App Think Tank: The importance of application rationalization

April 30, 2014

Today’s topic, taken from the Application think tank held by Dell Services early this year, is application rationalization.  Take a listen as Ranga Jayaraman, Associate Dean and CIO of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford talks about the importance of application rationalization and shifting the way you do development.

The bottom line is if you are not pursuing an aggressive application rationalization strategy, you should be.  As Ranga suggests, you also need to be taking a hard look at how you are doing development.

Stay tuned

Tomorrow, tune in to hear how Intel turns its applications into services.

The Think Tank, Sessions one and two

  • Think Tank Session 1– Welcome to the application-centric world – best practices in the ‘greenfield’
  • Think tank Session 2– Nexus of forces – CIOs under pressure and the rise of the enterprise developer

Extra-credit reading (previous videos)

Pau for now…


App Think Tank: The skills the CIO of the future needs

April 24, 2014

This is last video on the topic of CIO and IT skills needed for success.  It, like the previous two, was taken from the think tank Dell Services hosted earlier this year in Silicon Valley.  It  features Jay Ferro, CIO, American Cancer Society and Barry Libenson, SVP and CIO,  Safeway.

Both Jay and Barry agree that the CIO of the future will need very different  skills than today but they differ on how much technical knowledge he or she will need.  As Jay says, “I don’t need to understand the nuance of the digestive system to know how to eat.”  Take a listen.

Business first

I would say that now, as in the future, the CIO and IT in general need to be business people first, and technologists second.  And the same goes for other functions as well whether you’re marketing or finance or HR, you need to be business people first.

Stay tuned

Next week I will have five videos from the think tank that all focus on software and applications.

The Think Tank, Sessions one and two

  • Think Tank Session 1– Welcome to the application-centric world – best practices in the ‘greenfield’
  • Think tank Session 2– Nexus of forces – CIOs under pressure and the rise of the enterprise developer

Extra-credit reading (previous videos)

Pau for now…


App Think Tank: The skills and people IT needs most

April 22, 2014

Yesterday I featured the first of three videos that tackle the topic — the skills CIOs and IT need for success.  Today’s video features Ranga Jayaraman, Associate Dean and CIO of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford.

Ranga responds to the question, how would you set up your IT environment today if you had the luxury of starting completely afresh.  With regards to the people and skills he would assemble, Ranga talks about the importance of IT people who understand the business and can act quickly.  He also discusses the difference between developers in an IT shop and those in a product shop and how open source and reusable frameworks have served to make the IT developer much more powerful.  Take a listen.

Ranga’s right

I would say whether your starting from a greenfield environment or improving on your current set up that Ranga is right, you need IT people who understand the business and not just the technology.   Its no longer ok to simply be a tech expert, its about what’s most important for the customer and business and being able to move and adapt quickly.  These messages will continue to crop up as we go through the rest of videos.

These videos were taken from a think tank Dell Services held back in January in Silicon Valley which featured a panel representative of old school and new school companies, big and small.

Still to come

Later this week, I will have the last video on this initial topic, What the CIO of the future must do.  Next weeks’ series will focus on the topic Applications and software strategy and the week after that I will conclude with Cloud and Infrastructure thoughts.

The Think Tank, Sessions one and two

  • Think Tank Session 1– Welcome to the application-centric world – best practices in the ‘greenfield’
  • Think tank Session 2– Nexus of forces – CIOs under pressure and the rise of the enterprise developer

Extra-credit reading (previous videos)

Pau for now…


App Think Tank: What a CIO must do

April 21, 2014

A couple months ago Dell Services held a think tank out in Silicon Valley at the venture firm, NEA.  We had 10 panelists representing both old school and new school organizations, both big and small:  Intel, Safeway, American Cancer Society, Puppet Labs, NGINX, Stormpath, Stanford Business School, 451 Research and TechCrunch (check out the complete list of participants and session questions).

A cross-section of voices

The idea was to use this cross-section of the tech industry to really learn what was happening in IT today and where it will be tomorrow.  As a group we discussed the challenges of the new app-centric world as well as how to leverage both the four mega trends: Cloud, Mobile, Social and Big Data, and the “three enablers”: Open Source, DevOps and APIs.

We have a series of 10 videos from the event, grouped into three, sections that I will be posting over the next few weeks:

  • CIO and IT skills needed for success
  • Applications and software strategy
  • Cloud and Infrastructure thoughts

Today’s Topic

This week’s topic is, CIO and IT skills needed for success and this first video features Jay Ferro, CIO, American Cancer Society and Barry Libenson, SVP and CIO,  Safeway.

As Barry points out, the role of the CIO is completely different from how it was five years ago and the ability to be agile and nimble are no longer nice-to-haves but rather, essential for success.  Additionally, as Jay states, it is imperative for the CIO of today to simplify their architecture and virtually become an app shop themselves.

Dell would agree with both Barry and Jay.  IT is in a big period of transition and you can learn a lot from the these gentleman and the rest of the think tank :-).

