Category Archives: The Register


The Friday Update 6: Creating new opportunities through great leadership skills

Analysts expect virtual reality (VR) to be one of the key trends of 2016, with big vendors set to launch an array of related technologies. The consumer market for VR is evolving quickly, but how will such devices be used in the business?

My latest piece for ZDNet explores the trend. Late last year, mapping specialist Ordnance Survey (OS) created a 10km by 10km recreation of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. OS has now released a VR tour of the mountain scape for Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard.

David Haynes, software developer and VR expert at OS, says the firm’s experimental work shows how other businesses could use the technology. He says potential beneficiaries are organisations with transferable information:

“I’m fairly confident that VR has lots of potential applications. We’ve already talked to some of our partners about use cases, such as helping businesses to view a location virtually before a physical site visit. We’re still at the start of the journey but the possibilities are endless.”

My first article for The Register, also published this week, analyses the impact of new technology on the role of the CIO. It suggests that technology leadership, which is normally a demanding role, has become something else in today’s world. Modern CIOs must not only maintain day-to-day IT operations but also manage the heightened expectations of a tech-savvy user base.

There is good news. It’s the fact that most businesses, despite the ability to source technology on-demand through access to things like CRM delivered as a service, still recognise the importance of strong IT leadership:

Research from the Tech Partnership and Experian suggests there will be more, not fewer, specialist technology roles with growth likely the greatest amongst IT directors – 37.5 per cent growth between 2015 and 2025. 

Great CIOs, then, will always be in demand all over the globe. One such IT leader is Johan Kestens, managing director and CIO at ING Belgium. I spoke to the experienced IT director for Computer Weekly this week, who is approaching the end of his second year at the bank and is keen to help the business make the most of innovation.

To help deliver on his transformative aim of a new style of banking, Kestens is keen to modernise the firm’s application and infrastructure portfolio. Innovation is crucial, said Kestens, pointing to his bank’s continued efforts in wearable technology. The aim, he says, is to be as digital as possible – and that requires access to great talent:

“The power of imagination is crucial. Increasingly, the world is beginning to understand that engineers are like artists – there are engineers that make a difference and we all want access to those people.”

I’ll be writing more skills-based articles for The Register in coming weeks. If you have an angle or an idea, drop me a line. As in the case of Johan Kestens at ING, I’m always keen to hear from CIOs and independent experts who have an opinion or responsibility for areas of Europe beyond the UK. Just drop me a line if you’d like to get involved at or


The Friday Update 1: News and views for business leaders who care about technology

I’ve had a few things published by ZDNet recently. I put together a weekly article on the views of IT and business leaders – some profile a single individual, others poll a series of CIOs, others are more opinion-focused. One of the recent articles covered CIO priorities for 2016. The article seemed to gain quite a lot of traction on social media, probably as it provides some sort of short hand for the kinds of things IT leaders should be focusing on through this year:

CIOs have many competing demands on their time, so it’s important that they focus on the big issues that really matter. ZDNet explores the research, speaks to the experts and discovers the five priority areas for CIOs through 2016. Here’s what CIOs will have on their to-do list this year, from finding the right talent to taking time out to focus on the next big thing.

The above article features comments from a series of IT leaders, including esure CIO Mark Foulsham. Mark knows his specialist field inside and out. I spoke to him a few times during the past 12-or-so months, including a profile feature for Computer Weekly about his plans for IT at the insurance firm. He provides an interesting take on transformation, particularly around new areas of innovation, such as mobility and the use of hackathons:

Mark Foulsham, group CIO at insurance firm esure, is overseeing an IT transformation plan that he hopes will help future-proof the business for the fast-evolving nature of modern business technology. The programme – which involves operating platforms, computing appliances, virtualisation and the cloud – is just the latest project for experienced IT leader Foulsham.

I’m currently working on a piece for The Register about the movement of business people into the IT profession. There’s a view that more outsiders from a non-techie background are coming in. The article will look at whether this is true overall, or whether it’s only true for certain fields or vertical sectors. I’m happy to hear your views – contact me at or ever, I’m always looking for CIO and business leader comment for a range of features. Again, just drop me a line if you’d like to get involved.