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Kevin Evans, CIO Sun Branding Solutions: How to innovate to stay ahead

Matt Egan | Jan. 9, 2017
How the CIO of one UK-based global SME helps his organisation stay nimble and successful.

kevin evans

Kevin Evans is the CIO of Sun Branding Solutions, a global SME the offers brand and product life cycle management - packaging design and build, to you and me. It is pretty good at it too, having been around for 123 years. CIO UK spoke to Evans about his role as a business leader as well as the head of the IT function. And we asked him to speak to how a maker of physical products in a traditional sector can innovate on behalf of its clients.

Evans has a tech CV that takes in publishing, banking and a stint as a contractor. He first went to Sun to rescue a SaaS project that had fallen behind schedule and over budget. And the rest is history. He found a company with strong values and products, but one that required some disruption to modernise. This process went well.

"We had a traditional premise," says Evans "It was great and it all worked but we were looking at up to two months to restore from tape if we lost the lot. So I sat down with Paul and said this needs to change and you need someone on the board that's a peer with the other board members. He offered me the job and that's how I ended up there."

In Evans' words: "Gradually over the past few years I picked up more and more bits of the organisation and now I have the P and L for the digital business unit, as well as our infrastructure across UK, Ireland, mainland Europe, US, India."

It's a great-sounding role that makes Evans the leader of a tech business, rather than a tech leader in a wider business - although he retains the responsibility for infrastructure throughout the business. Evans says of the division he runs: "We have a digital unit whichsells SaaS solutions that are in use by Walmart, Bacardi, Aldi, RB (formerly Reckitt Benckiser), Unilever and Heinz. Big brands with big packaging launches.

"We have a consultancy team and we have a software implementation team. We've got the actual software offering and its licensing revenue and support and so on. This all sits under the digital business unit."

In many ways this is the ideal scenario for a technical business leader. And Evans has executive support. "I'm on the board. We have Paul, who's my boss, who's the group MD and is in charge of all of our international operations under the Branding banner. We have a commercial director, creative director, ops director and me.

"Everything bar the digital unit predominately sits under either creative or commercial. I'm the anomaly in that I have a sales force, a consultancy team and an implementation team."


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