Michelin is working on its IT-business relationship

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Pauline Flament is Michelin’s chief technology officer. He gave his insight into the role played by the rise of cyber threats in the relationship between IT and the professions and shared the levers that he thinks will be most interesting to be activated in the coming months.

Pauline Flament, Michelin’s chief technology officer

Pauline Flament, Michelin’s chief technology officer

By participating in the workshop we organized on the theme of IT-business relations, you highlight the influence of the topic of cybersecurity in the equation. Why?

The topic of the relationship between IT and business has always come up honestly. It’s not a new theme, but nonetheless, it’s back on the front stage today, with a lot of topics. More than the pandemic crisis we have experienced in the last two years, especially the rapid rise of cyberattacks at the same time has led to a new understanding of the business side of the role of IT in business.

If we go back a little bit in time, we can see that in terms of cybersecurity the first practice guidelines have really spread in our industrial circles, especially through ISO standards, from 2015. But most of all it’s a step forward in the theoretical world of compliance and risk management, seen as a constraint on the company’s other lines of business. But since 2019, the risk has become a reality. We have actually seen proven attacks, more or less targeted, with consequences for some companies in our sector.

“For the past two years, we have had to deal with at least one suspected attack every month.» Click to tweet

In other words, are criminals already starting to target the industry more specifically?

In fact, we have moved from the world of CEO fraud or generic ransomware to industry cyberattacks, where everyone realizes that it directly affects our business. If together, know the affected, the threat has another dimension. I personally work very hard on risk management and security. For the past two years, we have had to deal with at least one suspected attack per month. Last summer it took a lot of effort to patch all of our Windows environments. And recently, the impact of an error like Log4j has also taken up a lot of our time.

Concretely, what is the impact of this context on your business relationship?

notebook industry in dsi If we simplify: as business lines feel comfortable being able to manage directly with SaaS tool providers when it comes to experimentation and innovation, whether there is a risk of attack or a proven attack, teams are more in contact with internal IT. They were then reassured to trust our approach and our commitment to the subject.

Read also: How to improve the IT-business relationship to build industry 4.0?

We are lucky to have a mature relationship, built around the “One Michelin” philosophy, that allows everyone to project themselves to protect the interests of the group as a whole. The cyber context is driving more professionalization on both sides, IT and business, to better manage vulnerabilities and crises. However, this is a concrete opportunity to better understand each other and show how to translate value per person for the company.

You also mentioned the relationship of innovation as a key axis for improving the relationship between IT and business. In what capacity?

In the subject of innovation, we usually separate two complementary topics. First, the fact of developing new businesses, new products. Then the improvement of what is already there, by doing differently what we have already done. But one thing is for sure: all business players are afraid of missing an innovation and, as a result, exiting the market. In this context, the role of IT is above all to provide them with assistance in the face of the diversity of technology offerings offered by many suppliers. There is a significant need on the part of the business to have key readability that makes it possible to interpret the short, medium and long term effects of implementing and using this or that technology. This is, in fact, the only way to go beyond experimentation and take advantage of technological innovations that are happening more rapidly.

To better innovate and protect itself, Michelin is working on its IT-business relationship. Click to tweet

How is this mission viewed by your teams?

Innovation has always been a compelling topic; there is a “fun” feature for many employees to be able to invest in advanced technological topics and create projects that further innovate our ways of doing things and our system in information. However, this is not enough. All manufacturers also face a challenge: having the right internal resources to follow and understand these rapid changes. In other words, having the talents will allow us to be selective and compelling in the face of the various possibilities that exist. Young digital talents today do not have enough knowledge about the world of industry and do not plan for the paths and careers in our ecosystem.

Attention is still focused on model schools of start-ups or digital pure-players (integrators and publishers). So the topic is not only in the perspective of the teams in place, there is also a huge management effort to be made, to figure out how to persuade (dust the image of the manufacturers) and build loyalty. .

As CTO, you are primarily responsible for infrastructure teams, which are constantly removed from the digital transformation challenges posed by business lines. Will it change?

Certainly the work of the core system, at the infrastructure level, is not the most “beautiful” part of IT. But that doesn’t mean nothing can be done. At this level too, it is necessary to capture the needs of the business, explain what the essential services are for tomorrow’s change, and so on. It is also important to draw agility into these core teams, so as not to be complacent in making this a subject of development. In fact, with agility, we have always emphasized the integration of one business product owner and another IT. It is based on the principle that the infrastructure aspect is unspoken, that its presence in the continuation of the project is a non-subject, and therefore agility is a simple two-way home.

However, the role of infrastructure teams is less important: in fact, they are one of three that need to be managed. So how do you avoid this exception? No secret, the infrastructure must also learn to speak the same language, focused on business service, service quality, usability. And if the service doesn’t “work like code”, in order to use a posture we often hear, you need to have “bilingual” people on teams who are able to speak both of the “attractiveness” of IT and on the more “hardcore” side of it. It is therefore necessary to find these ambassadors who are in a diplomatic logic every day with all stakeholders in the project.

In your opinion, what important recommendations will the industry make to improve IT-business practices and relationships in the coming months?

Faced with the expectations of business managers to receive help to innovate better, CIOs should consider that businesses are also developing their own digital skills. As such, “IT specialists” can be anywhere in the company. In this context, one of the projects for an IT department is to develop a new rapport with these actors, to identify the projects that are important, the support that will allow to create strong- on links from the first moments of clearing projects.

Our role as a manager is to establish the relationship between this IT-business exchange, and to create collective desire at the team level. There are many ways to achieve this. To take an example: I know that in new topics that are much discussed in professions like 5G, there can be estimates or misinterpretations. So I asked one of our IT talents to write with our communications department a dedicated business paper, which allows for a strategic decryption for maximum management, but it is also useful to get out. from pre -conceived ideas that are all business. This kind of collaboration for better communication has also always worked well on cybersecurity issues.

“Faced with the expectations of business managers to receive help to innovate better, CIOs need to consider that businesses are also developing their own digital skills.” Click to tweet

Another priority is recruitment action. For example, I set up partnerships with schools and I signed up for French teaching chairs on a future subject like green IT. In this sense, we have developed testimonials, round tables to show examples and encouragement. This is accompanied by a strong commitment to getting interns and job study students to prepare for tomorrow. And I also think that the pandemic season only strengthens our conviction of the responsibility of a company like Michelin to put more effort and welcome hundreds of young people into internships.

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