General IT budget pressures and security issues are more important than wireless connectivity, which is seen as a “value-added” rather than “fundamental” infrastructure change by the CIO Jury.

A recent analyst report suggested that wireless connectivity of the workforce is now the most pressing issue for IT departments in the UK but’s exclusive panel of IT chiefs voted almost unanimously against that claim, with just one supporting it.

Kevin Lloyd, CTO at Barclays, echoed the sentiments of many on the jury who recognise the potential of wireless technology but put it way down the list of current priorities.

“Our customer focus, relentless service improvement and cost measures would be well ahead. I think we will need to tackle and exploit this capability but it’s not prime-time currently,” he said.

While wireless networking offers greater flexibility and greater productivity for the office, mobile and home worker, Gavin Whatrup, IT director at advertising agency Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners, said issues with the ‘wired world’ are more important.

“Wireless connectivity will be value-added infrastructure change rather than a fundamental one. There will always be more pressing issues for IT departments to address. Viruses, spam, security, resilience and personnel all feature more brightly on the IT manager’s radar,” he said.

Graham Yellowley, director of technology at Tokyo-Mitsubishi bank in London, and Graham Benson, information services director and CIO at Screwfix both cited the bottom line and business issues as more important.

“No doubt it is important but there are many other issues that have higher priority like cost reduction and management, improving IT governance and providing business value,” said Yellowley.

Others on the CIO Jury admitted to looking at various wireless networking technologies only for specific niche areas of the business.

Ian Auger, head of IT and communications at ITN, said: “It is something we are looking at but its adoption depends upon the business needs and the advantages wireless can bring. We have a couple of niche applications that will benefit from wireless but there is no advantage for us adopting it in any other areas.”

The one wireless evangelist on the panel was Dr Stuart Brough, director of IT services at University of Strathclyde. “Wireless connectivity and mobility is one of the main cornerstones for our IT strategy along with a secure, robust and resilient infrastructure. We have turned this philosophy into our ‘4 As theme’ – Any device can connect across Any network to Any content from Anywhere in the world,” he said.

Today’s CIO Jury was…
Martin Armitage, Head of Global Information Organisation, Unilever
Ian Auger, Head of IT and Communications, ITN
Graham Benson, Information Services Director and CIO, Screwfix
Dr Stuart Brough, Director of IT Services, University of Strathclyde
Ric Francis, CIO, Safeway
Derek Gannon, IT Director, The Guardian
Mark Lichtenhein, Director of IT and New Media, PGA European Tour
Kevin Lloyd, CTO, Barclays
Gavin Whatrup, IT Director, Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners
Paul Worthington, CTO, Kingfisher
Graham Yellowley, Director of Technology, Tokyo-Mitsubishi
David Yu, CTO,

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