Business First, Technology Second for Italy's CIOs


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The Financial Times, in partnership with HP, recently held an event in Milan to discuss new CIO strategies for the digital age. Topics discussed included customer engagement, consistent delivery of service across all channels, strategies for driving innovation and supporting business growth, and security concerns in an era of BYOD and cloud services.

This white paper highlight key discussion points from the event.

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Business First, Technology Second for Italy's CIOs

  2. 2. Agenda NEW CIO STRATEGIES FOR THE DIGITAL AGE 19.00 Guest arrival and welcome drinks 19.15 Welcome remarks Jane Cooper, Technology and Transaction Banking Editor, The Banker 19.20 Guest introductions and first course served 19.30 Discussion begins: New CIO Strategies for the Digital Age Themes to be addressed: • Which developments have had the biggest impact on your organisation over the last year? • Technology dictates the ways in which customers can interact with the business, but does your IT department engage with customers? • As customers become increasingly tech-savvy and demanding, are you delivering a consistent service across all channels? What challenges do you face when dealing with unstructured data? • Faced with the rising number of employees using their own devices and greater use of cloud services for applications and data storage, which security risks concern you the most, and how can they be managed? • What strategies do you have in place to drive innovation and support business growth? And do you have sufficient budget to achieve this? • To what extent does the IT department collaborate with other parts of the company in order to achieve strategic objectives? • Looking ahead, what key challenges do you foresee in the future? 20.50 Concluding remarks Jane Cooper, Technology and Transaction Banking Editor, The Banker 21.00 Dinner concludes
  3. 3. Summary Report By Jane Cooper When senior Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are gathered for a roundtable discussion, you would expect technology to be the first thing on their minds. For the CIOs of some of Italy’s largest companies, however, it was business first, technology second. “We need to make money,” said one participant. It seems a simple principle, but CIOs need to put forward a strong business case for any IT project because the companies in which they are working are struggling. The CIOs came from a number of industries, representing large companies that operate in a number of markets. What they had in common, however, is that business right now is tough. Declining revenues, squeezed margins, price wars, decreased consumption, and a generally poor economic environment are making life difficult for the companies. The cost burden of regulation and compliance – particularly for financial services – and maintenance of existing systems leaves little time for CIOs to think outside the box and deliver truly disruptive or transformative technologies in their organisations. Aside from the challenging environment, the CIOs talked of creating business efficiencies and improving the quality of service. When using technology to reduce costs or improve efficiencies, things need to be made simple and easy, said one participant. Complexity needs to be removed from the front end – where the customer or the distribution interacts with the company – even if the systems are complex at the back end. Making money was still on their minds, which was the case when the topic of big data came up. The issue, explained one participant, is not finding a solution that will capture more data on customers but rather “what to do with all this data”. A challenge was made: “Give me one idea where a customer will be willing to pay €1 a month to make use of this data”. The uses of big data that were proposed were related to fraud detection and prevention, using data to price products or to offer loyalty rewards, or tracking the movement of goods. These were all related to making savings, or preventing losses, and not actually making money from the use of the data itself. With the car industry, improvements to the latest models could be based on immediate sentiment analysis of social media, rather than waiting for months for cars to be returned to their dealers with faults.
  4. 4. NEW CIO STRATEGIES FOR THE DIGITAL AGE Other ideas were floated. For example, the various industries represented at the table could collaborate and share or sell their data to each other, but such ideas were quickly dismissed because they would not be viable within the confines of data protection laws. Rules and regulations have hindered some industries’ ability to innovate as there is a significant cost burden associated with compliance. Despite this difficult environment, one participant said that now is the time for IT-led disruption. This ability to do this, however, differed for the CIOs depending on where they sit in the reporting lines of their companies. For CIOs that don’t report to their company’s CEO, this can hinder their ability to push ahead with innovative projects. Technology has been viewed separately from the rest of the business in some companies. Now, however, there is a move away from “IT and the rest of the business” toward “IT and business”, which is also becoming crucial as it was business first on the minds of the participants of this roundtable in Milan.
  5. 5. BIOGRAPHIES CHAIR Jane Cooper Technology and Transaction Banking Editor The Banker Jane Cooper is the Technology and Transaction Banking Editor at The Banker a publication produced by Financial Times Group. She previously worked as a freelancer for a number of publications, specialising in retail banking, cards and payments, and also held a part-time position based at the London School of Economics. She has worked for Lafferty Group and also spent a number of years in South Korea, where she worked for The Korea Herald and Arirang TV. Ms Cooper holds an undergraduate degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and an MSc from Oxford University.
  6. 6. For more updates, please see our Facebook page: Financial Times Live group: FOLLOW FT LIVE For live updates from events and to participate on Twitter: t v ą Financial Times Live, the global conferences and events arm of the Financial Times, gathers pre-eminent public and private sector decision-makers, visionaries and strategists from the world’s most important economies and industries for a wide range of interactive, agenda-setting programmes that combine the power of on-site discussion and networking with the flexibility of live-streamed and on- demand broadcasting. Chaired by senior journalists from the Financial Times and its group publications, the summits, conferences, awards and strategic forums organised by FT Live provide audiences with the opportunity to listen to and interact with speakers of the highest calibre in lively and stimulating debates that cover the key issues of our time. The Financial Times provides essential news, comment, data and analysis for the global business community. It has a combined print and online average daily readership of 2.1 million people worldwide and a combined paid print and digital circulation of almost 629,000 (Deloitte assured, Q3 2013). FT education products now serve 34 of the world’s top 50 business schools. ORGANISERS
  7. 7. NEW CIO STRATEGIES FOR THE DIGITAL AGE The work we do at HP Enterprise Services starts and ends with our clients. We listen, we care, and we stand by them – aspiring to deliver the best client experience in the industry with targeted business and technology solutions to over 1,000 large businesses and governments in 90 countries. For more than 50 years, HP Enterprise Services has been a safe pair of hands and dedicated partner to enterprises and governments around the globe. We help our clients evolve their IT to enable business strategies – creating better customer experience, empowering employees, or driving new business models. It’s what keeps our clients relevant and ahead of the competition. We advance the way they use technology through our infrastructure outsourcing and project services, business process outsourcing, and applications services. We advise, transform, and manage to advance each enterprise, no matter where they are in the journey. We are successful when they are successful.
  8. 8. Financial Times Live One Southwark Bridge London SE1 9HL UK T: +44 (0) 20 7775 6653 E: