How Reed Exhibitions is surfing the consumer IT wave

Interview: CIO Dominic Shine on how to make friends with gadgets and influence social media...

...look at the needs of your business, look at the demands of your business, and find the best solution," he said. "It's really about choosing the right solution to the right business problem rather than getting too hung up on the religious arguments about cloud vs non-cloud.

"Cloud works extremely well for us in that we can have a common solution like Salesforce and we can deploy it to lots of different countries and not worry about the infrastructure in that particular case. It also brings us ongoing and rapid innovation in terms of the product functionality which the business appreciates. There are other applications - for example business analytics - where the sheer amount of data we want to process and look at and analyse still makes more sense to do on-premise at this point, so I think we'll continue to be flexible."

Must-have skills

With over 20 years in senior change management and technology leadership roles, Shine knows the importance of having a business grounding for any technology project.

"The skills you need to be an IT leader are firstly a very strong understanding and involvement in the business issues of your business," he said. "You've got to understand the strategy, you've got to be close to your CEO, your senior management peers, you've got to help guide them through how technology and process improvements can help enable the strategy."

Great communication, people skills and change management skills are also vital for the CIO, according to Shine, along with an eye for detail and a head for strategy.

Knowing a thing or two about the technology doesn't hurt either: "I still think it's very important that you have a depth of technology in terms of what can be done, what can't be done, what's sensible to be done, what's risky," he told silicon.com.

Does Shine believe the CIO role has changed significantly in the past five years? "The CIO role has changed for the CIOs who have changed," he said. "For the last 15 years, the CIO has been absolutely capable of taking a seat at the business leadership table, getting involved in the business agenda, helping drive the change, helping enable the change. If they've had the drive and the permission to do that, that's happened.

"As the pace of innovation has accelerated over the last five years or so in terms of mobile, social media, cloud applications and consumerisation of IT, the CIOs who have grabbed those, owned them, run with them and helped their business understand and benefit from them will continue to prosper.

"Those who may have been unable to grasp those [innovations] or are in a context where they can't deal with those may find they've got other people now getting involved in topics that they used to have complete authority over."

"The more the CIO can get senior and other business people excited about the possibilities of technology and using it for business benefit, rather than seeing it as something that IT take care of, the better that is," Shine added. "The role of the CIO as the conductor in that process, the enabler and the translator, is more relevant and more important now than it's ever been."