CIO & Technology Leaders Series Event Report: Stockholm


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A number of Scandinavia’s top IT leaders met at the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm on the 7th of November for a private roundtable dinner hosted by Financial Times columnist and digital strategist Ade McCormack. This report summarises the major discussion points.

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CIO & Technology Leaders Series Event Report: Stockholm

  1. 1. CiO & TECHNOLOGy LEADERS SERiES Enhancing Value to Business: CIO Best Practices Summary Report 7 November 2013 Grand Hôtel Stockholm @FTLiveTweets #FTHPCIO
  2. 2. STOCKHOLM 7 NOVEMBER 2013 AGENDA 18:00 Guest Arrival & Welcome Drinks 18:15 Welcome Remarks from FT chair Ade McCormack Opinion Columnist Financial Times 18:20 Guest Introductions, First Course Served 18:30 Discussion Begins: The Changing Role of the CIO and the Importance of IT in Enhancing Business Performance • • • • The changing nature of the business. The changing role of the CIO. Achieving strategic relevance through business transformation. Turning technology trends into business value 19:55 Concluding Remarks from FT chair Ade McCormack Opinion Columnist Financial Times 20:00 Networking Drinks
  3. 3. STOCKHOLM 7 NOVEMBER 2013 Speakers Ade McCormack Opinion Columnist Financial Times Ade McCormack has been an opinion columnist with the Financial Times since 2004. His focus is on advising business leaders on IT matters. He is the author of a number of books including the ‘IT Value Stack A Boardroom Guide to IT Leadership’ which was critically acclaimed by Nick Carr, former editor of Harvard Business Review , “Ade McCormack sounds a much-needed clarion call for IT to “grow up” and become a mature business function.” Mr McCormack is also a visiting lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management where he lectures on digital leadership as part of the MBA programme. He also helps organisations prepare for the digital economy through his eWorld Academy ( His IT Beacon blog ( was recently short listed by Computer Weekly magazine as one of the most influential logs in respect of the Chief Information Officer.
  4. 4. Summary REPORT STOCKHOLM 7 NOVEMBER 2013 A number of Scandinavia’s top IT leaders met at the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm on the 7th of November for a private roundtable dinner which was hosted by Financial Times columnist and digital strategist Ade McCormack. The heightened security resulting from a visiting Prime Minister in a nearby room set the tone for the conversation. This report summarises the major discussion points. Everyone agreed that the manner in which business and society are changing necessitates changes in the manner in which the IT function supports the organisation. Chief Information Officers need to be technically aware but they must also develop the skills to gain the trust of the leadership team. This needs to cascade right through the IT function, particularly at the user service touch points. Despite the increasing operational pressures to do more with less budget, it was felt that CIOs need to somehow make time and resources available to demonstrate the manner in which technology can be used in support of business innovation. There was a sense that in some sectors the impact of globalisation has yet to hit the region and that action needs to be taken now, even if on the face of it one appears to be cannibalising a perfectly good business model. Security, particularly in the context of the bring your own device (BYOD) trend, was a major concern. Maintaining a secure organisation whilst compromising the existing model is sure to end unhappily. Though it was pointed out that businesses need to review the security risks in the context of cost and business value, this is not a decision for the CIO; the enterprise leadership team must make a decision whilst understanding the associated potential for a ‘Black Swan’ event. The Internet of Things was brought up given the number of device / appliance players in attendance. It is quite possible that much like IT many of these products may move to a service based model. Hot on the heels of the Internet of Things we can expect rapid growth in the Internet of Things in people! The conversation moved into the social economy and it was suggested that by its very nature this new model would kill the sales function. The question of whether it would kill retail stores was raised. It was felt that a physical presence is required though not necessarily to generate sales. It could be that stores are paid on the basis of their ability to provide a value-added service in respect of educating the market, which can then purchase the item online at its leisure. Taking this to the next stage, 3D printers could ultimately lead to manufacturing in the home, whether it be clothing or meals. The vendors would thus move out of manufacturing and likely focus on licensing their printing algorithms to the consumers. The role of IT vendors was explored and it was decided that those that do not build their organisation around the needs of the customer will enter the ‘hospice’ tech sub sector. Another question raised during the discussion was ‘who is the customer?’, and everyone agreed that users are better seen as partners to the IT function. Both should be focused on working together to improve the condition of the end customer / citizen. Whilst the digital economy pushes us to be more agile and perhaps to cut corners to meet the needs of the market, certain industries are constrained by regulation and safety concerns. Offshore technology service providers were generally viewed in a positive light by participants as they offer great value for commodity IT requirements. This in turn caused some of the guests to reconsider the extent to which IT is core to their business. It was concluded that the role of CIO is to provide the organisation with the tools to ensure that the strategic outcomes are achieved, technology being a means to this end.
  5. 5. financial Times Live One Southwark Bridge London SE1 9HL, UK T: +44 (0) 20 7775 6653 E: