Network Rail IT waits for clear signal from business

Network Rail’s information management department is only backing IT-enabled projects that have a sponsor in the business, as it looks to limit the risks in major IT projects.

Network Rail’s information management department is only backing IT-enabled projects that have a sponsor in the business, as it looks to limit the risks in major IT projects.

The company, which is responsible for the UK’s rail infrastructure, spent £81m on IT in its last financial year, compared with its budget of £131m, because its information management department would not proceed without hands-on support from the business.

Joe Van Valkenburgh, Network Rail’s director of information management, said, “I do not do a project unless the business champions it.

“I’m going to hold the business to £100m this year. How much change can a company take in one year?”

Network Rail is currently working on 154 different IT-enabled projects. These include the creation of a new datawarehouse, which is scheduled to go live in June, and the roll-out of mobile technology to the company’s 17,000 maintenance staff who were insourced in 2004.

However, the biggest project is the Global System for Mobile ­Communication for Railways and Fixed Telecom Network (GSM-R/FTN). The £1.2bn project, which will be trialled in Glasgow next year, is a 16,000km network of fibre-optic cables that will support all of Network Rail’s voice and data traffic.

 

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