We asked three of our customers at the start of the new year what their buzzword was of 2017, what buzzword will occupy them in 2018 and what technological wish they would like to see realized. A CIO, a Global Head of IT and an IT supervisor give us their answers …
1. Bjorn Van Reet – CIO at Kinepolis & CIO of the Year
2017 was Bjorn Van Reet‘s first full year as CIO of Kinepolis. It was also the year he made big steps on ICT level. And the year in which he was elected CIO of the year. Kinepolis also made its first steps across the ocean with the takeover of Canadian cinema group Landmark Cinemas and opened its first 4DX-theatres in Brussels and Antwerp. So there’s enough to talk about…
Bjorn, let’s start by looking back. What was your IT buzzword at Kinepolis of 2017?
“We did a lot in 2017, but security was probably the most important buzzword. Ethical hacking to be precise. We focussed heavily on security at Kinepolis in 2017: Along with a number of experts and ethical hackers, we have thoroughly analysed, tested and optimised our public-facing websites and back-office. Something for which you at Nucleus have also accomplished a great deal. It is also my ambition to create a Kinepolis Security Board with a number of national and international experts. The intention would be to regularly take a closer look at our infrastructure, swap experiences and expertise and to look at where we can still improve.”
“2017 was also a year of consolidation. We’ve decreased the number of IT-partners. I rather work with a small group of regular partners I can rely on 110 percent. Companies of which I know that they offer the quality and service I expect. And that Kinepolis needs. We’ve not been a local player for some time now, but a multinational with very high demands.”
Let’s look at 2018. Where is the focus there? What will be the buzzword of 2018?
“Can I name two? Experience and value creation. In 2018 the focus is completely on our theatre visitors. We definitively aim to give them a perfect movie experience. Launching the 4DX-theatres is an important first step. They allow a movie to be experienced even more intensely. But I’m also speaking about the experience outside the theatre. When buying (online) tickets, choosing a movie through our website, walking around in our theatres, buying things in one of our shops… We’re constantly looking for ways to give our customers an as-perfect-as-possible experience.
Mind you, to me that doesn’t mean innovating for the sake of innovating. There has to be added value. We could put a robot in the lobby right now that sells tickets or answers our customer’s questions. But is that efficient? Does it add value? Will it enhance user experience? I don’t think so. So we’re not doing that (yet). We consider every decision from the perspective of our ‘customers’. You should notice that more in 2018.”
And should we give you the change to make a technological wish – regardless of technical feasibility or budget?
“I don’t need to think long about that: self-driving cars. The faster they get here, the better. That’s for me personally, because I spend quite a lot of time in the car. But for our employees and our visitors as well. One of the big challenges in our country is no doubt mobility. I think it is (becoming) a big hindrance for further economic growth. I think you could solve that by the massive introduction of self-driving cars. I hope it will happen soon. So shift into a higher gear, Google and Tesla (laughs).”
2. Wim Nagels – Global Senior Head ICT Infrastructure & Ops at Ontex
Wim Nagels already had a well-filled career as IT manager and ICT director when in 2016 he became the head of the ICT-department of Ontex. That name might not ring a bell right away, but we’re sure there are Ontex products in your house as well.
After all, Ontex is the world’s leading producer of disposable products for personal hygiene such as disposable diapers and pull ups, pads, tampons, panty liners, etc. The company supplies retailers and care takers in over 110 countries and has more than 11.000 employees worldwide. So Wim Nagels has quite a lot of responsibility to help keep that impressive production and distribution machine rolling.
Wim, what was your and Ontex’s IT buzzword of 2017?
“If I have to use a real buzzword? Digital transformation. I know, it’s a term everyone’s been flooded with and that has lost some meaning. But it is what we’ve been doing at Ontex, without calling it that. For example, we have finished the implementation of the analytics tool SAP Hana, which allows us to follow up on our data in real time. This enables us to respond more quickly to changes in the market and we’re getting smoother real-time financial reporting.”
“Besides that our entire backend was transferred to a hyper-converged infrastructure and we’ve started rolling out Microsoft Office 365 and enterprise mobile security for all of our employees. Those are big steps in making our company more digital. So that’s why digital transformation. We don’t talk about it, we just do it (laughs).”
And what about your buzzword for 2018?
“I would first like to finish what we’ve started (smiles). But if you do want one: security. In 2018, we’ve seen in the media that there have been quite a lot of serious leaks and matching data breaches. And that hackers and malware-developers are getting increasingly more inventive. We do our best to protect our infrastructure as good as possible, but news like that does keep you on your toes. That is why we’ll be even more proactive with security. I don’t want to say too much about it, but data security and mobile security are high on the to-do list.”
“And for the rest I’ll be following closely what’s happening around machine learning. Because I think that for a company like ours, it could become an interesting point of attention. I think machine learning can give a real efficiency boost to companies, once it has matured and can be deployed correctly.”
And finally your technological wish?
“I don’t really think of a specific technology, but rather a certain vision. Now that the boundary between work and private life becomes ever smaller – with BYOD, all your data in the cloud, Internet of Things, etc. – I would like to have devices that adjust to my surrounding. My laptop or cell phone that offers different apps of settings at home, than at work that automatically take care of ID management and security, etc. Devices that adjust to the context I find myself in.”
3. Hans Clabots – IT Supervisor at World Steel Association
Since 2013, Hans Clabots has been IT supervisor at World Steel Association, the worldwide umbrella organisation of 160 steel producers (of which 19 of the 20 biggest players), national and regional professional associations and research organisations who research steel. The members of the World Steel Association are good for 85% of the worldwide steel production.
Hans, what was, for World Steel Association, the IT buzzword of 2017?
“The headquarters of our organisation is in Brussels, with a second office in Peking. But our members are located all over the world. And that makes for some specific IT-problems. Take into account that not everybody necessarily works with the same systems or technologies. Our focus in 2017 was primarily on a number of pragmatic but essential things to improve the international collaboration: digitising our communication, the worldwide rollout of office 365, VoIP-communication, secure online storage, etc.”
“Besides that we’ve spent a lot of attention to training our people: for example about security – spam, phishing and data privacy – and efficient digital communication.”
And what will you focus on most in 2018?
“The first half of the year will, as with most other companies, have GDPR and security high on the agenda. We also want to utilize that moment to see where and what we can improve with regard to security.”
“Besides that a large part of my attention will also go to the continued digitizing of our workflows. Our office doesn’t have to be paperless, but we want to limit the use of paper as much as possible. I’d like to digitize a large part of our administration in 2018.”
And your technological wish? What would that be?
“In one word: integration. In IT I still see a lot of things happening besides each other, that are not in tune or can’t work together. That often causes frustrations, (expensive) custom jobs or projects that become needlessly complex. In my ideal IT-world that integration would happen seamlessly.”