Nailing The CTO Job

Nailing The CTO Job

nailing the cto job


  1. what is a CTO? chief Technology officer1 2 3 which means everything…and nothing you’re responsible for using technology to make your company successful
  2. what does that mean? generally to help create and deliver your company’s product/service to your customers which is kind of the most important thing…
  3. what is a CIO? there is no standard definition but maybe…1 2 3 a CIO works ON the Tech Team a CTO works IN the Tech Team
  4. nailing being a CTO use technology to create competitive advantage for your company easy to say…hard to do…
  5. how do you do that? make sure your WHAT and HOW are awesome 1 2 3 WHAT = innovate using the best technologies available HOW = be the quickest and best at doing it
  6. top tips 1) create urgency 2) bring clarity 3) achieve delivery
  7. more top tips 1) hire really smart people 2) create small teams 3) give people problems to solve…not solutions to do
  8. even more top tips 1) deliver early and iterate 2) test and learn 3) focus relentlessly on business outcomes…
  9. provides high impact temporary employees on site or remotely to make people successful what’s stopping you?
  10. thank you rorie 0800 246 5735 Five Minute Guide Five Minute Guide Five Minute Guide

Grow Your Team
Interim And Permanent Talent

Grow Your Company
Growth Hacking provides high-impact interims for people who want to get things done… We’re not consultants, definitely not recruitment consultants, or an agency…we’re high ROI temporary team members… Everyone, including the CEO, is an interim still “doing the do”… Our focus is making the people who hire us successful… 

we also provide top tier ‘Contractor’ level talent at very budget friendly rates. matches top talent based anywhere in the world to clients based everywhere in the world. our different services… deploys high impact ‘C’, ‘Director’ and Growth Hacking talent.

We don’t advise…we come in, take accountability for things and do them. We’re team players and we enhance a person, team, or company’s ability to achieve goals by doing things with them not for them… We have the best talent in Europe…ex Amazon, Betfair, Google, SAP… We’re low ego, high ability and obsessively focussed on client success… what makes us different… We think that the more people you help become successful, the more successful you become…

 things like this… Launched on-demand apps, managed Indian offshore team, helped find permanent CTO…growth hacked the SEO traffic… Retail/ecommerce / on-demand app Turned around an unhappy development team, re-platformed to a global scalable micro-services based platform… On-demand app Ran the Service Delivery Team for a year to improve site reliability and introduce DevOps… Big comparison site Took control of the website, hired a development team, launched new products and services, found, hired and handed over to a permanent CTO before leaving… Video start-up Coached the new CTO. Took responsibility for a major area of the IT Team, allowing the CTO to replace an underperformer and deliver much better services… Gaming Coached the IT leader and helped him set and execute a strategy to power the business forward much more quickly… Charity giving platform Sorted out the development team structure and operating model. Found and handed over to a permanent CTO… Consumer information Growth hacked the business to massively improve the site’s traffic and revenue… Comparison site start-up

We only use people who have been there and genuinely done it. Our people are ex-Google, ex-Betfair, ex-Amazon… There are no long contracts or tie ins with us…easy in and easy out when we’re done… We work with our clients to get things done…we want to make the client’s people and teams better… We don’t hire graduates and put them on client sites after a 12 month training course like other companies! One Big 6 professional services contract is 230 pages long…it can take more than a year to get it signed! The Big Six want to do things for clients and make themselves indispensable… the other

George Berkowski Head of Product, Hailo The “How To Build a Billion Dollar App” book “The change the member brought when coming in as Interim VP Engineering was “truly amazing” and “we started to feel we were firing on all cylinders”

Robin Spira CTO, FanDuel “ helped bring urgency, clarity and delivery to one of our business critical initiatives working *with* us not *for* us. I would definitely recommend them” _____________ Marvin Sanderson CTO, Xanadu “The member worked with our team to bring clarity to urgent issues, supporting the team and building a roadmap and plan to deliver results efficiently. We experienced a definite change as a the result of involvement. I will definitely recommend and re-use them in the future” what our clients say…

Michael Phillips Founder and CEO, broadbandchoices “Our interim CTO had great vision and blended this with his experience of leading people and transforming technology architecture to add business value” _____________ Lucy Walker Director of IT, Facilities and Finance, Camelot “ have been brilliant. They have really helped us iterate our strategy towards one delivering both tactical improvements and big picture strategic shifts. I would definitely recommend them” _____________ Phill Graham CTO, Gamesys “I’m really impressed with our person. He is a very likeable guy, has built great relationships and has earned respect from both hands-on technical and board members – which is not easy to do…” more of what our clients say…

