Former CIO 100 runner-up Chris Hewertson makes another strong showing in the 2016 list. This is evidenced by the continued success of GLH Hotels as a disruptive player in the crowded hotels market, writes CIO 100 judge Mark Chillingworth.

Described as being 'outrageously outstanding' by CIO 100 panel member Matt Ballantine when he was the runner up in the 2015 list, former Colt telecoms CTO Chris Hewertson continues to book in a series of transformations at the hotel and hospitality operator.

"We have zero infrastructure, every service we have is in the cloud and we have reduced business cost off the back of that strategy," Hewertson says.

The CTO has an IT team of just 13 full time staff. Hewertson says the cloud first, cloud only strategy has moved the workloads his team have to ensure they focus on transforming the business. As a result the technology team at GLH Hotels is able to focus on improving the customer experience, which is the business strategy and means that Hewertson is part of improving the top line of the business and not worrying about operational issues at all times.

Information is the key to the GLH technology team making a difference to the top line of the business, Hewertson explains that with the internet awash with hotel booking agents (just watch the TV ads one evening), GLH has focused on developing a strong personal relationship with its customers.

A customer that books directly is more valuable than one who is sourced through a third party. APIs have also been developed to improve the service GLH is able to offer the booking agents as a business growth focused CIOs has to focus on a multitude of revenue opportunities.

Hewertson says that an API strategy not only improves the services GLH offers to the booking agents, but has also created increased transparency back into GLH, which has enhanced its information strategy and ability to react to customer needs.