Workday Podcast: Why Context Is Everything for Today’s CIO

Charles Ewen, CIO at the Met Office, the UK’s national weather service, joins us to talk about why there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for today’s CIOs. Informed by the findings of our latest global research, we also discuss how IT’s role within the business must evolve for a new hybrid world of work.

Audio also available on Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.

The IT department, as far as business functions go, is still relatively new to organizational structure. Why? Because technology itself is nascent, says Charles Ewen, technology director and CIO at the Met Office, the UK’s national weather service.

So uniformity is not possible for CIOs in the same way as it is for CFOs and CHROs. “The system is changing all the time, and what works for one [CIO] in one context will not necessarily work for another in another context,” says Ewen. “Everybody's different. Every organization's different. Everybody perceives this stuff differently. There isn't a single right answer.” 

In this episode of the Workday Podcast, Ewen joins guest host Megan Wright, senior editor at Longitude, to talk about why there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for today’s CIOs, and to share some of the findings from our latest global study, “Closing the Acceleration Gap: Toward Sustainable Digital Transformation.” They also discuss how the role of IT within the business must evolve for a new hybrid world of work. 

Below are a few highlights from the conversation, edited for clarity. You can find our other podcast episodes here. Be sure to follow us wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts so you don’t miss an episode.

  • “COVID's been an interesting social experiment from a number of directions, but one of the things, specifically around IT, that it's done is really honed the degree to which IT can make or break business benefit. Only one small dimension of business benefits, but nonetheless, at the end of the day, if people can't work and at certain times, during COVID, they can't work from home, then, it's going to scupper any kind of business.” —Charles Ewen

  • “Workday has just conducted a study of 1,150 business executives and about 430 of those were IT leaders. And the results painted a really interesting, mixed picture. We found that half of IT leaders are saying they can usually or always keep up with business upgrade needs, while the other half are saying they often or always fall into triage mode and they're unable to keep up with business demands. I wonder, in a world where we're talking about this pace of change being expected to accelerate, how do CIOs start to work at the pace that their organization really needs and to ensure there's that continuity that's often needed across the broader business?” —Megan Wright

  • “Unfortunately, there are still organizations out there that do see IT as an overhead. It tends to be the organization that has a CIO, CTO, CDO—whichever your preferred direction is—that isn't really an embedded part of the senior team. You'll see the senior technology person reporting to the CFO or the COO and often, it's those organizations that tend to see IT as an overhead—something to go down by 10% year on year. One of the ways to keep up is to change the nature of that relationship in such a fashion that the organization sees IT at the table, not subservient to the table, and COVID's been very helpful for that.”  —Charles Ewen

Stay tuned here for more findings and the full “Closing the Acceleration Gap: Toward Sustainable Digital Transformation,” report; we’ll also share more persona-specific findings for the office of the CFO, CIO, and CHRO.

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