Sagrada Familia CIO Fernando Villa on IT strategy, drones, VR, AR, working with startups and keeping Gaudi's values alive
Sagrada Familia CIO Fernando Villa discusses technology and leadership in the construction of Antoni Gaudi's church in Barcelona.
[See also: ] Sagrada Familia CIO Fernando Villa interview - Completing Gaudi's vision
July 11, 2016
"It's important for us to create value for the business. If the IT department is not creating value for the business then it's not necessary."
"My main challenges as a CIO are to facilitate all the processes related to the construction of the church because the main objective is to get the construction process finalised. On the other hand we are very focused on the customer experience.
"We are very much exposed to external scrutiny and have lots of visibility. There is interest from the press and we have to be very careful about how we do things; we cannot afford failure."
"Gaudi is unique. Gaudi was already using 3D 100 years ago with his mock-ups. Today we still work the way Gaudi works; mock-ups and then construction.
"Gaudi was a visionary, the building still looks very modern because it's inspired by nature so not the subject of getting old - the columns inside the church are inspired by trees so it doesn't look like they age.
"Gaudi was sick as a child and spent much time living on the Maresme coast north of Barcelona; there he spent lots of time observing nature and many geniuses copy nature."
"Our principal initiative is reducing waiting for visitors. Now we are working on a programme around the whole process, from the first point of contact the visitor has with the church. Maybe they visit online, and then during the visit and after to generate engagement with the visitor - it's very important for us to understand the user."
"Before 2013 there was low added value, and when I arrived in June I wanted to change that situation. We needed to make sure that the IT department was oriented to the business to create value."
"Our business is very different. The modular data centre is very important for us at the moment - it gives me peace of mind every day."
"Schneider Electric became our strategic partner and helped to advise and deliver a solution that would tackle some specific areas for us; infrastructure, communications and security. They combined two 25 foot prefabricated modules to create a single data centre, which would provide the optimum space to support our immediate requirement while allowing us to expand or scale up."
"What's very important to us is customer relationship experience. Not CRM, we are in the economy of experience and not management.
"We need to improve this with all the contact Sagrada Familia has with our customers."
"Recruitment is hard with some skills, particularly in business intelligence and analytical skills from the IT perspective."
"It's important to keep Gaudi's values alive. In fact, there is added value working for Sagrada Familia which are the preservation of those values."
"The new tool allows our team of architects to make decisions very quickly. Virtual reality enables us to see the designs scaled to their actual size, with the textures and materials required whilst allowing us to make changes with minimal impact on cost and time. This saves us time and money without constructing mock-ups.
"Once the modelling process is complete it only takes minutes to process and upload the model to virtual reality."
"A new augmented reality and virtual reality system will allow us to identify and understand the origin of a stone, its placement year, composition and physical characteristics. It will also enable an analysis of the evolution of an area through images. We can identify electrical installations and networks that exist in a specific area without opening the wall."
"Augmented reality is something we think we can incorporate by using drones to scan the towers. We have an augmented reality pilot for maintenance of the temple and all the main components of the church to be able to see construction project in real time. We are exploring the possibilities but we don't know yet if we can use drones to maintain the towers. The use of sensor information for maintenance on the building is also being explored in a project with the University of Barcelona."