Johan Huijgen

Partnership around transformations and the choices to be made regarding AI

VEON operates in eight countries with thousands of employees, offering a range of services from mobile chat, entertainment, payments to shopping. With such diverse services across international markets, the company opts for a highly decentralized setup and management. A crucial need is a flexible, secure, consistent, and intelligent collaboration platform.

Johan Huijgen, Group Cyber Security & IT Director, explains, “Aside from financial consolidation, Zoom stands as the sole standardized and centrally deployed power tool. Effective communication is crucial for an international company with thousands of employees.” The integrated AI assistant for automatically transcribing, summarizing, and analyzing conversations serves as a significant Unique Selling Proposition. This intelligent tool can prompt users for follow-up actions and more.

In the quest for a partner capable of handling the digital transformation started a few years ago, Johan Huijgen connected with Zoom, which was also heavily evolving at that time: from a video conferencing provider to a total player in digital communication. VEON and Zoom together successfully achieved a digital (communication) transformation, and the collaboration is ongoing.

Recently, VEON divested a business unit, requiring about 17,000 employees to migrate overnight to a new IT environment. Thanks in part to standardization on the Zoom platform, the process was swift and trouble-free. Zoom continues to evolve into a versatile and intelligent platform. Productivity and team collaboration receive a boost with the mentioned Zoom AI Companion, an AI assistant available at no extra cost for paid accounts. Huijgen notes, “At VEON, we are actively assessing these new developments. We aim to harness AI to its fullest while preventing users from experimenting independently, considering the associated risks.”

According to VEON’s Group Cyber Security & IT Director, the age-old consideration surrounding AI revolves around the balance between centralized or decentralized management and facilitation, integration with existing systems and applications, while ensuring maximum freedom for the business. This will be discussed among colleagues during a plenary panel discussion at CIODAY.