Computer Weekly's CW500 Club attracts the top IT leaders in the UK to talk to their peers about the topical challenges they face. Here, we present the coverage of all 10 of the 2014 CW500 events, including articles and video interviews.
1. Trends for IT leaders in 2014
In the first CW500 session of 2014, we took our annual start-of-the-year look forward to the 12 months ahead for IT leaders and the key trends of the coming year to discuss how the challenges may affect their strategic planning process.
With speakers from the IT consultancy, IT analyst and recruitment sectors, there was a broad range of predictions for the year ahead.
2. Enabling collaboration in distributed companies
Companies are becoming ever-more distributed – through growing international or regional offices, as well as introducing remote or flexible working policies. Going to work means going to the office increasingly less. How can IT leaders ensure that staff communication, collaboration and productivity is maintained and even increased in such an environment?
In this CW500 Club event, IT leaders discussed their experiences of introducing technologies such as unified communications, collaboration tools and mobile working to build a productive, distributed workforce.
People waste huge amounts of time travelling to meetings, processing emails and simply trying to track down the right people in their organisations to speak to. Email in particular can be a great time waster, giving employees a sense of being busy, but without necessarily helping them achieve useful results for the business. The answer for many companies is unified communications, a convergence of technologies which promises to help people communicate more effectively.
3. Bring your own IT department?
The rise of consumer mobile devices and pay-as-you-go cloud services has brought the emergence of “shadow IT” – business managers sourcing IT without the IT department. In response, IT leaders are adopting a range of new policies – bring your own device (BYOD), choose your own device (CYOD) and even bring your own applications (BYOA), among others. Amid all the acronyms, how best can IT leaders balance demands for independence with the need for good governance?
In this CW500 Club event, guests discussed how IT leaders are using trends such as BYOD, CYOD, BYOA and others to forge a new relationship with their users.
Bring, your and own are the first three words of an acronym being increasingly discussed in IT departments as the next phase of the consumerisation trend that is catching the attention of business executives.
4. Using big data analytics to improve customer experience
Big data has been one of the buzzwords of the past couple of years, but sometimes the technology overshadows the reason analytics has become such a priority for business leaders. As firms gather more information about their customers, the successful companies will be those which use that data to improve understanding of their customers and to better engage with their needs.
In this CW500 event, we looked at delivering better customer engagement in an increasingly digital world.
5. IT infrastructure for data protection
The use of personal data is coming under ever-greater scrutiny. With stories about privacy of health records, bank accounts, and identity theft hogging the headlines, it’s clear data protection is about far more than just an IT security issue. Employees are using more devices and cloud services to store and share data, creating a huge proliferation of information that is increasingly difficult to govern.
What does this all mean for the IT department – and in particular, for IT leaders expected to efficiently store, control, manage and secure that data? In this CW500 event, speakers talked about managing the growing complexity of protecting data.
The IT infrastructure needed to ensure data protection is an increasingly thorny issue especially in an age where data is being proliferated throughout an organisation.
6. Digital customer engagement
With the economy picking up, organisations need to embrace being digital by default. Companies are beginning to realise being digital does not mean getting rid of the callcentre, and it does not always mean keeping costs low either. Businesses should begin to put the customer at the heart of the business process to ensure that customer experience is top priority. In this CW500 event, delegates discussed digital customer engagement and how organisations should embrace the digital era to improve customer experience.
Being digital does not mean getting rid of the callcentre, nor is it about keeping costs down.
7. IT governance in the era of “shadow IT”
For many years, the typical governance model for IT departments was “command and control”, locking down infrastructure and controlling access. But that time is over – with cloud, bring your own device and other digital technologies, the inexorable rise of “shadow IT” raises questions over the future role of the IT department and the CIO. Tech-savvy users now feel confident enough to bypass the IT team and make their own purchasing decisions. In this CW500 Club event, we looked at the challenges of IT governance in an era of shadow IT.
The latest CW500 Club invited IT leaders to discuss the challenges of governance with the rise of "shadow IT" outside the IT team.
8. Mobility management and regulatory compliance
Financial services firms, particularly the big banks, are facing new challenges as customer demand changes, new competitors arrive and regulators tighten the leash. Introducing mobility into financial services companies can be a challenge, but as traditional banking changes, firms need to adapt to cope with consumer demand and the requirements of employees in their own enterprises.
How financial services firms, particularly the big banks, are responding to the need to offer customers and staff mobile services to compete for business and talent.
9. Social communication in the enterprise
While social media has revolutionised how people around the world interact, enterprises are only now starting to realise the potential for using social tools to transform their own business. Building a social business is not about having a corporate Facebook or Twitter account – it’s about using social software to connect staff, customers and partners to improve communications, better share information, and increase productivity and customer satisfaction. In this CW500 Club event, we learned about the benefits of being a social business.
Companies have long used social media technology such as Facebook and Twitter in trying to reach more customers – but how are businesses using it internally?
10. Identity and access management
As organisations turn to cloud services and mobile apps to boost productivity and cut costs, managing identity and access to IT resources has never been so important or challenging. In this emerging IT environment, a key challenge is managing access to applications and data by employees and partners from multiple devices and locations without compromising security.
In this CW500 event, IT leaders discussed the growing challenges of expanding access management to third parties and avoiding the potential pitfalls.