by Edward Qualtrough

Simplicity is best and don’t believe the hype, says GlaxoSmithKline CIO

Oct 09, 20132 mins
IT LeadershipRetail Industry

GlaxoSmithKline CIO Daniel Lebeau has described the current climate as the most fantastic time to be a CIO, but warned his peers against the hype associated with conferences, supplier marketing, and BYOD.

The GSK veteran, at the British multinational pharmaceutical company for over a decade, told CIO columnist Ade McCormack that although concerned with financial struggles in Europe, he was optimistic for IT in general and described the role of the CIO “as the most fantastic job”.

He said: “For the first time, IT is transforming the business and you can deliver incredible value.”

Lebeau, who previously worked for Kraft Foods for more than nine years, said that the role of the modern CIO was “to transform the business with new innovative business processes; to reduce costs with productive business processes and best industry practices; to increase customer satisfaction with new services and channels; to address business compliance; and to develop platforms for growth and globalisation.”

Lebeau also explained his philosophy on keeping processes simple.

“I divide the world into two categories: those who are making simple things complex and those who are making complex things simple. I try to belong to the second category.

“Leonardo da Vinci captures it best – ‘simplification is the ultimate sophistication’. I like minimalism.”

But echoing similar sentiments to those uttered by IKEA CIO Paulo Cinelli last month, Lebeau was critical of the BYOD trend, as well as other areas of hype in the business technology sphere.

“I encourage all my competitors to adopt BYOD as fast as possible,” he said. “I have a cautious approach given the different pitfalls.

“And pay little attention to the hype associated with both conferences and supplier marketing,” he warned.