Blogs

New Year’s ReSolutions

EM360˚ rounded up a group of prestigious professionals, asking how their respective IT sectors fared in 2013 and to predict whether 2014 will prove to be any better than it’s predecessor.

Here’s what they said…

 

Ben Dowd Ben Dowd
Business Director
O2

What has been the biggest challenge for your business this year and how did you overcome it?

  • Rolling out a completely new network infrastructure to over 30% of the UK population in just 12 weeks from launch (and still going!) is quite a challenge. But it’s a huge opportunity for businesses to transform the way they work, and I can’t wait to see what people do with the technology.

Do you have an enterprise New Year’s Resolution in mind?

  • One thing is certain: the digital tide is not ebbing. Our research this year highlighted recurring frustration from consumers in regard to digital services. In the retail sector, our study revealed 93% of consumers find some aspect of the digital shopping experience exasperating. This has caused consumers to spend less, or take their business elsewhere – resulting in a huge missed opportunity for retailers in 2013 – worth up to a potential £12bn in lost sales.
  • In 2014, I’m committed to keep encouraging businesses to embrace innovation and digital technology. Staying ahead of the digital curve is going to be crucial to success in the coming years in every sector. It’s important to remember that digital engagement isn’t just about products and services, it’s about inspiring change and introducing new ways of doing things – different, personalised ways of interacting with customers. The technology is available to open new communication channels – it is now up to organisations to make the best use of it in the New Year.

How do you expect your sector to change in 2014?

  • The rise of mobile technology and social media means that consumers today have never been more connected or more influential. With smartphone penetration expected to reach 90 per cent in the next three years and the advent of mainstream 4G services signalling a much faster mobile experience, this is only set to increase.
  • The expectations of both employees and customers about how they use technology are changing. People want to be able to work from anywhere – at home, on a train, on the road – and they want to be able to do so without hunting for wifi hotspots, and using their own devices. Customers expect not just digital (and social) interaction with businesses, but a digital experience that’s completely joined up with core customer service functions. Both of these trends will only intensify in 2014.

 

Geoff Linnell   Geoff Linnell_CIO
CIO
GCL Professional Services

Do you have an enterprise New Year’s Resolution in mind?

  • Never get complacent. We have made so many great strides: dramatically improved cost structure and enhanced security but service levels to our internal or external clients cannot decline and we know any slip could destroy our reputation overnight. So we cannot take things easy in 2014 just because 2013 was successful.

Has this been a successful year for the industry compared to previous years?

  • Yes. Things are still tough but we are and our clients are showing confidence and enthusiasm for next year based on the significant progress most have made this year after a couple of exceptionally tight years. With the operational improvements we have implemented over the last couple of years, organisations are effective and positioned for success as this upturn takes place.

How do you expect your sector to change in 2014?

I strongly believe all sectors can take advantage of the exciting trends in IT. Cloud computing is allowing inexpensive and rapid proof of concepts before scaling out to the full organisation. Add the productivity gains available from mobilisation, socialisation and big data, organisations that embrace this opportunity will make exceptional progress in 2014. The CIO is ideally positioned to be a leader and add real value to the business. Moving rapidly as mentioned before but also resolving the complex regulatory and security challenges around new developments.

 

Kamran Ashraf Kamran Ashraf_Visa Europe
VP, Analytics
Visa Europe

What has been your 2013 enterprise IT highlight and why?

  • The way visualisation has taken off in the form of dynamic dashboards and infographics. My team has upskilled itself on a number of different tools (Tableau, Microstrategy, RoamBI, etc.) and been delivering dynamic and interactive access to fact-bases of up 21,000+ slices of data in a few mouse clicks and this has proved a real hit in making clients we serve more data driven.

What has been your lowlight this year and how did you overcome it?

  • The entrenched roles people take on especially in bigger organisations leads to really poor collaboration as accountability gets clouded and people then are quick to point the blame when requirements are delivered late, scaled down, or not at all…FYI I haven’t overcome it! I’m repeatedly finding myself encouraging better engagement models between business and BI/IT which in turn clarifies the BI strategy needed to evolve the BI maturity model of organisations to more advanced and institutionalised points.

Do you have an enterprise New Year’s Resolution in mind?

