CIO Spotlight: Steve Scott-Douglas, Ciklum

Do you have a succession plan? "Yes… The challenge is to find the right high performing individuals…"

Name: Steve Scott-Douglas

Company: Ciklum

Job title: CIO

Date started current role: November 2017

Location: London & Kyiv

Steve Scott-Douglas has a proven track record of successful delivery within highly competitive businesses as a leader of international multi skilled IT & Change Delivery teams. Scott-Douglas has been previously working in CSC/Xchanging where he was responsible for the systems integration during the firm's merger and was also Xchanging's Group Platforms CIO. Prior to Xchanging he was working for the Chartered Insurance Institute, BGL Group and Norwich Union/ Aviva.

What was your first job? My first full time role was working as an Insurance clerk for a combined general and life insurance company.

Did you always want to work in IT? No, I originally wanted to be a fighter pilot in the Royal Airforce, while waiting to progress that career I worked in Insurance and played lots of football (soccer)!

What was your education? Do you hold any certifications? What are they? Certifications I achieved were Chartered Insurer of the Insurance Institute of UK and Chartered IT Practitioner of the BCS.

Explain your career path. Did you take any detours? If so, discuss. I was following a full career in General Insurance, specialising at the time in the claims handling and inspecting/adjusting discipline. I was then given the opportunity to be seconded to a project as a business SME. The idea of a project was quite new to me at the time. I found myself working on a cross company project to support the creation and implementation of a product set, system and processes for a building society to commence the selling off insurance products underwritten by my company and others.

What business or technology initiatives will be most significant in driving IT investments in your organisation in the coming year? Over the last two years we have been progressing an IT Strategy and Roadmap that has replace our legacy systems, replacing them with Enterprise scale platforms to meet our needs now and in the future. Over the coming year we will be continuing this roadmap, which will completion of our HR platform implementation, further development our Professional Services, CRM and BI solutions to delivery further transformation of our business.

What are the CEO's top priorities for you in the coming year? How do you plan to support the business with IT? Ensuring we complete our current IT Roadmap and Project Portfolio to achieve the strategy defined and the benefits identified. To maintain the IT Strategy such that it meets the needs of the business strategy. To find new ways to deliver business and customer value through the exploitation of technology, while maintain and reducing the cost of operation.

Does the conventional CIO role include responsibilities it should not hold? Should the role have additional responsibilities it does not currently include? I have found that the responsibilities of the CIO vary across organisations. For me the essential ingredients are to have responsibility for the development, maintenance and support of all technology alongside the need to be an integral part of the business to ensure that the technology support business success.

Are you leading a digital transformation? If so, does it emphasise customer experience and revenue growth or operational efficiency? If both, how do you balance the two? Our digital transformation is embedded in our IT Strategy and Roadmap, taking our business from an over complicated analogue human based process business to one that has a set of single standard work practices based on best practice process embedded in digital solutions.

Describe the maturity of your digital business. For example, do you have KPIs to quantify the value of IT? The maturity of our IT capability is in progression implementing standard practices for Project Management, Solution Delivery and Service Management KPIs - These are in development as we mature our technology provision and the manner in which we support it.

What does good culture fit look like in your organisation? How do you cultivate it?  Developing our organisational culture is strategic theme for us, captured in our company values (EPIC ID) of;

  • Excellence
  • Passion
  • Innovation
  • Collaboration
  • Integrity
  • Diversity

What roles or skills are you finding (or anticipate to be) the most difficult to fill? Project Managers, Business Analysts, Enterprise and Solutions Architects.

What's the best career advice you ever received? Look for challenges, do not say no when opportunities to change path come your way. Enjoy what you do and always accept feedback, it is the greatest gift you will ever be given.

Do you have a succession plan? If so, discuss the importance of and challenges with training up high-performing staff. Yes. Having a succession plan is essential for a number of reasons, to ensure that the risk of losing key resources is mitigated, to ensure growth of talented individuals and to foster new thinking. The challenge is to find the right high performing individuals that are prepared to develop the required skills but also to be patient in waiting for the right opportunities to arise, while also often working through the more mundane tasks that develop the required breadth of experience.

What advice would you give to aspiring IT leaders? Being an IT leader has its challenges and it's relentless, but the upside is you have the satisfaction that you can influence and maintain the way a company works, transforms and becomes successful. Increasingly we also have to shape the wider digital social environment to meet moral and ethical standards … we truly influence the future in many ways.

What has been your greatest career achievement? In the late 90's implementing Imaging, Workflow and Case Handling for Insurance Claims in 22 locations …. It was pioneering stuff.

Looking back with 20:20 hindsight, what would you have done differently? Taken more time to record the various transformational achievements that I have been involved in, it's amazing how technology had changed over the last 30 years, but applied well it can always make a difference.

What are you reading now? The Second Machine Age - Andrew McAfee & Erik Brynjolsson, Clive Cussler - Shadow Tyrants, The World Atlas off Wine.

Most people don't know that I… used to Box.

In my spare time, I like to…spend time with my wife, 2 daughters and 4 grandchildren …. And if time will allow road cycling and shooting.

Ask me to do anything but… Dance.