What's your proudest work-related achievement of the last 12 months?
Given the size and complexity of managing Y&R Group, it is difficult to pinpoint one single piece of work that I am most proud of; there are so many examples of great work-related achievement.
A key thing I am very proud of is my team, and its sustained effort, skill, drive and motivation to persevere through an enormous amount of organisational change, to reset relationships, and demonstrate both value and credibility to not just our organisation, but to themselves. I think we all forget sometimes that technology needs smart, engaging, enduring and driven people for anything to be achieved. So I would point to delivering across the whole digital transformation based on fully agreed strategy, end-to-end deliverables, anchored to ROI. Not just cost, but ability to work in a much more operationally effective environment, creating the capability for our business to deliver and innovate for our clients, and for themselves.
Our transformation agenda did not just include the cool and client-facing components, it included the unsung (taken for granted until it goes wrong…) elements, continuing to refresh key assets, the continued demands from the business, the development of relationships and partnerships with the ever-increasing number of companies delivering new and innovative technology, alongside the long-established global tech players. Keeping our best talent and attracting new required talent, contemporising of our technology teams to be not traditional IT, but trusted advisors involved in shaping the strategy for the future.
For example, our U-Hub DevOps solution is now actively used across over 8,500 users across the WPP group, supporting over a million tasks a year. This helps us deliver market-leading work for our clients and enables us to leverage the power of WPP talent. So my proudest work-related achievement is achieving at work with my team and partners delivering on our commitments and continuing to drive new ways of working, enhanced with people, process and technology.
What's the number one skill today's IT leaders need?
Emotional intelligence - the art of business engagement, market understanding, empathy and ability to activate initiatives in a complex cross matrix as organisations continue to expand geographically and evolve from a capabilities perspective. That emotional intelligence is needed to work with, help, convince, negotiate and agree across all aspects of our working lives.
This leadership quality is not limited to just IT leaders, it is required across the board. Each day is a different challenge, a different market, a different department, a different need, a different perspective. Being able to work with these things, not against them, is key.
How many people work in IT in your organisation?
What's your top priority for the next 12 months?
Building on the organisational changes, and the success of our transformation initiatives, integration and capability-building allowing our business to be even more agile and responsive delivering advantage for our clients. Drive adoption, leverage the new capabilities, learn insights, evolve and drive our business forward as best we can with technology for teams - that is the top priority.
What's your annual IT budget?
Then work your way up to CIO - but avoid the helpdesk, which (as always) offers the worst-paid roles in IT
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