Symantec #DirtyTopics Twiter Chat – “How can the CIO & CFO partnership be improved”

dirtytopicsI was very happy to work with Symantec on their recent #DirtyTopics Twitter chat entitled, “The “Unicorn” Budget: How can the CIO & CFO partnership be improved?”

More information about the event can be found in my Forbes article – please click here to read and a recap of the Twitter chat can be found on Storify by clicking here.

Symantec event info: In our upcoming #DirtyTopics chat, an expert panel from Symantec and industry expert Christian McMahon (@ChristianMcM) will discuss managing IT relationships within the C-Suite and measuring IT ROI. Join the conversation on January 29 at 11 a.m. PST on Twitter using the hashtag #DirtyTopics.

 

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Honoured to be recognised as one of the Top 100 Most Social CIOs on Twitter

HP Top 100 Social CIOs 2015I was very proud and honoured yesterday to be recognised as one of the Top 100 Most Social CIOs on Twitter by Vala Afshar at the Huffington Post.
This is a prestigious list and when I tweeted Vala to thank him for recognising me, he said my inclusion was due to my brilliant commitment to social collaboration.
You can see the full list on the Huffington Post site by clicking here.

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Advisory Board Member for CIO Today Magazine

I am very proud to have been appointed an Advisory Board Member for CIO Today Magazine and am looking forward to working with Michael and the rest of the advisory board – link to the site here.

CIO Today Mag Cover

The CIO Today UK Magazine Advisory Board is a group of volunteers whose duties are to informally advise the Editor-in-Chief (who is chair of the Advisory Board) on the editorial direction and pacing of the magazine, promote the magazine, develop themes and suggest content for each publication.
The duties of the advisory board include: Providing ideas for potential articles in the publication, acting as background sources for information, discussing industry issues, contributing articles for publication, attending virtual editorial advisory board meetings (via a private forum), acting as sources for direct quotes or indirect quotes in articles, promoting publication to readers, choosing winners of awards contests, answering questions from readers, discussing readership studies, nominating candidates for awards, discussing marketing of publication, giving interviews to promote publication, and speaking at conferences/seminars.

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2015: CIO’s need to be in the digital driving seat – not a passenger

digitaldrivingseat2014 was another challenging year for the CIO with plenty of column inches given over to debating the control and usage of technology across the enterprise with much speculation about the validity of the role itself.
Personally, I think talk of the demise of the CIO role is presumptuous though what is critical right now is that the CIO role needs to evolve with 2015 being the time to flourish and show their true worth in helping set the strategic direction of their organisation.
The CIO role is like no other in that it allows visibility across the organisation that others rarely get to achieve and those that are commercially astute with a capacity to add tangible value to the business will excel – those who are not will likely be sitting in a different chair at the start of 2016.
As a result of the recent economic turmoil and rapidity of change across the commercial landscape, many organisations are now looking for a different type of CIO or technology leader than they have in the past. They are diluting the need for a more technically focused individual to one who is able to unravel the complexity of IT, increase the accessibility to technology, and be open to new ideas with the ability to work with peers on getting the right things done.

One of the key factors in this evolutionary change in the CIO role is the need to understand and appreciate they no longer have ultimate say over what technologies are used within their organisation but they will still be held accountable for making sure it all works.
Gartner research has shown that 38% of IT spend is already outside of IT and that they expect this to reach 50% by 2017.
This is going to send a shiver down the spine of many a CIO but they must understand the diversification of technology usage and need across their organisation.
This is quite the culture shift for many who have migrated in to the CIO role from the traditional ‘lights on’ IT director role of old but this will make absolute sense for those who have the ability to evolve in to this new model which will free them up to get more involved in defining and executing the ‘big picture’ strategy.
Too long the CIO has been identified as the strategic and commercial weak link in the c-suite and not adding tangible value across the business – they must seize this opportunity to transform their role and reputation in to one that thinks collectively, understanding how best to resolve the issues that matter across the business and ultimately delivering commercial value.

The main theme and focus for many of us this year is that of how to transform in to and drive a digital business.
Naturally this is a hot topic for CIO’s and the challenge of how to implement and transform your business to a digital operating model is now top billing on the agendas of many boardrooms across the globe.
This is exactly where the CIO can step up and work with peers and key stakeholders across the business to define a strategy which is moulded around a ‘customer first’ approach where digital technologies will form the cornerstones of how your services are delivered and consumed going forward.
This will require much managing of change, process, and incumbent technology and possibly need a marked change in strategic direction – a role tailor-made for the commercially astute CIO in harness with the CMO.
The impact of digital business on industries and individual organisations cannot be underestimated and Gartner have predicted that by 2017 one in five industry leaders will have ceded their market dominance to a company founded after 2000.
This is a bold claim but one which I support as no longer can you rely on historical dominance of your sector – either embrace disruption now or start planning your burial in the corporate graveyard alongside luminaries such as Kodak and Blockbusters.

