by Mark Chillingworth

IT leaders discuss the Harvey Nash CIO Survey, 2010

May 12, 2010

Below is a basic transcript of what some senior IT leaders said at the launch of the Harvey Nash CIO Survey of 2010. The influential study, now in its 12th year, has gone global and remains a key indicator for CIO. A full analysis of the report will appear on today. Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall, PA Consulting Group, kicks off on the topic of the post recession, IT cost cutters and innovators. CIOs have a choice to cut costs and be more effective, or do they innovate out of the challenge, and that is a very CIO view of the world. As a community we are responsible for driving out costs, but also innovating, so it’s not a binary decision. It’s an exciting time to be a CIO. 83 per cent expect to be able to innovate. The UK can be renowned for creativity in IT. There are three aspects to this: 1) Become commercial, getting leadership skills to communicate in business language. The CIO function will need to secure the business relationship talent, especially people who really understand the business. Brave CIOs have had to stop important projects and will now have to really understand the RoI of those projects if they are to be rebooted. Cloud computing, still a vibrant camp of people who do not think it is for them, but if M&A increases, the companies you acquire may have already gone into the cloud and you will have to carry out the integration. The recession means that there will be even more sourcing work, managing this challenge is going to be difficult to manage and where is the talent to manage these sourcing relationships. Your providers are worried about your  mix and the CIO has to work out how to build that relationship. There is a great challenge ahead of us, and yet more challenges are coming. To cut costs they had to make difficult decisions, and now they have to make more. You have to get your entire organisation to thrive, not just the IT department, then we are well placed to thrive. Albert Ellis, chief executive of Harvey Nash steps up: The real message from the hung parliament I took was that the dramatic changes in life today. Who would have thought I would have put any money on what has happened in politics in the last week. The world is being tipped upside down, our non-execs can’t get to grips with it. Tech people have an enormous advantage, you are exposed to the future all the time. Technology has managed to cut its cloth in a way that has  been economical in the last 10 years and that is because post .com there has been enormous restructuring and you’ve been doing it for 10 years. Pay and job satisfaction are the hardest challenges,  10 per cent of you have lost your jobs and pay has decreased by 20 years. In the next 12 months budgets will be the same, that is a decrease in real times. Budgets are statics, so where is the new money for innovation and new services that are coming out. The strategic influence of the CIO has increased by 71 per cent, that has changed dramatically. It is true for many of our clients. Three quarters of you say making existing processes better and cheaper is the most important thing. But you must commit to R&D, that has to be more important in my personal view, they ignite enthusiasm in the business. A CEO wants to sell more over the internet and get more goods and services in the marketplace, that requires innovation. The new CIO will come forward now, will be someone who understands the power of communication. Presentation has become enormously important, we don’t like that, we are people of substance but communications and style are at the heart of that. We are going to see some inflation creep back in and your boards will begin to value you a lot more. Make sure you are close to the CEO. But never forget that your skills lie in technology, don’t be afraid of it and your CEO and CFO have relied on that. Liam Maxwell, councillor and member of Tory think tank , developing the Conservative Party technology strategy explains how the new government will have a different direction in IT: 30 MPs that were returned to parliament and I think they owe that to their technology system, and they were Labour MPs and their technology system. Have delivered a four per cent tax cut through improved services. Transparency changes behaviour, all payments to suppliers over £500 on the web. We publish our energy use levels on the net for the council staff and it really worked as there was no conflict. We are as politicians we are there to help people to channel their uses of IT, all our project management is now online, so people can see all the timelines, risks etc. I write about government IT, economies of scale can play a part in government IT and it suggests that they do not. There are major project management issues in government IT, £2bn is spent on procurement, which is enough to run the foreign office, the amount we spend on IT is enough to run a country the size of Wales. I have worked with some very talented officers. Government IT works in silos, often working against other departments. There is nothing that allows the government to work together, there are arguments over which indexes to use, NHS, NI, etc. We have discovered things in procurement, governance and architecture that are very worrying. Leadership, the technology manifesto calls for a more powerful CIO, which we call a COO, its an operational role that the CIO is taking. As someone who worked for a large outsourcer I have found that risk is being transferred to the private sector, and people are not awake to this. We see a move to smaller applications, people owning their own data, and government is trying to find out too much about us. We need a common infrastructure a move towards the cloud. Transparency means open source, open standards, open data and open markets and the future of government IT is in this. Outcomes are the areas we must focus on, we must get in charge of our procurement, as if we cannot spend too much, there is not the money around. Capability is really key. Public services can be delivered as a commodity, which could be outsourced. Suggests a structure of local, regional and departmental IT groups alongside a common services IT group. It must work in government together.