CIOs and their route to ‘executive mastery’

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What we all share among BIM students is a passion for technology, and the belief that digital transformation is THE leverage for companies to gain a strategic advantage and win over competitors. Most of us plan to bring new ideas and tools into big organization and lead the change that will make them more data-driven or tech-focused. Some of us hope to become CIOs in the future, and manage the IT projects of a company. Then, for those who may be interested to enlarge their career scope and wish to become CEOs: is there any correlation between CIOs and CEOs?

Unfortunately, a recent article from Financial Times (listed in the references) points out that “despite the need for technological know-how at the top of organisations, there is no great trend of chief information officers becoming chief executives”. Truth is that many Chief Information Officers do not even aspire to become CEOs. However, those who have the ambition, may not have the experience needed to succeed. A tip is for CIOs to get a job into young “disrupter” companies that heavily rely on technology to deliver their products. Another advice is to critically assess the importance of technology in the organization: is it considered as a strategic asset? Does the CIO get to seat at the table of the board and executive management team meetings? If the answer is no, then the CIO will never be in the running for the top spot in that company.

Still, several success cases are presented that give hope to digital-enthusiast CEO-wannabes: Anthony Watson, former CIO for the retail banking arm of Barclays and then Nike, is now leading a blockchain-focused startup; Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen, former CIO and now CEO of pharma company Novo Nordisk; or Janie Miller, CEO of GE Transportation. However, what they all have in common is a diversified background: some finance, accounting, supply chain, etc., before moving to CIO positions. Broad experience and a great record across a range of disciplines is what sets apart those CIOs who do make it to the top.


Financial Times:

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Will Facebook dominate LinkedIn?

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LinkedIn may feel threatened, as Facebook is expanding its range of services again. Mark Zuckerberg’s service is trying to deliver the new value to its user by becoming a recruitment platform.

As reported by TechCrunch, Facebook is testing a new option for fanpage administrators. Having that, companies will be able to recruit new employees through their Facebook sites. Facebook wants to incorporate the recruitment mechanism into the Facebook fanpages of companies and show it as a separate item next to the information, photos, etc.

So, how will it work?

The employer will be able to create a form, which will give information on the requirements, salary, and general nature of the employment, while the potential employee will be able to apply directly through the form by submitting the CV and other required documents. The company will receive an application in the form of Facebook message.

Interestingly, an application form will use data that has already been provided to Facebook. So, after the form has been completed once, or we have a well-filled history of education, employment, etc., Facebook will fill the form automatically. This feature will save the user’s time as there will be no need to repeatedly type the same information into many similar forms while applying to multiple companies.

Is this a threat to LinkedIn?

As LinkedIn – the most “professional” social networking – continues to stagnate, waiting for the finalization of the $26 billion worth deal with Microsoft, Facebook introduced the new feature just in time, possibly leaving Microsoft with the overpriced platform.

In recent years LinkedIn has lost on importance. It used to be a highly important service when it came to establishing business relations, however, there are fewer and fewer communities thinking about the service in this way. It is especially evident when it comes to young people, who are just entering the labor market. They often do not use LinkedIn as the service is extremely unfriendly, fossilized, and has nothing to offer to the young generation.

Meanwhile, most of these people have a Facebook account. So, where they will look for a job after Facebook introduces a new functionality to everyone?

Currently, it is not known when Facebook will make the feature available to everyone, but for sure it will happen soon.

I have no doubt that the new functionality will be extremely popular. Potential employees will be offered jobs automatically and the enormous customer base and analytical capabilities of Facebook ensures that the job offerings will be targeted accurately and to a vast number of people. Both employees and employers will benefit from that.

So, is the fall of LinkedIn inevitable? No, not yet. The company can undertake actions to attract and retain users. Linkedin has a brand and is known as a professional network, while Facebook is associated with private networking platform and often the information shared by the users are of private nature, so the risk that employers will know “too much” is immense. However, LinkedIn must be quick.

What do you think about the future of LinkedIn? Do you think that the service is on a hiding to nothing? What about the acquisition by Microsoft?


Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26.2B in cash, makes big move into enterprise social media

Facebook threatens LinkedIn with job opening features

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Bunq: how an IT-company disrupts the banking industry

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Exactly one year ago a Dutch IT start-up was founded. But this wasn’t just a start-up like many others. It was Bunq: a start-up with a banking license! This company was founded by Ali Niknam, a 34 year old entrepreneur who became a millionaire with his company TransIP. Bunq is trying to disrupt the banking industry with their own app, which makes it possible to transfer money to other users of Bunq. This can be easily done without an IBAN number, the app makes use of the telephone number or email address of the user. Bunq makes banking fun by enabling users to add pictures and emoji’s when transferring money.

