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Newcastle CIO Event - photos and blog

16 June 2015, Newcastle - The Harvey Nash CIO Survey 2015 event, in association with KPMG and hosted at their regional office in Newcastle, drew over seventy CIOs and technology leaders from across the region to discuss and debate the findings of the Survey, and key trends in technology industry.

Huge thanks to our panelists, who were:

Ian Tufts, CIO, Learndirect
Dr Carolyn Brown, CIO, Durham University
James Robbins, CIO, Northumbrian Water

Key things we learnt:

Getting more people into tech. The panel acknowledged this remained an issue for the industry. Ian commented that part of the problem as an industry is that we confuse the market about job titles and responsibilities - what really is an engineer? What is a scientist? What is an architect? This confusion makes it difficult for an education system to develop a pipeline of talent to fill these roles. Carolyn comment that she focused on aptitude and attitude rather than knowledge, and that having been unable to hire architects she had found apprenticeships a great way of getting people into the industry.

Women in tech. Lots of comments around this. The recent Sir Tim Hunt sexist comments drew wide criticism from both panel and audience, although there was less consensus about whether his sacking was fair. James talked about how he has more than doubled the proportion of women in his team, but it has required conscious effort - if left to themselves 'blokes will tend to recruit blokes'. One comment from the audience surprised many: the audience member ran two coding clubs and both were predominantly filled with girls - he speculated that the death of women in tech is actually a problem that will go away as a new breed of tech enthused girls grow up. He speculated - could the industry's diversity problems of the future be there's not enough boys?! Albert mentioned the value of setting targets at the shortlist, rather than the appointment, stage. Ultimately the hire will be made on merit, but by forcing recruiters to find female talent for the shortlist you are widening the net.

Disruption = business as usual. 'Disruption' always creates a wide range of opinions, not least about the definition of what 'disruption' really is. James commented that people risk being pre-occupied with this word and it's better just to call it 'industry evolution' or 'change'.

Tech budget growth, but also new priorities. Over the last year almost half of CIOs have seen increases in budget, continuing the positive trend of growing investment in technology we have charted since 2009. The biggest riser in priorities this year Business Analytics, and biggest drop has been Saving Costs, and delivering a Stable and consistent IT - both traditionally top priorities. Interestingly managing operational risk also sees a big rise. As the world becomes more connected, the need to manage security, and especially within banking compliance, has never been stronger.

Will CMOs inherit the earth? (No). Certainly last year it looked like CIOs were beginning to lose their grip on digital ownership. However this year we've seen a marked turnaround, in fact a remarkable turnaround. 15 percent more CIOs this year reported they had sole ownership, or joint ownership with marketing, of the digital strategy. This was mostly at the expense of the CMO where sole ownership dropped by 16 percent. CIOs are enjoying a stronger relationship with marketing this year, with 33 percent rating it 'very strong', up from 30 percent last year. Perhaps more tellingly, where the digital strategy is jointly owned by IT and marketing the relationship is strongest, with 41 percent of CIOs rating it 'very strong'. It appears that when it comes to CMOs, to know them is really to love them.

Thank you so much to everyone who attended and continue to make Harvey Nash events such a great platform for debate and networking. If you would like to find out more about our technology recruitment, executive search and offshoring services visit us at