Digital Transformation Priorities: UK IT Leaders Weigh In

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Is your IT landscape prepared for the ever-changing demands of digital transformation? A panel of the top IT experts in the United Kingdom joined CAST at the Institute of Directors (IoD) in London on Tuesday to discuss this complex, but increasingly pertinent question. The digital transformation event was attended by many IT professionals within the financial services, telecommunications, retail, government, and IT services industries.

Richard Hilsley, Head of IT Delivery at EasyJet, shared how a well-organized, but perpetual, transformation of the popular regional airline’s application landscape can translate to the lowering of its cost per seat.  Darryl Salmons, CIO of AMEY, described the tremendous challenges he sees in creating a software infrastructure and IT governance that fully addresses the changes in the way employees of the public and regulated services provider work; from bring your own devices to bring your own robots.  Yes, robots.

Paul Bentz, financial services IT veteran, who served as CIO at both Allianz and Paribas, recognized the complexity of business digitization and warned that it continues to evolve based on rapidly changing consumer demands.  Andy Kyte, Garter Fellow of Application Strategy, added that CIOs should reduce complexity and increase agility of their application environment, regardless of the commercial strategy of their companies.

Software & application complexity vs. application agility

While Bentz and Kyte debated the practicality of CIOs taking action in advance of a well-defined strategy, they both agreed with Andrew Agerbak, Associate Director at BCG, who stressed that visibility into the structural risks within the application portfolio (whether it is highly service-oriented or mostly composed of monolithic applications) is a basic need for any company undertaking business digitization initiatives.

Hosted by Vishal Bhatnagar, CAST’s Senior VP for the United Kingdom, the event’s audience members posed questions around the role of CIO in driving commercial decisions, the right way to handle legacy software, and the scope of the emerging Chief Digital Officer (CDO).

Attendees continued the discussion around the giant task of reducing complexity and the always top-of-CEO-mind objective of cost reduction over cocktails and snacks.  At the end of the evening, everyone seemed to converge on one key takeaway: transformation is not a one-time event, but a description of the ongoing evolution of the IT landscape over the next five to ten years; much of which is unfathomable at this point in time.  The most important task of the CIO is to be prepared for the waves of change by driving down complexity and improving agility.

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John Chang
John Chang Head of Solution Design
John Chang is the Head of Solution Design for CAST in North America, helping Fortune 2000 companies leverage CAST’s solutions to reduce system-level defects and improve application development outcome success.
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