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The CMO-CIO partnership

Bask Iyer Headshot-crop

The CMO-CIO partnership
Common Goals, Unified Approach, Unique Capabilities

By Bask Iyer, CIO, VMware

There is a lot of chatter about tension and conflict between IT and Lines of Businesses (LOBs)for a variety of reasons. The discussion around bi-modal IT follows this narrative: Traditional IT is slow to respond to business needs; is not at the cutting edge of the latest technologies and creates many hurdles, usually under the guise of security concerns.  Shadow IT steps in to fill the gap and saves the day so that LOBs can move on to be successful. In this scenario, the IT org is the slow-moving villain, and everyone else is the swashbuckling hero or heroine.

The reality is not that black and white. Continue reading

Why VMware?

Bask Iyer Headshot-cropWhy VMware

By Bask Iyer, CIO, VMware

Remember the CEO who said, “I loved the product so much that I bought the company”?  In a way I feel like Victor Kiam, that famous former owner of the New England Patriots football team who claimed he bought Remington (the company) because he loved their razors. Continue reading

From Transforming the Enterprise to Serving the Nation

TonyScott_resizeMy Journey Continues

By Tony Scott, CIO, VMware

It has been 18 months since I joined VMware, and what an incredible journey it has been. I came to VMware because of its transformational potential, the leadership, the people and the location. I have been fortunate to have benefited on every front. Continue reading

A Year of IT Transformation

TonyScott_resizeBy Tony Scott, CIO, VMware

As the year comes to a close, I’ve been thinking about the issues that had the most impact in 2014. At VMware, much of our work continued to focus on our own IT transformation. And we’re not alone. In my conversations with other CIOs, transformation always seems front and center.  Looking back at 2014, I see three dominant themes for CIOs—all tied to IT transformation. First is the evolution of the IT model to full integration in the business. Next is the generational migration in IT leadership. And, finally, there’s the urgent focus on security innovations to protect enterprise data.

Continue reading

A Window into the VMware IT Transformation Journey

TonyScott-cropBy Tony Scott, CIO, VMware

Just like many of our customers, we’re on a journey to transform our business by transforming how we approach people, process and technology. We’re redefining the role, expectations, and capabilities of IT. After implementing our own internal SDDC in 2013, we have built upon it with VMware cloud infrastructure, hybrid cloud, and end-user computing solutions. Continue reading

IT: From CYA to ASAN

TonyScott-cropBy Tony Scott, CIO, VMware

Almost every CIO I speak with talks about the increasing pace of business change and the need for IT to either help drive the change, or, at a minimum, be a key ingredient of the desired business model. As IT leaders, we feel the pressure to change rapidly, to be flexible and nimble, and to proactively meet the needs of the entire organization. With new technology and the new focus on IT as a critical business partner, we can do all of that – as long as we change the way we operate. Continue reading

IT Transformation: It’s Time for a New Mental Model

by Tony Scott, CIO VMware TonyScott-crop

Back in the early days of automobile development, the first engineers used terms like “horseless carriage” or “steam wagon” to describe their inventions. These monikers worked because people could relate the new-fangled machines to what they were accustomed to using. The concept fit their mental model. Continue reading

Why I Joined VMware

by Tony Scott, CIO VMware TonyScott-crop
I have been at VMware for less than a year, and I can truly say that I am delighted to be here. As CIO, I lead VMware's Global Information Technology Group, which manages critical technology systems supporting the company's worldwide business operations. My team is also responsible for advancing and protecting VMware's information assets, helping the company meet the IT needs of more than 500,000 customers. I’d also like to add that VMware has the added, and enviable, charter to support our R&D organization and in that way contributes to our product success. Needless to say, this combination makes our daily work exhilarating. I am often asked, “Why did you join VMware?” The answer is surprisingly simple - Continue reading

Forensic IT: Discover Issues Before Your End Users Do

 (This is a repost of original from the VMware CloudOps blog)

by Paul Chapman, VMware Vice President Global Infrastructure and Cloud Operations

Paul Chapman-cropIf you’ve ever watched five-year-olds playing a soccer game, there is very little strategy: all the kids swarm the field and chase the ball trying to score a goal.

Most IT departments take a similar sort of “swarming” approach to service incidents and problems when they occur.

For most of my career, IT has been a reactive business: we waited until there was a problem and then scrambled very well to solve it. We were tactical in terms of problem solving in a reactive mode, yet monitoring was focused on availability and capturing degradation in services, versus being proactive and predictive, analyzing patterns to stay ahead of problems. In the new world of IT as a service, where expectations are very different, that model no longer works.

New and emerging forensics tools and capabilities give IT the tools to be proactive and predictive—to focus on quality of service and end-user satisfaction, which is a must in the cloud era.

Forensics: A new role for IT
As an example, with new network forensics tools to monitor and analyze network traffic, it may seem a natural fit for network engineers to use them, but at VMware we found the skillsets to be quite different. We need people who have an inquisitive mindset — a sort of “network detective” who thinks like a data analyst and can look at different patterns and diagnostics to find problems before they’re reported or exposed into user impact.

Those in newly created IT forensic roles may have a different set of skills than a typical IT technologist. They may not even be technology subject matter experts, but they may be more like data scientists, who can find patterns and string together clues to find the root of potential problems.

