What do the CIOs of major companies think about mobility? Do they think it’s creating a better work/life balance for end-users? How does it affect their own work/life balance? We aim to answer all those questions with our series of CIO interviews, where we get the opinions of people who are at the top of their game. First up is IKEA’s CIO Paolo Cinelli.

Paolo’s been in his position at IKEA since February 2009 and has some enviable CV highlights, including a stints as CIO at Heineken and IT Associate Director at Procter & Gamble.

Find out what Paolo thinks about mobility, BYOD and the work/life balance at IKEA below.


What time does your working day start?
It never starts, it never ends. Yin and Yang.

What time does your working day end?
When I finish doing something, I start doing something else – both in the personal and professional sphere – but I try to focus on purposeful matters. Doing things with a purpose gives me energy (I also consider thinking, reflecting, even sleeping, as ‘doing’).


How many mobile devices do you have/prefer to have?
I have too many – I wish to have only one. The real extreme would be to have none, but I’m not there yet. I’m fortunate to be in a company which is, culturally, not gadget-oriented.

Which devices do you take on business trips and why?
A laptop (to avoid paper, to better read attachments, to prepare/review documents) and a smartphone (to speak with people, to check the calendar, to handle quick emails on the move, to check social dialogues).

What is your take on BYOD?
I’m favourable, open and relaxed about BYOD. We have introduced it with certain limitations, and it is appreciated.

To what extent is BYOD impacting your organisation?
BYOD has a slightly positive impact. Users who have opted for it feel better, because they have had a choice of what device to use. IT people generally feel better, because BYOD allows them to extend certain services to a broader range of users.

Do you have a BYOD strategy as such?
No, we spare the word strategy for matters that are much more important.

To what extent is remote working a burden on the IT function?
Nobody works all the time from a desk anymore, so remote working is the norm, not a burden. We encourage remote working when it helps to be more efficient and sustainable, as it also facilitates frequent collaboration.


What time do you get to bed?
10:30pm on average – always with a good book.

What time do you get up?
6:00am on average, sometimes ahead of the alarm clock.

What is your greatest fear?
That life will be harder for the next generation.

Who is your hero and why?
My heroes are all those people who help others without expecting anything back. There are many of them, but they deliberately do not stand out. They do not need to be known, yet they are the example, and they are never enough.

What do you believe to be your most admirable quality?
It’s not for me to judge.

Where would you would gain the most from further personal development?
Getting better and better at coaching people.

What word most closely encapsulates your life philosophy?

Ebook or paper?


How do you use your free time?
All time is free, but I feel extremely free when playing soccer, running and playing guitar.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Africa, but I can’t get there often enough.

What is your favourite film?
Life is Beautiful.


What are CIOs for?
For companies to take advantage of information.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the next 12 months and why?
Optimistic, because I am by nature.

What could the vendor community do to raise its game?
Less conferences, more focus on value to clients.

What’s your preference – Android, Windows or iOS?
Android is more open.

Helping Hand

What advice would you have appreciated receiving at the outset of your career?
Focus on understanding the business.

Why would you/wouldn’t you recommend a career as a CIO?
Become a CIO only if you are genuinely willing to help others succeed and you have a lot of patience.

What advice would you give to up-and-coming CIOs?
Focus on understanding the business.

What If?

What would you do if unconstrained by IT budget?
Probably the same things I do now.

If you had to take a sabbatical as another CxO, which role would you choose and why?
I would like to focus entirely on business transformation management.

Source: http://businessvalueexchange.com/ikeas-cio-on-work-life-balance/#sthash.iTl6cxyN.dpuf