Another interesting feature of the app is that it’s possible to ‘go Dutch’, which means that you can split bills (everyone pays his own part of the bill). Bunq has a different company structure compared to traditional banks. You will barely find bankers in their office, most of the employees are young IT-professionals (like us). The company culture is very informal, even the CEO is wearing a t-shirt. But is Bunq really able to disrupt the banking industry? Especially millennials are making use of this platform instead of traditional banks. At the moment it is more of a complementary service to your traditional bank, but this can change in the future. Some experts predict that banks won’t exist in about ten years, but I don’t think that it will go that fast.

However, traditional banks are not really innovating and fintech companies are gaining market share. As Peter Drucker said: ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast.’ Traditional banks are not flexible enough to innovate, even if they know that it is necessary to change. At the moment, Bunq is not making profits yet, but they are focussing on companies as they can offer them cheaper transactions than traditional banks. Nevertheless, Bunq is a promising start-up and it will be interesting to see if they can beat the banks.


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Internet connected toys suspected of spying on kids

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Privacy is becoming an issue for the internet of things topic. However, a more unexpected field are internet connected toys. Over 18 privacy groups have been or are filing complaints with the European Union as well as the US Federal Trade Commission concerning Genesis Toys and speech recognition company Nuance for deceptive practices and violating of privacy laws. It is argued that i-Que and My Friend Carla, both pictured, do not only capture voices without notice or approval, it is also not clear what Nuance does with the information that is sent. As an added problem, the organizations are also accusing the companies of not making sure that other Bluetooth connected devices cannot access the toys. Evermore, if not properly managed the speech information that is recorded and sent to nuance could be sold to third parties. There is even another problem that hackers could gain access to these products and the microphones in those devices. Future scenarios could even go as far as “predatory stalking and physical danger”. All in all concerns are plenty, and stakes are high. However, chances are that speech recognition is going to be used more and more in future toys, especially in dolls.

It is unsure yet whether and to what extend the European Union and the US Federal Trade Commission are going to do something about these practices in themselves. It is extra complicated as these products are marketed to kids, who are obviously less able or responsible to manage privacy concerns themselves.

I am curious about how you think about these toys developments. Do you think we should ban them or develop rules? Then again, if we develop rules, how can we enforce them? And in the case of hacking, how should we manage the security of such hardware and the software behind it? Please comment below.

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Microsoft predicts that the search bar will disappear by 2027

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As future business architects or consultants, a disappearance of the search bar would have a major influence on your job and the company you will work for. Questions you would have to ask yourself as soon as you get such jobs would be: How does the role of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) change? How to restructure a company for that future? What will be important instead?

You better already start thinking about this. Microsoft predicts that the search bar will disappear by as soon as 2027. It is fueled by 17 opinions of Microsoft employees, which you can find here:

In 2017 deep learning in information retrieval will already be matured, according to one of their scientists. Over the last years there have been breakthroughs in speech and image recognition and natural language recognition, which already fuels the capabilities of search. But in 2027 it will make for real change. Search will become more “ubiquitous, embedded, and contextually sensitive.” Next to that it will be even more relevant to “current location, content, entities, and activities”, replacing the limited output design of a search bar and website. It is argued that we are seeing the beginnings of that now happening in homes, with devices that answer to spoken queries such as Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. The capabilities and smartness of those devices will increase along the way adding for example video capabilities and becoming better in their own context at home.


All in all the way we will consume and create information will completely change. What do you think will be the most important technology changes to fuel this transformation? How fast do you think this transformation will happen? How do you think it will impact Search Engine Optimization?

Please comment below with your ideas.



17 for ’17: Microsoft researchers on what to expect in 2017 and 2027


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Will LinkedIn disrupt the recruiting industry?

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LinkedIn, the biggest professional social media platform

Today the social media platform for professionals, Linkedin, is counting more than 467 million users. It is present in 200 countries and sees the engagement of its users growing, recording an average of 106 million profile views per month.

Since a few years already, Linkedin has attracted the attention of Recruiting Companies who saw the potential residing in the platform early on, understanding how much of a powerful tool it could be for them to adopt Linkedin in their everyday activities.


Outdating recruiting company’s value offer?

