These are thrilling times ”. When Maximo Ibarra, 52, says this, he is referring only to himself, even after having led Tre, Wind and Sky, to mention the latest companies, on October 1st he became the CEO of Engineering.
And it does not even refer to the Roman multinational which has just brilliantly passed forty years of history. He refers, to the world after Covid, to the near future that he recently analyzed by leading one of the B20 task force, the one on digital obviously: «We are in a historical moment of reconstruction and repair of what the crisis has damaged. But we are above all in a phase in which we are rethinking the very foundations of our world. How we live, work, interact. We have been forced to see things differently and we will organize ourselves differently. Already in the next two years, 60 percent of world GDP could be generated by digital transformation, important challenges await us ».
You will face them with a new hat, that of Engineering: how did your appointment come about?
«I have known the funds that have bought Engineering for some time and I knew the company very well, having always been a customer of theirs. A solid and consolidated reality that can continue to grow ».
One billion and two hundred million in turnover, made by managing important projects for medium and large companies and for the public administration: yet it is not so well known.
«Yet we are the largest information technology company in Italy. A true Digital Tech Champion ».
He takes the place of Paolo Pandozy who led it for a long time with remarkable results: what will change?
«A couple of things: the first, it is a well-known company but not enough that therefore it has to expand its spectrum and audience, it needs to be told better now that it has reached large dimensions. The second is more substantial: making the most of all the incredible skills it has in all industrial sectors and all markets ».
Perhaps by expanding the share of turnover made abroad.
«Today 85 per cent of our revenues are made in Italy. We can become a digital tech champion in other countries as well. We will soon see where ».
In your narrative there is a lot of talk about “digital ecosystems”: what exactly are they?
«A digital ecosystem is a set of technologies, solutions, platforms and markets that adapt according to the needs of a company. But to do this we need integrated, horizontal and transversal solutions ».
The very slow Italian digital transformation has so far proceeded by building many silos, and this applies to both the public administration and companies: it will not be trivial to break them down and make data, systems and people communicate.
«It is not trivial but necessary. Think about how much faster and more efficient we could have been with a regional and national health system that communicates and is easily accessible and manageable even by the general practitioner of the smallest Italian municipality. We are working hard on this ».
What new technologies need to be implemented?
«All, but for example artificial intelligence can contribute to creating innovative solutions only with open data and interoperable platforms. Only in an ecosystem ».
It is also about changing company organization.
«Until a few years ago, information technology in a company was a commodity, like a factory: you asked for products or services, bought them and ended up there. Today the chief information officer is no longer in the rear but in the front line, only in this way do you appreciate the advantages of breaking the silos “.
The National Recovery and Resilience Plan has just started: there has never been so much money to invest in the digital transformation of the country. Do you have any advice to give?
«The first is not to consider these one-shot investments, when instead they are only the very first stone of a path that we will have to continue to take; the second is execution, the thousand streams must be avoided in order to concentrate on a few well-made system projects ».