CIO Event Newcastle – 5 key things we learnt

September 29, 2014

On 22nd October, at the wonderful Laing Art Gallery Newcastle, over 70 CIOs, IT leaders and technology executives attended the Harvey Nash CIO Survey event to discuss and debate the future of technology, CMO / CIO relationships, Shadow IT, careers and much more besides. Panel members were:
Tracy Costello CIO, Insure the Box
Lindsay Phillips MD UK Application Delivery Centre HP
Paul Binks Head of IT, British Airways & IAG

5 things we learnt:
1. Selling Newcastle:  Attracting and retaining tech talent is key to the region. Whilst salaries might not compare favourably to South East England, lifestyle and cost of living certainly do. Is the region doing enough to ‘sell’ itself? Separate, but connected to this there was discussion about how apprenticeships are becoming increasingly important, and an increasingly popular alternative to (expensive) university education.
2. Budgets are up, but for how long? The Harvey Nash CIO Survey reports that more CIOs are expecting budget increases this year than at any point since 2006. So all is good? Well feedback from the audience suggest that people are jittery about recent economic indicators, especially from Europe (the CIO Survey, conducted earlier in the year would not have captured this). However it was broadly felt the outlook remained positive.
3. Will CMOs inherit the earth? Well the survey suggests that there is an increasing trend for CMOs to own the digital agenda and strategy and  IT’s involvement in digital has dropped from 56% last year to 50% this year. That said there is evidence from the Survey that this might be a temporary trend – an example is Shadow IT, where after an initial growth spurt in 2011-3, last year saw a decline. We called it the Boomerang Effect – technology is picked up by the business, but then when it becomes too complex or risky to operate it comes back to IT to manage / nurture.
4. Does reporting line matter? The Survey tells us that 32% of CIOs report to the CEO, 23% to the CFO and 11% to the COO. It also tells us that CIOs with CEOs as bosses tend to have more success with customer facing / revenue generation projects (e.g. websites, Big Data etc.). CIOs with CFOs as bosses tend to do well on ERP and (unsurprisingly) Finance systems. Spare a thought for the COOs though; CIOs who report to that particular job role seemed to have the least successful projects. But that’s what the data tells us, the panel debate we had suggested a much more nuanced situation, and in fact it less mattered who you reported to, and more about who you had strong relationships with.
5. Does money buy CIOs happiness? Er, Yes.
Thank you so much to everyone who attended and continue to make Harvey Nash events such a great platform for debate and networking. If you would like to find out more about our technology recruitment, executive search and offshoring services visit us at