Oneclick’s Florian Bodner: ‘CIOs need to step back from traditional budgeting’

6 Apr 2018

Oneclick co-founder and CIO Florian Bodner. Image: Oneclick

CIOs need to free themselves up to keep an open eye on innovation, argues the CIO and co-founder of Oneclick, Florian Bodner.

Oneclick is a Zurich-based provider of digital workspaces where users can integrate all software applications and make them easily acceptable. It specialises in the development of a platform for automated and secure provision of digital workspaces.

CIO and co-founder Florian Bodner started out as a systems engineer and moved on to working in IT administration. He later took over IT management and, after some time in IT consulting, he took the plunge and co-founded Oneclick.

‘We do not outsource at all. In my view, there’s nothing more valuable than having great team spirit and an innovative think tank in-house’

He is responsible for the entire strategic development of the Oneclick platform itself, including its product management and development. He spots trends on the market and takes them into account to make the platform as great as it can be.

When Bodner was younger, he wanted to be a farmer and his interest in technology later developed when he got his first computer and was excited by the technology behind it.

He believes that being able to take a step back and truly make yourself aware of what’s going on is what makes a great leader.

Bodner’s biggest challenge as a CIO has been to put his own mindset aside and to put himself in the shoes of his customers, in order to really understand what they need and to take their individual demands into account.

Can you outline the breadth and scope of the technology roll-out across your organisation and what improvements it will bring to the company?

Technology is the very centre of our business and it plays a role in every aspect of our work, especially in agile collaboration. We see the biggest improvements brought by technology in the automation of business processes and management, as they become more structured.

What are the main points of your company’s IT strategy?

Our main strategies are the expansion of microservices and to raise our availability by creating a multi-cloud environment by collaborating with various cloud providers.

How is your organisation preparing for GDPR?

Well, on the one hand, there’s quite a lot of paperwork. On the other hand, we sensitised our staff to the topic. Additionally, we have made changes to our organisational structures and software, as well as optimised our product to make sure our processes and the Oneclick platform comply 100pc with GDPR.

Can you give us a snapshot of how extensive your IT infrastructure is?

As we offer platform services, the underlying IT is rather diverse, and management across several cloud service providers is demanding.

In terms of managing IT budgets, what are your key thoughts on how CIOs should achieve their goals?

In my opinion, CIOs need to take a step back from traditional IT budgeting and keep an open eye for innovations. IT infrastructure needs to be revised and streamlined where possible. Another essential factor is to leave resources available for the agile testing of new technologies in order to be able to decide quickly, whether it generates added value for the business or not.

How complex is the infrastructure? Are you taking steps to simplify it?

We are an expanding business, so our infrastructure needs to stay easily manageable and adaptable. Our way to further streamline the infrastructure is to expand microservices and thus simplify management and infrastructure for real DevOps.

Do you have a large in-house IT team, or do you look to strategically outsource where possible?

We do not outsource at all. In my view, there’s nothing more valuable than having great team spirit and an innovative think tank in-house. This enables a business to tackle bigger challenges, such as digitisation. Outsourced IT and other services are more difficult to manage.

What are some of the main responsibilities of your own role, and how much of it is spent on deep technical issues compared to the management and business side?

Most of my responsibilities now lie in management and decision-making on the business side. I am still very much interested in all technical issues, and stay up to date with new technologies and test them. When I find the time, I do some projects on my Raspberry Pi.

What are the big trends and challenges in your sector, and how do you plan to use IT to address them?

Digitisation of workspaces is a crucial trend. We address the challenges of digitisation by optimising our product and our business processes by aligning them with the changing value chain.

What metrics or measurement tools do you use to gauge how well IT is performing?

We use service statistics and monitoring systems. Among the indicators of performance are availability and, of course, customer feedback.

Are there any areas you’ve identified where IT can improve, and what are they?

Yes, one area Oneclick identified a few years ago is digital workspaces.

Aside from that, other potential areas are agility and new team-building. IT has become a lot more than support and coding, but it seems that many businesses haven’t taken this change into account yet.

What other projects do you have lined up for the year, and what will they contribute to the business?

We’ll prioritise microservices and multi-cloud services this year. In order to provide new services and features for customers worldwide even faster, and to establish a central public API service for our customers, we keep optimising the DevOps process.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years