Tuesday, April 9

Guzmán Garmendia, DG of Digitization Government of Navarra


Guzman Garmendia Government of Navarre

Position and company: General Director of Telecommunications and Digitization of the Government of Navarra
Date of birth: 2/10/1974
Marital Status: Divorced. Children: two
Sports practiced: trekking, all those related to water and mus.
Hobbies: aeronautics and everything related to water and summer
Studies: Graduated in CC. Information and AMP by IE
People in charge: 700
Seniority in the company: 2 and a half years.
Previous jobs: Public Sector BDM in Oracle Spain and Portugal

Guzmán Garmendia, General Director of Telecommunications and Digitization of the Government of Navarra

What does the main part of the company’s IT budget go to?

To improve the lives of people and companies: Providing our region with improved connectivity, teaching how to exploit technology to its fullest extent and making projects easier through a 100% digital government, that is, building digital health, electronic administration, robotizing processes, reducing paperwork, transforming education and an infinite long etcetera that, of course, includes facilitating leisure for citizens in its new forms.

In which area is the most being invested this year?

In Technological Infrastructure. The leap we have made in digitization, especially from society, has meant that we have to make the best connections, the best services and the best ICT solidity available to citizens.

Which project are you most satisfied with?

Probably two that are one: Connectivity and training. If we do not have 100% of people connected, or if we do not have 100% of our inhabitants digitally trained, it will be of little use that we have the best digital services, what is more, we would be working against equality, and that only We can win by structuring connectivity to the last corner and training all our people.

If all the benefits of the company were put in charge of the IT department, what would you like to implement?

It is difficult to answer this, since we do not have benefits. But if they gave me an infinite budget, I would probably do the same as now, but at a faster rate, accelerating fifth generation connectivity, increasing learning for the most technologically vulnerable, developing our own cybersecurity center and, once again, a long and so on.

Is security an issue?

No, it is a concern.

What technological challenges does an AAPP like yours have?

Our greatest challenge is to achieve sustainable digital equality. We all know very well the projects we are involved in, but we must also look at who is going to carry them out in the future. That there are only 12% of women enrolled in Computer Science is a global problem, not just my Administration. This is trivial, since, for example, if women do not take part in the construction of algorithms for Artificial Intelligence, which is already here, we build primary patterns without counting on half of the population. It is a social challenge, yes, but also a technological one.

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Can you work from home?

Of course, it is more than recommended and if we are not flexible in its application we lose competitiveness. At this time, the Public Administrations compete in a market together with private companies. If it is already difficult to attract and retain talent, the telecommuting component has been added to the offer. From the public point of view, in ICT profiles we have to be extremely careful, and observe that we could be in inferior conditions if we are not able to understand the situation of the sector and its demand in HR.

What main trends do you observe in the ICT world?

The Metaverse. In my opinion we are going to ‘surf’ the Internet in a different way in a few years, it will be virtual, and there we will make our parallel lives buying, interacting, working, doing leisure activities and, of course, establishing a relationship with the administration. For this, other closely related trends must also drive us, such as 5G (connectivity), the cloud (increasing storage) or cybersecurity, due to new threats.

Under no circumstances on your mobile can you miss…

A photo with my children in the background. And as for Whatsapp applications, Linkedin the camera, FlightRadar and RainAlert.

What is the tool that really changed your life?

The Spectrum, and a little later a 486 (both my father bought, not without strong internal opposition), which led me to discover HTML and from there I enrolled in an academy in Madrid, in Puerta del Sol, which I think it was the only one in Spain that taught this code. This marked a before and after in my career, which went from probably a journalist to a certain technologist.

Tired of solving the technological problems of family and friends? What do they usually ask for?

Is my destiny. My first big company I worked for was Telefónica, TPI. At that time, people began to put on routers of those that left you without a telephone, the ignorance was total and the doubts were greater than those of now, when finding out where he worked, the calls accumulated, although the reality is that normally he did not have nor idea. However, since then I haven’t stopped playing ‘sparks’, although the crown was taken the year we went from 1999 to 2000 and all the fear that the media caused.

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What about extracting the value of the data, will it really mean the evolution of companies like yours?

Definitely. We aspire to a Government of Navarra that makes its decisions based on data, to achieve this we are already busy, ordering, studying and parameterizing, although we still have a lot of work to do. All administrations should make the most of their data, take advantage of it for the common good, making ethical use of it and opening it in reusable formats for use within the law and, once again, ethics.

What is this digital transformation? Slogan or need?

It is a time that has been accelerated at an unsuspected rate as a result of the pandemic. Those of us who have been working in the sector for decades know that until March 2020 we were evangelizers, we were branded as geeks and, on many occasions, we were mistreated from the point of view of relevance and budget. Today they recognize us essential, we are more present in the field of decision, we see how they even try to evangelize us and we notice that, indeed, the Digital Transformation has become more than a necessity.

Is the R+D+i thing an urban legend?

No. In the Government of Navarra we take it very seriously, but we should not row all the Autonomous Communities and other administrations together. I watch with great envy South Korea or Israel with investment figures close to or past 4%. We must make it clear that the fact that we do not invest like them, makes us buy their televisions, telephones, computers and, ultimately, their technology, with which in the end we pay for it, if we pay it, more than if we invested.

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In the cloud or on-premise?

Cloud like cloud, can not much difference. In public administrations, we must recognize that this cloud thing, in any of its presentations, has choked us. You have to jump now.

Is the lack of security knowledge of customers and employees the main challenge?

The lack of knowledge is not the challenge, the challenge is to make known the technological field, what we do, what it means and what it implies in general. The pandemic, the new way of working, as well as of relating to each other or the now generalized leisure variants, are doing an immense job in making everything related to IT known. Security goes in parallel, and yes, perhaps now it is the center of what we have to evangelize, but we have experience.

How are citizens and employees educated in technology?

They have been educated only in a large part. Example: before the pandemic, digital health in Navarra was used by just under 0.3% of the population. Two years later, more than 70% of citizens (of all ages) have interacted with the Navarra Health Service digitally in the last two months. In addition to the need (it has been the entry route for vaccines, passports, appointments…), it is necessary to train groups that for some reason are not digitized. In Navarra we are putting a special focus (we have begun to give courses and training) to the elderly, immigrants, the unemployed and other groups. In the same way, and I think it is fundamental, the people who are now working must be trained in technology, adapt to the environment, recycle themselves and learn to be more useful in their position.

How can citizen access to digital services be improved?

As I said at the beginning of this interview, connecting the entire population and training it. From there, and as a computer scientist would say ‘everything can be done’, and everything must be done to reach a 100% digital administration in a society that will be 100% digital (and sometimes virtual) in a very short space of time .

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