concept of 'open data' has been driven forward by the CIO. Ensuring that wherever appropriate data can be made available to anyone who can make use of it without charge and with an ultimate goal of opening up the clinical research system globally to drive the health and wealth of the nation through clinical research in the NHS.

What key technologies are being considered to enable transformation?
Business Intelligence tools and the creation of an App Centre to allow BI tools to be created at a local level and re-used across the NHS.

What percentage of your applications / infrastructure is run from the Cloud?
All strategic applications are run from a private cloud. New operational system are delivered via the cloud.

How is the use by employees of their own technology, use of mobiles and social networking impacting operations, customer experiences or the organisation at present?
The impact is positive, particularly through social media. Campaigns such as 'Ok to Ask' have seen a significant rise in public awareness of clinical research and their right to take part in research. This is a campaign that 'grew legs' due to employee use of social media to promote it.

Employe capability to use technology to improve the way they work and the outcome they deliver has been drastically improved by employe's use of technology. The concept of not just digital first but mobile inclusive has been adopted across all new systems which is due to the consumerisation of IT across the organisation.

Do you have a plan in place for how to deal with shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives, place the right controls around employee choice and engage with the organisation on this issue?
A plan is in place that enables the use of BYOD in a secure and considered manner. Shadow IT projects exist within the organisation due to its size and networked nature but are often brought in to the organisation for ultimate delivery. The concept of Shadow IT projects has been utilised to enable innovation to occur at pace, enabling concept proving to occur before more scaleable projects can be created to deliver on shadow IT goals.

Where do you seek transformational inspiration from?
Training and development at Cranfield University, Innovation amongst suppliers, Colleagues and peers across my filed, the global presence of informatics in clinical research, centres of excellence in the NHS and in other countries.

The CIO role in the business

Who do they report to?

Does the CIO have a seat on the board?

How often do you meet with the CEO?

Does your organisation have a digital leader and what is the difference in their responsibilities to yours?
No, the CIO is also the digital leader, however the role of digital leadership is harnessed across the networks through a steering group in place to do this.

What percentage of IT budget do you control and what percentage of IT budget does your digital peer hold?

The IT department

How many staff make up the IT team?(What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff)
70% in house.

Describe the CIO’s management team, do you have direct reports that develop the relationship and services between the business and IT?
The management team is a team of six roles that have business ownership of their specific areas, the roles are:

Deputy CIO / Head of Informatics - Responsible for Project delivery
CTO - Responsible for the Technology Office and Infrastructure team
Head of Service Management - Responsible for live solutions and BAU delivery
Data Architect - Responsible for Design Authority and Business Analysis
Head of Business Intelligence Unit - Responsible for Information Management and the virtual Business Intelligence Unit
Transition Programme Manager - Responsible for interactions with the organisations key change programme
Information Governance Manager - Responsible for IG and InfoSec

All roles have responsibility for developing relationships with the business in key areas and the team take this element of their role seriously.

How many log-in accounts do you issue across you organisation?
SSO is in place for all systems through an Identity Management System.
What is the primary technology platform? ( for example ERP, Website, trading system)
Workflow support solutions based on Oracle and MS platforms. Data warehouse on Oracle. BI and Visualisation on QlikView. Operational systems on MS and Google.

INDUSTRY: Government