Challenges facing CIOs at the UK’s leading companies

If you enjoy my blog, please recommend my blog for the Computerweekly IT Blog Awards 2009 in the CIO/IT Director category at:

Recently, Jeremy Oates, – Managing Director for Accenture systems integration & technology did an interview for Computing magazine – 10/8/09 and was asked about the challenges facing CIOs at the UK’s leading companies.

I enjoyed that interview and have responded by providing additional answers to Jeremy’s thoughts, as below:

What is the biggest problem for FTSE 100 CIOs?

I just wanted to discuss the Green IT issue in a bit more depth. CIOs need to recognise that the Green issue will be climbing higher and higher up the CIOs agenda. Addressing this is not just good business but a necessity. We are increasingly living in a world that faces an energy crisis and a pollution bombshell. Anything that we do that can lower our carbon footprint will be good PR, good business, provide a good ROI (For example, reducing travel expenses by video conferencing) and value for money. It is the duty of any corporate citizen to ensure that we leave a sustainable world for future generations.

How can these problems be solved?

In addition to your thoughts, there are once again, at a corporate level many initiatives that can be introduced that can address the problems that we now face. Every CIO should have a team looking after innovation and ensuring that it is horizon scanning to ascertain the technology that could be the next killer application or IT, ‘must have’.

Businesses’ need to ensure that they actively promote IT graduate placements (Discussed in my blog – The future graduate and the IT and computing skills shortage – and women are encouraged to not only become IT graduates but to work within the IT arena.

Businesses also need to look at mobile workforces and how best to equip them (Phones vs Smartphones), how best to use social networking (bearing in mind the next generation knows no other way to communicate) and how to leverage Cloud Computing. In addition, ERP systems need to be utilised more efficiently as well.

The above will generate new ideas and solutions for new world problems.

What are the challenges for enterprises considering cloud-based services?

As outlined before, innovation and horizon scanning should mean that businesses start to research cloud computing and what it can do for businesses (Discussed in my blog – What is Cloud Computing? Its Pros/Cons and making it work – The challenge will be whether businesses are prepared to take the same applications into a ‘test cloud environment’. The issue of security and enterprise data can then be tested. The risk here is that this is a double edged sword, whether to operate in the cloud or not!

£70 billion dollars is being pumped into global broadband infrastructures, so the question is not if but when!

What is the biggest compliance issue facing FTSE 100 firms and how to prevent data loss and security breaches?

I agree it is Security and in my view the one single reason for data loss is human error. Technology, for example can encrypt data but cannot stop an employee from leaving a physical paper file on the train or stop onlookers looking at sensitive data on the screen of a laptop. Business cultures need to change through education and understanding. Businesses should take the UK government’s view  – and ensure all employees handling information undertake appropriate exams/certifications.

What is Accenture’s view on Digital Britain, particularly the next-generation optical-fibre rollout? Is 2Mbit/s as a universal service commitment (USC) good enough?

To enable the UK to be a market leader for the next generation of product/services that will enter the market as a result of universal broadband coverage, we must be at the forefront of this technology. For example, Australia is spending $33 billion for broadband speeds of 100Mbit/s and the UK is enabling only 2Mbit/s. The statistics prove that the UK is equipped with better connectivity, or we risk being outperformed by countries that are investing  heavily in the telecoms infrastructure now rather than tomorrow.


About mubbisherahmed
I am passionate about IT and its ability to deliver cost effective, value for money solutions that can enhance performance and in many cases provide competitive advantage by using a range of solutions and approaches in innovative ways.

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