CIOsynergy conference #itstartshere

I attended the CIOlondon conference held at the Langham Hotel in Central London on the 11th May. It was a great opportunity to network with peers and CIO’s as well as speak to some exciting vendors.

The future prediction panel was, unfortunately, spot-on as they predicted the rise of ransomware. The next day #Wannacry hit the NHS and many other globally known companies. Another interesting speaker was the CIO of the Francis Crick institute, Alison Davis. Alison spoke about the challenge of medical data and the sheer volume produced, petabytes not terabytes. So much is being produced at the institute that she is at the point of considering that cloud storage is more expensive than coming back on premise.

The highlight of the day was the keynote delivered by Hamish Watson. Hamish has had an incredibly successful career jumping between sectors by using an ability to resolve problems without being constrained by the industry they arise in. This is proved in his story about the fully flat seats within BA’s transatlantic flights. He spoke to aircraft seat manufacturers but they were so hooked up on aircraft seat they couldn’t see the solution. So he turned to luxury yacht interior designers and got the now iconic BA fully flat business class seat.

My big take away from the keynote was to get into the customers head and think like them. Not only that but to understand what they want to feel from a product or service. The best example of this was his approach to selling products for Sainsbury’s bank. Make them an item that goes in the trolley because customers just want to get the shopping done and get back home. Quick and easy!

Hamish also spoke about the importance of staying close to all levels of employees within the business. The idea behind this is the front line team will have great ideas that really do help customers to feel better about your product. Frontline teams are in contact with those paying for your product and understand their challenges better than most. IT is bad at this. Too many still have a closed door with the attitude that they are the experts. This is completely wrong in a world where technology is a given. Remember the computing you were taught at school and discovered in your teen years? This is now intuitive and babies pick it up in seconds.

The day did suffer a bit from speakers not turning up but credit those that stepped in at the last minute, some great insight especially around using identity as a firewall.

Will I attend again, probably not, but I would still recommend CIOs attend it at least once.

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