rorie devine founder and ceo ____ Rorie is the only person to have featured on the cover of CIO Magazine twice, has been awarded “IT Leader Of The Year” by Computing Magazine and is featured in the book “How To Build a Billion Dollar App” saying that the change he brought when coming in as an Interim was “truly amazing” and “we started to feel like we were firing on all cylinders“. Rorie was recently described as “one of the best business technologists in the country“, but doesn’t take himself too seriously and understands that it’s all about getting results…quickly. shannon maher cxo ____ Shannon is an MIT graduate and has run Engineering teams for Google in London, Zurich and California. He also recently won Best Website, Best App, and Best Development Group awards mark parsonage head of cxo/programme director ____ Mark is one of’s rising stars. He has led digital transformation at numerous challenging organisations such as Yell and BT, and recently successfully completed a cloud migration for BT. He ran Yell Labs and produced many groundbreaking products and services. people like us…

Thank you

0800 246 5735

Case Studies

The story started at Betfair…the online betting exchange that went on to IPO for more than $2 billion… Founder Rorie Devine recalls…

”I had been headhunted into a leadership role and it became clear that some members of the team I had inherited were part of the problem – not the solution.

I thought “wouldn’t it be great if there was somewhere I could go to bring in genuine experts to take accountability for X leaving me to focus on Y” and so on.

Unfortunately nothing like that existed.

The “management consultancy” model was (and still is) broken. It works by overcharging clients premium rates for smart but inexperienced and inexpensive people.

Some management consultancy contracts are so long and complicated that by the time a client realises that they’re not getting the value for money or effectiveness they need it is difficult/impossible to end the relationship. The news that Hertz is suing Accenture for $32m for a failed web site implementation (a product and design that apparently didn’t do half of what was specified and wasn’t finished) is one of the few failed projects that come to light publicly…most of the time companies quietly move on…wiser but poorer…

I resolved to form a company to meet the need for genuine expertise where people need it, when people need it and only for as long as they need it and was born. Unfortunately few people knew what CXO meant (it’s a generic term for CTO, CEO, CFO etc) so we changed the name to and off we went…

We were growing very rapidly (revenue went up more than 5,000% in 3 years) and people loved our relentless customer success focus but clients kept asking us “we need some permanent people as well…do you do that?” and “can you help us grow as well?”

Eventually we decided to stop arguing with clients and relaunched as to work with people to grow themselves via coaching and mentoring, grow their teams with interim or permanent talent and grow their businesses via growth hacking.

The real a-ha moment though was realising that as a self-selecting network of more than 200 high impact, high credential people if we’re serious about adding more value than we extract (and making people, teams and more companies more successful) then we should include free coaching and mentoring as part of all of our interim and permanent engagements.

We are definitely finding that access to free coaching and mentoring genuinely seems to make a difference to outcomes…no matter how good you are you can always get better and it seems that the more successful people are the more they benefit from coaching and mentoring…anyway…

It’s early days… is still ramping up…but it has been great to see the reaction of the people we’re working with…we’re having a lot of fun and a lot of growth is being delivered…”

Rorie is featured in the books “Think Do Show” and “How To Build a Billion Dollar App” saying that the change he brought when coming in as an Interim was “truly amazing” ,”we started to feel we were firing on all cylinders” and “Rorie was relentless in his intention to make Hailo a centre of Engineering excellence. Rorie not only wanted to build the best software organisation possible, he also wanted all of Hailo to work closely together…Rorie is the kind of boss you really want to work for, demanding results but always in your corner.”

Last year were invited by the CEO of a European airline to coach/mentor their newly promoted Chief Product Officer.

The CEO felt that overall the CPO was well regarded within the company but was struggling to…

    1. Clarify the relative roles and responsibilities of Product and Technology.
    2. Communicate effectively, particularly upwards to the board.
    3. Meet expectations with general Product delivery.
    4. Take enough personal ownership for delivery.

An experienced Coach | Mentor was carefully matched with the CPO and they duly sent two days together at the airline’s offices …

Together the Coach and CPO examined the CPO’s current context and perceived challenges…

Overall the CPO felt supported in her role but her challenges were that…

    1. The company culture was more Project that Product based and needed to evolve.
    2. She had a key skill gap and two under-performers in her direct reports team.
    3. One of her teams was very old fashioned in its approach and needed to modernise.
    4. The company needed to knee-jerk less and mature its prioritisation processes.

After the onsite analysis the person wrote up a playback that was presented to both the CEO and CPO.

Goals were created for both the CEO and CPO, and a date was put in the diary in three months to check on progress.

