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CIO podcast: The Editor’s annual review 2017

Some of the CIOs and guests featured in this year’s CIO Podcast

2017 is coming to an end, and it is the end of the first full year of broadcasting the Horizon CIO podcast. So what do 40 episodes and discussions with 48 CIOs tell us about the chief information officer role and our community?

During 2017 the Horizon CIO podcast tackled the wave of new technologies entering the enterprise and society and the discussions clearly show CIOs are analysing, experimenting and in some cases deploying the latest technologies.

The big headline grabber is artificial intelligence (AI). Over the course of this year we heard from CIOs in travel, charity and the legal sectors. Two aspects of the AI debate spring to mind, the first is that though enthusiastic adopters of technology, the CIO community is well aware of the challenge to society AI poses. 

A fascinating business topic for me in these discussions was how AI will bring an improvement in accuracy to organisations. Legal CIOs for example talk of having a more accurate understanding of every case. Medical CIOs talk of doctors and nurses spending more time with patients as a result of AI. I believe AI will have the same impact on society as the steam engine and Jaquard’s loom, but society must manage the adoption of AI and that means a drastic change in culture, as many of our podcasts guests allude to.

Digital transformation remains on the lips of many CIOs, CDOs and vendors. Listening back to a year’s worth of podcasts,  it is interesting that leading CIOs see digital as a major way to create organisations that respond to the needs of their customers and teams, not rigid business processes. It is a lesson they have learned from digital businesses like Amazon etc. And like AI, these technologies can ensure the organisation does more of what it is meant to do, care for patients, provide customer service or goods.

Underpinning AI and digital strategies is data and the ability to analyse data to provide insight to an organisation. From high performing sports, network infrastructure and retail, harnessing data to improve business outcomes was raised by many CIO peers as one of the highest priorities of 2017 and beyond. This gives me hope as these technologies and their strategic value is a change to put the I back into CIO.

And connected to the data focus is the looming deadline of the general data protection regulations (GDPR) and twice over the course of the year CIOs from Lloyds of London and News UK discussed how draconian though the fines may be, GDPR is an opportunity to make sure data has value, and the organisation is not just focused on quantity.

Smart cities and city smarts

Over the course of the year the Horizon CIO podcast visited Bristol, Dublin, Barcelona and Manchester. Bristol is forging ahead with a smart city project to connect a wide range of utility and transport services, as pressure on services and the environment increases, this will be a story to watch for local government CIOs in our community.

Dublin left us in awe, this is a city on a rapid growth trajectory and it will reap massive gains from the UK severing European relations.

For many years I have been watching Manchester rise and become clearly the UK’s second capital and possibly its digital capital  and a debate with local CIOs and development agencies revealed a global focus to rival London.

Over the course of the year we have published a number of podcasts on the CIO community in the NHS, and we make no apology for this. This has to be one of the most exciting times for the CIO community in healthcare. Helped by the sector having a purple patch of great technology leaders, many of whom joined us over the course of the year to discuss certification, procurement, the importance of the CCIO as well as all the same topics as their business peers – data, agility, digital change, analytics and startups. As with the smart city agenda, there is a real need for the Health CIOs to rise to the challenge ahead of them and I believe that the CIO community in health at present  is well placed to make the most of the opportunity, despite its severe funding challenges.

But it never mattered where we travelled, which sector we were in, all the CIOs who shared their insights, experiences and views with the Horizon CIO podcast were focused on the needs of the customer. New technologies are there to be exploited to improve the customer experience and all 48 CIOs were and are doing just that.

Looking ahead to 2018 and there are some major challenges ahead, the economy in the UK remains dangerously fragile, there are skills and recruitment pressures being exacerbated by the economy, but as a number of CIOs have told the podcast, the CIO is well placed to head off the challenge. But no one would join the CIO community unless they enjoyed a challenge, you only have to tune in to our former easyJet CIOs discussion to hear the passion for navigating turbulence.

The best CIOs continue to be in high demand and the nature of the role will develop. 2018 will be a fascinating year for the community and each and every week the Horizon CIO podcast will bring you insightful peer led debates. We have some great discussion lined up for 2018, but we welcome your involvement and stories, so please contact me.

I would also like to thank our loyal listeners, downloads have risen throughout the year and the feedback you share in invaluable. During 2018 there will be at least eight events for the CIO community. One last thank you goes to Producer of the Weekly CIO podcast Matt Gore.  

So a Merry Christmas to all our listeners and a Happy New Year.

The key themes and their podcasts in 2017:

AI will benefit business processes

Innovation in major law firms

Phil Jordan on joining Sainsbury’s

CCIO role key to the development of eHealth

Manchester and the Northern Powerhouse

Ireland’s public sector Celtic tigers

GDPR is an opportunity for CIOs

Mike Bohndiek, West Ham FC CIO on customer goals

easyJet CIOs chartered flight into digital leadership

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