The five-minute CIO: Stephen Reidy, Three Ireland

23 Sep 2016

Stephen Reidy, chief information officer, Three Ireland. Image: Three

“The digital transformation journey we are on will greatly simplify our IT infrastructure,” said Stephen Reidy, chief information officer, Three Ireland.

Three is Ireland’s second-largest mobile operator with 2m subscribers as of June 2016. The company has invested nearly €2bn to date in its 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

In 2014 the company completed its acquisition of O2 Ireland from Telefónica.

Three is 100pc owned by CK Hutchison Holdings, a global conglomerate that employs 270,000 people in 50 countries.

Stephen Reidy was educated at the University of Limerick and has a proven leadership track record in managing the delivery of complex, multi-vendor IT strategies.

‘Balancing the need to maintain existing technologies whilst investing in new is always a challenge. Investment needs to deliver value to your business and customers’

Reidy is known for his ability to articulate the technology game plan in a way that is meaningful for the business and underpins sustainable change.

Prior to becoming the CIO of Three in Ireland, Reidy was head of strategy and consulting at O2 Ireland. Before that, he was head of programme management at Orange UK.

Can you outline the breadth and scope of the technology roll-out across your organisation?

In addition to our continued roll-out of 4G and a comprehensive transformation of our network, we are also completely transforming our IT estate. This digital transformation will enable us to deliver a brilliant customer experience to our customers through all of our customer touch points whether via our retail stores, our contact centre or online.

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

The main points of our IT strategy are:

  • Deliver a fully integrated, best-in-class IT product suite, which provides an omnichannel customer experience
  • Create a consistent digital experience across all customer touch points
  • Deliver an enterprise product catalogue at the centre of the solution, enabling a very rapid time to market for new and compelling customer propositions
  • Enable our business to continue to respond to the needs of our customers, retaining our existing customers and attracting new customers with attractive new offers and an exceptional customer experience

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

Balancing the need to maintain existing technologies whilst investing in new is always a challenge. Investment needs to deliver value to your business and customers. It is important to engage your key business stakeholders, involving them in making key technology decisions. It is also crucial to optimise the value of investments through smart negotiation with your delivery partners and manage costs by delivering on time and on budget.

How complex is the infrastructure?

It’s very complex and was built up over many years of making expedient decisions, which adds complexity and inefficiencies. The other added complexity is that we are supporting our business and customers across two IT stacks since the acquisition of O2 in 2014.

The digital transformation journey we are on will greatly simplify our IT infrastructure by having one IT stack supporting all of our customers with a best-in-class product suite.

Do you have a large in-house IT team or do you outsource?

The IT team consists of a relatively small number of highly experienced and specialised resources, concentrated on enterprise architecture, business analysis, business intelligence and programme delivery.

The majority of our IT operations and delivery is outsourced.

What are some of the main responsibilities of your own role?

I like to spend as much as my time as possible with key business stakeholders, understanding their objectives and challenges, supporting and enabling them to succeed.

We are in the middle of a huge business transformation, which takes up much of my time. I have a very experienced team behind me and they tackle the technical issues, enabling me to focus more on my customers and on driving effective delivery with my delivery partners.

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

Trends and opportunities for Three include the digitisation of our business and how we interact with our customers, big data and how to monetise it, internet of things and 5G. We are in a technology-led industry and so must always be looking to the future whilst keeping the day-to-day operations stable and optimised for our customers.

What metrics or measurement tools do you use?

Customer satisfaction and engagement are the key metrics, along with the obvious financial ones.

Are there any areas you’ve identified where IT can improve?

There is always room for improvement. At Three, we always strive to deliver projects more quickly and cost-effectively year on year.

What other projects do you have lined up for the year?

In addition to the transformation programme, we are delivering a number of projects which will enhance the experience of customers with our contact centre and online.

We’re also focused on delivering key customer propositions which will help us to continue to provide value to our customers.

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