Indeed, Linkedin enables workers and job seekers to publish an active and always up to date CV online that Recruiting Companies can freely access. The platform also offers the access to a filter system which allows anyone to sort professionals according to their skills, educational background or working experience.  We could therefore assume that recruiting company’s services are now outdated as anyone can use the platform to find the right candidate for a certain position.

However, against what one could think, so far Linkedin did not take any considerable share of recruiting companies’ customer base. By customers, we are here referring to those companies which decided to outsource their human resource activities to a third party, namely the recruiting companies.


Why didn’t that happen yet?

The LinkedIn filter system is not precise enough yet, if a human resource manager decided to look for a marketing specialist, who has a minimum of 5 years working experience, at least a couple of thousands profiles would appear. That is why only recruiting professionals can make sense of big pools of candidates and only then have the know-how of matching the right profile to the right position. Therefore, recruiting companies see this new professional social media platform as a tool with which partnerships could be established instead of seeing it as a direct competitor.


Linkedin future

Nonetheless, Linkedin filters are getting more and more precise, and users are getting more and more active, publishing content, following company’s actualities or even inspirational leaders. The day that Linkedin disrupts the recruiting company might not be that far away. Imagine what will happen once Linkedin will come up with smart filters, using AI to reveal the perfect candidate according to its likeliness of fitting a company’s culture, processing its center of interest and the whole range of activities it has taken on the platform.

When such an algorithm is developed, the recruiting power will be at the hand of anyone and it is certain that recruiting companies will start to lose a consequent part of their market shares. However many AI professionals argues that it will take decades before AI learns “common sense” and learns how to detect the actual potential, personality traits and emotions of a candidate.

What is your point of view, will a machine ever be able to perfectly match the right candidate with the right position?



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AI and Us

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In our day to day live we experience that our smartphones have some artificial intelligence (AI) embedded in the form of a personal assistant. This assistant, be it Siri or Google Now, can perform tasks that include looking up and then presenting information verbally. Other features include being able to dictate a text message or creating a calendar entry.

Sci-Fi movies gave us the idea of being able to talk to an AI like we would talk to a real person. The AI’s in the movies, however, have the processing power and memory of a server farm (or even quantum computers) at their disposal.

To create an AI that we regard as intelligent, we have to consider what we consider intelligent behavior. Since we want to create an AI that matches our intellect, we should look at the most intelligent species we know, humans. Humans are particularly good at recognizing patterns. We can train to recognize certain shapes faster, e.g. in mathematics or even art. Computers, however, must be taught to categorize patterns according to what we teach them.
Teaching the computer these patterns to imitate the capabilities of the human brain, is called deep learning and thus creating an AI.

Now that we know what the goal is, what does that mean for businesses? Is AI important to be a part of the digital mastery?

Certainly, companies like Facebook or Google are working on this technology with remarkable results in image and speech recognition.

Other markets are also following the trend of having an intelligent bot at your side, for tasks that seem too complicated or intensive for us.

One sector that follows mathematical rules and where the lifeblood is what a computer knows to work with are financial systems and the tremendous amount of data they process daily. So far they are mainly used to serve customers, much like a sophisticated chatbot (e.g. SEB in Sweden, Royal Bank of Scotland) that answers the questions of customers. Paypal uses the technology to categorize types of fraud, while in Korea an AI delivered a 2 percent return on invested funds. In the automotive industry, we are starting to have very sophisticated autopilots. Assembly lines are more and more staffed with robots that are faster and more reliable than human staff. The possibilities to implement a powerful AI seem endless.

But what about the other side of the coin? How far do we go when we are not limited by processing power or other resources anymore? Why do leaders in their field such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and even Stephen Hawking warn about AI? What does that mean for the concept of “business”?

Recommended readings:

Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates Warn About Artificial Intelligence

The fear index by Robert Harris

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Best of bot world

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The great breakthrough in talking to machines

Nowadays we are still clicking on menus and forms on various websites, but in the future we might talk to computers. The chatbot exists already for a while and is making great progress over the last years. How are they becoming smarter and what is currently available in the field of chatbots?

There are 30 thousand chatbots active on Facebook Messenger at the moment where you can talk to by typing a message. However, in the near future it will be also possible to talk to them by speaking out loud. About ten years ago, scientists were trying to learn computers a language by using dictionaries and grammar rules, but this approach is not used anymore. Now, scientists use bulks of text and from all over the world and combine this with smart software that can process information like a human brain does. The software learns from its mistakes and recognises patterns. Through this it learns words, expressions and even slang.


