A CIO plays a major part in defining how technology affects people’s work/life balance. But, behind the corporate curtain, what do CIOs think about BYOD, the work/life balance and what role does technology play in their lives? We aim to answer all those questions with our series of CIO interviews, where we get the opinions of those who are at the top of their game. This time round it’s the the turn of Gianluigi Castelli, Executive Vice President, Information and Communication Technology at ENI.
Gianluigi is one of the top CIOs in Italy and, before joining the Italian oil and gas multinational, previously worked for Vodafone, Fiat and Infostrada.
Read the interview to find out what Gianluigi thinks about the role technology and BYOD plays in creating a work/life balance at ENI.
At what time does your working day start?
At what time does your working day end?
How many mobile devices do you have/prefer to have?
Three: an iPhone, a backup iPhone and an iPad.
Which devices do you take on business trips and why?
Phones and iPad. Phones – I still need to talk to people, not just message them. iPad – when traveling, I need very few company applications and I just view documents, seldom write them, so my Mac, or a PC, is not really needed.
What is your take on BYOD?
Why should I pay for a device I use in the office when my company gives it to me for free and constantly replaces it with newer versions?
To what extent is BYOD impacting your organisation?
Very little. I have just reinforced the security mechanisms to strengthen the security, while, at the same time, enabling users who are willing to use their own device.
Do you have a BYOD strategy as such?
Not really. But, as I said, I do not believe BYOD is the future for my company.
To what extent is remote working a burden on the IT function?
As for any innovation that impacts the way we work, IT must be ahead of the rest of the company. So we have to hurry. But, after all, we are talking about a manageable technology, not too complex, and imagining knowledge workers being free to work anywhere, anytime is the strongest push to do it quickly and well.
What time do you get to bed?
What time do you get up?
What is your greatest fear?
That the young generations would not be able to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.
Who is your hero and why?
All the scientists and philosophers who fought against obscurantism and dogmas.
What do you believe to be your most admirable quality?
Constant rejection of conventional wisdom.
Where would you would gain the most from further personal development?
Though I’ve been in the oil and gas industry since 2006, this industry is so complex that I need to update and deepen my understanding of the business to keep up with my CxO colleagues’ expectations.
What word most closely encapsulates your life philosophy?
Knowing and understanding.
ebook or paper?
ebooks for professional reading, and paper books for pleasure reading.
What is your favourite book?
La Nausée (The Nausea) by Jean-Paul Sartre.
How do you use your free time?
I try to cultivate as many interests as possible, stimulating my brain, my heart and my senses: sailing, diving, collecting and driving classic cars and bikes, studying all kind of sciences, taking care of my animals, supporting non-profit organisations.
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Any place where I can find wildlife, art, architecture, cultural diversity.
What is your favourite film?
Fitzcarraldo by Werner Herzog.
What are CIOs for?
To make things happen and new things happen faster.
Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the next 12 months and why?
Optimistic, because I see more and more people willing to change things and, that from the current crisis, a new common vision is being formed.
What could the vendor community do to raise its game?
They should stop playing with words and creating hype and start delivering facts and true solutions instead.
What’s your preference - Android, Windows or iOS?
Hey, this is a (hidden) advertisement! iOS for sure.
What advice would you have appreciated receiving at the outset of your career?
Your own solutions might be wrong, but at least they are original.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
If it’s not measurable, it doesn’t exist.
Why would you/wouldn’t you recommend a career as a CIO?
Why? It’s the most powerful mix of technology, management and marketing in the world. Why not? At the beginning of a career, IT doesn’t seem to be a very attractive stuff these days. Something for nerds. But it’s not true.
What advice would you give to up-and-coming CIOs?
Build solid technical foundations, diversify your experiences and think differently. Suppliers, consultants and market analysts will never know your job and your company better than you.
What would you do if unconstrained by IT budget?
I would drop all the packaged software and develop an internal capability to high quality custom solutions: the TCO would be much better then.
What would you do if your budget was chopped by 50%?
This would mean my company was facing very tough times. So I would cut everything that’s not strictly needed to allow the company operate acceptably. Maybe, in such a situation, I would accept or even propose to cut up to 70% of the budget.
If you had to take a sabbatical as another CxO which role would you choose and why?
HR, though sometimes it is not classified as a CxO role. But people are the most valuable asset in any company, and I think in most cases there is a lot of room for innovation and improvement in the way companies manage and make the most of their people.