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Philipp Jäggi, CIO Laboratoires Réunis: “Today the CIO’s most important skill is solution design”

Our team recently met with Philipp Jäggi, CIO Laboratoires Réunis. In this interview, he discusses the evolution of the CIO profession and how Laboratoires Réunis dealt with the Covid crisis. Philipp Jäggi, who won the CIO of the Year ICT Luxembourg Award in 2020, will be a speaker at the IT One Gala on 7 December at LuxExpo the Box. He will take part in the conference “The data economy marathon”.

The Covid crisis has had an impact on all companies, especially for an analysis laboratory such as yours. You are/were on the front line. What are the main transformations you had to implement/ process to adapt?

Philipp Jäggi: The main impact on our laboratory was that we really had to change into a “war”-mode. Everything had to be set up in the shortest time and we had to be super agile to respond to all demands coming from Luxembourg’s government. Our normal 2 weeks sprint cycle was not working with the demands we had and so we had to change to a completely new way of release management. It’s nice to reach such a warp-speed in developing new solutions and frankly we profited a lot from our microservice hybrid cloud architecture, but you have to keep your standards in terms of quality, security, and data privacy at the highest level possible. Without our sound and safe basis, the architecture of the hybrid cloud with Nutanix and AWS, the cloud infrastructure setup NTT Luxembourg, we would not have had that safe harbour to develop rapidly new solutions that are highly secure.

At Laboratoires Réunis we started the transformation together with NTT Luxembourg already before the pandemic hit us, so we just had to speed up implementing what we already planned before. One of the big advantages in Luxembourg’s IT industry is the short connection we have. This helped us to add different highly trustable new partners to our transformation process, like Post Luxembourg and Sfeir Luxembourg, which helped us to improve on areas that we couldn’t reach without them.

Did the Covid crisis generate these transformations or simply accelerate them?

P. J.: At Laboratoires Réunis it simply accelerated it in a crazy way, which I never could have expected. Yes, it was a lot of stress, but hell yeah, it was also a lot of fun to reach this level of excellence with my team. The power the team developed in the crisis and the level of execution was just outstanding.

“Your customers give you the trust to host their most private data”

You have to manage a huge amount of data, sensitive ones. How do you ensure the security and confidentiality of this data? What processes did you implement?

P. J.: In every laboratory in the world, we deal with the most sensitive data that exists. Just ask yourself.  If you have to give out one secret of you, which one of the following two you would publish to public:

a. How much you earn at your company.

b. Or that you have a genetic high cholesterol.

If you publish answer b) you will never get a credit for building a house, because you can’t get a life insurance. So, the impact of a medical data leak is so dramatic for our patients, that this would affect their whole life.

It’s important to be aware of that and to be humble-minded that your customers give you the trust to host their most private data. I think this is the most important thing, that you have the right mindset to work in our industry. 

Furthermore, we try to define secure architecture from the scratch, keeping the privacy by design idea in our focus, and pen testing new applications. Being part of Biogroup gives us a new dimension in security, because Biogroup tries to set the highest standards for security in the healthcare industry. This gives us a third eye on our work, which reviews and challenges our processes and product, to reach these high standards that we all set for ourselves. I think in terms of security, you can’t have enough audits and second opinions, because it’s so easy to make a small mistake, which opens up a door for an attacker. 

What have been the major developments in the role of the CIO in recent years? How do you see the future of your job/profession?

P. J.: The role of CIO has changed a lot. CIO’s main areas were focus on process management like ITSM, budget management, and creating an IT strategy that should align business and IT. Mostly, by doing that, we ended up being just a cost centre and the famous source of IT frustration. Today the CIO’s most important skill is solution design. We have to develop and support the business digitalization process, which transforms IT services from an internal supplier service to a core solution and innovation centre. As a successful CIO you need to understand hyperscale architecture, DevOps processes, microservice design, but also all the classical skills, to be not only the leader of your team, but also the solution enable for your company. The required skill set of a modern CIO has 4 main axes:

–Leader and people manager

–Technology evangelist and implementer

–Solution and innovation creator and enabler

–Traditional Head of IT skills

All new technology, like AI or data driven economy, must a modern CIO know and be skilled enough to know how he can use these new technologies to boost the business of his company.

Frankly the role of the CIO is completely different compared to years ago, because it contains and focuses now on three axes more.

More info about Gala IT One HERE