How do you organize a 7.4 billion Euro company for the digital future?

CIO Canon Executive Insights

Gone are the days when merely talking a mean game about innovation is enough to differentiate your enterprise. Now you have to implement your strategic plan, and tirelessly ensure its optimization. Caroline Serfass, CIO Canon Europe, is doing just that.

In the first of our original series of in-depth interviews with today’s most accomplished IT leaders, Serfass takes us through what it’s like to put theory into practice in a wide-ranging conversation.

It’s no surprise that she sees the systemic insecurity that grips the IT industry. “It has become a different approach than maybe what we were used to in the past, which typically involved a linear process of the business defining its requirements and IT executing them,” she says. “Nowadays, it’s much more dynamic, much more uncertain and requires us to work to much shorter cycle times.”

Serfass goes onto to offer some refreshing specifics as to the nature of that work. From a centralized model driving common templates, to their innovative ‘Double Hat’ leadership structure – Canon Europe makes sure there is “a continuous dialogue between IT Tower Leads and business owners.”

She goes on to reveal some of the technical strategies to achieve these goals. “We have chosen to adopt an approach to match our business needs based on using an enterprise business data model,” she says. And what involves an enterprise business model you ask? 

“It extends beyond containing only master data… to also cover transaction data. Such an approach helps to ensure that multiple large packages work together and crucially, that information flows freely between them…. If there is a conflict between several different applications, we can use the enterprise business data model to help us make the decision of which of the applications should be lead in that situation; to the extent possible that we don’t change the data model in our main applications.”


​Using Capgemini as their ‘Bus Driver,’ Canon Europe is also able to think outside the box and challenge some long-held orthodox IT strategies.

“Reducing labor costs is of course important, but equally important for us is to reduce the lead-time for new projects since that has immediate business value from making capabilities available sooner.”

And sooner or later, we have to understand that the IT industry is on a rapid and exciting journey.  For Serfass, the expectation is that the data quality will steadily improve. Real success, however, will come from “not spending the time trying to understand and validate all the data, but having the confidence that the data is right.”

To read more of Serfass’ detailed and engaging insights, download her interview here: Executive Insights on Application Landscape Management.

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