The first season of the Horizon Business Innovation CIO podcast demonstrates that today’s business technology leader is focused on the needs of the customer. From December 2016 until the summer break it has been a pleasure (as well as a vertical learning curve) to bring innovation leaders from healthcare, travel, distribution, financial services, government, tourism, professional services, law, media and even some golfers together.
Launched in December 2016 the Horizon CIO podcast series is the UK’s first podcast for the CIO and CTO community and over season one’s 29 episodes a diverse range of business technology leaders from all vertical markets described to peers in studio debates and Horizon live events how innovation leadership is about being tuned into and responsive to the needs of customer.
When I joined the CIO community back in 2008 the debate was all about alignment. Technology leaders and their departments were said to be out of touch with the organisation, let alone have any empathy with the needs of the customer. Fast forward to second half of 2017 and listen to the discussions and presentations from leading CIO and CTO peers and you could not ask for a picture to be more different.
It is how the customer reacts to and uses technology that has driven this change in focus. Unsurprisingly one of the most popular – and the longest – episodes was the discussion between the four CIOs that spent a considerable amount of their career at low cost airline easyJet. The bright orange Luton headquartered (for now) airline was a trail blazer into online sales and throughout its career easyJet has been a highly customer focused business. As CIOs Mike Sturrock, Andy Caddy, Simon Lamkin and Colin Rees eloquently discuss their already strong customer focus gained extra lift.
I would argue as a commentator that began his working and travel career at the time easyJet left the apron and lined up on the runway that organisations like easyJet have empowered the entire CIO community, demonstrating to all in the role how technology empowered customers can change a marketplace forever. Flying alongside this quartet of CIOs Mark Holt at Trainline, Julie Pierce in government, Neil Brooks in media, Fergus Boyd in hotels (himself a former airline CIO) and Stephen Docherty in health, to name just a few from this season, have changed the way organisations operate.
As the discussions in season one demonstrate, today’s transformational CIO knows how to be both excited by the technology for its technical brilliance, but also to see and consider all the ways the customer may want to use that technology to engage with the products and services an organisation offers. Julie Pierce at the Food Standards Agency shared visions of how mobility is and will continue to direct food consumption, Neil Brooks sees how the garage business will change its customer service through the APIs his organisation develops, healthcare CIOs are changing well being, and across the channel rail travel is being integrated with buying a newspaper or riding a bicycle.
I’d like to thank all the CIOs and CTOS that have given their time and expertise to speak at Horizon Business Innovation events or to enter our studio and spend time with their peers discussing the challenges and opportunities ahead. Our tag line is binging innovation leaders together and in and every podcast the passion, knowledge and insights are, I believe, highly useful to peers.
I would also like to thank all the CIOs from banking academia, government, health, leisure, logistics and utilities that have kindly shared feedback and for their support.
Season 2 is already in production and we have some incredible insights and debates to share with the community on issues as diverse as security, diversity, business process improvements, government, Agile, collaboration, hackathons and AI.