As a rollercoaster 2017 comes to a close, we asked some of the top CIO’s in the UK what 2018 has in store. Yes, the ‘B-word’ was predictably mentioned throughout, however a number of other themes emerged that they believe will be prominent in the coming year for both organisations and key decision-makers.

Here’s a quick snapshot.

Emergence of the Interim Model

“The consultancies are under threat from the interim model, I’m convinced of that and always have been. There’s a big opportunity for companies like S&S to pivot into that world, you’ve already been getting great traction and I think there will only be more of that in 2018.”

– Malcolm Lambell

Brexit Challenges

“A key for 2018 is going to be understanding the implications of Brexit. We’ve very recently started to get some clarity on that, but businesses need a lot more in order for them to firm up their plans. In the absence of that, we might see some knee-jerk reactions which will ultimately be bad for business. But hopefully that won’t happen, we start to get some traction and 2018 will be another good year.”

– James Mottram


“I think the biggest single thing that companies need to do in 2018 is deliver. Things like Brexit are putting more and more commercial pressures on companies like they’ve never seen before.

“You’ve got the advent of digital and technology underpinning everything that companies do, but in a lot of companiesthey say that the CIO doesn’t understand the rest of the business and that they aren’t commercially focussed. As a CIO, you need to deliver against the commercial pressures that you have. You need to hunker down, work out what your business needs, how does it need to solve the strategic objectives and deliver what it needs as a business. Take out technology and just look at what the issues are.”

– Christian McMahon

Organisational Attention Spans

“I’ve been seeing the impact of company attention spans and I think that that will be an issue for organisations in 2018. As soon as they recognise that doing a digital transformation is quite hard work, they’re going to pull it back into transformation lite and possibly even less.

“That is going to be difficult when so many column inches are going to be dedicated to Brexit, they’re going to be looking at what Trump and America are going to do- there are an awful lot of big topics which are making a big impact on the world. Companies throughout all of this must increase their productivity, they’ve got to find their mojo, they’ve got to find a way of changing their interactions with their customers and the really hard thing about that is, it’s really slow and painful. I think the companies that win will keep at it and maintain their attention [to transformation].”

– Chris Lord

Look more Introvertly

“For a CIO who’s working globally or beyond Europe, I think nothing much changes and a lot of those business plans will stay in place. I think it’s those that specifically rely on Europe are the ones we need to hone in on what the Brexit means for them. I know for some of the organisations I’m working with now, we are looking more introvertly, stabilising in the UK and that’s a primary focus for next year so that we can then tackle Europe in whatever state it is in 2019/2020. That’s the sensible approach.”

– Ken Towning

Gaps between change and tech

“I think there’s going to be a much deeper schism between the technology people who are pure tech focussed, and those who are driving innovation and change. So, where you would have had traditional IT Directors or CIO’s who were keeping the lights on and doing a bit of transformation, now lots of organisations are dividing those into two. They’re having very deeply skilled technical people who are keeping those lights on, but they are separating out a lot of the transformation, innovation and change pieces and creating lots of different job titles (there are now as many different job titles as there are organisations).

“There’s a separation there and if you’re an IT Director that isn’t prepared to embrace that and to realise it’s not just about the tin and back end stuff, then that’s gonna be quite uncomfortable for you potentially and I’ve seen that developing over the last 12 months”.

– Abby Ewen

Emergence of AI

“I think from an organisation point of view, 2018 could be where we start to see AI take off. We started to incorporate it into our products and we’re using one called Pegg that helps our customers do their accounting, but I think we’ll see AI become more dominant in companies and products.”

– Kevin Robins

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