Brian Gallagher, president of EMC’s cloud platform team, reflects back on his trips to EMC Forums and what he learned from CIOs in 2015. First published on "Reflections".
Across the globe, CIOs are facing common challenges heading into 2016. The list includes shrinking IT budgets; countless new technologies and platforms; finding the right talent and leadership; and creating a culture that breeds rapid innovation, to name a few. CIOs everywhere are coming together to exchange ideas around these issues and brainstorm ways to tackle them.
EMC Forum, one-day technology events for our customers and partners, facilitate many of these collaborative conversations. At the Forums I traveled to this year, I learned about some of the more unique and local challenges for IT organizations. In cities like Cairo, Egypt and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where we hosted EMC Forums for the first time, barriers to innovation are often geopolitical. The oil industry in Saudi Arabia affects how IT departments spend on technology, forcing many IT leaders to think creatively about capital and resources. And in cities like Moscow, Russia, IT budgets are being squeezed. On top of all this, relevant IT talent can be hard to find in some of these regions.
Among IT leaders, I also noticed new attitudes around cloud computing. A few years ago, most businesses were just considering a cloud strategy. Now everyone is racing to execute on those strategies to avoid disruption, lower cost, and increase competitiveness. But the big question for many is “how;” how to innovate with a cloud strategy, how to lead organizational change, and how to integrate software, infrastructure and systems.
To address the “how,” some IT departments are experimenting with innovation sandboxes. With this approach, they work with emerging technologies and DevOps models without worrying about traditional IT processes. This helps jump start agile methods and open source within their company culture. But many CIOs still aren’t sure how to connect and transfer this new way of working to the mothership of IT. Also, questions arise around how to build a technical community to foster lean processes versus using traditional IT project management.
EMC has made strides in this area with the creation of our Cloud Foundry Dojo. Starting in January 2016, customers can come to the Dojo to work with EMC and Pivotal experts. They will learn about Platform-as-a-Service and how to integrate DevOps into their IT departments. This combination allows them to unite their PaaS and IaaS strategies. Customers not only gain new software coding skills, but also a new understanding of how to foster lean development within their own companies. By visiting the Dojo, customers can develop new thinking and ‘learn by doing’.
Above all else, what stood out from this year’s EMC Forums was the appreciation I’ve felt from all who attended. In times of great change, people look to EMC as a trusted advisor to help them with their IT transformation. The ability to help plan out courses of action, no matter the geopolitical obstacles, is something we take very seriously. I look forward to next year’s discussions with many of you and the opportunity to help address your IT challenges.
What are the most pressing IT issues you need to tackle in 2016?
Which technology trends do you think will be most central to the future of your IT organization?