by Edward Qualtrough

Societe Generale IT chief a consumerisation and BYOD convert

Sep 11, 20133 mins
CareersIT LeadershipIT Strategy

Societe Generale IT chief Alain Benoist was initially a sceptic, but he now believes in the benefits that the consumerisation of corporate IT and the BYOD trend have to offer the enterprise.

The French banking group’s head of processes and information systems told CIO columnist Ade McCormackthat “BYOD is just the new balance between the freedom of an individual and his or her professional accessibility”.

Benoist, who sits on the SocGen general management committee, said: “I took me a while to understand why anyone would like to receive corporate email on a personal device rather than a corporate one.

But the former CTO said that any corporation that provides devices will put a focus on security and will ensure that no corporate data gets on the net by limiting access to social networks, for example.

“This leads to limitations that people are no longer ready to take when they can have sophisticated functionalities for their personal productivity or interact with friends and family at any time with their personal device.

“At a time when the frontier between personal and professional life gets blurred, it is probably easier to give access on a personal device to a limited set of professional functions than to open professional devices to an unlimited set of personal functions.”

Benoist, one of the top CIOs in France, said that because of the familiar link between a user and their device, and apps supporting basic usages with a high level or ergonomics, change management is reduced to a minimum, if not zero.

“This suggests that the deployment of corporate usages, like getting an expense reimbursement or logging a client visit report, can be made extremely effective with these new devices,” he said.

The Frenchman also spoke up the new era of more strategically-minded CIOs.

He said: “CIOs have a specific responsibility to maintain a continuous alignment between the business and IT. I recently came across a study made with a large sample of CEOs which concluded that almost half of CEOs were viewing their CIOs negatively in terms of understanding the business and understanding how to apply IT in new ways to the business.

“This tells a lot about the changing role of CIOs who not only should ensure that IT delivers projects and services but should also become effective transformation leaders. To fulfill that role, they must have a vision, be strategically-minded, develop their influence, deal with internal politics and communicate effectively.”