Three months later the Coach | Mentor returned for one day on site with the CPO to assess progress and things were pretty different…

    1. The company was now treating new initiatives as product initiatives via the creation/early delivery and iteration of MVP’s.
    2. Both of the CPO’s under performers had left the business and she was at the candidate interview stage for the key hire.
    3. The “old fashioned” team had been on a cultural journey and had really improved the real and perceived effectiveness of their approach.
    4. The company had improved the maturity to its prioritisation processes somewhat, but it was still WIP TBH…

These changes had set the CPO up for success much more effectively and she had…

    1. Clarified the relative roles and responsibilities of Product and Technology.
    2. Started to communicate much more effectively, particularly upwards to the board.
    3. Created a small “Rapid Development” team to deliver business impact much more quickly.
    4. Happily taken on more ownership for delivery now she felt she had more responsibility and control.

With quick wins delivered and short term goals achieved the and CPO relationship moved on to be one of mentoring rather than coaching and monthly remote catchups were set up to help the CPO build on her successes and continue to lead change successfully…

Fast forward to today and as the CEO puts it…”There has been a real transformation. The CPO is now a much more integrated member of the senior leadership team and is really helping to push our business forward much more effectively…”

All in all it just shows how much of a massive ROI win/win working with a Coach | Mentor can be…

A London based start up had attracted significant Series A funding and needed to take things to the next level…

Their web site had been built by an external agency and they had no internal technical people within the company.

An gro.teamer was brought in (part time) to act as Interim CTO and create an in-house technology capability.

During the first 90 days our gro.teamer:

– Clarified and documented the business strategy and KPIs (the “What”).

– Created a draft technology strategy (the “How”) and then created an API and Platform based Technology evolution strategy.

– Formed a strategic partnership with a recruitment agency.

– Hired a small but great team of in-house developers.

– Took ownership and control of the company’s web site and migrated it to GitHub and Google Cloud.

– Implemented task and product roadmap based workflow and reporting.

– Launched a workplace social collaboration system.

– Improved the web site download speed and took significant friction out of the web site customer experience.

– Initiated major product initiatives in both mobile and brand monetisation.

– Identified, hired and on-boarded a permanent CTO before handing over the baton and moving on to their next challenge.

As the CEO joked…”what a difference a “year” can make ha ha..”

By working closely and regularly with customers, delivering early, iterating ideas and working cross-functionally towards a common goal Agile software development transformed the business of creating software.

Agile development massively increased the value delivered by the typical software development project by favouring “individuals and interactions” over specification, “working software” over pretty much everything, “customer collaboration” over contract negotiations and “responding to change” over blindly following a plan…

What would happen if we used these “Agile” principles to deliver Growth rather than Software?!?

We could favour “customer collaboration” and “individuals and interactions” by forming a cross functional Growth team including both “customers” and “suppliers”.

We should include representatives from Product, Sales, Marketing, Technology, Operations, Finance and so on…

We could favour “working software” or Growth in our case by giving the team the single unifying purpose of growing a carefully chosen growth metric.

The Growth Team could be “responding to change” rather than a plan by delivering early and taking a measure-act-measure approach to ideas through “on ramp” to “live” stages.

The Growth Team could communicate and meet regularly, maybe a quick “stand up” at the same time and place every day would work really well.

We could work to a weekly or fortnightly rhythm with the cumulative affects of the growth activities on the Growth metric being publicly demonstrated (and hopefully celebrated) at the end of every cycle or “sprint”.

So we have created a cross-functional team meeting regularly with the unified common purpose of doing anything and everything necessary to measure-act-measure the impact of their ideas on a single carefully chosen growth metric.

That’s cool but…

Maybe we could give this sort of approach a name…like Growth Hacking or something?

Yes Growth Hacking is the sort of term that means different things to different people but anyone familiar with Agile software development will be struck by the similarities between the approaches, rituals and rhythms typically used in both Growth Hacking and Agile Software Development.

“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Does it all work in the real world?


The same underlying principles that make Agile software development so effective also mean Growth Hacking can totally transform the effectiveness of a company’s growth activities.

I recently spent a day with the talented team at a well backed UK based energy startup called Hometree who are creating a great brand by disrupting the domestic energy market customer experience.

We had a really productive workshop where we honestly examined the Strength Weakness Opportunities and Threats in their current growth landscape, discussed and then selected initial and ultimate growth metrics, collected growth ideas, created a growth board, reconstituted the growth team and set up the new team’s rituals and rhythms.

Not bad for one day and Andreu Tobella Brunet the Co-Founder of Hometree UK commented…

“As a start-up that is using an innovative way to sell online, we created a growth team from scratch but were having a few challenges to structure it well and have clear objectives and team alignment. This is where Rorie stepped in and helped us understand well all the roles, define our single metric and create a high performing growth team. The whole team was extremely pleased with the improvements, I would highly recommend him”.

Whether you call it Growth Hacking or something else, a very effective way of accelerating your growth is to learn from agile software development and to create a cross-functional team meeting regularly with the unified common purpose of doing anything and everything necessary to measure-act-measure the impact of their ideas on a single carefully chosen growth metric.

