Arsenal FC IT director Hywel Sloman and Williams F1 CIO Graeme Hackland discuss sporting success, innovation, emerging tech, cyber security and the fan experience

Williams F1 CIO Graeme Hackland and Arsenal FC IT director Hywel Sloman shared their experiences as the business technology leaders at major sports organisations at the 2017 CIO Summit in London.

The two CIOs - both part of the 2017 CIO 100 - discussed having an impact on sporting performance, emerging technologies including AR, VR and biotech, their biggest challenges and opportunities, innovation, cyber security, improving the fan experience - and why they recommend going on a Williams F1 factory tour or Arsenal's stadium tour at the Emirates. Sloman also features in a short video interview below.


What can CIOs in your sector do to have an impact on the organisation and its sporting performance?
Hywel Sloman: Many of the challenges we have in terms of technology impacting the organisation are the same other CIOs have: revenue growth, customer focus, digitalisation. But I think we're slightly different as an organisation for three reasons. First, we are an enormous brand. We're possibly the biggest brand at the CIO Summit, but I'm also probably the smallest IT function today. So the challenge we have as an organisation is managing that, and the breadth of service we offer is challenging for an organisation of our size. The second challenge where technology is essential to us is for engaging with so many millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of people - your relationship with your football club is possibly the second most important thing in your life, outside your nuclear family.

Personalising that interaction becomes really, really, really important - almost more than other sectors. And then thirdly everything is less important than what happens on the pitch.  Fundamentally what happens is, if 11 blokes win a football game once or twice a week, that defines the success of the business. So actually, anything we can do to help that side of things, and mitigating impact elsewhere around it.

Graeme Hackland:The focus for us is really around car performance. How do we win races, how do we get back to the front of the group? Everything we're doing around technology is about going racing and winning.

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