How UK CIOs are managing change in times of disruption

BrandPost By association with Rackspace Technology
Jun 25, 2020
IT Leadership

In May we convened a digital roundtable with 16 CIOs logging in from across the country to talk about managing change at a time of unprecedented disruption, along with our sponsors Rackspace Technology.

Change is constant in business – never has that been more apparent than this very moment. We sat down to discuss everything from how CIOs can provide clear and effective leadership, to lessons learned from the year so far. We also talked a lot about agility, what it means both from a technology perspective and in decision making terms, and how to maintain it.

The session was under Chatham House Rule, so we can’t talk about too many specifics, but after catching up with Adam Evans, professional services leader at Rackspace Technology in the above video, here are some of our top takeaways.

From a disruptor to an enabler

A key theme on the day was around a positive shift in the perception of IT departments, as employees came to rely on services which allow them to work when and where they want more than ever before. “There has been positivity around IT for once,” as one CIO put it.

This was acutely relevant to the healthcare sector, which was well represented at the digital roundtable. Three CIOs from that sector discussed in depth how technology like telemedicine, which would have taken months of proving out previously, has been deployed far and wide almost overnight to help get patients the care they need without the risk of leaving their home during a pandemic.

“They talked about the idea of digital moving from an unwelcome disruptor of very traditional ways of working, to become a stabiliser and almost an ally to enable healthcare as a sector to function,” Evans observed.

In a broader sense, Evans also noted how “there has been a compelling need to switch away from some of the typical digital transformation initiatives that a lot of the people in the room have been working on, towards a more tactical mindset, with a real focus on productivity and customer connectedness.”

Leadership in a time of crisis

Another key theme on the day was around leadership, or more specifically, how technical leaders can take the changes that have been accelerated through the pandemic and ensure that the best pieces remain and what isn’t so important can be left behind.

“It is that ability to be able to get your peer group engaged in the technology change conversation and the process and cultural changes around that,” Evans said. “It is also, as a leader, being able to support your peer group and other leaders in other lines of business in getting their teams onboard with that change.”

In conclusion, many of the attendees were struck by the optimism of the leaders in attendance, especially when it came to “the reduction in stakeholder barriers towards doing things differently,” as Evans put it.

“It was going from being a push mechanism of change, to pull,” he concluded.

Rackspace Technology continues to partner with organisations to develop their tactical and strategic digital transformation plans. If you would like to find out more you can visit their professional services page here.