The Power Of Talent

CIO Tech Leadership Event, Dublin

25th June, 2005 - The Westin Hotel, Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

Last Thursday brought to Dublin a medley of Tech Leaders, IT Directors and high-level technology enthusiasts.

The reason? Harvey Nash, in association with KPMG, were hosting their annual Technology Leadership Event. This year the venue was the magnificent Westin Hotel in Dublin's bustling centre.

The night kicked off with a drinks reception in the grand conference hall, where up and coming tech enthusiasts could mingle with Ireland's IT influencers. Cards were exchanged, chats were had and many an idea was discussed.

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Sonya Curley (MD Harvey Nash, Dublin) and Michael Daughton (Partner, KPMG) welcomed us and spoke on the theme which we were going to see repeated again and again - The IT landscape has entered an age of disruption and that as technologists, we need to adapt.

It wasn't long before the enigmatic Dr Jonathan Mitchell took the stand to deliver the results. Jonathan is the Non-Exec Chairman of Harvey Nash and the former CTO of Rolls-Royce. (Incidentally, he holds the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the mainland coast of the UK - in his own aircraft). He outlined the results for the 17th Harvey Nash CIO Survey, reflecting the views of over 3600 participants in 50 countries:

44% of companies saw their tech budgets rise last year

  • Improving efficiency and business processes remain the key drivers for budget growth, but analytics and finding new revenue streams are increasingly driving the CIO's priorities

Skill Shortages are a challenge 

  • The biggest demands are in Big Data / Analytics - The world wants insights from all this data we've been collecting. 
  • Outsourcing is increasingly being used to fix skills gaps rather than save costs.

Most CIOs are considering a move in the next two years.

  • While CIOs are generally happy in their roles, they aren't set in their company. Ambitions are hard to tame...

Security is a major issue 

  • 1 in 4 CIOs reported a "significant attack" in the last 12 months

Disruption is affecting almost every business.

  • 34% of CIOs are currently experiencing it while 28% expect it to affect their business in the next 12 - 24 months. 
  • Unfortunately, 72% expect their business will fare "the same or better than their competitors" - we'll have to see what the future holds, not everybody can win.

Following on in the theme of disruption, Harvey Nash CEO, Albert Ellis, led us into our panel discussion. We were honoured to hear from 4 key technology leaders from the Irish tech landscape who gave us some interesting thinking points.

Ciaran McGowan (CTO, Retail inMotion ) told us his story - getting payments systems on board one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world and the challenges that go along with that, dealing with growth and competition along the way. Staying positive, innovating and keeping that start-up culture are what is needed to survive.

Mark Kellett (CEO, Magnet Networks) delivered a very eloquent piece on improving IT infrastructure and developing new ways to contact consumers and he told us his take on the role of a CIO - "A CIO is in their position to drive revenue growth, first and foremost."

Paul Phillips (CTO, Currency Fair) explained the initial idea of the Currency Fair model, and discussed it's growth and disruptive impact on the banking industry. He explained how workforce diversity was key to bringing new ideas and remaining innovative and relevant. A growing organisation has growing pains, managing change is a challenge every disruptor will go through.

On the note of managing change, Donagh Healy (CIO, Bord Gáis Energy) took us through the challenges that go from transferring an almost 40 year old state run organisation to a private enterprise model, and building that start-up culture which is so necessary for generating new ideas and staying competitive. "How can we best help our customers?" is the question every tech leader should be asking themselves.

Albert chaired the debate, bouncing ideas off one leader and putting them to another. It made for some great debate. There was a real buzz in the hall as the discussion entered the audience question stage, but alas, we could have been there all night jibing away, there was more networking to be done, and a fine evening yet lay ahead of us. As the sun set on Dublin, Albert and Sonya drew the conference to a close and the CIOs, CTOs, IT Directors and tech enthusiasts went about their ways, most stayed for a glass or two of fine wine and some canapés, some rushed off to catch flights; and all was set for another great year in Dublin's technology landscape.

by

Aaron Doran