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CIO Interview: Albert Hitchcock, COO & CTO, Pearson

In this interview, Albert Hitchcock, COO and CTO at education provider Pearson, discusses the continuing digital transformation at his organisation.

Hitchcock, who placed 3rd in Computing‘s latest IT Leaders 100 rankings, describes his firm as a digital platform provider today.

“We’re continuing the journey we started a couple of years ago around transforming Pearson,” says Hitchcock. “It’s a traditional educational publisher, over 170 years old, and we’re turning the company into being a digital leader in the education space.

“It’s now a digital platform company effectively. We’re a long way through the journey and are making some really good progress.

“Partly that’s about continuing to drive simplification. We have an extremely complex legacy technology estate that has grown up over many years, as Pearson acquired many companies, and that estate grew very large and complex.

“We had over 3,000 applications, 93 data centres and 60 ERP systems. We’ve been on a big change journey to simplify that, and we’re now down about 1,900 applications, with a thousand still to go. We want to get to under 300 over next couple of years.

“We’ve seen a lot of cost dropped out because of this process. Pearson’s also been going through a number of change initiatives as a company, and cost reduction is a big driver of that, and technology is contributing significantly to that agenda.”

He described the benefits as improved speed and agility.

“Speed of execution, being able to respond to market and customer needs, getting rid of that complex estate means we’re simplifying the operating model and ways of working, so it’s enabling us to go faster as well.”

Watch the video for more.

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