First of all, tell us about your first visit to ROOMn in 2017?
I had a bit of a wrong impression of what ROOMn has become. I thought the event focussed primarily on technologies and security. I’m familiar with these subjects, but I didn’t think I was really ROOMn’s target audience. I was pleasantly surprised to see that its editorial line was the IT/BU convergence. This is very interesting and especially important because the two worlds have to work together on innovation topics. I also attended with my BU counterpart, which I’d like to do again this year.
So, you’ve experienced this situation?
Yes, it’s an issue I address in house. For over two years, we’ve been trying to work with the IT division on digital transformation issues, but there are still some kinks to work out. We need to move from "problem-solving" IT to "solution centre” IT. That’s pretty complicated and very important for IT departments that have to rethink their relationships with their teams.
How does ROOMn help with this awareness and evolution?
CDOs have taken over the digital transformation from IS departments because IS departments weren’t considered legitimate. In fact, few of them actually lead the digital transformation. Similarly, there are few CDOs coming from IS. Why? How do we change the perception of IS departments? This requires a hybridisation of businesses. And ROOMn helps address these issues with an additional dimension. I also find that it is good for BUs and IS to attend these events together. First, to get to know people that we don’t know, and also to be with suppliers, competitors… it helps us address the topics more effectively.
What are the emerging issues and their consequences?
Some of the important topics we deal with are APIs and information system hybridisation. The Cloud also causes tension in IS departments because it lets BUs use simpler and more agile tools and that query the CISOs. Service platforms are major issues for all service companies; I believe you discussed this topic last year at ROOMn. Data poses a specific problem of governance: who should govern it? IT? Finance? Marketing? And the famous customer experience is also at the heart of all concerns, and we need to work with IS departments in particular on our interfaces, whether for our customers or our staff, in order to create perfect symmetry in this experience that will make it a success. Then, when we talk about transformation we talk about acceleration: it's a real challenge with the emergence of start-ups and digital players who know how to work quickly. But hey, if fintech and insurtech can get there in our sector, why can’t we? Provided we have the necessary resources… and we accept that transforming and innovating also means "hacking" the system from the inside.