CTO Talk – Future in Focus
In the latest part of our series with Version 1 Chief Technology Officer Brad Mallard, we’re taking a look at plans for the next 12 months, and beyond.
The future at Version 1 is all about helping our customers with resolving and challenging and delivering solutions to the impossible.
Now that 2023 is drawing to a close, we are already deep in planning for 2024 and even further ahead. We have a really talented organisation, and we are keen to engage in new and exciting ways which will allow us to take our projects further and faster than ever before.
One part of that is investing more in our problem-solving advisory capability, our team which can sit and work with customers to help uncover, translate and unlock business problems with technology-assisted solutions. These smart, creative, industry experts can apply that knowledge to unlock more value or re-energise stalled transformation programmes. Working collaboratively with customers, we find ways to save time and money at speed. We have teams of people and lots of talent grouped together to make a real difference on that front.
Secondly, how do we embrace innovation and technology. I think every organisation, every customer, every company and government department needs to start thinking about how you embrace at pace, with agility and the right data.
In fact, I would go as far to say that the role of a Chief Information Officer, the ‘I’ should actually be ‘Innovation’. Or at least there might be a CI2O, if you like!
But technology and the market are moving fast. Unless you have an eye on the future, you’ll be left in the past and therefore you must innovate. You must shape your organisation to be able to embrace innovation and the latest technology because your competitors already are.
The fastest way to stay ahead is to use people with experience and my motivation is to bring those people together to solve problems, invest in customers and find ways to drive innovation faster and more sustainably with and across our customers. We are experts in bringing out the value of Generative AI and Applied AI and these projects have already demonstrated significant financial benefits, while also lowering financial risk and increasing quality. Really these investments should be a no-brainer for any organisation.
Version 1 Developers Survey
This year for the very first time we asked 600 of our developers to take part in a major organisation wide survey, designed to find out our current capabilities and the skills we’ll need to navigate the future.
In many cases, it’s more about a company being interested in these latest technologies but being unsure how to take their first steps, and how to do so safely and with quality. We have so many use cases, including some teams who are helping customers apply AI in the confines of regulatory compliant banks. That involves looking at the ethical uses of AI and how do we make sure that what we’re implementing is bias free and inclusive. That pillar is not only how you unlock but also innovate, so that’s super exciting.
The final part is, how do we continue to accelerate the learning and give opportunities for the organisation? This year, we introduced a quarterly competition right across the company:
- The Great GPT Tech Off – how we could embrace ChatGPT to be truly innovative and give our teams an opportunity to learn and be creative.
- Back to the Sustainable Future – about our direction of travel and how we could help ourselves accelerate and deliver our end-to-end net zero ambitions by 2030 or faster.
- The ImitAItion Game – (which is a fantastic pun I am teased about continuously!) This was about how we embrace AI throughout our business and/or help customers using AI to solve different problems.
And out of those competitions we already have some fantastic output. In fact, one of the projects I’m super excited about is the work we’re doing to use multi-modal AI – language, text, audio, image generation and even combining the use of computer vision – all in a solution which effectively helps neurodivergent people to have better experiences in real-life scenarios. We’re currently working with an organisation on a pilot programme that is super exciting for me and could be a real game changer which you will hear more about soon.
We’re also working on other accessible, sustainable solutions – such as helping people with dyslexia, for example. I should also qualify that sustainability does not mean just in the environmental or carbon sense alone as important as that is of course. I mean, the broader sense of sustainability – equality, inclusivity, accessibility, creating opportunity, education. There are already so many fantastic examples of how applying AI and Innovation can really change the game and make a massive difference to individuals.
It has been an extraordinary first year at Version 1 but I am absolutely confident that the best is yet to come!
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