"I interview everyone other than those on the help desk," he reveals of his personal time investment. "A job interview is 50% are you good enough for me and 50% sales pitch to them. For me, it's all about the mindset; we can teach the skills."
Homan doesn't reserve teaching skills to new recruits; he's taken his team with him on a journey and invested in their development. Staff from Homan's help desk team have developed and joined engineering, and executives have joined the scrum team. "That is exciting as you are developing people. We have a culture that is really growing, as people come together and are looking for help from each other."
To engender this, the CIO changed the physical environment of his team to reflect the modern needs of IT staff, with lots of collaborative break-out spaces. He has also flattened office dividers and the management structure. "It is very, very flat structure," he explains. "If I know my Head of Operations needs something taking care of, we all sit in each other's roles."
"Like a lot of groups, when an asset gets to a certain size we break them out, so the MailOnline and Wowcher (a vouchers and deals online service) have their own Dev teams," he says of how he colocates skills into the products operates by DMG. Homan's team also delivers underlying services to the whole business, from core technologies such as networking, but also unique tools, including picture management platform.
"Pictures are so big, I long for a financial system," he jokes of the data management differences and their challenges. His team has also been integrating the advertising management tools with Salesforce. "Now we can focus on the customer with the delivery we are working on. We work with our marketing teams and the lines between departments are very, very blurred," he says.
"We are incredibly lucky to have an ownership that thinks long-term. There is a culture that wants to invest in the things that really matter," Homan reveals of the DMG business, adding he has an Opex of £25 million per annum, which he says is on the benchmark for his sector.
"We tend to engage with people through the paper brand most. We have tested that and regularly ask them what they want to see us doing," Homan says of the omnichannel business, and in particular the strength of a physical product. He adds that customer loyalty is something DMG spends a great deal of time on; it operates a customer loyalty programme with a barcode on the back of every single newspaper that he says delivers strong engagement. For the CIO, the use of Salesforce to enable the marketing teams to continually manage the loyalty has been critical.
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