Bank of England doesn't need a CDO, says CIO

John Finch says the path to digital transformation needs to be led by the whole executive team, not a dedicated c-suite position

The Bank of England's (BoE) recently appointed CIO, John Finch, doesn't believe the organisation needs a dedicated chief digital officer (CDO) to lead a digital transformation.

Speaking at Gartner's Symposium in Barcelona this week, Finch detailed his vision for the BoE to become a 'digital social enterprise', but said that this will be achieved by ensuring that the entire senior executive team is technology savvy.

Finch joined the BoE September, having previously worked as the global CIO for Experian.

"I think the chief digital officer is made up of a number of different people all at once - I think every chief executive has to have a bit of CDO in them, they need to understand how technology is transforming their business. A lot of businesses have a chief strategy officer, they clearly need to understand how this electronic digital thing is affecting their business. And I think the CIO has a role to play in this," he said.

"I don't think we need a CDO - I think we need a group of tech savvy policy people. So if you think about the bank as a regulator, it has policy experts that look after fiscal, monetary economic policy. They really need to be educated as tech savvy employees so that they can understand information in the broadest sense, where it's coming from."

He added: "I think we need a governor and governors that get how we are going to connect to the world and fight through all these security things. And we need a CIO that gets all of this and can enable it to happen. "

Gartner has said that it is aware of 500 CDOs globally, but this number is growing rapidly.

Finch said that the CIO should be responsible for providing the technology set to the organisation enabling it to reengineer for the digital world. He said that he believes that the CIO should be responsible for 'triggering the innovation debates' about how this digital transformation takes place, ensuring that the network and technology capacity is available, whilst being aware of the security and compliance requirements.

Unpicking legacy

However, Finch admits that with most organisations legacy IT is going to hold back digital transformations and that a two-lane IT model is likely to develop, whereby digital innovation is experimented with separately from the underlying back-end.

"Our infrastructure is in-house, but it has a legacy and it has grown up in silos. Most companies are grappling with this problem and I think it is going to be one of the core limiting, slowing down factors, to drive through this reengineering of the business. Actually being able to unpick and connect all of those elements of the legacy, becomes a core issue," said Finch.

"One of the things that the BoE does is it runs the banks intra-day payment clearing - when bank A pays bank B, it comes through the BoE to be cleared. It's part of the critical infrastructure for the whole of Europe. We are going to do no experimentation at all on that system - in the two-speed world we are going to manage it in a very conservative way, in a secure way, with a very controlled release schedule."

He added: "But you can imagine a situation where we are going to innovate with this social digital enterprise. You might get in a tool, get in a bit of data in a sandbox, see if it's going to work, send it to someone's handset, and if it doesn't work try a different technology. You can have this two-speed world."

Related articles

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Cannes Part 1: Why brands must put human interactions at the heart of their business

As a Media Juror at this year’s Cannes Lions, I was fortunate enough to attend the world’s most influential festival of creativity and listen to thought-leading marketers from around the globe.

Nickie Scriven

CEO, Zenith

4 creative skills that will be useful forever

In recent times, the clarion call from futurists, economists, marketers, educators and leaders the world over is one of slight panic, “The world is changing and you’re not ready for it!” And of course, they make a very good point.

Kieran Flanagan and Dan Gregory

Speakers, trainers, co-authors

Why defining brand strategy is vital to capitalising on quick wins

Big brands were once protected from small brands by high barriers to entry. Big brands had the resources to employ big agencies, to crack big ideas and to invest in big campaigns. They had the luxury of time to debate strategies and work on long-term innovation pipelines. Retailers used to partner with big brands.

Troy McKinnna

Co-founder, Agents of Spring, Calm & Stormy

An interesting update considering that today is the easiest way it has ever been to measure contribution to the business as well as the h...

Frederic

State of the CMO 2019: Tenure shortens, pressure is on as marketers strive to demonstrate impact

Read more

I thought this was what Salesforce Audience Studio (formerly Salesforce DMP) was supposed to do. How are a CDP and a DMP different? I'm c...

Tony Ahn

Salesforce announces customer data platform

Read more

Well written Vanessa!! Agreed with your view that human experience is marketing's next frontier. Those businesses who are focused on the ...

Clyde Griffith

Forget customer experience, human experience is marketing's next frontier

Read more

Great tips for tops skills need to develop and stay competitive

Nick

The top skills needed to stay competitive in a rapidly changing workforce

Read more

The popularity of loyalty programs is diminishing, though I'd say it is because customers are savvy enough to recognise when a loyalty pr...

Heather

It’s time for marketers to rethink their approach to ‘loyalty’

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in