UKtech50: We launch the search for the most influential people in UK IT

Computer Weekly has launched the second annual UKtech50, the definitive list of the real movers and shakers in UK IT - the leaders driving the creation of a high-tech economy.

Computer Weekly has launched the second annual UKtech50, the definitive list of the real movers and shakers in UK IT - the CIOs, industry executives, public servants and business leaders driving the creation of a high-tech economy.

Our aim is to identify the 50 most influential leaders in UK IT - the people who will be central to developing the role of technology in improving the UK economy. Whoever comes on top of the list will be the person that, in the opinion of our expert judging panel, holds the most influence over the future of the UK IT sector in 2012 - and hence the future of IT professionals across the country.

Last year's winner of the UKtech50 was Philip Clarke, then the IT director of Tesco, and now the retail giant's chief executive. His promotion to the top job was the highest profile example yet of an IT leader stepping up to run a major company, and a reflection of the growing importance of technology to the UK's most successful organisations.

But who will follow Clarke as this year's winner? There will be plenty of candidates from every sector of the UK. With Whitehall's new IT strategy aiming to drive more business to SMEs and increase the use of open source and the cloud, perhaps someone in government will top the list this year. Or maybe it will be a high-profile corporate CIO whose example will demonstrate to their peers in IT that technology is playing a major role in economic recovery.

Uktech50 judge Marc Dowd, principal of the CIO group at Forrester Research, said the importance of building and maintaining IT's influence has never been more topical.

"As consumer product technology crosses over into the enterprise, and the commoditisation of technological services grows, the role of the IT professional, paradoxically, becomes more difficult," he said.

"Strong IT leaders take responsibility to be the custodian, not owners, of a technology investment portfolio. The modern reality needs a deep understanding of the business environment coupled with an ability to inform, socialise and motivate. The game has changed."

Tom Wills-Sandford, the deputy director general of IT trade body Intellect and another of the UKtech50 judges, said that IT, both as an enabler for other industries and as an industry itself, has never been more important.

"The sector accounts for 10% of GDP and employs 1.5 million people; we expect employment in the industry to grow five times faster than the UK average over the next decade," he said.

"Many people now depend on technology for how they live their lives; this is having a profound effect on the deployment of IT in the work place. This Computer Weekly programme can only have a positive effect on highlighting the importance of IT to the UK economy and to the wider community."

The UKtech50 is being supported IBM for the second year running.

Click here to see the full list of last year's UKtech50.

Click here for profiles of the top 10 in last year's UKtech50.

Judging the UKtech50

The UKtech50 list will be decided by a judging panel representing every area of the UK IT profession - and this year we will also ask readers to vote on who they think should top the list.

The panel has been chosen to represent different perspectives within IT - so each individual is acting both as an impartial and expert judge, as well as an advocate for their area of interest.

The judges are:

• Tom Wills-Sandford, Deputy Director General, Intellect

• Adam Thilthorpe, Director for Professionalism, BCS

• John Harris, chairman, The Corporate IT Forum, and vice president of Global IT Strategy, GlaxoSmithKline

• Marc Dowd, Principal, The CIO Group, Forrester Research

• Simon Meredith, UK CIO, IBM

Our judging panel will select the top 50 based on the following criteria:

Influence - What authority or ability does the person have - either through their personal position or the role they hold - to personally influence the development of UK IT, or to influence others in positions of authority?

Achievements - What has the person achieved in the past 12 months to help the development of the UK IT?

Profile - Is the person recognised as a role model for aspiring leaders? How widely are they acknowledged by their peers as an authority and influence on UK IT?

Leadership - Does the person demonstrate the skills and experience necessary to be seen as a leader in the development of IT in the UK? Do they have a leadership role and does that help them to develop the role of IT in the UK?

Potential - How likely is it that the person will have a significant impact on UK IT in the next 12 months? Will their authority and responsibility grow?

To coincide with the announcement of the 50 most influential leaders in UK IT, Computer Weekly is hosting a special event at the Science Museum in London on 7 December - it will be a must-attend meeting for any IT leaders looking to develop their own influence, to be inspired by their peers, and to lead innovation in their organisation. Look out for more details coming your way soon.


IBM is proud to sponsor the UKTech50 2011

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