The news that Coca Cola has closed down its’ Founders startup incubator has led to the usual raft of “I Told You So’s” saying that it’s because corporate startup incubators don’t work – but are they right?

I have been involved with three big companies launching internal startup “Incubators”/”Labs” teams so far…and what have I learnt?

Firstly I think it is done for good reasons.

Startups normally have good people, energy, good ideas, leading edge tech, a low cost approach, a high risk appetite and a willingness to challenge orthodoxies. They just want to get stuff done.

Big companies normally have deep pockets, millions of customers, a great brand and experience of operating at scale.

Surely the best of both worlds would be for big companies to launch startups? What could go wrong?

Well, quite a lot as it happens.

Mistake #1 – Not defining what you want the startup to achieve

In other words what will success look like?

It sounds simple but there is spectrum of “innovation” ranging from far horizon R&D to tactical (incremental) improvements to existing products and services.

What is wanted/needed? Success needs to be defined and solved for.

In general the startup should not be given special treatment…”success” is to create a growing business that attracts and retains customers.

Mistake #2 – Not getting total organisational buy-in and executive sponsorship

Sooner or later the startup will be stopped dead in its tracks by a blocker if the whole of the organisation isn’t behind it – from the top downwards. With the best will in the world active and passive resistance will be met and the startup needs to be able to wheel in very senior people to call bulls*t and unblock things.

Mistake #3 – Integrating the startup so tightly that it effectively becomes another corporate department

The whole point of a startup is to do something different so if you insist it uses existing people, existing corporate assets and the current approaches you will get what you got. You need to achieve a loose coupling whereby the startup has the freedom to chose between doing something new and leveraging corporate infrastructure case-by-case based on what is best for the startup.

Mistake #4 – Getting the wrong people to “be” the startup

If you are going to create a startup you need to do what startups do. This is for a team to self-select great people passionate about what the startup wants to do. If you ask one of the big system integrators/consultants to create a startup within your company you might end up back in the worst-of-both-worlds territory. The people in the startup don’t need to be existing or new employees either necessarily – they just need the talent and drive to deliver the goals. Organisations like can supply high impact interim talent at short notice into these kind of situations very successfully. Possibly the best loved UK retail brand will soon be launching a new customer service (that is very different to its’ current business) using this approach and the person in that team is part of a startup that stands comparison (in terms of talent and effectiveness) with any of the many startups I’ve seen.

Mistake #5 – Not integrating the new product/services back into the Mothership

We created a Labs operation when I was CTO of Yell and we did nearly everything right. We hired great people, they developed a great micro-culture, they produced some really innovative products and services (including a really cool augmented reality app way back in 2010) but we never really managed to integrate the new things back into the existing business and deliver customer impact. For that reason it has to marked down as a failure overall.

Corporate startup incubators can be a graveyard for ambition (and there are a lot of traps for the unwary) but it can be done successfully – Telefonica’s launch of giffgaff and British Gas’s Hive are just two examples that come to mind.

As with a lot of things, in this area experience is a great teacher and nothing beats getting people involved who have been there, done it and have the scars to prove it.

Rorie Devine is an Interim CTO and Growth Hacker for

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Growth Hacking Tales

Growth Hacking Tales

Growth Hacking Tales...

