Part of the IT Leaders 100 - a list of the most influential IT leaders in the UK in 2023.
Ian has held many senior IT roles: CIO, CTO and DPO among them, leading global commercial technology programmes for over 20 years. He is passionate about fostering collaboration and innovation to exploit the benefits of technology and data in permanent, interim, fractional and private consulting roles.
Ian is currently interim CIO at accommodation provider Unite Students. His past organisations have included Landsec, SThree Plc, the Natural History Museum, the RNLI, Southern Housing Group and The ERM Group.
How did you get into IT?
Initially via music, but then in data collection and analysis for environmental consulting. In this process I became more involved in how solutions are provided to Clients and hence grew in to CTO / CIO roles.
How do you ensure diversity is taken into account in your IT recruitment?
Circulating role specs in the places where we want to attract people, not only the usual online places - also, asking for referrals can be great. Online sharing of success stories is great too, to show role models from all backgrounds.
Also, making the work environment very flexible, not always in office and varying the hours - if preferred - can take account of individual working preferences and home situation - certainly not possible with a rigid regime!
Which technology are you currently most excited by?
I'm most excited about where relevant technology can be combined with data and a great digital experience to create new offerings - and better still, make the world a better, fairer, more sustainable place. Data, IoT/things and AI therefore combined with speed of processing can be compelling for many organisations that are evolving. And everything is evolving!!
What would an outsider find the most surprising part of your job?
That despite many roles, every one is as new and different from the last one. Some of the components and building blocks and challenges may be familiar, but the mixture unique. Each journey of a changing company is unique, different stages, different goals and different combinations of challenges and a future-USP perhaps yet to be discovered.
What's your secret talent?
Perhaps getting to the root of things.
What makes you laugh?
Perhaps more of a wry smile out of irony than outright laughing - (and only if not a source of human misery), when the terrible that could and should have been foreseen happens anyway. It's always good to heed advice, but sometimes despite good advice people press on regardless, unfortunately, without a better alternative. We can all live and learn.