Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS)



Frits Bussemaker, CIONET Partner, Founding Top Global Leader

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Frits Bussemaker.

Frits BussemakerFrits Bussemaker has worked in the international IT industry since the 80s. He is Partner at CIONET, a European Community of 3500 CIOs and IT leaders. He is responsible for CIONET's relation with the European Commission. He is the founder and chair of iPoort (, a community to link Dutch members of parliament with the ICT community (Government, private companies and ICT associations). Furthermore, he has set up a number of successful communities including the BPM-Forum ( and the first European chapter of the ASAP (

He has sat on the program board of numerous conferences around Europe (in the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal and the United Kingdom) and was the Program Director of the international WCIT2010 conference ( He is member of the Steering Committee of IFIPs WCC2012 conference (

He has published articles in a number of magazines including BankingReview, BPMagazine,, Executive-People and Telecom Update. He has contributed to a number of books like "Extreme Competition" by Peter Fingar; "Management by Process" by John Jeston and Johan Nelis; "Microtrends", "Beyond the Crisis" and "The End of Privacy" by Adjiedj Bakas.

He is a regular speaker and chairman on international conferences (from Lisbon to Sydney) linking topics: the Alliance Management, Business Process Management and Community Building. Regular themes in his work are around the shift from a "Command-and-Control to a Connect-and-Collaborate" world and how we can "organize value".

For an up to date profile, see

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:33: Frits overviews his past roles, societal contributions and how he succeeded in each role.
"....Maintain your network of contacts....Be as open and as honest as you can....Let people share what you have to offer...."

:02:09: What are some key sharable lessons from each role?
"....Look what you have in common when you meet other people....Give to get — show real interest in the people you meet....Time is the new currency in today's world...."

:05:23: Please share the history behind CIONET?
"....The two people who set it up realized that the CIOs would value a community where they would be able to get connected and be able to get together both online and offline....We bring together around 3500 CIOs and IT leaders, making it the biggest online/offline community of its kind in Europe and probably even in the world. By using the franchise structure and having local CIONET entities in each country, you actually take into account the local culture and language...."

:07:11: What are the goals of CIONET for 2012 and beyond?
"....Sharing best practices and information....Very strong focus on providing content....To connect the CIO community to other communities by developing the relevant external relationships...."

:10:16: What is your role with CIONET and what do you hope to accomplish?
"....One of three partners, primarily responsible for engagement for members and events....I am also the liaison for the European Commission on behalf of the whole CIONET Europe....Almost like a guild where we bring experts together....On the local level, connecting the CIO communities to other communities...."

:13:00: Frits aims to take his past experience as Program Director with WCIT2010 to help him as a member of the steering committee for WCC2012, and he shares some goals for WCC2012.
"....The World Computer Conference (WCC) is the flagship conference of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP)....The conference aims to bring the global IT professional practitioner academics together....As a steering committee member I aim to bring my experience and connections together...."

:15:18: What are your desired outcomes from eSkills?
"....We need to create some awareness that we need to think about eSkills on all levels: leadership, professional and user....Awareness that it should be done at a global level...."

:22:40: Who should attend World Computing Congress 2012 (WCC2012) and why?
"....Any member of an IFIP association interested in a dialogue with peers from a global background. Any individual or organization who wants to learn, talk or meet with the global professional IT community....Let the discussions themselves be the reason to attend...."

:24:35: Can you explain the shift to Connect-and-Collaborate?
"....It's a shift from a Command-and-Control to a Connect-and-Collaborate society....At the moment we are organizing value by bringing people together....What we see now is that this new generation, Generation Y or Z, are using today's technology like social media and mobility to allow easy connection and cooperation to create value....One should realize that this is quite an issue for the baby boomers...."

:30:52: What does this mean for required leadership?
"....It's much more about facilitating connections so I'm not predicting or advocating anarchy....Leaders should realize that with the current technology they should expect and anticipate dialogue. Realize that it's about listening to what's happening out there and tapping in on that knowledge and brainpower and aggregate all that information....It's a tough one to crack because our mindset has always been in this Command-and Control-mindset...."

:32:19: How is the Perfect Storm an enabler?
"....It is the combination of social media, mobile, cloud, smart systems that is this business-changing scenario which is very disruptive....We are creating completely new business models because we have these technologies...."

:34:03: Why is it important to connect different worlds to each other?
"....Opening up your community to other communities is a reality check and you can assess how valid the beliefs you have are....See Frans Johansson's book, "Medici Effect" ,which provides great examples of how to organize value and innovation...."

:35:30: What are your best practices for connecting worlds?
"....Look at what people or organizations have in common....Realize that each group, culture or organization have different norms, values, language — and also the speed at which we do things may be different...."

:36:43: This is related to the previous question, but what are your best practices for Alliance Management?
"....There is no hierarchy and you have different roles in alliances and there are different objectives on an individual level. If you identify the common objective in that value chain and determine some collaborative key performance indicators then you can create some very good alliances....There has to be that balance from both sides...."

