"Focus on the 10 per cent you really enjoy, the rest just has to be done," a better Editor than I said once and it has been the mantra I use daily. Of that 10 per cent, interviewing is without doubt one of the greatest pleasures to being an Editor.
It is a personal rule to conduct interviews in the habitat of the interviewee to really understand their challenges, environment and to spot some colour and chemistry. As a result it is a great honour to be taken inside the world of the CIO and to regularly experience not only the challenges faced, but also the passion, whether it is a guided tour of the social housing provided by the historic Peabody organisation, walking a factory line or the excitement of Army manoeuvres on Salisbury Plain.
My year of interviews couldn't get off to a better start with a day in Madrid to interview a British CIO with be of the biggest gigs around. Phil Jordan at Telefonica is driving through massive change within this global telecommunications and data giant and when I visited on a misty and atmospheric January, Spain was being written off. Jordan is frank and honest about the challenges Spain and his organisation face, yet despite the size of these and Telefonica, he remains committed to the need for a very local feel to its services.
Since bringing the CIO 100 in house there has been a dramatic change in the way the team and I operate CIO UK, the 100 is now the tail that wags the dog, revealing a mass of hidden strategic detail about our readers and has begun to direct our editorial output over the course of the year. A case in point is Mike Sturrock, CIO at logistics provider DX Group. In our congested streets UPS, Yodel and a now privatised Royal Mail are part and parcel of the landscape, while DX remain less well known, for a a good reason. Yet through Sturrock's CIO 100 submission it was clear here was an organisation that clearly sees technology as being at the heart of its future.
Another 100 leader who never ceases to be at the forefront of transformation is Myron Hrycyk at Severn Trent Water. Hrycyk has completed the modernisation of his organisation with mobility, workforce management and flexible computing. But he isn't stopping there and has plans in place to put machine-to-machine computing across the utility company so that it can improve its efficiencies and services through greater knowledge of how its pipelines, treatment plants and reservoirs are operating.
I mentioned in the intro the Peabody Trust, set up in an era where bankers used their wealth to improve the lot of ordinary people, the organisation still has the same beneficiary zeal today as from its Victorian heritage. Technology is helping it both help its community, but also operations. Martin Carpenter, its CIO took me on a tour of its varied properties and showed a real passion that was infectious for the aims of Peabody.
As a media professional it was a fascinating personal insight to meet Christina Scott, CIO of venerable FT news organisation. Arguably the most successful newspaper to move online and into a multi-platform business model. Scott lives up to the information aspect of the CIO job title and has a real focus on revealing to a wide variety of users information that will benefit them.
Profiling Alan Hill of the British Army was one of the highlights of the year, from Hill's first contact where he reassured the team and I the title was bang on the mark and useful, he then added that all the challenges our CIOs face the Army faces and would we like to come out to Salisbury Plain to see frontline information management being put through its paces. All of the British armed forces are impressive and carry out tasks on our behalf that put a new definition into the word difficult. Meeting the front line users and watching an information flow take place in a mortar attack scenario was thrilling and eye opening.
We put a real focus on interviewing at CIO, we find interviewing is the foundations for delivering great CIO speakers to the CIO Summit, for informing the debates at our round table dinners and understanding the readers. Having a direct one-to-one relationship with your readers is mentally exhausting, but without doubt the highest reward an Editor can have. Every interview is a pleasure and I'd like to thank all of those that took part. Already my 2014 diary is filling with interviews with transformative public sector, retail and industry CIOs.