CIO’s must embrace a “Bi-Modal IT” mind-set where they simultaneously embark on the digital transformation journey whilst maintaining Business as Usual (BAU) services.
It’s no secret that the most successful CIO’s are those who are able to run the business and transform it at the same time. Many industry observers and consultants will tell you that they have witnessed more transformation in the last 3 years than in the previous 20 years combined, so this shows how important these skills are in the modern CIO.
I don’t see any lessening in this pace as the demand for new and simpler ways to consume data, information, products and solutions is only going to increase year on year as the technology and accessibility to it improves.
CIO’s will also need to start concentrating on what talent they need to bring in to their organisations this year to manage this “Bi-Modal IT” approach as the market for the best talent is already stretched and growing ever more taut.

CIO’s should help their business colleagues and the CEO think outside the box to imagine new scenarios for digital business that cross companies and industries, providing a great opportunity for CIO’s to amplify their role in the organisation.
Gone are the days where you can supply rigid corporate systems, which are only accessible on site – the corporate world has evolved and everyone wants to consume technology in different ways with previously inaccessible data being lusted after to analyse for new operational and commercial insights.
CIO’s need to help create the right mind-set and a shared understanding among key decision makers in the enterprise – to help them “get” the possibilities of digital business.
They must take a leadership role in helping their organisations change their mind-set to what’s possible – and what’s inevitable in a digital business future.
This should not be done in isolation or be detrimental to any key relationships such as that with the CMO as it’s imperative you work together and deliver the ‘right’ digital strategy for your organisation.

Get yourself in the digital driving seat and don’t become a passenger.
It’s going to be a busy year with a fair amount of turbulence, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.

This piece will be included in the British Computer Society annual IT strategy e-book which is this year focusing on Digital Leadership. 

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Insights on the evolving role of the CIO in the age of digital disruption

I was asked by Samsung to give my insights on the evolving role of the CIO in the age of digital disruption.GartnerSymp2014Samsung
These insights have been included in a marketing piece which Samsung has released in relation to the key take aways for CIO’s coming out of this years Gartner Symposium in Barcelona.
Click here to read my insights.

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Gartner: Top 10 Strategic IT Trends For 2015

Gartner Sym 2014 LogoGartner Symposium/ITExpo is under way in Orlando. As always, their IT experts have identified what they believe to be the top-ten information technology trends for the year ahead. Strategic technology trends are defined as having potentially significant impact on organisations in the next three years. Here is a summary of the trends:

1. Computing Everywhere

With the continued advancement in smart-phone technology, Gartner assesses that an increased emphasis on serving the needs of the mobile user in diverse contexts and environments, as opposed to focusing on devices alone. Gartner posits that smart-phones and wearable devices are part of a broader computing offering to include connected screens in the workplace and in public spaces. User experience design will be of critical importance.

2. The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things will continue to expand, propelled by the ubiquity of user-oriented computing. Gartner posits that this will be replicated both in industrial and in operational contexts, as it will be the focus of digital business products and processes. Embedding technology more deeply will create touch points for users everywhere. This will form the foundation of digital business.

3. 3D Printing

The cost of 3D printing will decrease in the next three years, leading to rapid growth of the market for these low-cost machines. Industrial use will also continue its rapid expansion. Gartner highlights that expansion will be especially great in industrial, biomedical and consumer applications, highlighting the extent to which this trend is real, proving that 3D printing is a viable and cost-effective way to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.

4. Advanced, Pervasive, Invisible Analytics

Analytics will continue to advance due to the Internet of things and the embedded devices that trend will continue to foster. Vast pools of structured and unstructured data inside and outside organizations will continue to be generated. Gartner points out that every app will need to be an analytic app. The analysis also concludes that big questions and big answers are more important than big data.

5. Context-Rich Systems

Embedded intelligence that is ubiquitous combined with pervasive analytics will foster the development of systems that are alert and responsive to surroundings. Gartner highlights that context-aware security is an early application of this trend, but that others will emerge.

6. Smart Machines

Analytics combined with an understanding of context will usher in smart machines. Advanced algorithms will lead to systems that learn for themselves and act upon those learning’s. Gartner notes that machine helpers will continue to evolve from the existing prototypes for autonomous vehicles, advanced robots, virtual personal assistants and smart advisors. The analysis goes on to speculate that the smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT.

