Francis Crick Institute CIO Alison Davis and CIO 100 panellist Trevor Didcock, a former CIO 100 leader, are the first guests on the inaugural CIO UK podcast, discussing technology themes for 2018, the CIO 100 and their career highlights.
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.
Didcock and Davis agreed that data analytics, GDPR and security issues would be of significant concern for CIOs in 2018, along with how CIOs go about finding business value in emerging technologies.
Didcock, CIO 100 leader when he was running the technology function at easyJet, is also a former IT chief at the AA, the RAC and Homeserve. A CIO 100 judge since 2016, Didcock combines non-executive directorships, advisory and coaching work with angel investing in tech startups.
Didcock said that Big Data was becoming a reality, and he encouraged CIOs to get involved in the 2018 CIO 100.
"Big Data is becoming a reality; it will be the year of Big Data delivery," Didcock said, while adding how the CIO 100 had been a showcase of the success of his team.
"I think the CIO 100 is a great process. It gets you to stand back from what you are doing and think about why it matters. It gives you the opportunity to talk about what the organisation is doing, what the team is doing, and how it's related to the business strategy rather than just doing things from a pure technology delivery perspective.
"I found it was a real springboard to meeting new people; there was quite a fraternity around who would take part in it. I found as a consequence of it I had more networking meetings with people and be able to fix things together when you have challenges.
"It was great for providing a showcase for what the team had been doing."
Security and innovation
CIO at the Francis Crick Institute in London, Davis said that security awareness would be a significant challenge for organisations in 2018, and that post-WannaCry "more and more people are becoming aware that enabling that human firewall is really important."
She added that being able to enable innovation in a secure environment would continue to be a challenge for CIOs.
"All organisations will need to think about how we really deliver security awareness in all of our end-users going forward, and not just in security training," she said.
"I would like to see more time for innovation because we've been so busy in the setup phase, but as we come out of that with more time for innovation, hackathons, coming through."
CIO 100 community
A CIO 100 member in 2016 and 2017, Davis echoed that inclusion in the CIO 100 was recognition of the team's accomplishments, and that being part of the CIO 100 network provided useful troubleshooting opportunities.
"It's been great to be part of the CIO 100 for the last couple of years," Davis said. "I was slightly apologist about being part of the CIO 100 at The Crick because it's not about the individual, it's very much about the team.
"It's been great to meet people and network."
Davis agreed with Didcock that leadership was a critical differentiator among CIOs, and that CIOs were in a unique position to make those around them think and behave differently.
"I think certainly the priorities for CIOs around leadership, how you can do things differently to deliver in your particular industry is very important," she said. "How you can get suppliers to think differently and come along with you, how you can think differently and how you can get the organisation to think differently and to change is probably the big theme for me."