IT's role in business strategy, is IT strategic?

Thursday 22 September 2011

18:00 - 21:00

BCS, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA


Ben Booth is Global Chief Information Officer and a member of the Management Council at Ipsos where he has responsibility for IT across the 67 countries where this leading market research agency has businesses. Previously he was CIO at MORI, responsible for IT services, online and telephone interviewing and data processing. He joined MORI in 2002 from the Reed Chemical Group, a Reed Elsevier publishing business where as Head of Technology he directed publishing operations and customer service in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. Previously he was Head of Information Systems at the Science Museum in London. He has over 25 years experience in IT management roles.

Dr Booth's first degree is in Archaeology and Anthropology from Cambridge University and his PhD from University College London was awarded for a thesis on "Information Systems for Visitor Attractions". He is a Fellow of the British Computer Society and of the Royal Society of Arts and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. He is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists. Ben is a member of the British Computer Society Professionalism and Public Affairs boards, and a lay member of the University College London finance board.  

Steve Burrows is an independent business and IT strategy advisor with a strong interest in the convergence of both. After two decades of IT and business consulting, primarily to large British and American companies in the IT, Energy and Telecoms industries, he took a proper job as a group board director and IT director of a large private UK business and long-standing client, Vanilla Group, which he shepherded through substantial growth for a decade before recently moving to the Isle of Man and establishing a new consultancy, SBA, with clients in the UK, USA and Europe.

Steve is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors and a Chartered Director, a Fellow of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and a Chartered IT Professional. He is a member of the BCS Membership Board and led the board’s strategy working group to determine the main thrusts of this new board’s work, and is also a director of the BCS Isle of Man International section, founder of the Isle of Man’s ICT industry trade body, the Manx ICT association, and co-founder of the Isle of Man Non-Executive Director’s register.

Dr Richard Sykes is an independent advisor in the strategic transformation of technology & business process sourcing, outsourcing and offshoring business models by new models based on direct sourcing of information technology & business process services, including through the agency of 'the Cloud'.

He serves on the global advisory board of Quickstart Global, which works to enable the globalisation process for younger tech ventures;  chairs the TMMi Foundation, helping lead a key transformational initiative in software and systems testing: and recently completed a three year term as an elected Board member at Intellect (the UK business association for the IT, Telecoms and Electronics industries).  Richard advised the Government’s ‘G Cloud & Apps Store’ initiative 2009/2010, and writes a regular column in CIO Magazine.

Richard chaired the Trustees of the De La Warr Pavilion (a major regional arts venture) through its major transformation during the last decade, and now chairs the Trustees of Cubitt Artists in London.


Nicholas Carr’s 2003 article in the Harvard Business Review, “IT Doesn’t Matter”, caused uproar and significant debate in the IT industry, particularly amongst IT leaders. In it he addressed the commoditisation of IT, and drew parallels with other major technological developments which had been groundbreaking, but which became commoditised over time; losing their ability to create “competitive edge” as they, and as IT has done, became ubiquitous.

Despite the ubiquity of IT, and Mr. Carr’s article and subsequent book, many IT leaders believe IT to be of strategic value. Many business leaders disagree, believing IT to be a commoditised operational necessity as is evidenced by the very small percentage of organisations which have appointed their IT leader to the board. This contradiction underlies the apparent and frequently expressed frustrations of organisational leaders with IT, and the common reciprocation of those frustrations within IT teams attempting to best serve their organisations.

BCS ELITE has assembled a panel of authoritative speakers to address the question “Is IT Strategic?”, and discuss what IT leaders should be doing to leverage the power of IT to achieve maximum benefit for their organisations. Steve Burrows and Dr. Richard Sykes will explore different aspects of the relationship between “business” and “IT”, explore what is business strategy, and what place IT has is consideration of strategy, in a discussion chaired by Dr Ben Booth who will both challenge the speakers.