:39:01: What are your best practices for Business Process Management (BPM)?
"....Realize that the meaning of BPM process is not as positive in the 'outside world'....We needed a very clear definition of what BPM is....Practise what you preach...."

:41:42: You have contributed to several books; do you have some shareable lessons from your books?
"....In summary, it all comes down to the same thing if it's Alliance Management, Business Process Management or community building (for me they are all the ends of the same stick). It's all about bringing people, organizations and systems together and seeing how they can co-operate to create value for the customer...."

:42:43: What are the biggest opportunities and challenges for IFIP in 2012 and 2013?
"....IT is becoming a trending topic. I think it is a big opportunity and it's also a big challenge because Information Technology is a real profession, but with the current amplification of technology we have an issue that it looks a little bit too easy....A role for IFIP representing the ICT professional is to make sure that with the current attention to information technology from a user perspective, we have to be aware that it is a real profession and requires real skills...."

:44:27: In all of your current roles, what are the biggest challenges and their solutions?
"....One word: ego....We talked about the shift from a 'command-and-control' to a 'connect-and-collaborate' society. I see that happening, but that shift in mindset does something to the ego....The lesson there is although the technology, the Perfect Storm, allows us to implement all the solutions today, I believe it's going to take at least a generation...."

:46:02: Provide your predictions for future Business IT trends and their implications/opportunities?
"....The Perfect Storm is going to be a trend for some time to come....BYOD (bring your own device) becoming an issue in the CIO agenda.....Gamification as a way to interact with the user....New roles developing (CIO role split in a CTO role to implement the right infrastructure and a CPO to take care of the business side)....The positive side is enabling technology for a lot of business and the negative side is how are they going to handle all this...."

:49:12: What are your thoughts on computing as a recognized profession with demonstrated professional development, adherence to a code of ethics, and recognized non-licensing based credentials and how do you see this building out?
[See and the Global Industry Council,]
"....I think ICT is a combination as a profession: a combination of a craft, a science and an art. It has a lot of complex aspects to it. We need some kind of professional standard....There is a need for eSkills development and a need for a standard so that we can all develop our eSkills in the same format...."

:53:26: Please share your candid thoughts on emerging technologies on the CIO position versus the CTO position in regards to technology to grow revenue versus technology to increase efficiencies.
"....The CTO is much more in the evolution space to increase efficiencies, and for revenue growth the CIO (in a black and white scenario) would offer completely different business models...."

:55:24: Please share your deep insights and candid thoughts on emerging technologies on the CIO position versus the CTO position on the impact of business driving the technology decisions.
"....The amplification of information technology is driving business....The business users are what's driving technology. It's stepped out of the ivory tower, we all have something to say about it...."

:57:23: Frits extends the prior two parts of the previous question with his candid thoughts on emerging technologies on the CIO versus the CTO position on to technology perspectives from the customer's point of view.
"....I always feel that you should have the customer in mind, first and last....For me the customer is the 'gravity' of an organization (the thing that pulls and organization into its optimum shape)...."

:58:22: Related to this series of questions Frits provides his candid thoughts on emerging technologies, CIOs versus CTOs and whether he thinks CIOs are becoming the chief innovation officers together with being the chief process officer.

:59:35: And in this discussion of CIOs versus CTOs, what are some other hot topics?
"....Big data....BYOD....Security/privacy issues, especially with a Cloud focus...."

:01:01:13: Please share your candid thoughts on Governance/Board Insights and what boards are really thinking on the following areas:

:01:01:29: ....the board's top 3 concerns as it relates to the integration of technology and business,
"....Managing the different resources....Big data collected....Will we have enough people with the right skills...."

:01:01:55: ....who do board members rely on within the organization,
"....I'm not too sure on that one....The younger generation generally...."

:01:03:17: ....what are boards thinking about in terms of deploying an IT governance program,
"....We need a good set of definitions, good governance practises to manage this new society...."

:01:05:52: ....what are boards thinking about in terms of innovation and its impact on the organization's future success,
"....Doing nothing is a real threat for the majority of organizations. If they do nothing, they may not exist in the near future....I think boards are thinking about how to tap into the current value chain, that younger community...."

:01:07:08: ....what should boards do about preparing the work force for the future.
"....Educate themselves. Realize that technology is a fundamental part of almost every organization at the moment. Realize that they have to invest in IT professionals on all levels....All have to become IT literate...."

:01:09:19: From his extensive speaking, travels, and work, Frits shares some stories (amusing, surprising, unexpected, amazing).

:01:14:28: If you were doing this interview, what questions would you ask and then what would be your answers?
"....Will we ask our children whether they want to be an IT professional when they grow up?....Can we make IT a profession that people really want to go into, realizing that we aren't just users — we also need people to make it happen...."


Music by Sunny Smith Productions and Shaun O'Leary