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.