How Reed Exhibitions is surfing the consumer IT wave

Interview: CIO Dominic Shine on how to make friends with gadgets and influence social media...

Events organiser Reed Exhibitions (RX) runs conferences on almost every continent, covering more than 40 industries from aerospace to recreation and travel.

The company has a workforce of 2,700, based in 34 offices worldwide, and a 190-strong IT team. In the past five years, IT has become the lifeblood of the business, powering a strategy centred on ensuring both the business and its customers can do more online before and after the conferences RX runs.

Dominic Shine: CIO, Reed Exhibitions

Dominic Shine, global CIO of events organiser Reed Exhibitions, has four big IT programmes on the goPhoto: Reed Exhibitions

Global CIO Dominic Shine took the helm of RX's IT function back in 2006, inheriting what he describes as "a classic federated set-up" with "fairly basic infrastructure - not much online, not much in the way of CRM, analytics, very basic stuff".

After conducting a business strategy and enterprise architecture review five years ago, the company distilled its strategic priorities into four big programmes - programmes which have been keeping Shine busy ever since.

The four focus areas for RX are:

  1. Ebusiness and online - incorporating digital product development and streamlining online customer experience.
  2. Improving sales effectiveness - which led to a global programme to improve business processes and data standards, as well as areas such as prospect management, sales pipeline management and campaign management.
  3. Better management-information analytics - which led to a global programme to install a new financial consolidation and business intelligence platform.
  4. Replacing all underlying ERP platforms, sales order processing and general ledger platforms with a single global offering.

"The goal is to join up the entire organisation globally - to make sure all the businesses have the best processes, the best technology and can get the most benefits," said Shine, who was recently voted one of the top 50 UK CIOs in's annual CIO50 list of the most influential heads of IT in the UK.

With so much at stake for the business and so much technology-fuelled change ongoing, the CIO has a lynchpin role to play and exceptional relationship management skills are a must, according to Shine.

"You have to be a really, really good...