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The CIO’s opportunity to lead digital transformation

March 2014

IT leaders can play a starring role in the technology-driven re-invention of business, argues Philips’ Jeroen Tas.

For a video with English subtitles, please click on CC above or the appropriate subtitle icon during play.

Philips is a business in transition. Inspired by the coming revolution in connected, sensor-based technologies, the manufacturer of lighting, consumer electronics and healthcare goods is moving from a focus on making and selling products to offering ‘digital-propositions.’ And for Jeroen Tas, who’s spent the past three years as group CIO of the Amsterdam-headquartered company, that has meant rethinking the IT organization so it is positioned to not just support that transformation but to be an instrumental part of it.

“We’re transforming the company because our markets are changing very rapidly,” he outlines in our exclusive video interview — with digital technology the main catalyst. “People want products that are relevant to their lifestyle, their wellbeing,” says Tas, who since January has stepped into a role leading a new digital division of Philips Healthcare focused on Informatics Solutions and Services. Simply delivering products into the market is no longer enough. “We see a big change in the way people connect to us and that’s entirely enabled through digital,” he says.

“We suddenly see these huge opportunities from the technology coming to us — powerful mobile devices, social networks, data analytics and sensors — but at the same time we need to adjust our organization to deal with changing demands,” he says. “The whole value chain is suddenly involved with customers and needs to adjust to their demands.”
Pivotal role for IT

And IT plays a critical role, not just in helping create these digital propositions, but in creating better connection with customers, talking to them at scale and feeding back to the people developing and optimizing our products.” That means the underlying IT need to move to “an always on, connected, real-time platform that allows the business to optimize.”

These dramatic changes present CIOs and the IT organization with a tremendous opportunity to get involved in the crafting of products and services that have great impact on the lives of people — “rather than just being the back office of the company,” he says. “It becomes truly human-centric. It becomes about how can we help people live better lives, how can we help people be much more happy in the way they work. Because if you please people by creating great propositions that fulfill needs you win.”

First published
March 2014
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About: Jeroen Tas
Group CIO at Philips for the past three years, Jeroen Tas took on a new challenge in January as CEO of company’s new Healthcare Informatics business — fulfilling a belief that CIOs are well-suited for wider business roles.

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