CIO Spotlight: Philippe Bosquier, Exclusive Networks | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack

Name: Philippe Bosquier

Company: Exclusive Networks

Job title: CIO

Date started current role: May 2021

Location: Paris

Philippe Bosquier is an accomplished international IT and digital leader with a track record of success across numerous countries in Europe as well as in the United States. He is currently the Group CIO at Exclusive Networks where he joined in May 2021.  He has been leading robust technology teams and has been driving innovation across large corporations over the last 30 years. Over his career, Bosquier has developed global competency centres in advanced analytics, consumer engagement and Artificial Intelligence He has been working across various industries and has a strong background in supply chain and IT Distribution.  He has been involved in large M&A initiatives and has developed strategic internal digital transformation programs. Over the last decade, Bosquier has also developed cybersecurity practices to better protect businesses against the increasing threat landscape as well as driving cloud enablement programs. Bosquier is now developing a digitalisation program at Exclusive Networks, with a focus on process automation and building a data-driven culture.

What was your first job? My first job was as a Network Engineer at the Ministry of Defence in France in 1986. My area of focus was networks and security; I developed a lot of technical knowledge and was trained in emerging technologies during my five years there.

Did you always want to work in IT? Yes, I was always passionate about IT and after graduating from high school I decided I wanted to focus on it exclusively.  During this time, IP networks were rapidly developing and companies like Cisco were up and coming in the marketplace. As the world was witnessing the rise of emerging technologies, network engineers were becoming highly valued and a lot of job opportunities arose in this space.

What was your education? Do you hold any certifications? What are they? After graduating high school, I took a bachelor’s degree in IT – this allowed me to learn the fundamentals of IT and information systems. Following this, I enrolled in an engineering college to further my knowledge of computer science and my understanding of configuring networks and developing applications. However, I didn’t want to limit myself to technical expertise only and decided to broaden my scope by doing an MBA in Management. I really enjoyed these studies as they helped me engage with people from different specialist areas and opened me up to a world beyond IT.

Explain your career path. Did you take any detours? If so, discuss. I always hoped to become a CIO one day but I chose to build my career steadily in the IT domain. I started off as a Network Engineer where I was in charge of establishing international networks and developing TCP/IP solutions by leveraging Cisco technologies. I treated every opportunity as a stepping stone to progress towards my goal of one day becoming a CIO.

Following a stint as Head of Production and Infrastructure, I decided to focus on Enterprise Architecture, and this is where I started working on transformational projections for Information Systems.

Throughout my career, I’ve progressively moved towards the software side of things, having managed the first applications developed in JAVA. I expanded my reach to managing competency centres related to enterprise-wide applications and EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), and developed my business-facing capabilities by providing solutions to the supply chain and later on the IT distribution industries.   

What business or technology initiatives will be most significant in driving IT investments in your organisation in the coming year? Firstly, we are in the process of consolidating all our various applications into one single Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. As our company has grown mainly through acquisitions – we’ve had a fragmented application landscape as a result.  It is crucial for us to consolidate our information systems to improve our operational efficiencies and drive our ability to scale.

Secondly, we’re focused on developing data and analytics. We have an overarching business intelligence solution in place that provides us with the financial data required to drive our business in any country and at any group level.  We expect to leverage an enterprise-wide data lake to gain better insights. We’ve also been focusing on digitalising our business with a special focus on business process automation.

What are the CEO’s top priorities for you in the coming year? How do you plan to support the business with IT? IT has to support the business to enable margin growth and drive operational efficiency. After having managed a significant transition to the cloud for our global data centre, many priorities are set for IT in the upcoming year. However, the three key priorities are: enforcing cybersecurity, continue rolling out our ERP in our remaining countries, and growing our Business Process Automation discipline by leveraging Robotics Process Automation (RPA) technology.  

As mentioned, we’re also prioritising data and analytics to drive better insights into the business.

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