Growth Hacking Tales

  1. growth hacking tales Rorie Devine September 2018
  2.  ★ what is growth hacking? ★ a measure-act-measure approach to growth sprints ★ the art of growth hacking ★ the growth hacking holy trinity ★ the growth hacking funnel ★ questions ★ appendices ★ search terms on July 2017
  3. Agenda
  4. what is growth hacking? growth hacking is picking one (and only one) growth metric (visitors, registrations, check outs, downloads…whatever) and doing anything and everything possible TOF (top of funnel) to BOF (bottom of funnel) to grow it… a growth hack is something that delivers growth but is cheap, can be edgy, and ideally is quick… (Sean Ellis – IPO’d LogMeIn and and first marketer at DropBox coined the phrase Growth Hacking in 2010 and it really started to get traction in 2012)
  5. online gaming users +1,000% an online gaming company decided to force players to share the game at least once to get to the next level…
  6.’s measure-act-measure approach to growth sprints parking lot on-ramp in progress complete live ideas needing more thought or the timing isn’t quite right ideas that need some initial input or an owner ideas with an owner that are being worked on ideas that are ready to implement ideas that have been implemented blockers ideas being worked on that cannot continue until a problem or dependency is resolved ideas
  7. online gambling revenue +30% one company had a very comprehensive but complicated navigation structure to get to the particular thing the users were interested in one of the the team had the idea of putting a search box on the home page
  8. the art of growth hacking is…targeting ←→ relevance… the reason that growth hacking can be so much more effective than “traditional” marketing is that it focuses on putting interesting/useful things in front of very carefully targeted audiences.. growth hacking is to put the right things in front of the right people at the right time to deliver GROWTH
  9. e-commerce company revenue +27% an e-commerce company “accidentally” put the “buy now” button right in the middle of the head of the brand’s animal character logo a lot of people complained that it looked stupid…
  10. the growth hacking holy trinity referral “free” traffic content relevance & targeting Know Your Customer
  11. affiliate company traffic +200% an affiliate company noticed that its’ competitors weren’t targeting year e.g. “2017 best chromebooks” so it kicked off an SEO campaign doing just that…
  12. Inbound TOF activities such as competitions, email, social media, content, SEO, referral schemes, paid advertising, white papers, free trials… Success! Conversion MOF activities such as minimising friction, guarantees, testimonials, stating benefits, one time offers, forced virality, layout… the growth hacking funnel If you can’t Measure it you can’t Move it…
  13. listings publisher traffic >100% a listings publisher realised that it already had a lot of content that could be targeted at high search frequency terms (such as “ gay”) so it reorganised and regrouped its content…
  14. thank you and questions? 0800 246 5735
  15. content company revenue +100% an organisation had a large loyal following for its unique content but not enough ways to monetise it. After much debate it ignored the “prophecies of doom” and enforced post home page registration/sign in. On “lock down” day there was a lot of criticism on social media and a 3% drop-off of usage. On day two usage returned to normal and the company had started building an email address database of 18-35 year old men that has ultimately become its most valuable asset…
  16. online company revenue +30-40% a niche provider was disrupting its industry and growing nicely but noticed a lot of its customers were also using the providers of the “traditional” services within its industry as well. After much soul searching it decided to also provide services very much like the traditional ones in its industry but with twists that made them much more consistent with its disruptive brand values. It didn’t alienate its core customers and by delivering a broader portfolio of products it lifted its growth to the 30-40% per anum range…

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Agility When Your Organisation Needs It Most

Agility When Your Organisation Needs It Most

Agility Where Your Organisations Need It Most...



Everyone’s doing it, trying it, or talking about it. No longer just the preserve of software development teams, ‘Agile’ is becoming more pervasive in all parts, and at all levels of many organisations.


So where and when is agility most important in an organization, and which tool to use?

During a Major Incident, the importance and urgency of effective decision making rapidly increases.

You may quickly enter uncharted territory; have to interpret incoming data from many sources; work across functions in hastily assembled teams and quickly make decisions that will save your organization from impending disaster.


I think it’s during a Major Incident, when your organization faces the greatest immediate danger, that it needs to be able to demonstrate the greatest levels of agility.


A Major Incident may start off as a single ticket being raised, and investigated by one or two people in your immediate team. Small, contained, it is easily managed.


As the impact of the issue becomes more apparent, the complexity can quickly rise.

You may need to arrange internal and external comms, to a range of stakeholders, via multiple channels such as email, social media, corporate web sites, customer contact centers, and helpdesks to name a few. 


you need to get on and actually fix the problem and return the service to normal as soon as possible.

Pulling in expertise from different parts of the business to try to identify the root cause, put a work around in place and start working on a fix, and deal with any potential impact of the original incident.


As the team swells with members drafted in from across the business it becomes harder to keep everyone on the same page, interpret all the different incoming sources of information, agree a plan, make effective decisions and provide consistent messaging to all those stakeholders.


As your rapidly growing team assembles there is little time for the Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing cycle to play itself out. You need to perform now!


In this situation, the Kanban Board is my agile tool of choice. A Kanban board can easily be created on the nearest white board or on a wall with the help of a few Post-It Notes (other sticky notes available).


In its most simple form, you pull tasks from left to right through three stages, from ‘To Do’, into ‘In Progress’, into ‘Done’.  You can then add horizontal ‘Swim Lanes’ that map to different parallel streams of activity.


The board quickly fills up with a back log of tasks, showing what has been prioritized and what has been accomplished across the different streams of activity. One benefit of Kanban is that it allows you to add and ‘pull through’ a new task at any time.


This allows you to inject new work and re-prioritize tasks as the situation evolves. By creating your Kanban board in a newly requisitioned war room it quickly becomes a center of focus, something for team members to gather round to share updates with the rest of the team working on the Major Incident. 


It’s also great for showing nervous stakeholders outside of the team what is being worked on, and what has already been achieved.


The Kanban board can provide a structure for update meetings, allowing the newly formed team to quickly establish a rhythm, saving valuable time. You may have input from technology, infosec, external comms, customer contact centers and content teams.