  • Keep the pressure up on all stakeholders in BI to deliver to shorter ‘time to value’ through the deployment of new technology solutions (such as data virtualisation) and business engagement models (such as agile working)

 

Lewis Broome Lewis Broome_Data Blueprint
CEO
Data Blueprint

 

What has been your 2013 enterprise IT highlight and why?

  • Affordable, quality and feature-rich data-centric technologies and tools. Regardless of the enterprise objectives — big data, business intelligence, data integration, data warehousing — there are tools and technologies available that do not break the bank and can compete on functionality and scalability with the traditional technology giants.

What has been your lowlight this year and how did you overcome it?

  • Many organisations think Big Data and Analytics is a silver bullet to becoming a data-driven organisation. When organisations take a crawl, walk, run approach they quickly understand the need for a strong data foundation to enable any large scale data initiative — Big Data or otherwise.

How do you expect your sector to change in 2014?

  • A shift away from expensive, hard to implement data technologies and tools. We believe that there are many “Davids” to take on the traditional “Goliaths” in the data technology space.

 

Eric Hanselman SONY DSC
Chief Analyst
451 Research

What has been your 2013 enterprise IT highlight and why?

  • The handful of enterprises that are getting cloud use right are my highlight. Companies like Hyatt and Boeing have taken steps to get IT service delivery processes better aligned with business needs and are using cloudy capabilities as part of that change.

Do you have an enterprise New Year’s Resolution in mind?

  • Enterprises should resolve to invest in management capabilities and automation that will open up opportunities to deliver IT services on a range of platforms. This is the foundation that will allow them to build towards a more service provider-like model and master skills like best execution venue selection.

Has this been a successful year for the industry compared to previous years?

  • It’s been a tentative year, with some areas taking some big steps forward, but most moving cautiously. Networking and security have leapt to the forefront of IT agendas, being driven by virtualisation fuelled changes. Mobile devices and BYOD have forced changes in wireless and application work, but this has sapped core IT budgets.

 

Rob Bamforth Rob Bamforth_Quocirca

Principal Analyst, Business Communications 

Quocirca

 

What has been your lowlight this year and how did you overcome it?

 

  • While mobile usage is soaring, mobile networks are increasingly unable to keep up. Cellular networks are stretched and Wi-Fi can be patchy. Those working from home might find home Wi-Fi is fine, but buying wi-fi connections while out is often an expensive pain — and difficult for the organisation to keep on top of expenses. They will also find cellular coverage for their work phone at home might be a problem (depending on provider) — A femtocell (a small device connected to home broadband) offers coverage through a mini base station in the home. Mobile connectivity is not yet seamless, but getting there.

 

Bob Tarzey Bob Tarzey_Quocirca

Analyst and Director

Quocirca

Do you have an enterprise New Year’s Resolution in mind?

  • The full realisation that international Internet traffic and US-based cloud storage services are crawling with US and UK spies, and that one million Americans have a security clearance giving them permission to access this type of stolen information. We desperately need international standards for what is acceptable Internet monitoring activities and what is tantamount to illegal cyber-commercial-espionage. Corporate GRC (governance, risk and compliance) policies must recognise these elevated risk scenarios. Until some basic level of international trust is re-established, they must keep their most valuable intellectual property off net, and certainly off all US and UK-based cloud service providers. Germany suddenly becomes a more interesting place to establish corporate storage facilities.

 

Daniel Pass Daniel Pass_Betfred

Head of IT Architecture

Betfred

Has this been a successful year for the industry compared to previous years?

  • It is one of those years where it’s a success because we have stayed in business, with IT as an overall landscape and as a space where we provide services into businesses. I also think it’s one of these transition periods where there has been a big shift in driving change in behaviour. We are in the second year of mass adoption using a different operating model. More people are putting things into the cloud for lack of subscription, and so what you are seeing is the maturity of that work as opposed to last year where a lot of people would have still looked at you rather suspiciously if you would have proposed it.

How do you expect your sector to change into 2014?

  • I think my sector will change. It will just continue to drive more and more technology in which we can present opportunities to customers. And you are seeing people with betting in-play and you are seeing a much more enhanced mobile experience. That continues to drive a huge amount of innovation and change.