Rise of the chatbot

Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, the chatbot is currently rising in popularity. Last Arpil he announced the introduction of ‘smart digital assistants’. His motivation for this introduction was that he wanted to make it easier for people to contact companies and pass the step that you have to call a company (because no one likes that). You should be able to contact a company like you can do with your friends. Respond needs to be quick and it shouldn’t ask too much of your attention. To a lot of companies this sounded interesting and they immediately started developing one for their business.


Why virtual talking and not just websites with information?

According to research people are not using websites and apps that often anymore. First of all, we spend more time on our Smartphone than we do on computers. Secondly, there are too many apps available for our Smartphone. People get tired of it. Next to that, the average amount of apps used stayed the same for the last four years. Thus, getting people to download and use a new app will be very hard. The solution of a chatbot that is integrated with Facebook is therefore ideal, because that app is already installed on 950 million phones.

Despite of all these attractive arguments for developing a chatbot for your company, it is not that easy. The chatbot technology still finds itself in its initial stage and chatbots work best when they have access to a large amount of data and context of the user. Opening up all this information by companies goes very slowly, that’s why chatbots nowadays work best when you only let them do small tasks.

To conclude, the rise of chatbots is an interesting trend that still needs to make a lot of steps to be able to replace call centres or other supporting services.



van Ammelrooy, P. (2016). Hoe worden chatbots steeds slimmer en wat kunnen ze eigenlijk?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Dec. 2016].

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Blogging: An opportunity to make your small business a success

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In todays interconnected world people aren’t just buying products based on flashy advertisements or written down selling pitches in web shops. With the almighty internet available they are looking for true and valuable information about different products before making a purchase. That’s why it is very important for entrepreneurs to offer relevant information that people want to consume and pave the way to finding that information without annoying advertisements blocking the way.

However, to make the blog of your business successful you have to think about a couple of things. First you must understand that you have to give something to get something. Customers want information so make sure that you give them information on a regularly basis. The entrepreneur should blog when he can and about different things such as how the company is doing business and why the entrepreneur is doing it. The small business value proposition is often based on a personal story and drive that a bigger business usually does not have. Personalise stories about your business success.  In this way people get to know the person behind the web shop and people following the blog will be aware of your products and services. Your brand will be strong in their minds and they can share it with other people.

Another reason for starting a blog is the pagerank of your site in search engines. This ranking is becoming more and more important as people are increasingly turning to the internet to get information and making purchases based on that. Search engines put written content through their algorithms to decide the ranking of your site. If your blog contains proper grammar, spelling or if visitors like, share or comment on your articles the ranking of your whole site will go up. To get extra attention for your web shop it is clever to think about what potential customers want to know and which words and phrases they would search with to find that information. This words and phrases should be also used in your blogs, creating a higher relevancy match and more traffic on your site. This means more people will find your website with your products and services!

The most important thing to remember is that potential customers are searching for information. The more information you add to your website, the more customers you will attract. Best of all, the blog articles of today will still attract customers years from now. Blogging is the gift that keeps giving!





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Mobile trends of 2017

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In 2017, the mobile revolution will continue in the same high-speed pace. In the past year, mobile internet has already surpassed desktop internet usage. Smartphones have become our primary source for news, weather updates and entertainment. Moreover, we keep in touch with friends and contacts through social media and email on our smartphones. Also, we use smartphones to navigates, measure our health and track our sports performances. For 2017, these are a few trends:


Mobile experience milestone in search engine optimization

Google recently announced it will change its search engine’s index to ‘mobile first’. Main reason: most people use Google on a mobile device. The issue is, however, that Google’s ranking system still typically look at the desktop version of a page to indicate the relevance of the results. In the end, Google explains, the used algorithms will primarly use the mobile version of a website to rank the results pages. To firms that do not have an integrated mobile/desktop website, it is salient to adapt to a responsive design, as the consequence might be that your website is more difficult to find.


AMP and App streaming

In 2016, Google introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages, a system that enhances and optimizes the speed for smartphones. Apart from that, Google started the use of app streaming within its search results. In short, this means Google tries to show information from within apps in a native manner in its search results. As such, users will have a real experience of the application in only the Google search results (without having the app installed!)


Mobile advertising will surpass desktop advertising

Nearly half of all online advertising income is generated through mobile devices (47%). In 2015, this was ‘only’ 30%. This tremendous growth is likely to continue in 2017. As a firm, you should take the leap and not fall behind, as the future is in mobile!


Dit worden de mobiele trends voor 2017

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