By 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.
Embedding IT in the business
Earlier this year I wrote about a new business model that integrates IT into the business. We’ve been successful with this at VMware by embedding business relationship managers (BRMs) from IT into all of our business units. BRMs are responsible not for lines of code or SLAs but for driving real business success. The metrics show it’s working. We’ve improved customer experience and reduced costs and we’ve accelerated innovation and staff productivity.
This business-integrated model has become easier in the age of the cloud, which allows IT to complete projects quickly with fluid, flexible execution. With fewer infrastructure requirements, we are able to concentrate on agile provisioning of services to accomplish business goals.
Passing the baton
A section of IT leadership (some estimate 30-40%) will retire in the next 5+ years— and I see that as an opportunity for a new generation of leadership. While this requires building a pipeline of talent, the opportunities are worth it. Future IT leaders are pursuing innovation more aggressively. Having been raised in the cloud using cloud-based services and cloud-native apps, they are more likely to understand that change is a given and to accelerate the journey to IT as a Service.
This new generation envisions IT as self-service, instantly-provisioned, always-on, cost-efficient, and elastic—measuring responsiveness in seconds not hours. As CIO my job is to encourage these future leaders and empower them to play a key role in our organizational transformation.
Improving data security
Like everyone, I am disturbed by the Heartbleed, Shellshock, and POODLE vulnerabilities disclosed this year—primarily because I know this isn’t the end of the story. Data centers are increasingly vulnerable to new and more sophisticated attacks. This year was a wake-up call for CIOs to become more fully aware of the state of security within their organizations and to become open to new ways of thinking.
At VMware we’ve included security as part of our IT transformation. One of the greatest successes within our own IT organization involves using VMware NSX for a software-based approach to network micro-segmentation. Micro-segmentation is a best-practice security approach that has been difficult in traditional environments but, with NSX, we’ve shown it to be operationally feasible and cost-effective.
As I look to the year ahead, I am energized by these elements of our IT transformation. We’ll be sharing our progress here in the blog, through our social channels, and on the VMware IT web site. I invite you to watch our updates and share your own transformative programs. Here’s to a successful, dynamic and secure 2015.