Barcelona Digital Festival Speaker Insights With Xavier Puig CIO Ministry for Foreign Action, Institutional Relations and Transparency Written by Digital Enterprise Festival - Barcelona on November 20, 2019

Next up in our Speaker Insights series is Xavier Puig CIO Ministry for Foreign Action, Institutional Relations and Transparency.

Xavier will be talking out “(Open) Data As A Service” at our Barcelona Digital Festival on the 28th November.

CIO’s, CTO’s, Innovation & Automation Leaders, Data Demons & Marketing Mavericks from Iberia’s most successful Enterprise brands will be taking the stage on the 28th November to share their best insights into digital transformation, digitisation & technological innovation….. Vueling, UiPath, Leroy Merlin, Ferrovial, Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, PromoFarma, Bayer, Almirall, Grupo Segura, Suez, ABBYY, Acofarma, Media Cloud, Globant & Suez are represented on the agenda (more TBC)…

For the full speaker line up & agenda go to 

Over to you Xavier….

Can you tell us about the work undertaken your Ministry department & what is your role within the organisation?

As the CIO of the Ministry for Foreign Action, Institutional Relations and Transparency, I oversee all technology projects in the ministry. It implies managing all the technological solutions that we currently have, but also work on how we can use the technology to be more efficient in the future. We have focused these years on changing IT infrastructure migrating to the cloud where possible or adopting SaaS for business processes that fitted into an existing solution (we don’t want to reinvent the wheel). This has fostered the possibility for self-service in some applications, something that users highly have demanded in the past.

Another focus has been to change how people work within the organization. In a Ministry where collaborative work & mobility is key in different time zones a deep change in the workplace has taken place: moving from desktops to laptops and fixed phone to mobile phones by default has been introduced. Also, cloud collaborative tools have been introduced to all workers.

What does a typical day look like for you?

There is no such thing like a typical day, every day is different. I spend my time in different activities such as looking for new technologies and innovative solutions, managing the IT projects of the Ministry and overseeing new implementations. Not to forget operational issues that occur on a daily basis.

With so much important data within the Government Of Catalonia organization, what is the “end goal” for the Open Data project?

We have two main goals with the Open Data program. On one side, we want to provide good quality data so that the citizens, public administration and private corporations can create added-value services and applications that, ultimately, have an impact in the quality of life of the citizens. It involves the society as a whole, but sometimes we may focus in some areas of special interest, such as gender data or the fight against corruption.

On the other hand, we also see the open data program as a means of sharing data internally in the government and making our organization more efficient by introducing a program to add literacy on data analysis within the organization.

IT, Data & Tech leaders that we consult with the state a big change in their role objectives, traditionally they have been responsible for cost-cutting & delivering company IT strategies, nowadays they are more involved in the overall business performance through IT initiatives, what is your view on this change?

This is correct. We still have this responsibility of maintaining the daily activities of our organization while keeping the cost as low as possible. But, as IT leaders, we need to go beyond that make proposal on how technology can change the way we do things in the organization, in other words, we are trying to lead the digital revolution within the organization. I think there should be a good balance between IT and non IT so that we understand better each other. Luckily there are tools that help to make a bridge between IT and non IT and create these common understanding before a project starts.

Why has it taken businesses & society so long to understand the real value of data?

It’s not that they didn’t understand the real value of data. A few years ago, technology was very complicated and expensive and very few people in the organization could manage data. However, this has changed recently and is very cheap to store and process enormous amounts of data. Also analysing data has become much easier with tools like Tableau, PowerBI, Flourish, Carto, … Now people with zero IT knowledge can create beautiful dashboards that a few years ago were only possible for IT professionals.

When big companies started to use the new technologies to exploit the data for marketing purposes, everyone wanted to imitate them. However, they realized that their data was of very bad quality and stored in systems that were not interoperable. Therefore, it requires a big effort to transform the way that an organisation works in order to make it data-driven.

The Government via CTTI are undertaking many important Digital projects in the region, how would you rank the progress of public digital services against other Spanish regions?

I think that CTTI is making big efforts to foster digital innovation in public services, and I think that we are in a good direction. I don’t know the precise situation of the rest of the regions in Spain and Europe, but I have heard about very innovative initiatives in other Administrations and we are always eager to share experiences with them.

You will be taking the stage at our Barcelona Digital Festival to discuss “(Open) Data As A Service” what can we expect to learn from your talk?

I would like to share with you our experience in the lasts years with our Open Data program and how it can help also private companies Our approach to open data is focused not only in providing static data to the citizens to be accessed manually every now and then. We believe that open data should be seen as a public database that contains good quality data which is automatically updated almost in real-time. This permits the citizens and, also our own administration, to create added-value services on top of this data. We are convinced that this can foster internal and external innovation and, ultimately, have a major impact on society.

Also, I will demonstrate how the use of a commonplace for data sharing with very easy access can lead to big economic savings.

We thanks Xavier for his insights, if you have any media, speaker or sponsorship enquiries, email

Hoping to see you & your team at our fantastic event on the 28th of November in Barcelona, if you are busy on the 28th November we look forward to seeing you at our 2020 edition taking place on the 29th & 30th April 2020, speaker applications are open, you can submit a session here SPEAKER APPLICATION

Have a great weekend!

DEF Team

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