CIOWorks London: How leaders are navigating the future of work


Today’s CIOs have a lot to think about — from powering a hybrid work environment and leading with a digital first-mindset, to ensuring the content that their businesses run on remains secure and compliant. In light of the broader economic climate and post-pandemic uncertainty, cost-consolidation and getting the most business value from the modern IT stack are equally key priorities for many leaders.

Earlier this month, Box Global CIO Ravi Malick hosted CIOWorks London, our first in-person customer event since the start of the pandemic. He was joined by Box executives including Box CEO Aaron Levie and Box European President Sebastien Marotte, along with CIOs and IT leaders from across Europe.

Aaron Levie, Box CEO

Using Box to drive your business forward

A standout customer panel session on navigating the future of work included speakers from leading European organisations from varied industries: Shawn Curran, Head of Legal Technology at Travers Smith; Tobias Kilga, Head of Corporate IT at MED-EL; and Bartek Piernicki, Director of Business Technology at Polpharma Biologics. Here are the key takeaways from their conversation.

Decentralised work calls for a single source of truth for content

At the start of the pandemic, global medical technology company MED-EL underwent their own digital transformation and they haven't looked back. With solid work from home policies in place and employees working across their worldwide offices, MED-EL is now more decentralised than ever before, meaning Box is an important source of truth for managing content and enabling collaboration from anywhere. MED-EL’s core business is to restore hearing — not to handle servers — and this is where Box’s platform acts as a single point of truth for managing the lifecycle of their content.

For Travers Smith, a leading 200 year old law firm in the UK, securing their most-sensitive client and expert witness content and data is a top-most priority. As a result, the team at Travers Smith is focused on utilising the Box platform as a integrated content layer to ensure ease of collaboration between various internal and external stakeholders and create a more hands-on, yet somewhat automated method of content governance. They are also actively finding and implementing cost-effective measures to better analyse unstructured and sensitive legal data, which they can do with all their content managed in Box.

CIOWorks Panel

Priorities for the digital-first age

Over the last couple of years, we’ve shifted to a world where digital has disrupted every business model and has become a necessity, rather than a strategic advantage. We heard from our panelists about the challenges they face looking ahead, and how technology can help them to address their business priorities and navigate this extremely dynamic period.

For Polpharma Biologics, security remains top of the agenda. With Box, Polpharma will continue to standardise all regulated and unregulated content on one validated, secure platform to ensure teams can access content and collaborate with partners throughout the drug manufacturing process, from early-stage discovery all the way to development.

For MED-EL, it’s crucial to continue to remain a digital champion without losing sight of their workforce and their needs. Keeping people front and centre of any organisation and prioritising their wellbeing is important in this ever-changing world of hybrid work. And with technology, companies should understand the needs of their teams and choose user-friendly solutions to empower people to maximise their productivity.

Karen Blackett, CEO of Group M

Moving forward with hybrid work

CIOWorks London welcomed Karen Blackett, CEO of advertising company Group M, who addressed the impact of hybrid work and the expansion of technology on people’s health and wellbeing. Here are the key takeaways from Karen’s speech.

Recognise it’s difficult to “switch off”

We live in a “VUCA” world — an acronym used to describe the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment we live in. The Covid-19 pandemic had profound impacts on us as a society, and how we have changed is reflected in the ways our people are returning to the office and adopting hybrid work models.
While growing technological developments are enabling us to do things at scale and better connect as individuals, the downside is we feel we can always be online. With easy access to our smartphones, laptops and e-mail, employees can unconsciously become more stressed with remote and hybrid work, and can get the sense that they never leave “the office.”

Understand the “learning dip”

The “learning dip” is the challenge we feel when we begin to learn something new. It can be difficult, frustrating and make us want to give up. As employees in a hybrid world, that brings new technologies and different ways of working to learn and adapt to, and we may feel we are constantly being plunged into the learning dip. The learning dip can trigger fears of temporary incompetence and loss of personal identity (as many high-performing individuals get their sense of belonging and identity from work), leading to a dip in performance.

In a decentralised hybrid world, how do leaders know if their team members are constantly in the middle of that learning dip if they don’t see them regularly in the office?

Embrace hybrid work’s benefits

Amid all the challenges of hybrid work, many employees say there are benefits of home working —such as no commute, no office distractions and greater work-life balance. Remote teams also learn more about each other's home lives through dogs, cats and kids appearing on Zoom calls! As businesses look ahead, it is important to embrace the benefits of both remote and in-person working models to create a healthy and productive environment for employees.

Innovation is about taking risks

A final key takeaway from the event came from Richard Browning, Founder of Pioneering Aeronautical Innovation company, Gravity Industries. Richard said: “Innovation is about taking risks. If you’re not taking risks, you’re not innovating.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Want a deeper dive into navigating the future of work with Box? Check out our blog for tips for innovating and collaborating in a hybrid workplace.