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Top CIOs share their views on all things digital at Gartner Symposium

Having a 360 degree leadership view of digital transformation was the theme of this year’s Gartner Symposium/ITXpo in Barcelona.

The theme was brought to life in a session hosted by Luis Alvarez, CEO, Global Services, where three top CIOs shared their experience and views on all things digital.

Danny Van Daal, Global Head of IT and Transformation, Philips, Alvaro De Nicolas Izquierdo, ‎CTO, Hotelbeds Group, and Jens-Peter Labus, Managing Director, Media-Saturn IT Services, discussed the truth about their journey towards digital transformation.

Skills and training.

All three CIOs agreed that skills and training are a priority, not only in terms of their teams and having more data analyst skills, but also in terms of company-wide awareness, especially when it comes to security.  They were open about their use of external consultants and frequent knowledge sharing with partners and customers as a more innovative way of training their people.


In an each industry there are examples of how technology, and specifically digital technology, has evolved — from intelligent toothbrushes to robot-run retail stores.  The impact of IoT and smart devices means that the scope for security incidents has nearly increased 20-fold in the last 12 months.  One panellist remarked, that for him, “Cyber security starts with your own staff”.  All the panellists talked about using phishing emails to test the awareness of their employees, the results of which made for interesting reading and highlighted the areas for development.


There was no hiding from the realisation that legacy systems are moving to a cloud ecosystem model.  Hybrid cloud is firmly in place and as the CIOs move forward with their digital strategies they are seeing the benefits.  There was agreement that the cloud is saving organisations money and enabling platforms that allows them to move quickly.

So what were the secrets they unveiled?  What was their advice to other CIOs?

There were many great points made by the speakers with a common message of experimenting and trying new things, however the top three picks from me were these:

  • Building a digital enterprise roadmap and integrating all the pipeline services to deliver your projects in an agile way.
  • Making sure everyone is bought in and agrees with your plan within your partner ecosystem… and prioritising.
  • Just do it, keep everyone focused. Do it step by step but be relentless.

A parting thought from Luis Alvarez was the question of how do we measure the success of it all?  But as time ticked away, it’s food for thought for a later discussion.

Find out more about our point of view, here.