CIO is the manager of people and data

Two Dutch CIOs were recently nominated for the title of European CIO of the Year: Ron van Kemenade of ING and Perry van der Weyden of Rijkswaterstaat. The first went away with the price. Executive People talked with both CIOs about their vision of the subject, the market and their agenda.

ING is a financial service provider, but at the same time also a technology company. Perhaps more than other banks are central to ING technology, says Ron van Kemenade, CIO at ING. To be responsible worldwide for IT at ING is therefore a nice job. He describes himself as extremely ambitious, challenging others to tackle the biggest obstacles, giving them the space to fail, if it is fast.

“As CIO of the bank, I am responsible for all IT for all countries and business units. All IT-related managers and employees report to me. It’s such a beautiful job, “sings Ron van Kemenade in his fairly recently involved office at the Haarlerberg Park. During the conversation, he describes several challenges and ambitions, asking for a driven, ambitious person. And he is, “I can not be ambitious enough.”

He repeats his mantra during the conversation: “Take your biggest problems first.” He adopts that adagium, but also his employees. It does not matter, however, that when making big steps, failures also belong. “You must provide a safe environment to your employees, so that they can take risks in finding a solution and, on the other hand, fail to do so, as long as that happens quickly. If you can not fail, you do not make big steps and nobody’s ever been better. ”

People one content skills

The ambition of the entire bank was laid down by the CEO Ralph Hamers in the Think Forward strategy. ‘ING does not want to digitize a digital bank. There you have to take great steps. ” In order to be able to fulfill this ambition, IT professionals are required, who not only know the field but also can work together and lead. This also applies to his own function: “A good CIO has good people skills, but still needs to know and understand the content well.”

Finding the right people is not easy, confesses Van Kemenade. Therefore, managers often start as collaborators: “They spend some of their time developing software development and management. Precisely because we want them to feel for what is happening and that they are technically well-educated. These chapter leads grow beyond the organization. We regularly evaluate placements: how can we better use this place? Can somebody evolve? Or should we look for someone else? ”


As technology plays such a vital role in ING, Van Kemenade can not imagine that the organization will ever work without CIO. “Whatever name you give a role, be it CTO or CDO, there will always be an IT professional in an executive role. You even see that the newer companies, like Amazon or Google, are led by engineers. So the CIO can even become CEO! Why could not a bank be led by an engineer? ”

The importance of IT is mainly due to the fact that delivering a customer experience is becoming increasingly dependent on technology. As a result, the person responsible for the customer proposition and the technology manager are shifting closer to each other. “The person who deals with the customer proposition must become more aware of technology and the technology responsible must understand customer promise.”

Primary process

Perry van der Weyden is now a three-year CIO at Rijkswaterstaat. He is there as CIO, member of the board. “So I do not mind the problem that the CIO is not part of the board. This position is a signal from the organization that is the information provision (IV) part of the primary process. ”

The developments that take place within the organization make this position highly necessary. “In fact, this is a major construction company,” describes Van der Weyden. “In the core business of these construction activities, IT’s role has grown over the years. The adaptation of IT in the core processes has been a major process. ”


The construction and management of (sailing) roads is originally very physical. Data has always played a role, but it is about the exact data. Now you see that the role of technology is becoming increasingly important in management and maintenance. As CIO, I think it’s my role to make the organization aware of the importance of that development, and what its benefits are. ”

“This could help to gain more insight into traffic flows on road and water and increasing their security. Thus, we measure every second at 500 points in the Netherlands the position of the water. We also measure the quality of the water. Day in day out. That produces huge amounts of data. The beauty of this organization is that we can do more with business intelligence (BI). Modern technology provides huge opportunities for the business side.

BI environment

Vanaf het begin van dit jaar staat er een volwaardige BI-omgeving bij Rijkswaterstaat. “Daar doen we drie dingen mee: real time monitoring van de doelstellingen die we hebben afgesproken met de politiek, zoals bijvoorbeeld de waterstanden. Het tweede is dat we een groot sensornetwerk, via ons eigen glasvezelnetwerk, hebben gekoppeld. Dit is in feite een IoT-omgeving waar permanent de staat van bijvoorbeeld een slimme sluis wordt gemeten.”

That can go a long way. Thus, the sensors measure the power with which a lock door opens and closes. That should always be the same. But sometimes the opening and closing of the doors always becomes a fraction heavier. That’s what a locker does not see, a sensor though. When it happened in practice, it appeared that a flow of sand began to emerge from the doors. This caused a heavier load of the engine. By doing this in a timely manner, the lock can last twice. These are technologies we add to the primary work. ”


Entering such applications does not work in an organization that has traditionally been used to work differently. The human and cultural component is therefore important in the work of Van der Weyden as CIO. “Some people do the job for thirty years, now a sensor will decide when something has to happen. The work will be different. What we have done thus does not just tell the story, but the people themselves involve in that change. Their vast knowledge and experience is used to parametrate those sensors. They become functional administrators. ”

The work will be more efficient and cost-effective. “Because we continuously have so much information and can handle, we see at an early stage when things are threatening to go wrong. That can not be done with physical checks. This means that not only at a late stage, if anything is broken, we have to act very quickly. But we can see in advance and even predict what it’s going to be going wrong, and adjust the maintenance of bridges and locks for example. With the IoT and BIO environment, the business can work better and faster. “

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