Coming up this week:

  • What skills and types of people does IT need today
  • What skills does the CIO of  the future need

Watch the entire Think Tank

Here are the two sessions that made up the think tank.  Each are about 90 minutes:

New Age of Apps and the Delivery Gaps

  • Session 1– Welcome to the application-centric world – best practices in the ‘greenfield’
  • Session 2– Nexus of forces – CIOs under pressure and the rise of the enterprise developer

Extra-credit reading (previous videos)

Pau for now…


App Think Tank: IT is facing competition for the first time ever

February 4, 2014

Here is the second video snippet from the Think Tank that Dell Services held the week before last.  At the event we assembled 10 panelists representing both old school and new school organizations and discussed the challenges of the new app-centric world.

The short clip below features Barry Libenson, CIO of Safeway, Luke Kanies, CEO of Puppet Labs and Jay Ferro, CIO of the American Cancer Society.  The three men talk about the pressure IT is under these days as consumerization drives up expectations and shadow IT has crept in.

Videos still to come

  •  The persistently, ubiquitously connected to the network era
  •  The web of C level relationships

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


App Think Tank – Some take aways

February 3, 2014

The week before last Dell Services held a think tank out in Silicon Valley at the venture firm, NEA.  We had 10 panelists representing both old school and new school organizations:  Intel, Safeway, American Cancer Society, Puppet Labs, NGINX, Stormpath, Stanford Business School, 451 Research and TechCrunch (see complete list of participants below).  I had the honor of moderating the panel.

The group discussed the challenges of the new app-centric world as well as how to leverage both the “Four horsemen of IT du jour”: Cloud, Mobile, Social and Big Data, and the “three enablers”: Open Source, DevOps and APIs.

You can see more pictures from the event as well as watch the entire think tank, which ran a bit under three and half hours, here.  Additionally, over the next few days I will be posting blogs around four short video snippets from the event.

  • Video 1:  What do customers expect
  • Video 2:  IT is facing competition for the first time ever
  • Video 3:  The persistently, ubiquitously connected to the network era
  • Video 4:  The web of C level relationships

Some Take-aways

I was really impressed how well the participants gelled as a group, with just the right amount of tension :).  Below are a few of the interesting tidbits I took away (I was surprised how much of the conversation came back to culture)  You can also check out SDNCentral’s summary of the event .

Q: What are the customer expectations of services today?

  • They are personalized and immediate (friction is a killer)
  • They are agile and rapidly improve
  • Available from any device, anywhere and are always on

Q: What big bets are you making?

  • “Open Source all the way” — Barry Libenson, CIO,  Safeway
  • Mobile first, platform agnostic – Jay Ferro – CIO American Cancer Society
  • Hire learners, not vertical experts, we want entrepreneurial problem solvers – Ranga Jayaraman – CIO,  Stanford Business School
  • Everything must be services – Das Kamhout – IT Principal Engineer, Intel
  • Set up a learning culture, that is tolerant of failure – Luke Kanies, Puppet CEO
  • Clean APIs and modularity – Alex Salazar –  CEO, Stormpath

Q: If your son or daughter wanted to be a CIO, what advice would you give them?

  • Be really choosey about the company you work for
  • Learn to entertain opposing ideas and paths
  • Agility, flexibility, adaptability
  • Learn to let go
  • Learn to be a hacker
  • Learn mindfulness

Watch the whole event here.

Participants

  • Barry Libenson-SVP and CIO,  Safeway
  • Jay Ferro – CIO, American Cancer Society
  • Ranga Jayaraman- Associate Dean & CIO,  Stanford GSB
  • Luke Kanies – Founder & CEO, Puppet Labs
  • Alex Salazar – Co-Founder & CEO, Stormpath
  • Alex Williams – Blogger & Journalist, TechCrunch
  • Michael Cote – Research Director, Infrastructure Software at 451 Research
  • Sarah Novotny- Tech Evangelist, NGINX
  • Das Kamhout – IT Principal Engineer, Intel
  • Jimmy Pike – Sr. Fellow and Chief Architect, Dell

Extra-credit reading

  • IT can’t thrive unless CIO’s can change the culture – SDNcentral
  • New Age of Apps” Think Tank to be streamed live –  Barton’s blog

Pau for now…


What is the Cloud?

December 20, 2011

Earlier this year Dell and Intel did a series of videos around key topics like cloud computing, IT reinvention, the consumerization of IT, social media etc.  Within these there was a mini-series that dealt with cloud computing that I participated in.

Here is the first one that features Dell’s CIO Robin Johnson, John Pereira, Intel’s director of data center and hosting, Forrest Norrod who is the VP and GM of Dell’s server platform group and myself.

Some of the topics we hit on:

  • How cloud relates to grid compute
  • How start-ups and smaller companies leverage the cloud and how that may change as they grow
  • The benefit of velocity and near instantaneous deployment that cloud brings
  • The federal government’s “Cloud First” initiative and how that will promote adoption
  • We’ve only just begun

Pau for now…


Cloud Webinar and Deck now posted

April 16, 2010

As part of the CIO series we are doing with Information Week,  I did a webinar on Wednesday called The Journey to the Cloud.  If you want to get a feel for some of the big issues and ideas addressed during the webinar, check out moderator Fred Paul’s entertaining blog entry.  Here is the deck I used:

If you’re interested in listening to the webinar you can get access to it here (you will need to register).  I spent about 20 minutes on the presentation and 30 minutes fielding questions from the audience.  One question submitted that we didn’t have time to answer was why Fred Paul and I both have first names for last names.  That will have to wait for another webinar.

Pau for now…


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