Meeting with Jean-Marc Verdure, CIO EFA Luxembourg (European Funds Administration), giving is point of view about CIONET Luxembourg.
What directions should we give to CIONET?
Our small country counts several IT professional networks. Some would argue that it is too much and would welcome a consolidation. On one hand, we can certainly understand this standpoint: increasing number of digital / disruptive challenges, costs reduction programs and busy agendas claim for efficient and coordinated networks. On the other hand, there is not a single way to help IT executives to confront these challenges and turn them to their advantage. Cohabitation of different networks is therefore not an issue and could even become richness provided that each of them has an unique value proposition and focus on a limited number of topics. What differentiate CIONET for me is notably its international dimension and its exclusive focus on CIOs and IT Directors. Two dimensions that must be kept and amplified.
What do you think about the CIONET 2015 concept?
Linking the 2015 program to the Luxembourgish initiative « Digital Lëtzebuerg » is certainly a bright idea. Digital is a priority for all European countries, but much more than in any other country, Luxembourg, by the voice of its Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, has fostered a real dynamic in that respect. Public and private initiatives must combine and compound each other in the best interest of the country, its companies, its workforce and its citizens. Luxembourg CIO’s can probably make a positive contribution to this policy: innovation in the financial services (FinTech), development of e-skills or promotion of Luxembourg assets abroad. A role that CIONET could have here is to develop a better understanding and awareness of the different governmental initiatives and associations, their missions and the potential collaboration we may have with them.
Very often, the agenda of events, seminars, etc. is dictated by suppliers that are themselves reproducing the commercial message of their headquarters. Even the analysts are not always able to frame the benefits of the new technologies and trends in a way that will be useful for our companies. The practical consequence is that the message is not necessarily addressing our primary concerns and is not adapted to the local biotope. This approach could lead to useless debates or solutions that are not in line with the local regulations or the Luxembourg market specific features: very few large organization, many decision centers located abroad, etc. I’d therefore advocate for a better instantiation of these messages.
Another way to improve the efficiency of meetings and seminars is to pay more attention to their educational part. Most seminary start from the principle that the people around the table, in consideration of their job title, know perfectly well what the daily topic is all about. I tend to think that it’s not always the case. And, when we have a pretty good understanding of the topic, it’s very often our own understanding. Personally I like to be more intelligent after a seminar than I was before and I really appreciate well-structured speakers who are able to set the scene and present a topic and its related stakes in a pedagogical way. TED is for me a reference in that respect.
Finally, when it comes to participating to a round table or a debate, we have to admit that different industries have different challenges, clients and priorities. Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud, Digital take different forms in retail business, transports or financial services. Don’t get me wrong, I love to discover a new business and its particular challenges in a classic presentation. But, from my standpoint, it is vain to launch a debate with people who have totally different perspectives and don’t know each other’s business. In that respect, I think that CIONET SIG’s (Special Interest Groups) grouping people with the same interests and or background is a good initiative.