Adding this new type of role in the IT organization most definitely presents challenges as it goes against the way IT has typically been done.  But this shift to a new way of delivering service, moving from the traditional swarm model to a more predictive and forensics-driven model, means a new way of thinking about problem solving. Most importantly, forensics has the potential to create a significant reduction in service impact and maintain high level of service availability and quality.

Quality of service and reducing end user friction
Every time an end user has to stop and depend on another human to fix an IT problem, it’s a friction point. Consumers have come to expect always on, 100 percent uptime, and they don’t want to take the time open a ticket or pause and create a dependency on another human to solve their need. As IT organizations, we need to focus more on the user experience and quality of service—today’s norm of being available 100 percent of the time is table stakes.

With everything connected to the “cloud,” it’s even more important for IT to be proactive and predictive about potential service issues. Applications pull from different systems and processes across the enterprise and across clouds. Without the right analysis tools, IT can’t understand the global user experience and where potential friction points may be occurring. In most experiences, IT finds out about a poor quality of service experience when users complain — perhaps even publicly on their social networks. Unless we get in front of the possible issues and take an outside-in, customer-oriented view, we’re headed for lots of complaints around quality of service.

At VMware, we have seen a significant reduction in overall service impact since using network forensics, and we’re keeping our internal customers productive. Focusing on quality of service and finding people with the right skillsets to fill the associated roles has us unearthing problems long before our end users experience so much as a glitch.

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Follow @PaulChapmanVM on Twitter.

5 Ways Cloud Automation Drives Greater Cost and Operational Transparency

 (This is a repost of original from the VMware CloudOps blog)

By Kevin Lees

Kevin_cropThere has always been tension between IT teams and their end customers — not the good kind of tension, but rather the contentious kind that rarely ends well.

It breaks down like this: IT never believes it has enough time, resources, or money; and the line of business (LOB) really doesn’t understand what they want. On the other side, the LOB is rarely happy with IT because response times aren’t fast enough or IT is missing the mark with its capabilities.

This tension leads to inefficient use of resources, both equipment and people. Shadow IT happens when those outside of IT take matters into their own hands and shirk IT policies and procedures. This can mean inefficiencies in the allocation of capital because finance is challenged to track exactly what it costs for IT to deliver. This becomes especially difficult in a shared resource environment, and it will only get more challenging as we move to a fully virtualized stack as defined by the software-defined data center (SDDC).

This can lead to all sorts of problems, fostering mistrust, lost profits, and lost opportunities. You get the idea.

In this post, we’ll explore key ways that cloud automation is critical to fulfilling the promise of cloud and how automation provides opportunities to practice cost and operational transparency as a way to help drive business alignment.

The Promise of Cloud Management
Cloud holds great promise and great responsibility. It provides many advantages to both IT and its stakeholders, but without effective cloud management and automation, the true value will never be realized.

This is true regardless of the type of cloud, whether private enterprise cloud, an external cloud provider, or a hybrid cloud.

As the figure below shows, there are five areas to focus on that not only provide opportunities to drive business alignment, but also provide opportunities to practice the cost and/or operational transparency needed to gain the business stakeholder’s trust:

5 Ways Automation-Lees

 

  1. Service quality: The business has to know it can count on the service it’s consuming.
  2. Predictability: Of course, the service has to be predictable. Outages are unacceptable.
  3. Agility: The business needs to quickly react to changing business conditions or proactively get to market before the competition, so IT needs to keep up.
  4. Smart economics: It also has to be cost effective. If it’s not, shadow IT rears its ugly head, and any degree of governance as well as economy of scale efficiencies dissipate into the cloud, outside of IT’s control.
  5. Clear communication: Business stakeholders have to truly understand what they’re getting and how much flexibility of choice is available to them.

That said, IT cannot deploy and run an effective and successful cloud in a vacuum. A truly successful cloud, one that adds real business value, requires alignment among IT, LOB, and finance. It requires a lot of interaction, listening, discussing, and agreeing. Yes, there will be trial and error.

Fortunately, one of the big benefits of cloud when done right (namely agility) is the ability to fail fast, fail often, and try something else.

With alignment and the clear communication required to achieve it:

  • IT can provide solutions and services that add value to the business by meeting its needs, because business is involved in the service definition.
  • LOB stakeholders will have a much better idea of what they’re getting and know it will meet their needs.
  • Finance will understand service costs within a business context to make more informed decisions about how to maximize the budgets and ensure a degree of cost predictability.

If all goes well, the end result is trust and business alignment between the parties.

One final note for IT: you desperately need to take a course in Marketing 101. IT needs to get better at advertising its services and demonstrating its value add so everyone knows what an asset the group is. At VMware, this is something we address explicitly when we help IT customers set up their processes for defining, costing, and offering cloud-based services to their LOB market. Taking a technical service to LOB market is no different than the business taking a service to market. Would they do that without proactive marketing? I don’t think so.

If you found this post helpful, stay tuned for future posts on this topic. Next time, I’ll offer my thoughts on ways to turn IT’s “trust debt” into true business alignment through greater transparency, agility, and technical alignment.

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Kevin Lees is Global Principal Architect, Operations Transformation Practice.