With all these people in the room, it helps to maintain the focus of the meeting. By allowing each stream lead a turn to talk through their cards on the board, giving updates on items that were ‘In Progress’, moving them to ‘Done’ if complete, calling out the items that have moved from ‘ToDo’ to ‘In Progress’ and capturing additional tasks and adding them to the board as the other teams provide their updates.


Based on the updates provided and the tasks to be worked on you can then agree when it makes sense to meet again as a group for the next status update. In between status updates, team members can pop into the war room and update their part of the board or look at the progress of the other streams tickets as they move across the board. You may continue to have status updates for a few hours, a day or a week.


It just depends on how serious the incident was but if you’re carrying out the role of Major Incident Manager at the first sign of trouble, get a war room, assemble your team, throw up a Kanban board, clear your diary, start collaborating and go agile…

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Top 10 Tips For An Effective Digital Transformation

Top 10 Tips For An Effective Digital Transformation

Digital transformation deserves better than a buzzword and a marketing concept...

It is often associated with long, expensive and hazardous projects led by big consultancy firms, as well as expensive and (vastly) under-utilised technology. It should not be so.


I have helped deliver digital transformations fast and with a limited cost. I am pleased to share practical tips from 10 years hands-on experience with international companies, so that your company too can thrive in the digital world.


Tip #1: understanding the digital ethos

The irony in the digital world is that we, people, live and breathe digital in our everyday lives, when we shop online, exchange with friends and family on Facebook, check in on our smartphones, pay our taxes online… However, understanding the implications of how companies can grow in our everyday digital reality is clearly a different challenge when we put our corporate hat on.

The digital ethos is about:

  1. nurturing your customers’ satisfaction, by delivering a seamless experience and active communication with them.

  2. executing flawlessly on your brand promises.

The digital ethos is also about constant improvement, learning and outward looking, to keep up with a fast changing market.


Tip #2: digital transformation is all about the customer

I disagree with the idea that loyalty has gone.

Indeed the success of the GAFA is a story of strong loyalty driven by remarkable products:

  • Google as a search engine dominates as it is simply the most relevant and constantly tests and invests to stay so.

  • Amazon got me in because of their wide inventory, perfect delivery and impressive customer service.

Customers are loyal to those companies because they trust them. The improvements brought by those companies are based on a systematic test and learn approach, which is a form of automatic listening to the customers even without them noticing.

The market research I did for my customers consistently showed me that branded terms drive a clear majority of the search traffic in most verticals. Customers care very much about Brands, and traditional advertising (TV, radio…) is still very powerful.

However, to be relevant, Brands have to ensure that they keep their customers satisfied, by addressing any pain points, poor execution or bad customer service experience.

The customer feedback is also a priceless opportunity to improve their offering and innovate relevantly: the customer is the real asset for most Brands, shame that so few companies have customer KPIs in their CEO scorecard or annual report.


Tip #3: digital transformation is all about the staff

Can you name a great Brand with poor staff morale? You cannot sustain a successful business if you don’t build a strong team who feel proud of their company, are strong advocates, and are ready to work beyond 9 to 5 on projects which they are excited about. Your staff also need to be genuine customers of the company (don’t force them), providing them with this healthy external view of their own company.

It is also a great time to fully recognise the value of the operation and customer service staff:

  1. they are the face of the company and have a decisive influence on the customer perception.

  2. they are the eyes and ears of the company and can provide some essential feedback.

The operation staff understand the details of how the products and services are delivered and will have a critical input in opportunities to improve the service more relevantly than any external organisation consultancy firm. They need to be nurtured and engaged.

The staff culture will bring you the digital ethos. You might still need to complement your core team with digital talent, or coach your team how to do digital by bringing interim staff to develop the process and transfer the skills.


Tip #4: a digital transformation is data driven

Every sperm is sacred laughed Monty Python.

In digital, so is every interaction and every item of spend as they form the basis of actionable insights to make better decisions across the company: how can we drive retention, how can we increase satisfaction, where can we invest profitably, which are the pain points we need to address, where should we focus our attention?

The issue is that before you know it, you can be drowning in data. This is one of the biggest challenge companies face: how to effectively “gold pan” your digital data? To solve it, you need to combine 3 skills which don’t come together often:

  1. business acumen (you need to understand what the business is about as well the economics of revenues and costs by product, customer and channel).

  2. digital proficiency (understand the digital levers and prioritise them based on the former).

  3. data wizardry (how to quickly and then consistently provide the right information to execute the key processes).

This is very much my speciality, passion and business; and I am really proud to have seen businesses do a fast turn again whilst cutting on their marketing addictions, by focusing on those areas that mattered.


Tip #5: a digital transformation is all about the culture

Combine the previous tips, and you start getting the picture of what a digitally transformed company looks like. They are:

  1. customer-centric as opposed to inward looking.

