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September 14, 2015

CA Technologies UK&I CTO Exclusive: UK at forefront of new era for mankind

C-level briefing: Martin Ashall, CTO CA Technologies UK&I talks EU tech barriers, disruptive trends and CTOs challenges.

By Joao Lima

Consolidation is the buzz word sweeping the technology industry, with nearly all markets, from IoT to data centres to big data creating a new era for mankind.

According to Martin Ashall, CA Technologies CTO UKI, the UK is at the forefront of this evolution.

Discussing this further, Ashall sat down with CBR’s Joao Lima to explain the UK’s near unique position in this technological race.

"The main difference that I see is that the UK tends to be a little bit ahead of Europe because culturally it is closer to the US than, perhaps, other parts of Europe. I do feel, in a lot of scenarios, we are sort of on that leading edge."

This leading edge position that Britain has found itself in stands out from other main European countries such as France and Germany, in a continent where EU requirements are less abruptive than in-country legislation.

Ashall said: "A lot of the requirements come from the EU instead of local governments. In-country governments is where we are seeing the tighter requirements coming from.

"I worked with colleagues in France and Germany, and they are facing similar challenges that are very much specific to what in-country governments are demanding in terms of security requirements."

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The CTO added that Germany’s in-house policies are a lot tighter than the UK ‘s, and that, it was "harder to position cloud based solutions to German customers, particularly government customers".

New age of mankind

As the UK stays ahead of the European tech industry, the country is well positioned for the new era humans are going to live in.

Ashall commented: "We are heading to a new age. It kind of starts when we look at the IoT."

Despite IoT being "kind of" the start of this new age, the data that is and will come out of it is where the CTO sees the next wave of disruption.

"The next big disruptive trend hitting our industry is big data."

Asking the CTO how a disruptive technology can be perceived, he explained that this is done via research, but "listening to customers" is one of the major ways to find out about new trends.

Ashall added that "consolidation is the key word around the industry" with collaboration being "absolutely key" for a prosperous future in the sector.

Data centres as a key driver

Thinking about this future, the CTO went on to the data centre space, which plays a major role in the IoT, big data and cloud spaces.

Advising data centre providers, Ashall said they need to ensure they are listening to the latest market trends, attending conferences and understanding what is coming out from the vendors.

He explained that in each and every country CA Technologies operates, "there will be specific data requirements for the hosting of that data and providing that service. In those scenarios we tend to work with partners that have some specialism in that area to provide that capability".

Looking at the recent M&As in this space, the CTO said that this is a new market and "it is maturing".

"As customers understand what they want from their data and the security requirements of that data that market is maturing."

CTOs’ challenges

Building upon all these emerging, disruptive and consolidation trends, Ashall said that understanding the transformation of the market place and ensuring that "we, as an organisation, have the relevant skills and are in the right place to take advantage" are the main challenges for today’s CTOs.

"What is the next disruptive trend? Are we on a path to that curve? Are we ahead of that curve? How do we leverage the opportunity?"

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