7. Cloud/Client Architecture

Mobile computing and cloud computing continue to converge and lead to the growth of centrally coordinated applications that can be delivered to any device. Gartner notes that cloud computing is the foundation of elastically scalable, self-service computing for both internally and externally facing applications. Apps that use intelligence and storage of client device effectively will benefit from lowering bandwidth costs, coordination and management will be based on the cloud. The analysis goes on to note that over time applications will evolve to support simultaneous use of multiple devices. In the future, games and enterprise applications alike will use multiple screens and exploit wearable’s and other devices to deliver an enhanced experience.

8. Software-Defined Infrastructure and Applications

Agile development methods for programming of everything from infrastructure basics to applications is essential to enable organisations to deliver the flexibility required to make the digital business work. Software defined networking, storage, data centres and security are maturing. Application programming interface (API) calls render cloud services software configurable, and applications have rich APIs to access their function and content programmatically. Gartner notes that in order to deal with the rapidly changing demands of digital business with demand shifts both up and down require computing to move away from static to dynamic models.

9. Web-Scale IT

Gartner notes that more companies will think, act, and build applications and infrastructure in the same way that technology stalwarts like Amazon, Google, and Facebook do.  There will be an evolution toward web-scale IT as commercial hardware platforms embrace the new models and cloud-optimised and software-defined methods become mainstream. Gartner notes that the marriage of development and operations in a coordinated way (referred to as DevOps) is the first step towards the web-scale IT.

10. Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection

Lastly, the analysis concludes that security will remain an important consideration through this evolution toward the digital future, but it should not be so heavy-handed as to impede progress. As many companies have recognized that 100 percent security solutions are not feasible, this will become more mainstream, and more sophisticated methods of risk assessment and risk mitigation from a process and tool perspective will be implemented. Gartner notes that perimeter defence will be broadly recognized as inadequate, and multi-faceted approaches will be devised.  Security aware application design, dynamic and static application security testing, and runtime application self-protection, combined with active context-aware and adaptive access controls will all be necessary.

 

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Samsung Futurescape Event

SamsungFuturescape

Samsung Futurescape 2014

I had the pleasure of being asked to attend the Samsung ‘Future of Work’ event last week in London.

The event itself was a showcase of Samsung’s current and planned developments that they see entering the marketplace of the future.
They covered everything from wireless meeting rooms to how the worker of the future will split their work/life balance including the tools they may be using to achieve the optimal balance.
The work/life balance was an often covered theme and Samsung highlighted how their technologies and devices will enable the ‘working from anywhere’ theme but with the power of and capability of technology you would normally expect when working in an office.

The Future of Work whitepaper that was discussed at the event was created in partnership with Ovum Analysts.
It highlighted the ever-shortening bridge between personal and workplace technology preferences, with applications taking force in the world of work and up to 78% of people using their own devices for work.
Samsung’s own Business Enterprise operation research details key opportunities for employers as smartphone penetration reaches 75% of the market, and the worker-consumer relationship blurs. Continue Reading →

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Samsung Business Discovery Day Panel

Thats me on the far left stool

That’s me on the far left stool

I was delighted to be asked by Samsung to speak on a panel at their initial Samsung Business Discovery Day in St Paul’s last week – www.samsungbusinessdiscovery.com for event info and #BizDiscovery on Twitter for some soundbites from me on the panel.
You can also click here to see the full panel session on YouTube.

The panel discussed how mobile technologies are changing the role of the CIO and how the CIO can empower the business through their use.
It was a lively, stimulating and fun discussion which included a good number of live questions from the floor.

The official detail of the event was as follows:

We are entering a new paradigm of technology in business.  The rapid adoption of consumer technology can truly liberate our most precious resources – our people – and free them to spend more time with customers and consumers.  In every sector, companies are discovering that mobile technology presents new opportunities for customer discovery – transforming service, support and ultimately improving sales.

At the Samsung Business Discovery Day we will hear how companies are putting mobile technology at the centre of their technology strategy.  Leveraging new platforms based on consumer technology to add more speed and flexibility to current business operations.  We will explore these new paradigms, share implementation experiences and generate dialogue and debate to help your organisation leverage the power of customer discovery in your business.

We believe that innovators in the technology or IT departments should be driving a new agenda – building business platforms that are mobile first and built on consumer technology.  In this mobile first world – businesses can accelerate the adoption of technology and ensure that their employees spend more time working for and on behalf of their customers.  It sparks new debate, a fresh look at the consumerisation and BYOD trends – addressing matters like enterprise security from a people centric view – allowing your employees to embrace new technology.

 

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