It is great to start 2015 with good news and a signifier that transformative CIOs are being given the opportunity they deserve. Sander Kristel is now Director of Commercial and Change at Worcestershire County Council, as reported by our sister title ComputerworldUK.
Kristel has featured in this title a number of times and is an example of what a CIO can deliver to change the way an organisation operates, and more importantly in 2015, the way it delivers services to communities. In Kristel's interview with CIO UK last year and at his CIO Summit presentation he outlined how Apps broke down barriers and connected citizens and services in far more natural ways than a call centre or town hall. The Apps Staffordshire developed during Kristel's tenure as CIO are in many ways akin to the disruptive consumer Apps that are delivering home cleaning and maintenance, fast food and the over hyped Uber transport services to consumers. The difference being that Kristel and his team focused on the needs of those most in need of the public sector.
He tells ComputerworldUK how the next digital phase for the public sector is to "drive down demand", in effect help citizens avoid becoming another major user public services and play a more independent part in controlling their destiny.
Kristel describes to ComputerworldUK that he hopes to increase the "commercial nous" of the midlands authority, again, over the years that this title has got to know Kristel he has demonstrated that broader business leadership skill set a CIO needs, no matter what vertical market they are in. At Staffordshire he was involved in the move to a single more cost effective headquarters, one of the most ambitious consolidations of the public sector network, shared services deals with a number of neighbouring public bodies, vendor management deals that were then progressive and are now becoming the norm and helping Staffordshire win major employers such as Amazon and Jaguar Land Rover.
As CIOs from sectors such as retail, financial services, travel and tourism have all told this title recently, digital culture is drastically changing markets and society and Kristel aims to be at the forefront of enabling his new County Council adapt culturally. And to do that Kristel tells Charlotte Jee that third platform technologies of data analytics, cloud - G-cloud in particular, will play a major role.
I have no doubt that 2015 will see an increase in noise about the CDO and CMO stealing the CIOs role, but Sander Kristel's new role demonstrates that a transformative business technology leader is just that, whether they are titled a CIO, director commercial and change, CDO or good old fashioned IT Director. In a year that will see greater digital disruption, massively increased pressure on public sector spending as a result of a torrid general election, Sander Kristel's appointment is a good start to 2015 for business technology leaders.