Dynamics Matters Podcast Ep 104: The CIO secret to change success

With special guest Graham Billsborough, Group CIO, OCU. We discuss:

✔ Why it's essential customer needs remain at the heart of change

✔  The role of staff in ensuring change success

✔ The blueprint for delivering large-scale change initiatives

In the world of business, embarking on significant change initiatives can present immense challenges, especially when you're a company approaching the billion-pound revenue mark. CIO Graham Billsborough of OCU, a rapidly growing business in the power and utility services sector, shares valuable insights that can serve as a compass for navigating such transformative journeys.

One of the primary challenges faced by OCU, as it experiences robust growth, is scaling its operations effectively. As different divisions expand across regions, the company needs to ensure that it maintains a consistent level of expertise and capabilities across the board. To achieve this, Graham emphasises the critical role of having the right leaders in place to drive change. Strong leadership not only ensures effective communication but also unites the organisation under a common vision, as encapsulated in OCU's aspiration to be "one company united."

From a technological standpoint, Graham underscores the importance of choosing the right platforms to support these large-scale changes. OCU's approach involves four key platforms: a data platform for informed decision-making, a workforce platform to empower field workers, a customer platform to enhance client collaboration, and an enterprise platform to streamline financial systems. These initiatives are substantial, but Graham recognizes the necessity of architecting these platforms for scalability, avoiding the costly pitfalls of revisiting investments due to capacity limitations down the road.

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However, the linchpin in OCU's transformation journey is the customer. The company's commitment to collaboration and partnership with clients is paramount. OCU actively listens to customer requirements, working to configure systems to meet their needs while maintaining flexibility and avoiding excessive customization. This approach ensures that OCU remains adaptable without fragmenting its core systems, a challenge they've deftly navigated while acquiring new businesses.

OCU's staff plays a pivotal role in their journey of change. Graham acknowledges the importance of having a dedicated and adaptable team. OCU's employees are not only experienced but also open to learning from each other and adapting to new skills and ideas. This dynamic injects energy into the organisation, fueling its growth and evolution.

Looking to the future, OCU's ambitions extend beyond monetary goals. Their vision is to achieve the best, not necessarily the biggest, in their industry. They seek growth that enhances the stature of their team, a sense of pride in belonging to the OCU family, and a reputation for delivering the finest solutions to their clients.

For fellow CIOs embarking on similar journeys, Graham imparts invaluable advice. He encourages them to be passionate, decisive, and resilient. Detail matters, but it should not overshadow the strategic view. Furthermore, investing in people and fostering shared passion and resilience within the team is key. When the time comes, CIOs should be prepared to make decisions swiftly and decisively, keeping the transformational journey on track.

In summary, Graham Billsborough's wisdom offers a blueprint for tackling large-scale change initiatives in the business world. By prioritising strong leadership, the right technology platforms, customer collaboration, and an adaptable workforce, companies can pave the way for transformative growth. Graham's guiding principles of passion, decisiveness, and resilience, coupled with a keen focus on detail and strategic vision, serve as a compass to navigate the challenges of change and emerge as industry leaders.

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