Five Things I learnt at Last Night’s CIO Survey Event
by Rob Grimsey, Harvey Nash


The Leeds Harvey Nash CIO Survey event, took place in the Hilton Hotel, Leeds.


Attended by 90 CIOs and IT leaders, and hosted by Steve Rake, Harvey Nash, it featured keynote speeches from:


Hedley Aylott, CEO, Summit Media Ltd


Dean Branton, COO, KCOM Group Plc


Heather Jackson, Non-Executive Director, Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission


Albert Ellis, CEO, Harvey Nash


Five Top Learnings


1. …that we are returning to growth. IT budgets (finally) are on the up after a five year hiatus; despite continued economic uncertainty. There was general positivity in the room; over half had seen budgets rise in the last year (according to our interactive voting system).


2. …that digital is where it’s at. Whilst Operational Efficiencies and Saving costs still remain the bread and butter of a CIO’s priorities; mobile, digital and online security are the growth areas.


3. …where are all the women? 93% of CIOs are men. The consensus in the room was that underrepresentation of women seems mostly to do with the lack of attractiveness of IT careers to women and an educational system that doesn’t make IT exciting. 19.3% of people in the room had female #2s; a higher proportion than registered at our events in London and Manchester.


4. …that Facebook is (vastly) overvalued. 90% of people the room thought so (much more than in our CIO events in London and Manchester, where it was closer to 70%). However there was still respect for what the company is doing, it was just the valuation people had trouble with.


5. …that there is general confidence in the region. 42% of people in the room felt the region is going to grow as a tech hub (only 25% thought it would decline).Growth is more likely to come from digital investments and digital services rather than traditional IT, where there is still a squeeze on budgets.


Top Quotes of the Night


Hedley: “Type your brand name and the word “complaint” into Google; you may be surprised at the result.”


Dean: “IT often sets itself as being separate by the language that it uses.”


Heather: “I’ve learnt more about being a CIO in the last 18 months of not being a CIO, than I did in the 18 previous years of being one!”


Albert: “In 2005 / 6 there was a real sense that IT budgets would decline forever. This survey shows that’s no longer the case. We are spending more on IT.”


Heather: “In developing countries there are more women entering technology careers than there are in the UK. In this country it’s perceived as a techy thing.”


Albert Ellis talked through his recent visit to California “It’s like the recession doesn’t exist; the demand for talent is enormous.”


Thank you to all of those who continue to make Harvey Nash events such an effective forum for knowledge sharing and debate. If you would like to find out more about Harvey Nash’s recruitment, executive search or IT outsourcing services please contact


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