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Suffolk Council CIO Mark Adams-Wright packing local punch

Mark Chillingworth | April 12, 2013
"The enthusiasm to take risks and make big changes is pretty healthy," says Mark Adams-Wright, CIO of Suffolk County Council. At the council's Ipswich headquarters he describes the journey the authority is on to become a thriving community that subtly embraces technology while remaining a rural idyll.

"The ICT relationship management team was also brought back into the council from CSD so that the business areas could be both supported and challenged more effectively.

"We also looked carefully corporately at the areas in which we had invested and needed to invested in for the future. This has led us to invest in critical strategic areas like Business Intelligence so that we as a council can be highly effective in the decision-making and contract management disciplines needed as more service is delivered by partners outside the council.

Think laterally

"As investment money is harder to find, every authority is going through transformation, requiring massive levels of support from technology. It will not change as far as the eye can see so we have to think laterally. Initiatives like Public Service Network (PSN) and the G-Cloud which allow the advantages of collective bargaining to be driven into the local environment are essential to create the impetus for affordable technology-led transformation but as a sector we have to be more open and positive towards sharing and working together.

"If we can work together to create centres of excellence across geographies then we will have a platform to deliver what our organisations need and keep the purse strings tightly managed."

Prior to joining Suffolk County Council Adams-Wright had worked at Dell and former building society Abbey. It was at Dell that he got his first taste for the possibilities of cloud computing as he headed up the vendor's services business.

"I come from a private sector background and I really wanted to take stock and use some of the technology experiences I have had for this environment," he says of his move into the public sector.

Suffolk in turn wanted an IT leader that also had a focus on customer service, skills Adams-Wright had learnt at Dell and at logistics firm DHL.

"I hadn't done public sector: I had done IT, FMCG and finance and I have made my career from taking best practice to other markets. It was nervous, but I was encouraged by Suffolk's attitude and desire to learn more about the opportunities that are out there."

Mark Adams-Wright CV

February 2010-present: CIO, Suffolk County Council

2010-2011: ID Assurance, Suffolk County Council

2006-2009: Global Standards and Compliance - Technology, Dell

2004-2007: Head of IT Service Control, Abbey

1999-2004: Global Programmes Manager, DHL


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