On the eve of its 50th anniversary, the club of IT professionals in the Hauts-de-France region DSI Gun becomes DSI Vision Numrique. Its president, Christophe Laloyer, explains the reasons for this change, which reflect an unprecedented desire for openness to all players in the digital transformation ecosystem without, however, denying its origins.
The Computer World. Christophe Laloyer you are president of the DSI Gun which will soon celebrate its 50th anniversary: what conclusions can you draw from its activities over the past years?
Christophe Laloyer. Indeed the DSI Gun club will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. It is the oldest computer club in France [avec l’Adira en Rhône-Alpes, NDLR]. Originally this club was created to bring together users of IBM mainframe solutions in the North, and has changed over the years. It is now dedicated to end users: we no longer have publishers, manufacturers or ESNs within the club, it’s really sharing between peers from all sectors of activity, private and public, which which allows for a wide range of topics that can all be covered together.
How has the club evolved in terms of number of members?
At the beginning of the 2010s we were 30-40 members, today we are more than a hundred with a hard core of about sixty people. In recent years there has been a slowdown with the period that we have just experienced a health crisis, as I think for all associations, and we had to put activities on hold, which did not facilitate trades. But we continued to set up a certain number with videos even if it was more complicated to share and develop the club.
Ahead of the club’s 50th anniversary, the big news at the moment is its transformation into Club Vision Numérique: why did you change its name?
So why this name change and why somewhere we are repositioning ourselves a little bit differently from what the DSI Gun was historically? This is something that we started in 2018, thinking that the job of CIO is changing significantly: if he was seen as someone who ran the shop on IT subjects, he was much less so on aspects of challenges, support, and transformation. Many of our members were no longer necessarily DSI but responsible for digital transformation, digital, innovation. So we said to ourselves that there is something that is changing very strongly, and that if we want to bring together all the digital challenges tomorrow at the level of Hauts-de-France, the notion of DSI was a bit reducer to bring people into the club.
I think that we experienced the health crisis as an accelerator since finally digital technology found itself at the heart of the processes of companies which realized that without IT and without telework, they had a little trouble operating without the possibility to move. We have seen, for example, collaborative sites being widely deployed as well as videoconferencing tools which have exploded. We have seen a positioning of digital technology within the processes of these establishments with a strong acceleration over the past two years.
Digital corresponds to an opportunity for the club but does it not risk losing its technological identity in which the DSI can then be diluted?
It is complementary to open up precisely to more digital and I do not think that we will lose our technological identity because despite everything, everything that is digital – and we realize this more and more – call for strong technical skills. We see it with technologies which evolve very quickly and very strongly and which are transformed like the blockchain, artificial intelligence, the metaverse now. And there are quite a few that happen. As a digital decision-maker, we obviously have to stay abreast of everything that is happening from a technological point of view. But we also need to have a good understanding, and this seems very important to me, of the processes and operation of companies.
I think that we are really at the heart of the subjects of transformation, and today there are even certain leaders who tell themselves that they are going to use digital services to change the processes, even the organizations of the company so we are here today. Finally, for these decision-makers, whether they are information systems or digital decision-makers, regardless of the title, they are at the heart of this coming transformation. And I would really say despite everything that the technological aspect is still important to clarify the fields of possibility, in developments or practices – even business – or organizations within a company.
Will this opening influence the type of work on the club’s agenda in the coming months?
Yes. We are on quite a few projects, one of which is really heart: collaboration within the company. This is really a key subject today, it is also that of the exploitation of data. Data, as you know, is really at the heart of the thinking of most companies. It’s a bit like the new black gold of companies. How to exploit it and make it something qualitative or different from competitors? We are really in these reflections there, which are reflections on both organization and technology. So there are indeed a lot of big projects that we see emerging this year and in those to come.
How will the club also develop its strategy, operation and organization?
So his organization may not be as such. I think we are part of an ecosystem, modestly in our place we have our role to play in the digital ecosystem, especially in Hauts-de-France. This is for usn substantive question on which we reflect with all the members and of course more particularly with the members of the club’s management committee. But it’s really a big food for thought for us and at the limit, why not take advantage of an event like that of May 5, 2022 [le club a organisé un événement avec 200 participants pour célébrer sa nouvelle vision, NDLR] to ask the other components of the regional ecosystem what they expect from us and how we can help them with digital issues in Hauts-de-France.
Do you think the time has come to increase the club’s influence in the IT ecosystem and to step up in terms of technological and digital notoriety in the region?
I already think that Hauts-de-France has a good place in the digital ecosystem in France. We have a certain number of important incubators in France which are recognized as such, which are also recognized in a European or even international way. So there is a beautiful space in the Hauts-de France por digital and you only have to see the dynamism and the number of digital structures present in Hauts-de-France. I think there is a real stake around that. DIn Hauts-de-France we have the International Cybercrime Forum which takes place every year in Lille, which is the biggest cyber event in France which takes place over 3 days. So on really has a big digital activity. I think that Hauts-de-France is a region that is ultimately rather well placed internationally and in Europe to have an influence around digital subjects.
You mention cybersecurity, there is also a neighboring club in the region, the Clusir Nord de France: do you think in the long term that strong synergies can be made with it or with other clubs?
So there are of course already today because the members of the Clusir are somewhere our RSSI so necessarily there is joint work. We involve Joseph Graceffa, the president of the Clusir Nord de France, at some of our meetings for the debriefing of the last FIC for example, so there are these exchanges that are created with the Clusir but also of course with other structures such as EuraTechnologies and also with Ad2N. Anyway, we’re trying to create a certain number of synergies with a few partners rregional and this is what we want to develop din the future.
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Christophe Laloyer (president of Club Vision Numérique): “IS and digital decision-makers are at the heart of the transformation” – Le Monde Informatique
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