CIO Event Birmingham – 5 Best Quotes / 5 Things We Learnt

August 9, 2016

5 Best Quotes

“A really promising point about diversity in I.T. is that the proportions of women getting to the senior positions, mirrors the proportion of women in the industry”

“We are now witnessing IT moving at the speed of the business”

“Shadow IT is out there now – you are not going to put that genie back in the bottle”

“CIO’s are spending, on average, a day of their week getting their arms around the business and taking the business on the IT journey”

“The 4th industrial revolution is here and it is blurring the line between physical, digital and biological”


View all event photos here

5 Things We Learnt

1. CIO’s are getting to grips with digital
As we find ourselves amid the digital revolution, companies are now embracing this as much as possible and, unlike other years, it is no longer such a huge concern. The number of companies recruiting CDO’s has unsurprisingly plateaued for now as we reach saturation. A concern echoed throughout the panel was however, keeping up with the newfound digital pace.

2. Diversity is on the up
Whilst IT remains a very male-dominated industry, the amount of females in the profession continues to grow. This year, we found that the number of females in senior positions mirrors the number of females in the profession which is a really promising fact for women in the profession.

3. The 4th industrial revolution is here
The 4th industrial revolution is more than a buzzword, and bringing disruption into sectors hitherto unaffected by digital. Derek Kay of KPMG highlighted how this is both an opportunity and threat, with companies having a chance to innovate their business modesl to give them a more competitive edge.

4. The skills shortage continues
As we have seen in previous years, the skills shortage continues throughout the industry. This skills gap seen varies depending on the geographical location of survey participants. However Jonathan Mitchell of Harvey Nash stated “as big data gets bigger and the need for analytics increases it is a very, very good time to be a professional in Big Data”.

5. The role of the CIO continues to change
This year saw CIO’s building new relationships: 34% now report directly in to a CEO and 19% now have a CDO as a neighbour on the board. As well as building these new relationships it was found that CIO’s spend an increasing amount of time looking at the business and more time is spent away from just being the “boss of technology”.

Summary of the evening

On the evening of the 8th September at the beautiful Belfry Hotel in Sutton Coldfield, Harvey Nash and KPMG presented the results of their 2016 CIO Survey to over 100 senior IT professionals. The survey, which has grown to become the largest of its kind, focused this year on the “Creative CIO”.

Our very own David Procter, Managing Consultant in IT Leadership, took to the stage to welcome guests and introduce them to the CIO Survey. Jonathan Mitchell, again of Harvey Nash, then kicked off the discussion of the survey results. The survey had over 3000 participants from 82 countries with a total shared budget of over 250 billion (that’s higher than many country’s GDP!). Jonathan discussed the current digital revolution, how the CIO’s position has changed to far more of a business enabler and how we have seen budgets grow and then plateau in recent years. He then discussed in depth, the “concerns keeping CIO’s awake at night”.

Cyber security was a key concern for many CIO’s but Jonathan pointed out that the acknowledgement of this was a huge step for the board in tackling this ever-growing problem. Issues with skill shortages continue but Jonathan noted the skills gaps were skewed depending on geographical locations. However no matter where you are he noted it is “a great time to be a big data professional” as data and analytics continues to see huge growth. Jonathan then went on to praise the increasing gender diversity the IT community is continuing to see: although the industry continues to be male dominated, the proportions of females in senior positions mirrors the proportions of women in the industry.

Derek Kay of KMPG then took over and focused his analysis around agility, digital and the interaction with the business. Referring to last year when there was a huge rise in companies employing CDO’s, Derek noted that this has unsurprisingly levelled off as we reach the saturation point. He viewed the digital revolution as a positive aspect as it evokes the innovation of new products and gives companies a competitive edge. However, companies fall short at gathering the resources required to actually deliver this innovation. He discussed the technical debts that many organisations face and the limiting knock-on effects this can have on the IT department. Derek viewed the agility and innovation of companies now as a huge enabler in allowing IT to run at the speed of the business, rather than at the speed of IT.

Harvey Nash’s Natalie Whittlesey then introduced our panel of board level IT leaders:

  • Alistair Fuller – CTO of Ideal Shopping
  • Sharon Cooper – CDO of British Medical Journal
  • Darryn Warner – CIO of Interserve Plc.
  • Jon Staniforth – Head of Technical Risk at NewDay

The panel introduced themselves and discussed the issues they currently faced. They shared concerns around keeping up with the digital pace (particularly Alistair given the pace of an organisation like Ideal Shopping), the ever-growing big data and analytics opportunities and the risks associated with cyber security. Our quirky new orange catch box microphone was thrown in to the audience to fire questions at the board of panellists.

The fears of cyber security resonated through the initial questions, echoing that this is indeed at the forefront of concerns throughout the IT industry. The panel shared their views on the need to carefully select service providers and security specialist Jon Staniforth of NewDay discussed how technology debt can affect budgets for security teams and therefore their ability to plug the holes that might be present. Keeping it current, there was of course a question about the recent Brexit and the panel were in agreement that it is very much a “wait and see exercise”.

Sharon of BMJ shared some concern about the European talent in her teams and the uncertainty they are experiencing whilst Jon had little to say about it as the new GDPR will go ahead regardless of whether the UK is in or out of the EU. The final question finished the evening on a positive spin, by asking the panellists what got them out of bed, rather than what kept them up at night. The panellists were all in agreement that it is a very exciting time for technologists within a business right now. The growing analytics and A.I opportunities particularly excited Sharon of BMJ, whilst Interserve CIO was particularly excited by Office365 right now.

After a great round of applause all guests went through for drinks, canapes and the chance to continue discussions with their peers.

Harvey Nash would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that participated in the survey and attended the event. We hope that you enjoyed the event as much as we did! If you would like further information about any Harvey Nash events then please get in touch with

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Amy Martin, Consultant, Harvey Nash
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