5 Best Tweets/Quotes/Things we Learnt – Birmingham CIO Event 2017

May 29, 2017

Last night, 125 CIOs and IT Leaders from across the Midlands gathered at the Belfry Hotel and Resort to hear the results of the 2017 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey.

Our photographer was there to capture it all. Take a look at our photo album.

The panel were:

Valerie Reynolds, Director – Head of IT Governance & Control for ReAssure
Roy Aston – CIO for Barclaycard
Helen Walker – CTO for Department of Education
Alan Flower – EMEA CTO for HCL

Panel host:
Natalie Whittlesey, Director-CIO Practice, Harvey Nash Group

The evening was opened by David Procter, Managing Consultant of the IT Leadership Practice at Harvey Nash, who (tongue-in-cheek) congratulated all on their attendance on the correct date – the event having been moved from the 8th June following the announcement of the recent snap election; with this in mind, he used interactive voting to ask the audience if the recent election had impacted their IT Strategy. 25% said their strategy had been impacted in some way.

Jonathan Mitchell, Non-Executive Chair of Harvey Nash’s Global CIO Practice, presented the findings from this year’s survey. He was followed by Adam Woodhouse, Director of CIO Advisory for the Insurance Sector at KPMG, who added commentary around the growing prevalence of the Digital Leader in business across the globe.

Jonathan and asked the audience various questions in real time which threw threw up two particularly interesting results:

1) CIOs in the Midlands are more pessimistic than the national average.
When asked what percentage of IT organisations are looking to maintain or increase their IT budgets this year, the audience answered just 42%. This was in stark contrast to the national average, who answered 79%.

2) CIOs in the Midlands think 2/3 of their teams could become automated long term.
When asked whether a significant part of their team will be reduced through automation in the next 10 years, 67% of our audience of CIOs agreed that it would. By contrast, when asked the same question in the 2017 Harvey Nash Tech Survey, only 45% of technologists – the CIO’s team – believed the same thing.


Following the presentation of the survey findings, Natalie Whittlesey, Director – CIO Practice at Harvey Nash, took the stage to introduce the evening’s panellists and open the Q&A.

Helen: “For us as a government department it really means board level commitment to change how we do business.”
Alan: “For many years the relationship between the board and IT was interesting to say the least.”
Roy: “When we talk to our board there is no concept around digital transformation; what we’re really talking about is the business model being disrupted and that’s the biggest threat for us.”
Val: “Digital in our context is digital work-base; it’s about the people in the company and how they are interacting.”

Val: “We experienced a major outage which took about a week to recover from it. Within technology we raised the need to drive investment, stability and security across the organisation.”
Roy: “The ongoing media attention that has happened with other organisations has been a real wake up call. Had none of that happened we would probably still be sat here doing what we were doing last year and not invested … it was a ticking time bomb.”

Alan: “Everyone wants to do more with less… how can you run an IT estate with a smaller budget? We have absolutely no option other than to deploy mass automation into the IT estates that we run.”
Roy: “We are heavily invested in this area… we are genuinely looking at it in a big way to solve consumer problems like fraud.”

Roy: “When I look across our organisation, Technology is the space that has the most diverse set of roles, whether you’re a Business Analyst, Architect, Developer, or working on UI and UX design. A lot of it is perception, we need to continue to change the perception of what technology really is and how exciting the role and industry can be.”
Val: “How do you inspire them? It’s about giving them the opportunities, networking is not always comfortable for women to be in because it is male dominated.”
Helen: “For me personally, I have to give a hand up to people around me – I actively support women who want to grow within the tech function and I’ve invested in women’s skills in technology”
Natalie: “When headhunting CIOs, we struggle to find women who are in the right salary band as they’re often quite expensive. When you do get a good female CIO, companies really fight to retain them and they become very valuable.”


Scott Littlehales @nomoredowntime: #hnkpmgciosurvey packed audience of the leading CIOs across the country. Let’s go!!!

Steve Halliday @SteveHalliday0:
Enterprise Architecture a returning growth area. Good Digital EAs? Rare as hen’s teeth. #hnkpmgciosurvey

Jonathan Mitchell @Cioadvisors: Birmingham panel and audience saying that digital is now very pervasive even amongst lay non-tech people. #hnkpmgciosurvey

Michael Purcell @MichaelDPurcell: #hnkpmgciosurvey CCaaS. Cybercrime as a Service seems to have become a thing.

Tim Kay @tim_r_kay: Hour into #hnkpmgciosurvey + 1st mention of business model disruption rather than #digital disruption being the driver of innovation #yes


1. Uncertainty creates opportunity.

  • Whether it was the surprising result from the U.S. elections, or Brexit, or the increasing levels of more localised political and economic change in Latin America and Asia Pacific, it seems CIOs have become more used to unpredictable circumstances in the last year.
  • 64% said they have changed their tech plans due to uncertainty.
  • The focus is building stable IT, but also a more nimble organisation to adapt to an unpredictable future.

2. CIO influence grows.

  • In unpredictable times the strategic influence of the CIO continues to grow.
  • For the first time in a decade, more than seven in ten respondents (71 percent) believe the CIO role in their organization is becoming more strategic.
  • A couple of years back we reported on the rise of the CDO and the growth in shadow IT, speculating whether the influence of the CIO is ebbing.
  • What this year’s survey shows this is very much not the case, perhaps buoyed by the board’s priority for the CIO to get back to basics. Something that CIOs are very good at.

3. But who drives innovation?

  • Despite the growing influence of the CIO, there is still much more work to do.
  • When it comes to innovation there is a clear gap between the role CIOs want to perform, and the role they are actually performing.
  • Sixty percent believe the top IT leader should be leading innovation across the entire business, when in fact only 26% actually are.
  • The reality right now is that many IT leaders are having a pivotal role in the technical element of innovation, but not the business element.

4. Cyber threat grows.

  • Although this CIO Survey was taken before the WannaCry attacks, it does reflect an ongoing trend of increasing threat.
  • Almost a third of respondents (32 per cent) reported that their organisation had been subject to a major IT security incident or cyber attack during the past 24 months, up from 22% 2014. Insiders are the biggest growing threat.

5. What sets the 18% ‘most digital’ organisations apart? A Digital Leader…

  • Builds a stable and secure infrastructure. For the CIO to lead on other things they must lead on technology. And that requires a razor sharp understanding of technically how things fit together.
  • Makes aggressive investments in agile and disruptive technologies. Digital are investing far more aggressively in cloud and forcing the pace of adoption across all elements. This is really important as cloud is the core foundation to enable all other elements of digital. Cloud forces a different operating model – driving away from direct control, with budget being driven in many different places.
  • Aligns business and IT strategy, from front to back office, Digital leaders are tilting the model from functional siloes to end to end processes and journeys.
  • Is focused on innovation and growth. It’s about driving the discussions around what ‘might be’ not ‘what is’. This is only possible when you have done the other three things. You need to have a stable platform, automation driven to the highest level and the architectural capability to understand how to dissect business opportunities to a technology solution.

Thank you to everyone who took part, and who continue to make the CIO Survey events a great way to share knowledge and insights.

If you would like to find out more about Harvey Nash please visit www.harveynash.co.uk, or contact michelle.smith@harveynash.com.

If you would like to find out more about KPMG please visit http://www.kpmginfo.com/cioagenda/ or contact Catherine.sanders@kpmg.co.uk.

Blog by

Lily Haake, Lily.Haake@HarveyNash.com , LinkedIn
Rajeda Rahman, Rajeda.Rahman@HarveyNash.com, LinkedIn