Agents of Change: Gideon Kay, a CIO who Thrives on Disruption and Change

Agents of Change: Gideon Kay, a CIO who Thrives on Disruption and Change

VMware’s Agents of Change initiative celebrates smart CIOs who challenge the status quo. By harnessing the transformative power of technology, they are creating unlimited possibilities for their businesses.

Here’s the next individual in the Agents of Change Series: Gideon Kay, EMEA CIO for Dentsu Aegis Network.

Gideon Kay is the EMEA CIO for Dentsu Aegis Network, a global media and advertising agency holding company. When Japanese advertising giant Dentsu acquired FTSE 100-listed Aegis in 2014, Kay joined the newly formed organisation and immediately thrived in the fast-moving environment.

“This industry is extremely fast-paced and demanding, so we have to move quickly to stay ahead of the competition,” he says. “Of course, change in the media and advertising sector is very technologically driven. As the leader of our IT function, I have to make sure we’re ahead of the curve. The speed of change and disruption is exhilarating and challenging at the same time.”

EMBRACE, DON’T FIGHT, SHADOW IT

As a seasoned CIO, Kay has firsthand insight into how the role has evolved and takes a pragmatic view. For example, he is unperturbed by the shift of technology spend from the IT function to the business units. “Many CIOs are fighting against shadow IT. I take the opposite approach,” he says. “CIOs should embrace change, remain relevant in the new reality, and enable the business to be more agile in whatever way it needs to be. A CIO should make interaction with the business frictionless.”

On the impact of digitalisation, he says, “Digital is now a huge topic in every boardroom. The CIO should be the navigational voice for the business to understand which technologies to invest in, which to ignore, and which will give competitive advantage.”

For an organisation like Dentsu Aegis Network, continuous innovation is critical to keeping one step ahead. “Cloud has the power to transform a business, and to turbocharge innovation,” Kay says. “VMware has challenged our thinking about the Cloud. It’s enabled us to be far more agile and far quicker at what we do and how we do it.”

AI, MACHINE LEARNING, AND BIG DATA WILL BE HUGE

Under his leadership, the company has adopted a multi-cloud approach, underscoring its importance to the future success of the company and its ability to embrace other emerging technologies. “The intersection of AI and machine learning with big data and analytics is going to be huge for the media industry. Data is rapidly becoming our lifeblood. Our investment in cloud underpins our ability to adopt and benefit from these new technologies now and in the future.”

Hear more insights from Kay in this video, then read on for his tips to other aspiring agents of change.

THREE TIPS TO INSPIRE CHANGE

Kay offers three tips to other CIOs who want to become change agents.

  1. SET A CLEAR VISION FOR WHAT YOU’RE TRYING TO ACHIEVE.
  2. CO-CREATE THAT VISION WITH AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE, ESPECIALLY THE LEADERSHIP TEAM. Everyone must understand their role in delivering the vision.
  3. MONITOR YOUR PROGRESS TO ACHIEVING THE VISION, AS WELL AS THE ENVIRONMENT AROUND YOU. Ensure your vision is still relevant; if not, change course.