Tag Archives: BT


The Friday Update 7: Using the cloud to disrupt the business in a secure manner

First up this week are a couple of articles I had published in The Sunday Times for a Raconteur supplement on cloud computing. The first article – on disruptive business models – highlights how the cloud has reached a tipping point, as buying IT on demand has moved to the core of technology provision with organisations using it to transform their operations.

The features quotes a range of independent experts and CxOs who are using the cloud as a platform for change. One of these individuals is Alex Hamilton, co-founder and chief executive of Radiant Law, an innovative and high-tech commercial contracts firm that uses the cloud to communicate and collaborate with staff and clients:

“We’re continually looking for better ways to serve the needs of our clients. The cloud provides the base layer that allows us to run our firm effectively, but it also allows us to experiment. The future of our business is tightly linked to the cloud.”

The supplement also included an article on the top five unusual for the cloud, from keeping animals fed and happy to bringing the written word to life. Independent publisher Faber & Faber is using cloud platform Box to manage incoming manuscripts from draft to final approval. Jim Lindsay, integration specialist at Faber & Faber, says the system is helping the firm embrace the digital world:

“Content is central to what we do and cloud computing makes content easily accessible for all staff, no matter where they are located in the world.”

Moving to the cloud involves a careful consideration of information security. Yet another article by me for ZDNet this week suggests most businesses are badly prepared when it comes to dealing with cyber attacks. Despite almost constant warnings about security threats, most companies rate their cyber resilience as low, even though they spend a huge chunk of their IT budgets on security.

Focusing on risk management is crucial, says Colin Lees at BT Business, whose main aim is to ensure potential points of entry are locked down. People policies are also important and he says BT has a range of plans and procedures for key areas, including building security, system access, and worker behaviour, in terms of education and training:

“The key to success is risk management, with an appropriate level of spend. You have to be prepared to invest. When I speak to other CIOs in other sectors, I sometimes find there’s less investment in security than at BT. Being so network-oriented means it’s a crucial area of IT spend for us.”

As mentioned in my last update, I’ll be writing more skills-based articles for The Register in coming weeks. My next article will focus on the role of the CDO. If you have an angle or an idea, drop me a line. I’m also 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 mark.samuels@gmail.com or mark@samuelsmedia.co.uk.


The Friday Update 2: Priority setting for the New Year – from the Internet of Things to the power of personal branding

A couple of weeks into 2016 and priority setting continues apace. I’ve just written a piece for ZDNet, which suggests that CIOs can expect to hear a lot more about the Internet of Things (IoT) in 2016. The trend is right at the peak of Gartner’s hype cycle for emerging technologies and IT leaders will have to help the business make sense of connected devices. The experts in the article – including Colin Lees, CIO at BT Business – suggest the role for IT leaders is to help their executives get beneath the hype and understand potential use cases:

“If you’re a business leader who’s focused on revenues and margins, you’re not going to be overly concerned with something that isn’t going to affect the business for at least five years. The IoT is struggling from being too intangible. Nothing happens in the world without a business case. But once you’ve got one, you can get moving.”

I spoke to Colin at length for Computer Weekly just before Christmas, where he outlined his achievements in regards to organisational transformation. Lees’ aim for the next 12 to 24 months is to help BT Business build on the platform and services the firm has developed. His other objective is to continue his journey towards being a more externally focused CIO, including offering best practice advice to some of his peers:

“I’ve taken the things I’ve learnt during the past two years and I’m using those as case studies. I’ve got major CIOs of blue-chip companies coming in to see about their IT estates, regarding how they deal with information and security. What I’m finding is that, when I speak to peers, we have a lot to talk about. When you’ve been there, done it and got the scars on your back, it helps to create very good conversations.”

I’ll be speaking to other CxOs about their business and IT priorities during the coming months, so if you’re a senior executive that wants to be profiled – or you just have something to say – drop me a line. I’m always keen to chat with interesting people. As I mentioned last time, I’ve got a few editorial projects on the go at the moment. I’m having a look at virtual reality in the business, so if you’ve got an opinion on VR, let me know at mark.samuels@gmail.com or mark@samuelsmedia.co.uk.