The Bloomberg Enterprise Technology Summit was held on Dec. 10 at Level 39 in London’s Canary Wharf.
The London event, now in its third year, didn’t focus on which pipes and platforms will win the heart of the enterprise business. Instead, conversation reflected the more strategic role that many CIOs now play in leveraging technology to reduce risk, glean customer insights, and grow their business.
Discussions ranged from the future of trading and outsourcing to Ontario’s efforts to bolster its tech economy in a post-BlackBerry world and the transformative impact of quantum computing on cyber security. Speakers included UK Government COO Stephen Kelly; Antoine Shagoury, who’s COO of the London Stock Exchange; Aquis Exchange Founder Alasdair Haynes; Lloyd’s CIO Peter Hambling; Incoming WEX Inc chief Melissa Smith; Wipro Consulting chief Roop Singh; and Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Trade, and Employment.
Some personal highlights included hearing the U.K. government’s Kelly talk about digitizing its functions to save money and increase engagement. The competitive pressure facing trading exchanges was driven home by speakers like Shagoury and Haynes. I was intrigued to hear business leaders from CME Group, RBS, and TIBCO Streambase suggest that what matters isn’t just being the fastest to execute trades in this “ultra low-latency” world, but the best at incorporating data or detecting risks. And State Street released a smart global study on data leaders and laggards in the asset management space. For Neil Ainger’s take on the day, read his post.
The Ontario contingent also left a deep impression, and not just because I grew up near Toronto. Part was due to the vision of how quantum mechanics will spark the next tech revolution, as laid out by Raymond LaFlamme, who heads up the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo.
Despite Ontario’s advantages in areas like education, quality of life, taxation, and trade with a potentially transformative EU deal, the toughest step is to get on the radar screen. As Janet Ecker, CEO of the Toronto Financial Services Alliance said: “If we can make it into the top five, we often get chosen. The hard part is getting into that group.”
With tech budgets expected to increase next year in the U.K. and elsewhere, Ontario may now have its chance. So, too, will the innovators like Docusign, which is winning so many fans to its electronic signature model that CFO Mike Dinsdale says the company prefers an IPO over merging with a bigger player. Will CIOs adopt it? Once some of them discover half their company is already using it, they may decide that guarding the gates is only part of their jobs now.
Diane Brady, Senior Editor at Bloomberg Businessweek and emcee of the Bloomberg Enterprise Technology Summit