  2. fact based rather than opinion based (let alone hipo Highest Income Person Opinion based).

  3. information is shared and connected rather than standing in silos.

  4. they favour collective intelligence rather than ego.

It is a strong team culture where the energy is focused on collectively beating the outside competition.


Tip #6: it starts from the top

The digital transformation needs to touch all the parts of the organisation, cut across silos and foster a sharing culture. It cannot just happen or be contained to a specific team or department.

No digital transformation can happen unless they are sponsored by the CEO, and the C suite embraces the digital ethos: the C suite creates the cohesion by setting a compelling vision, and embodies the company values by leading by example.


Tip #7: it is not about technology, even less about money

Obviously, having modern tools such as analytics, CRM tools, ability to gather customer feedback and act on it, investing effectively in marketing is important, and technology can support companies execution very effectively.

However, none of the internet stars was ever created by hiring hundreds of big 6 consultants, or splashing money on expensive technology: digital transformation projects relying on technological promises will fail more often than not.

The focus on technology misses the digital ethos and culture dimension, they move the focus away from daily execution and absorb precious management and staff bandwidth: very often, process improvement generates better benefits than new developments.

Technology led projects also pay themselves by reducing staff, sometimes at the detriment of customer service or operational excellence.

Money is even more questionable as the technology is increasingly cheap as it evolves very fast: investing a lot in a tool which can be obsolete by the time it is implemented is not always very effective.


Tip #8: there is no silver bullet

Companies are bombarded by the latest tool which can turn around the business in the blink of an eye: I have got news for you, there is no magic wand or silver bullet.

You as management of the business and only you own the future success of the company, by proper planning and mobilising your workforce. We can help you there, using simple but effective audit and planning methods to identify your key areas of focus, and developing effective plans and processes accordingly.

This is really my business: help businesses see the wood for the tree, and bring people together around a compelling project. More Dumbledore than Harry Potter, really.


Tip #9: you need to focus on what you are best at, and work with trusted partners

There are very few pure digital or technological companies. Whether you are a travel agent, an airline, a retailer or a law firm, your company has a clear product and services proposition, and customers will keep on working with you based on the quality and consistency of those products and services, and how well you treat them. Period.

In a fast changing and highly technical data and digital world, it is hard to hire and retain individuals and build strong teams from scratch. Competition is high, and you also need to give their fair share of daily challenge to individual who are motivated by problem solving.

It is also very difficult to build a pragmatic but effective digital architecture to support your business. The good news is that we can help you on both aspects, recommending and implementing simple, effective tools which will not break the bank but deliver high value. We also train your people to look at the data they need to constantly improve the company performance.


Tip #10: it is beautifully simple

You just realise that digital transformation is a new name for business re-engineering, or no more than a reformulation on how best to create a business for the long term.

It is about developing a compelling customer proposition, focusing on the execution and customer service, communicating effectively (Brand is really the formulation of the company proposition), underpinned by a great company culture based on facts, trust and accountability.

Having done this a few times now for small, medium and big companies, I will be delighted to help your business thrive.

I cannot recommend enough the read of the attached article: What is still baffling me is how fresh and accurate it is despite dating back to … 2001, yes, that’s right, 16 years ago and counting.

Rorie Devine

I am an inveterate Interim CIO ¦ CTO and the author of The CTO ¦ CIO Bible (#1 rated CTO book on Amazon) and How To Be A Hero CIO ¦ CTO (#1 rated CTO course on Udemy). I write about big ideas and share leadership stories that make you go “A Ha!”

My work has been described as a new genre of leadership advice…it’s based on unrivalled experience, genuine credentials, wisdom distilled down into 100’s chunks of actionable insights and even the odd bit of humour…

Some people don’t agree with what I say. Other people say I changed their career. Why not read/watch/listen and decide for yourself?!?

