IT LIFE: Jon Wrennall, Advanced CTO

IT LIFE: Jon Wrennall, Advanced CTO 1024 1024 C-Suite Network

Jon Wrennall was HMRC’s first CTO, a position he now holds for Advanced. Here is is his career in IT

What is your role and who do you work for?

I’m the CTO at software and services company Advanced and I work for Gordon Wilson the CEO.

I’m responsible for Research and Development, covering product management and development (engineering) in order to make a real difference for business and society, and making the complex simple for our customers.

Ultimately, I’m responsible for our products across all the market sectors we serve including education, health and care, legal, ERP, ticketing, public sector, not for profit and application modernisation, as well as the associated 700+ people in my team.

Jon Wrennall Advanced CTO
How long have you been in IT?

I’ve worked in IT since 1989 where I started at BAE in Warton working in flight simulation and wind tunnels.

What is your most interesting project to date?

Everyone says the latest one they’re working on and that’s true for me now. I am bringing together the many and varied facets of the companies Advanced has acquired to date, creating a platform for growth and future acquisition. We have so many great industry leading products and we’re now integrating them, for everyone’s benefit.

What is your biggest challenge at the moment?

There are so many opportunities for enabling real world transformation of our customers and helping them generate significant revenue growth and see a positive impact on P&L. The challenge is prioritising where we invest, balancing today’s needs with delivering our strategic roadmaps to get to these opportunities.

Do passwords have a future in cybersecurity?

  • Yes, but as a first line of defence
  • No, but they should not be phased out yet

What technology were you working with ten years ago?

Ten years ago, I was HMRC’s first CTO and I was busy integrating Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise which at the time had well over a thousand applications, nearly 8,000 servers and spent over £1bn on IT. The technologies ranged from the first online self-assessment service to mandating XBRL for company tax.

What is your favourite technology of all time?

It’s a combination of Transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation (tDCS) and augmented intelligence because of the massive opportunity they both have to transform our lives for the better.

I much prefer the term…