“CIOs are not comfortable being leaders in their organization”

by Ashwani Mishra    Dec 12, 2011

Chuck HollisChuck Hollis, VP, Global Marketing CTO, EMC Corporation talks about the various factors that CIOs must consider while moving to the cloud. He also shares how EMC has been using cloud internally and the benefits achieved.
Q] Many survey results have shown that CIOs do not agree that the cloud will help them to save costs, and cost reduction is not considered as a prime driver for cloud adoption. What then will be the key factors for CIOs to consider to move to the cloud?
It takes leadership to move to the cloud model. When I talk to CIOs or IT heads, they are not comfortable being leaders within their organization.

The second factor to move to the cloud is keep people first. Technology is already there, it is the people who need to be educated on how IT can be consumed as a service.

The third key point to ponder is building the case for a change and why business should do things differently. This case for change has to be stated in business terms. If an organization wants faster agility in their business, cloud is a driver. The savings will be there, but it should not be the primary motivating factor. When the goals are set money will be saved.

Q] How is EMC consuming cloud services within the company?
We had legacy problems and our IT challenges were similar to the ones faced by enterprises before we became an internal cloud provider for our 51,000 users. The story for us is around people, skill, new processes and relationships with business units. Being a technology company, our focus was less on the technology related issues but more towards people and organizational side of the transformation.

We got our internal processed to offer infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, software as a service etc. Not all these services are visible to the end-users but are visible to all in the IT organization. This has helped us in faster implementation of projects.

For example we are now migrating from Oracle E-Business Suite to SAP. It is one of those million dollar migration projects that are complicated and painful for companies.

The good thing is that the project is far ahead of schedule and far under budget. This is because during the process the people involved in the project can use variable services without using traditional methodologies.

It has been like putting large projects on rollers and everything moves much faster because all the variable services are available.

During this phase of our transformation we acquired around 50 companies, our business has grown, we now have 20,000 more employees since we started our cloud journey and during this time our IT spending has been flat.

Our goal has been to grown the business, get more value out of IT and not spend a lot of money. The challenge to achieve this has not been around technology but more around people and processes. New tools, new roles and new methodologies were put in place to overcome many of such hurdles.

Q] What according to you will be the new skills that will be in demand in the era of cloud computing?
The skill sets required for the cloud model may not be in terms of technical certifications but more around processes and methodology.

IT leaders who are committing themselves in this transformation to the cloud are seeing value in terms of savings and improvement in service. The real thing that business appreciates is the agility that the cloud provides.

For example, we created new job descriptions and new curriculum to train people to operate in this new world, we had to change the way we built our security organization to secure cloud technology as opposed to physical security.

How is the company using social media?
My job at EMC was to teach our employees how to use social media in the compnay. I am glad I was a part of this initiative, and the use of social media has given us a competitive advantage.

Today, we have around 10 percent of our company active on Twitter. We have an internal social platform called EMC ONE. Seventy percent of our employees participate and are active on this platform. This is the new way of doing business.