The sorts of area that I look at are many and varied. I did an accounting degree a long time ago and later built on an IT career with a PHD in Financial Systems.I have about 20-25 years in Financial Systems before that and looking at things like cloud payroll.
I wrote the payroll for a film called Evil Angels for their extras, it was an extra’s payroll. And they used that particular payroll throughout the film industry for several years, so it was an early introduction to really understanding how you’ve got to get everything just right. The thing is, in the old days and these are very old days, all the IT infrastructure was in-house and then as networks and the internet and all that sort of the thing came through. It enabled people to first of all, to talk to different computers and then eventually for computers to be outsourced, or computer infrastructure to be outsourced to other places and areas and companies and things like this.
Now as the web became better and as networks became more efficient, they enabled whole services to be moved out of the infrastructure of the company into the outside world. So what this means is, IT strategy was all about CIOs and CTOs looking after the internal systems. But now we’ve got, they’ve got choice and they’ve got to make a choice, between what’s the balance between the internal system and the external digital assets that are available to them. So this choice means the strategy that they’re putting in place is a combination of that. How they are handling the architectural within and also what services are they gonna use externally?
Now these external services are not in their control. So they have to have trusted relationships with those external providers and understand how the mix is going to happen between the two. For a start up, this creates a lot of flexibility so that they can, they know that they can use external services and grow that as the company grows. Whereas in the past, you really had to take a lot of risks in terms of how much infrastructure you’re going to buy and implement and how many people you’re going to put on and all of these types of costs. It became much more risky, whereas now because you’ve got the flexibility of the external services, it’s probably a lot better to consider what your balance is going to be between the two.
Chief Digital Officers tend to be a mix between marketing and IT, so that’s the new thing. Whereas in the past, it was very much the most important system was the financial system which is always a good industry to be in, and often the CIO would be reporting to the CFO or the Chief Financial Officer. Now, the Chief Digital Officer, their concern mainly with the external systems. So all of the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram all those types of services were all about marketing, customer behaviour and consumer behaviour which is where they’re sitting and that’s where the real growth has come.
On the other hand, you got the CIO who tends to be much more of a communicator these days within enterprises. They’re looking at the internal digitisation of processes and there are essentially two parts to a digital business here. You know digital operations internally or your connection and channels with the external. CFOs have always been involved and always had mostly the control over the financial systems so as a financial systems specialist, you will be dealing mainly with the CFO and the CIO would be providing the infrastructure side of things. When you start talking about moving infrastructure and outsourcing it, then often you’re talking to the business leaders and not the internal IT infrastructure managers because it’s in their interest to keep their infrastructure internally to maintain their role and importance within an enterprise. But having said that, the importance then moved from managing internal infrastructure to managing suppliers of external infrastructure.