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CIO UK Editor Edward Qualtrough caught up with some 10 CIOs at the Gartner Symposium and ITxpo in Barcelona to reflect and debrief on the the sessions, trends and themes which struck a chord at the research and analyst firm’s annual European gathering.

Represented in this episode are: Chief Digital Officer for Scottish Local Government Martyn Wallace, British Red Cross CIO Rosie Slater-Carr, Brussels Airline CIO Simon Lamkin, DVSA Director of Services and Technology James Munson, Arsenal FC IT Director Christelle Heikkila, Belron Chief Information and Digital Officer Nick Burton, ECB Head of IT Damian Smith, Pladis Chief Digital Officer Anthoula Madden, ArrowXL CIO James Robbins, and British Transport Police Sarah Winmill, who each discussed the cultural side of digital transformation, emerging technologies, the shift from AI to augmented intelligence, board liaisons and their priorities for the next year.

Recorded in conference rooms, exhibition halls, beach bars and corridors - hear some of the reflections from leading CIOs, CTOs, Chief Digital Officers, IT Directors and Heads of IT.

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2018 Gartner Symposium and ITxpo reflections

"I think the ContinuousNext proposition is great; I think the big thing I've seen this year is really around artificial intelligence opportunities and not being scared of it. And we can't be, especially in the public sector we have to look at AI as a way of helping get better outcomes. Giving the bots the gruntwork. Then we can release staff to do the more complex, human touch things. You'll never replace a care worker with a robot, regardless of what people say."
Martyn Wallace, Chief Digital Officer for Scottish Local Government


"What's great is to talk to other people about what's tough, what's easy, how people got round things - pick up ideas.

"We were just talking about augmented intelligence and automating translation which could make a huge difference to us to help us connect people and in some of our work with refugees, but also just to make smarter decisions and get to decisions faster."
Rosie Slater-Carr, British Red Cross CIO


"An interesting theme has come out about culture. Everyone seems to be talking about culture and there was a very good set up in the keynote, how that needs to be set up to get things right and not just talking about digital success but organisational success. That really resonated with me, how we cement and change the way culture will drive the digital agenda."
Simon Lamkin, Brussels Airlines CIO


"One of the things they were talking about in the keynote was products over projects, and that's the type of thing we've been looking at. They were also talking about mindset and culture - that's something we are also looking at how we evolve.

"Some of the sessions on culture, strategy and leadership have been interesting. I liked the session by Ian Cox, who was talking about strategy and strategy development, and I think we can bring some of that into the agency."
James Munson, Director of Services and Technology at the DVSA


"There was a session I really enjoyed around shadow IT. Arsenal like any business has a degree of that, but what was interesting was the biggest message to the CIOs was actually don't try and control that - try and exploit that because it's not necessarily always a bad thing. The key thing is to try and encourage transparency."
Christelle Heikkila, IT Director at Arsenal FC


"The keynote that kicked things off was great; very clear messages this time which seemed a lot sharper than some of the previous years. Really seeing a lot of the cultural stuff coming through and I think culture and the way that you way that you approach change is a key fundamental in getting digitalisation right.

"You can definitely see the change with CEB being integrated - I've been to three or four sessions around culture hacking and growth mindsets. There's been some really good practical stuff to take away, nothing revolutionary but they've pulled it together quick nicely."
Nick Burton, Belron Chief Information and Digital Officer


"The recognition is that change is going to be constant now, and there's not going to be projects - we're going to be delivering service and capabilities. No more big programmes and projects."
Sarah Winmill, British Transport Police CIO


"The messages this year are all around managing change and Mark Raskino did a great presentation about what CEOs are worried about and therefore what CIOs should be worried about.

"I think there's an awful lot about AI which is interesting to us because we're doing quite a bit of experimentation with AI and machine learning in the areas of high performance and the elite end of the game, and we hope for that to trickle down to some of the more recreational parts of the game as well. It's always nice to see a Gartner prediction saying people we be doing this in three or four years time, and actually we are already doing it, and it massages the ego a little bit."
Damian Smith, ECB Head of IT


"One of the key things is to define what is digital and what does it mean for your business? We distilled it down to a truly consumer-centric business model, and therefore how do you realign the capabilities of the business, realign your operating model, your business model, KPIs and even the culture of the business to be able to be truly consumer-centric.

"Culture is a big, big part of how you embed digital."
Anthoula Madden, Pladis Chief Digital Officer


"It's been really interestingly less tech this year; I wonder whether the CEB takeover has had an influence over the analysts and programme, and I feel like Gartner are being a bit more daring with their predictions. There's a little bit more edge to the event in business model and strategy terms."
James Robbins, ArrowXL CIO and Transformation Director

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.