Interview with Richard Gifford

1      Interview

We interviewed CIO, Richard Gifford, as part of the ESPC blog series. Richard worked with Microsoft partner AddIn365 to deliver a new digital workplace into Wincanton using Viva, SharePoint and Microsoft Teams.

Richard will be speaking at ESPC in conversation with Jeff Teper (CVP at Microsoft) and Suzy Dean (AddIn365 CEO) at 11.30 CET on Tuesday 29th November at the AddIn365 booth.

1.1      Tell us about yourself

Richard is a CIO leading digital transformations leading high-performing teams to deliver significant bottom line results.

I have held technology leadership roles across a range of industries. Most recently at Wincanton, I drove the transformation of the back office underpinned by cloud technologies, the employee experience and well as digitising major components of supply chain and logistics processes. Earlier in my career, I gained experience in Construction, Health, Semiconductors and Hospitality sectors.

I am known for my fast-paced approach to delivering – and getting significant business outcomes throughout the value chain, using technology as an enabler. An example of this was onboarding the DHSC during the pandemic who had immediate storage requirements for large quantities of PPE and test kits. This process normally takes 16 weeks we managed to do this in 3 weeks by being highly creative with the warehouse solution.

In my spare time, I am known to be a competitive cyclist!

1.2     Why did you decide to upgrade your digital employee experience on Microsoft 365?

Wincanton has a workforce of c20k people of which 5k perform management tasks with email accounts and 15k work at the sharp end performing roles in warehouses and vehicles and are largely ‘off the network’ a truly mobile and hybrid workforce. We had well-established ways of collaborating with the 5k cohort but to drive the company forward, to communicate throughout the organisation and to drive the culture required at a minimum excellent two way internal communications with all staff. We knew by upgrading and extending MS technology we could build an intranet accessible to all.

1.3     Tell us a bit about what you did

We required the new Intranet to be ‘self-serve’ where information could be shared across the groups with a minimum of intervention from the ‘centre’. We had contracted for many of the products that would help create the meshed solution including SharePoint, Teams, Viva and Yammer. We also needed to ensure consistent branding, and scalability to reflect the company’s growth and great search functionality and need to bring in an experienced partner to help us to achieve this – this is why we engaged AddIn365.

1.4     What were the business benefits you were looking to realise?

We wanted to promote a culture of inclusivity whereby the remote workers would receive personalised information, a single point of access and importantly have a means for two-way communication helping all staff participate fully in the company’s purpose.

1.5     Why did you choose to partner with AddIn365 to deliver your project?

We went out to tender for the Intranet and selected Addin365 for their experience, their product-led approach and cost certainty. They have excellent knowledge of the MS 365 products and a very close relationship with MS and first-hand experience of delivering Viva Connections.

1.6     What are you most proud of having delivered as part of the project and why?

This is a first at this scale and complexity within our sector. The Intranet has been well received as being modern, relevant, and engaging and is getting fantastic feedback from colleagues within the organisation.

1.7     What’s next for your career?

I have worked as a CIO for over twenty years leading high-performing teams to deliver bottom-line results. The next challenge for me is to use this experience working as an Interim assisting organisations to quickly solve problems to drive business performance.

1.8     Tell me a fun fact about yourself

First and possibly last race (scary) I did on a original restored 1876 Penny Farthing was in the World Champs where I came 24th!

Find out more about AddIn365 and be sure to visit their booth at ESPC22!

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