The five-minute CIO: Martin Fleming, Bank of Ireland

15 Jul 2016

Martin Fleming, head of technology services, Bank of Ireland

“The integrity and efficiency of your IT KPIs is key to the effective management of IT cost,” said Martin Fleming from Bank of Ireland.

Martin Fleming is head of technology services at Bank of Ireland.

Here he discusses the roll-out of the Service Integration and Management (SIAM) programme in the bank.

Can you outline the breadth and scope of the technology roll-out across your organisation and what improvements it will bring to the company?

As a financial services provider with a broad range of consumer and corporate customers, we are constantly investing in and developing our technological capabilities and platforms.

One element of technological development within the bank is our Service Integration and Management (SIAM) programme (led by Colin McEvoy, head of service transition, and Mark Kellett, head of service design) which involves activity across configuration management (the rails on which the service management organisation runs) as well as change, incident, problem and request management processes. These processes will deliver the most significant return on investment in terms of efficiencies to our customer base.

We work with a number of external providers as part of our technology programme. For example, ServiceNow partners with us in the provision of the cloud-based strategic service management toolset required for the SIAM programme. The ServiceNow platform allows us to improve control and governance of our multi-vendor environment and provides us with empirical data to track delivery of our IT customer provision. It also allows us to deliver consistent and standardised ways of working across all vendors.

This is just one example of the type of technology roll-out that is ongoing across the organisation.

What are the main points of your company’s IT strategy on service integration?

The Bank of Ireland SIAM programme has taken a pragmatic approach to simplify, improve and automate the day-to-day operation of its IT service management organisation. The two pillars of the program are the technical delivery of the ServiceNow toolset and benefits of this deployment will be optimised through closer alignment to the SIAM practices. Put simply, the operational organisation will align itself more closely to industry best practice supported by the toolsets capability.

Can you give a snapshot of how extensive your IT infrastructure is?

Bank of Ireland offers a wide range of products and services and we have a broad range of technologies to ensure their effective delivery. This covers everything from the traditional IT model including mainframe technologies at the backend, with mid-range devices (both physical and virtual) and various cloud service models.

In terms of managing IT budgets, what are your key thoughts on how CIOs/heads of technology should achieve their goals?

The integrity and efficiency of your IT KPIs is key to the effective management of IT cost. Ensuring close control and effective governance are critical levers in achieving cost targets.

For many organisations, cloud service offerings present an opportunity to effectively control costs compared to the more traditionally hosted environments. Opportunities to eliminate capital expenditure costs as one moves to consumption and outcomes-based models means that your organisation has greater visibility of your operations expenditure.

How complex is the infrastructure, are you taking steps to simplify it?

The current bi-model space many large organisations find themselves operating within means there are very complex challenges to be managed, both in terms of the disparate technologies and the many commercial relationships an organisation must manage.

Closer alignment with the key Service Integration and Management principles provides our organisation with a more consistent, standardised way of interacting with all the partners in this space. Simple steps like ensuring roles and responsibilities are clearly understood and that automation of IT controls and data gathering are in place are critical.

Do you have a large in-house IT team, or do you look to strategically outsource where possible?

Bank of Ireland delivers IT services via a blend of in-house and outsourced services through its relationship with strategic partners.

What are some of the main responsibilities of your own role, and how much of it is spent on deep technical issues compared to the management and business side?

I head up the ‘Run the Bank’ aspect of IT service. With Colin and Mark as business leads for the SIAM program, they are accountable for the delivery of the programme. They also manage demand to our providers and track financial spend in co-operation with other teams within the group.

What are the big trends and challenges in your sector, and how do you plan to use IT to address them?

There are significant opportunities to deliver step change across large organisations at a greater pace via cloud offerings. Removing dependencies on legacy infrastructure could be quickly achieved through this model. This must be tempered with the challenges that are presented in terms of contractual, legal and compliance obligations. These have influenced the rate of take-up for cloud services. As sectors begin to come to terms with these challenges standards have begun to emerge. Finance and the pharma sectors are now beginning to catch up and in some cases pass out other sectors as these standards mature. I believe more will embrace these cloud offerings to leverage the opportunities they present.

What metrics or measurement tools do you use to gauge how well IT is performing?

We use ITIL aligned KPIs and metrics to track the effective delivery of service, including mean time between failures, mean time to restore service, availability and capacity trends etc.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years