The CIO Summit 2013: Five key concepts

The CIO Summit took place in London a few weeks ago. The event was the perfect opportunity to take the pulse of IT trends and to listen to the top industry players. We have summarised the event in 5 key concepts that will be key in the future of the CIO role.

This topic was definitely the event’s “trending discussion point”. The concept was referenced in many of the presentations. The Summit emphasise that we are experiencing “a digital transformation”, and that the CIO role is key in this process. Transformation and speed were highlighted as being key factors. As Brendan O’Rourke from Telefonica said “If you don’t change as fast as the markets, you lose”.

This digital transformation is taking place within a new economic situation. CIOs are required to reduce IT costs, whilst also increasing business growth and overall productivity. In this new era, IT providers need to give real value to their customers. Christina Scott, Financial Times CIO, highlighted the challenge in the press industry where £100m has been lost in advertising revenue in the last decade.

Richard  Warner, CIO of LV shared some examples of “the internet of things” such as intelligent cars with apps integrated. For insurance companies like LV, this will be an innovation opportunity to leverage. In his well-received presentation, James  Whitaker shared another story of how Bing provides the opportunity to integrate end user into our everyday tools. e.g. into the Outlook calendar. “Experiences as the new apps”.

And how fast do we need to act to take advantage of the disruption opportunity?  “The digital revolution is about doing things & learning from them rather than waiting for an idea to be 100% formed” – Paul Dawnson. Partner at Fluxx.

Consumerization of the IT

Businesses are changing fast and the CIO role is changing as well. In the new business organisation, CRM and IT solutions are closer than ever. As a result of these changes, a new CIO role is emerging: a persona orientated to drive change in the business model:  “I don’t see myself as IT, I see myself as part of the business”, Andy Haywood, Co-operative CIO  told us when he shared how they are organised. They developed a digital plan that involves the whole organisation.

Going beyond the marketing and business objectives, the CIO has another aspect to take care of. The surge in mobile devices being used is empowering people’s ability to work from anywhere. How they are approaching the “mobility” challenge, was covered with real examples, such as Cloud solutions (“cloud is an inevitability for everyone” – Jos Creese, Hampshire County Council CIO), BYOD solutions, and promoting the “Anywhere Working” concept (Severn Trent, CIO Myron Hyrcyk, remarks mobility as big challenge)

Smart use of the Big Data

This is not about how much data you can collect, is about what you do with it. We need to make some deep analyses to extract really useful information. Christina Scott, Financial Times CIO, told us how she is trying to get the right information from their media customers on a single platform. “We put data at the heart of our marketing, advertising, editorial and business decisions”.
Choosing the right partner will create the perfect situation. Michal Paulson, Co-operative CTO told of his experience creating a mix between “in house” capabilities and the correct partners, involving them as part of the internal team.

In Microsoft we are proud to collaborate with organisations to find the right solution, helping to achieve business objectives. That was the case with Simon Callow, head of IT at Aston Martin, who told us how they are working, hand in hand, with Microsoft on their Office 365 implementation. "I've put my faith and trust in a supplier and an organisation with proven experience: Microsoft”

Customer Collaboration

The classic message from organisations is “to put the customers first”. These days, we are living with the rise of social media channels, with their respective platforms and tools…  Companies need to integrate these tools into their IT systems, and customers are being empowered with the use of the social channels. Richard Warner, LV CIO, spoke about “FriendSurance”. An online peer-to-peer insurance for the German market, which combines social networks with well-established insurance companies. O’Rourke from Telefonica shared a best practice with good results: “Giff Gaff”, a virtual mobile network, which is “managed” by their customers. An intelligent use of technology will be key for customer engagement: “The art of following the customer is really important”, said JJ Van Oosten – Group CIO Travis Perkins.

Employee involvement

The Consumerisation of IT requires an internal cultural change. The digital disruption is not only about IT, it is also about people (“The real business difference is the people” - Myron Hrycyk – Severn Trent CIO). The IT departments might prepare general IT training for their employees, in order to be prepared for managing their own devices, work from anywhere, or use tools related to the business necessities. IT is changing so fast, with new concepts and tools. Traditional IT specialist skills need to be revisited and refreshed. O’Rourke, CIO of Telefonica UK explained how they are working internally, with projects like “Telefonica Digital” to promote business transformation with brilliant IT that will generate “digital power”.

In terms of internal employees, Anthony Watson, Barclays CIO, highlighted another opportunity and challenge in his speech: “We need to bring diversity” into the IT. He said that the IT industry needed to recruit and promote more women to get the right balance.

All in all, as Richard Warner said: "Never has there been a more challenging or more fun time to be a CIO." What do you think?