VMWare CIO Forum: 4 ways CIOs are becoming strategic

(Caption pic above: Bruce Davie presents VMware’s vision)

VMware’s annual CIO Forum comes to Singapore this year, and when APJ CTO, Bruce Davie, addressed members of the region media on the sidelines of the conference, he opined that the phrase ‘digital transformation’ or DX is overused, but is actually also “good at capturing what’s going on in the industry.”

He explained, “We have the tech tools today to make DX possible today,… it’s never been easier to make DX part of your business, and sort of weave technology into the way business runs.

“But if you have all this technology, and no vision, then there is no point.”

This is how CIOs become strategic voices at the board meeting table, and move from keeping the lights on, to being visible at board level, Davie also opined.

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Davie gave a run down of what the situation was like 6 years ago, compared to now, from four points-of-view (POV).

Firstly, in 2012, one could talk about how virtualisation can save you money, but Davie pointed out that it isn’t a strategic discussion. “Now, (virtualisation) is about making businesses more agile.

“At first customers were trying to build their own cloud infrastructure so they can be agile competitors. For example, eBay needed to move faster and they needed a network that could keep up with them.”

Secondly, technology is being used to change businesses in terms of interactions between customers and services. For example, using mobility solutions in healthcare, to deliver patient data to doctors, or enabling a full set of banking operations on the mobile, so banking employees can go to their customer premises armed with just a mobile device instead of have customers walk in to the bank.

Davie said, “This isn’t about mobile device management (MDM), but (enabling) access to data.”

The third POV, security, sees a very drastic change in mindset from 6 years ago.

“Back then, CIOs didn’t see security as their job. Now, it’s front and centre, it’s become a board-leve issue, a C-level issue, and CIOs feel responsible,” the APJ CTO said, citing also the example of Bharti Airtel in India, which used VMware’s networking product, NSX, to bring new apps to market quickly, and inadvertently discovered that security had also improved.

From the data point-of-view, with IT generating so much data, there is huge opportunity to leverage data, with IT as well. For example, by looking at an operational matrix, CIOs could gain insight into how to optimise operations and increase efficiency.
VMware’s 2017 acquisition of Wavefront, now lets them collect millions of infrastructure metrics and applications metrics, at high rate.

When correlating infrastructure performance with application performance, businesses can gain insight into what operations to tweak to increase application performance.

VMware eyes new innovation

After his presentation to the media about what APJ CIOs’ current priorities are, Davie proceeded to share about VMware’s area current area of focus.

The virtualisation company has long talked about virtualising the data centre, and then letting it permeate throughout the enterprise, with their portfolio of enterprise solutions. Basically, their mission has been to enable any customer to run any kind of application, and have it delivered to any device; be it desktop, mobile and IoT; as well as have these apps run on any cloud.

Today, Davie is saying, VMware’s focus is on the edge, and explained, “With the rise of Internet of Things (IoT), computing is swinging back to the edge.

Local compute (on the IoT device itself), is critical especially for highly advanced applications which require almost real-time decision-making. For example, an autonomous vehicle needs split second decision making as it is driving on the road. It can’t afford the time lag that may come with data having to  move to the data centre, to be processed first.

The technology which VMware would be applying to address computing at the edge, is SD-WAN, as evidenced by their acquisition of VeloCloud, just last year.

Davie also believed that there is huge opportunity to modernise telecommunications’ environments. “Most of their infrastructure is non-virtualised, about 90-percent.”

The APJ CTO concluded by sharing VMware’s vision to have security done better; “…to have it weave through the entire infrastructure, as opposed to being bolted on. So, we have to consider user, data, and apps.”


(This journalist is a guest of VMware’s to their annual CIO Forum, in Singapore).






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