   85% 5 Stars CTO ¦ CIO Bible eBook & Book

The #1 rated CIO ¦ CTO Udemy & THINKIFIC Course

Ticks all the key elements...
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I loved this book although the first few pages initially caught me on the back foot as it is so different from what we are used to. Rorie has pulled together all the major elements of outstanding IT management and delivery by referencing the source material with his own explanation of why it is useful. So this is truly a read which lets you tick the boxes you already worked on and see what else might be useful out there. Personally I found it highly energising and a great read, I hope you do too.
Insightful and an easy to read
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I’m not a CTO or a CIO but I work closely with many that hold those positions, and this book has given me a wonderful insight into their world, the challenges they face and strategies/tactics they can deploy to be great. The book is easy to read and digest and incredibly informative. Thank you Rorie!
Thomas Kiessling
Thomas Kiessling
A great cookbook
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I highly recommend this book for both CTOs/CIOs at the beginning of their career and for experienced technology leaders on a quest to continuously improve and re-calibrate themselves. The method of the book is to distil decades of experiences into simple learnings. It’s a cookbook. It creates a mental grid of domains and principles for a technology leader to succeed. It also provides entry points to deepen your knowledge in specific subjects, always pointing back to the larger context. Well done. Fun to read.
A Fantastic Go-to guide
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Very interesting book which provides you with key advice as to how to manage your company and teams as a CTO or CIO. It is solution-focussed. It’s easy to read and can be read in any order. So if you need to know something quick, it’s a great go-to guide. The good thing is that it works on key aspects of management and provides you with fast and straight-to-the-point advice. Highly recommend to professionals with little time on their daily schedules who need a book which they can consult quickly to find a solution or improvement to their current situation.
Mr. Faisal Ahmed
Mr. Faisal Ahmed
Really insightful
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Easy to read in a complex world full of buzz words, really recommend this to anyone in the business field. Cannot wait for a follow up book.
Jonathon Moore
Jonathon Moore
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Bucketloads of great insight across the full spectrum of product development. A great read for product and engineering leaders alike.
Very readable
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A very easy to read and digest book that gives lots of tips and ideas for how to make a high impact in a positive way as quickly as possible. Not a technical book, but one of leadership, relationships and how to add value. A definite must for the library
Martin King
Martin King
Thinking from an expert!
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Clear and concise advice for people that already have a lot of the building blocks in place. The book offers plenty of critical thinking from a seasoned expert. Thanks Rorie!
Mr. S. Edwards
Mr. S. Edwards
Wisdom for busy execs
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I loved the simple, concise format of this book. Full of bite sized wisdom and instant takeaways to 'try now'. Rather than a massive tome of boring management theory, busy execs can read this book on a train journey and get instant value. Highly recommended.
Actionable leadership tips
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I've had the pleasure to work with Rorie and I was looking forward to read his book. I wasn't disappointed! The format may not be liked by everybody as more than narrative it's a series of tips, however I find the insights very helpful. On some topics I have slightly different views but Rorie gets his argument through explaining why he's giving those tips, based on his 20 years experience. Definitely a good read.
Alex Farr
Alex Farr
CIO UK Top 100
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An essential read for any #CIO or #CTO in 2020. Authored by the extremely talented Rorie Devine, the book gives the mission, objectives, strategies and tactics needed to succeed. It may even contain a small contribution from yours truly...
Oliver Bayes-Shelton
Oliver Bayes-Shelton
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Great book by Rorie Devine, I always enjoy reading things by peers! "The CTO ¦ CIO Bible: The Mission Objectives Strategies And Tactics Needed To Be A Super Successful CTO ¦ CIO"
Eoin Woods
Eoin Woods
CTO at Endava
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Interesting new ebook from Rorie Devine on how to be an effective #CIO based on his experience in the role and also working as an interim, seeing inside many organisations. Structured into bite-size pieces for easy digestion!
Michael O'Gorman
Michael O'Gorman
CTO/VP Engineering
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Just read CTO ¦ CIO Bible by Rorie Devine - great valuable insights by very experienced CTO - must read for all current and aspiring CTO’s/CIO’s - great job Rorie Devine
Artur Grabowski
Artur Grabowski
Technical Director
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Some really good tips and advice in "CTO | CIO Bible" by Rorie Devine. Definitely worth reading by anyone involved in a technology leadership role.
Nikos Kryvossidis
Nikos Kryvossidis
CTO at Racing Post
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A very interesting book has just been published by Rorie Devine => Highly recommended!
Ian Woosey
Ian Woosey
CIO Clarion Housing
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Some really excellent thoughts in here, well worth a read by anyone involved in a technology leadership role. Thanks Rorie.
Rich Phillips
Rich Phillips
Consulting CTO
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Not a long book but, packed with sound advice and tips from the author's own deep and varied experience as a consulting CTO. Reading a book cannot make a person a great CTO or CIO, but a good one like this can certainly help put the aspiring professional on the right path, act as a starting point for further research, and help avoid the common pitfalls.
CEO Energy Trading
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Found this book really helpful. Lots of ideas and advice that got me thinking as well as practical examples of successful strategies and advice on how to manage complicated projects. Highly recommended.
Loana Wurzel
Loana Wurzel
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Brilliant! Fantastic insight into what it takes to be a successful CTO or CIO. I love the way it is set up in easy to read sections and it works really well on a phone. It even manages to bring humour into being a CTO which must be difficult. Read it even if you're not a CTO any modern leader would benefit from reading this book!
Ade McCormack
Ade McCormack
Digital Readiness Institute
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Congratulations Rorie. Nice format. Easy to read. Clear direction.

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