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Q & A with Philippe Ensarguet

In the build up to the Study of Enterprise Agility Conference (SEACON) in November, I caught up with Philippe Ensarguet, CTO of Orange Business Services, and asked him a few questions.

At SEACON, Philippe will be presenting in the Case Study session in the afternoon on the main stage.

Here's what he had to say...

How would you describe your role?

I lead the global technological strategy, orientations and tech cultural transformation for Orange Business Services. With 20+ years of experience, I have a privileged viewpoint on tech stacks and platforms, build to ops practices and tools - as well as on the cultural transformations of our customers, partners and teams. I frequently share my observations and thoughts on trends in keynote sessions.

Pro-software cultured, cloud minded and digital addicted, I essentially provide expertise, analysis and leadership to executives and companies. This is incorporated into their global technology innovations and transformations strategies.

Basically, I’m looking to link two diverse teams – technical and executive.

When I am not on my laptop or in a plane you can find me riding my mountain bike.

As a CTO of a very large enterprise, how do you facilitate widespread Enterprise Agility?

The term ‘agile’ in organizations can take many forms. For me, agile is basically enabling people to work together and improving efficiencies to deliver value to a customer or system user.

Given my background and my role, I don’t want to talk about tooling ecosystems which is an enabler to practices, but there is no supporting evidence of its success with teams. I know teams using tools which will not succeed or scale and others using a few practical tools that are succeeding.

Instead, I prefer to talk about culture, communication and mindset. Here, I have seen that sharing lessons learnt, tips and tools are very useful to supporting widespread agility. We also actively encourage a mixture of field skills. In particular with UI/UX, taking into account as much as possible the end-to-end characteristic of the project. One important item to share is the importance of collecting data as much as possible during the whole lifecycle to give teams an opportunity to understand what is happening on the project and measure the impact of its deployment on the business. For example, we built a data-driven software cockpit that cover build lifecycle to provide teams with real insights to make smart decisions on priority management and metrics. It also shows them where practices can be improved.

What are your biggest challenges today?

This is a complex question to answer as the challenges are quite dynamic and versatile with respect to the profile of our company. Orange Business Services is both a Telecom Operator AND an IS company. We support French and multinational companies to succeed in their digital transformation. We help them in each step of their data ‘journey’. This includes collecting, transporting, protecting, storing and computing, sharing and creating value from their data. We are moving relatively fast in a programmable business world. Storage, network, cloud, cloud native, data, artificial intelligence (AI) and so forth – all are now software, or will be in the not too distant future.

So, when it comes to software, it is critical to develop, automate and s