CIO UK Editor Edward Qualtrough caught up with seven CIOs and a Gartner research director at the 2019 Gartner Symposium and ITxpo in Barcelona to reflect and debrief the sessions, trends and themes which struck a chord at the analyst firm’s annual European gathering.
Equinor SVP and CIO Åshild Hanne Larsen, Avon VP of Digital Nick Burton, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Associate Director of Digital Sarah Moorhead, Venator CIO Jose Baeza, AWE Chief Technology Officer John Fenwick, Chief Digital Officer for Scottish Local Government Martyn Wallace, Places for People Chief Data and Information Officer Norma Dove Edwin, and Gartner Senior Research Director Ian Cox shared their views on innovation, digital transformation, business strategy, sustainability and CIO priorities.
Recorded in conference rooms, exhibition halls, beach bars and corridors – hear some of the reflections from leading CIOs, CTOs, Chief Digital Officers, IT Directors and Heads of IT.
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2019 Gartner Symposium and ITxpo reflections
“My first job in Equinor was actually as an offshore catering assistant cleaning rooms and doing laundry and kitchen duty about 26 years ago, so I don’t think it was written in the stores that I was to become Equinor CIO.
“Technology is important because it creates the opportunity set, but what we really want to use technology for is to realise the strategy that we have as a company. And our digital transformation is really set to try to support the three strategic intents that we have as a company, which are: always safe, high value and low carbon.”
Åshild Hanne Larsen, Equinor SVP and CIO
“Avon is going through a massive transformation. We really are focusing on how do we help our representatives deliver great service to their customers increasingly through social media, making our products more accessible, making it easier for people to buy them and helping our reps get the training and the learning they need to be really successful.”
Nick Burton, Avon VP Digital
“I try to focus the time around the digitisation or digital transformation sessions, especially for industrial company like ours. And also culture-related and culture of innovation especially – those two topics who have been central of the all the sessions that I’ve attended.
“I’ve also tried to go to some of the product related discussions, whether it’s contract negotiation or clinics around the big vendors, and also sessions around C-suite dexterity.”
Jose Baeza, Venator CIO
“I only have to look back 30 years or so as a child playing on my Commodore 64 or Gameboy and compare that to the mobile phone that’s on the table now, and to think that that level of change is going to happen in the next five years is amazing. The preparation that we need to make for our organisations to be able to cope with that is going to be a real demand on all CIOs and CTOs, and I’m looking forward to that challenge.”
John Fenwick, AWE CTO
“In digital transformation, whether public sector or private sector, we both face the same challenges. We’re not massively different – everybody has the same financial challenges, the same political challenges. We have to work more collaboratively together as well; the NHS will sustain by using the private sector to help us, and we can make the private sector better.”
Sarah Moorhead, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Associate Director of Digital
“I’ve been looking at sessions around the impact of robotics and analytics on the workforce, and then also what do we do with frontline workers? People think that robots will take over jobs, whereas actually in my mind they are there to support people with jobs, so we can actually release staff to do the more human element of work.
Martin Wallace, Chief Digital Officer for Scottish Local Government
“I focus focus on sessions that are about the digital business, which is something that we are doing at Places for People. Becoming a digital business for us means how we will use technology to enable us to achieve our objectives and our strategy, but more importantly about how we put people first. And for me, that’s about putting our customers first who live in all our properties, but also about my workforce and how I enable the workforce, give them a better everyday technology experience, and to create the time and space for them to service our customers.”
Norma Dove-Edwin, Places for People Chief Data and Information Officer
“Adaptive strategy is where we’re seeing strategy going next, in terms of moving away from a one off activity or exercise to a more ongoing regular activity to reflect the fact that the world is changing constantly so our strategy needs to reflect that. There is no end; it’s a continual activity.”
Ian Cox, Senior Research Director and Analyst at Gartner
“I was actually sat next to Mark Raskino just before we went up on stage, and they were playing Justin Timberlake in the background and he was having a little groove to get into the rhythm before getting up on stage. It was nice to see.”
Nick Burton, Avon VP Digital
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.