by Edward Qualtrough

CIO UK podcast episode 21 – A sustainability call to arms at the 2019 CIO Summit

Oct 03, 2019

Credit: IDG

A 2019 CIO Summit podcast featuring interviews with 10 CIOs and business technology leaders at the annual gathering revealed the themes of innovation, leadership, cyber security, and why all CIOs and CTOs need to care about sustainability and the climate crisis as the subjects which most resonated with CIO speakers and delegates.

The 2019 CIO Summit was hosted by CIO UK Editor Edward Qualtrough in London at the end of September, and featured CIO and senior technology leaders from SGN, HMRC, Rackspace, Shell, Boots Walgreens Alliance, NHS, Defra, News Corp, University of Exeter, HealthUnlocked, Slack, Axelos and Google Chrome Enterprise.

Debriefing the day’s agenda, CIO UK‘s Thomas Macauley and Scott Carey caught up with SGN Director of IT & Innovation Andrew Quail, Shell Energy CIO Clare Patterson, HealthUnlocked CTO Joe McFadden, University of Exeter Chief Information and Digital Officer Alan Hill, News Corp CIO for Global Operations Sabah Carter, Simply Business CTO Hasani Jess, Imperial College Director of ICT Sonja Browning-Page, Millfield School Director of IT Gary Henderson, CIO 100 judge and independent NED Christine Ashton, and Ayodele Odunlami, a business analyst at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust to discuss CIO-CISO relations, facilitating innovative cultures, and why taking a lead on sustainability initiatives were important topics and priorities for CIOs.

[Subscribe to the CIO UK podcast on SoundCloud]

[Subscribe to the CIO UK podcast on iTunes]

2019 CIO Summit reflections

“There’s been a lot of messages about running data centres efficiently, removing and disposing of materials ethically – these are really important things but my personal view is that’s kind of deck chairs on the Titanic. I think we need to look at fundamental different business models.

“So how we use a production plant. If we have a distributed field force, are they travelling? We need to look at technology to actually stop that from happening. I think really at the heart of your business and its model, technology needs to really challenge what we do and how we do it.” Andrew Quail, SGN Director of IT and Innovation

“I think the theme that came across most strongly was the fact that we were talking so much about transformation and culture and leadership, rather than the technology. And I think more of our time is spent on how do you rally people around the transformation agenda, than actually, where do you find the technology to enable that?” Clare Patterson, Shell Energy CIO

“Sustainability and what the tech sector and tech leadership can think about in the age of climate change is a huge topic, and I think it can’t be understated. How important it is for the tech sector to be using the power it has, both directly within our own organisation, but also in influencing the wider economy, to try and help the whole world shift to this zero carbon and sustainable future that we all need to be doing everything we can to achieve in the next 10 years.” Joe McFadden, HealthUnlocked CTO

“At the CIO Summit the different perspectives that come from the other sectors at are really helpful. And I think bringing in those those ideas into the higher education sector, is a really important intelligence gathering operation, and it enhances what we do in the university as we learn about what’s going on in health or in the energy sector or indeed any other sector at all.” Alan Hill, University of Exeter Chief Information and Digital Officer

“We were talking mainly around the CISO role and the CIO role, and how they work together as equals or whether they should be reporting into one another, and the different structures different companies have. I think the key thing that everyone came away with is actually to collaborate and work together – the herd immunity that if we work together as a group, we have much more power. To come together across industries and work together to actually make sure that we’re protecting ourselves.” Sabah Carter, News Corp CIO, Global Operations

“A couple things that I really enjoyed today, the debate around the CIO and CISO role, and the impact of cyber security in that evolving industry. And also the conversation around innovation differences between private and public sector organisations, and how the public sector don’t always get a good reputation for the innovation activities they do.” Hasani Jess, Simply Business CTO

“I think one of the things that that became very obvious is that there are common themes throughout all of the presentations, and they resonate very strongly with what we’re looking to do at the moment, especially around culture, moving towards a product model, evangelism and transformation in the digital world. There were lots of breadth across both public sector and commercial organisations presenting, and it was interesting to see that both the challenges and the opportunities were similar across the board.” Sonja Browning-Page, Imperial College Director of ICT

“It’s all about innovation and creating the right culture that enables people to share ideas that will enable us to take our organisations forward.

“And sustainability and transformation, I think that is key. A lot of that has been highlighted today. So if we are able to take that on board and integrate it into the business strategy that will be something we will be proud of.” Ayodele Odunlami, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust business analyst

“The CIO Summit is useful for me, stepping outside of the education bubble and seeing the wider world. A couple of points stuck with me, one being the discussion around sustainability – that’s a very, very big thing for the world in general, and also some of our students are very, very engaged in that kind of discussion and exploring how we can be more sustainable.

“And the discussion around the importance of organisational culture over technology, and I think that is key point that sticks with me.

“Finally the importance of working at what problems you’re trying to solve using technology rather than the technology itself. In education some people talk about educational technology and the importance of the technology; what’s important isn’t the technology – what’s important is the teaching and learning and the technologies to support that, rather than the technology being an end in itself.” Gary Henderson, Millfield School Director of IT

“So when we say we had a CIO Summit, one of the things we didn’t talk about was technology. And we didn’t talk about products or security protocols, but what we did talk about was sustainability. We talked about leadership. We talked about how you motivate teams. We talked about skills transformation. So actually, if you’d have been a fly on the wall at this conference, you’d have thought it was a senior business person’s business conference. And that’s kind of exactly what it should be.” Christine Ashton, CIO 100 judge and independent NED

Launched in January 2018, the CIO UK podcast is a monthly discussion featuring CIOs, commentators and technology executives thrashing out the key issues relevant to the UK’s business and technology leaders – as well as the tangential and irreverent musings of guest CIOs.

[Register for upcoming CIO UK events]