Patrick Hereng on €1 billion annual IT spend

JDN Solutions interviews Total CIO—Petaflop SGI cluster for 2012, 5,000 iPhones and SAP ERP.

Interviewed by the French newsletter JDN Solutions1, CIO Patrick Hereng revealed how Total spends its billion Euro IT budget. Total’s upstream information systems are considered ‘strategic’ and account for a large part of the budget. Total runs its own supercomputer—an SGI system whose capacity is to double to a petaflop bandwidth by 2012. For supply chain management, Total’s application of choice is SAP, naturellement.

Total has evolved from a ‘Maginot line’ approach to security to an embedded security model. This provides secure access from any endpoint, to any system, anywhere. However, new styles of supplier interaction are forcing a revision of the security model.

Total has opted for the iPhone as a group standard with some 5,000 iPhones today, all secured and protected against loss. The company is also migrating its traditional POTS2 telephone system to ToIP3. Total is also embarking on an intranet portal which will harmonize the group’s existing internet sites and support collaborative social network type activities.

Total’s IT R&D effort includes multi petaflop computing, virtual reality-based training, and ‘serious games.’ The latter are expected to facilitate training and improve safety in Total’s refineries.

Total is starting to use software as a service (SaaS), particularly for social networking. Hereng sees Total’s IT migrating to a hybrid cloud model. Data centers are being consolidated in virtualization projects and towards a private internal ‘cloud’. Total is also testing Microsoft’s cloud-based applications.

Hereng is wary of the concentration taking place in the IT Marketplace. Total tries to bi-source key technologies although this is not always possible. There is, for instance, no alternative to SAP. But concentration also means that offerings may be more integrated. This explains Total’s choice of Microsoft on the client workstation, along with SharePoint, and Microsoft’s email and instant messaging technologies. The approach reduces Total’s integration overhead.

1 The original article ( was authored by Antoine Crochet-Damais and has been translated and summarized with permission.

2 Plain old telephone system.

3 Telephone over Internet Protocol.

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