The New CIO Mandate
BY: WENDY M. PFEIFFER
Without question, it’s one of the most exciting times to be a CIO, CTO or CEO today.
As the CIO of Nutanix, I have a front row seat to the incredible pace of technology change that’s occurring in the consumer space, coupled with the impact that modern technologies such as machine learning and blockchain are having on our global workflows. As a result of these seismic changes, there are tremendous opportunities for CIOs and IT to enable companies and businesses to thrive.
Still, as exciting as this time is for IT, many are mired in the swamp of KTLO (Keep The Lights On) and endless incremental upgrades brought on by the lack of innovation and integration that legacy IT vendors continue to deliver.
Beyond all of the care and feeding that our legacy services require, many core IT vendors believe they can extend their offerings to meet all of IT’s needs, rather than offering us mature tools that support our need to customize and integrate multiple products across multiple clouds. Because every company’s business and growth trajectory are unique, IT leaders don’t have the luxury of consuming just one platform or working in just one cloud. We require tools and technologies purpose-built to support this new hybrid cloud world!
As I see it, Enterprise IT and the ecosystem of 20th century vendors and partners who grew up around it will cease to exist. Like the crocodile’s journey from dinosaur to modern day survivor, IT must throw off the old ways and voraciously seek the new if we are going to thrive in this brave new hybrid cloud world.
Thriving In A Hybrid Cloud World
These basics are necessary to not only survive, but to thrive in today’s hybrid cloud world:
- Avoid vendor dependency – ensure that each component that you consume enables application and workload portability.
- Maintain a mixed portfolio of consumption options and relationships with several channels.
- Confidently architect your services to continuously use specific clouds for particular tasks (i.e. public cloud for scalability and elasticity; private cloud for predictability and security).
- Ensure that any technology that you consume provides open APIs and extensive integration capabilities.
- Continuously experiment with new technologies, looking to the consumer tech space for inspiration and capabilities. Maintain a healthy percentage of budget and resource capacity for finding and trying new things.
Ultimately, the choices you make regarding the core infrastructure you use to run your services are key to leaving the primordial soup of KTLO. At Nutanix, my small IT team support a single OS and hypervisor that runs all of our workloads and provides storage, compute and network resources. Mastery of Nutanix’ AOS+AHV has freed my team to focus on Nutanix customers and employees in a way that’s unprecedented in my IT career. My team has continuously maintained an NPS above 90 for the past 12 months, while growing and delivering at hyper scale!
The fact that I’m not locked into any vendor’s hardware, hypervisor or cloud is also unprecedented. If a vendor starts behaving as though they are “entitled” to my renewal and abandons competitive pricing, solid support or continuous innovation, I can simply choose another vendor. No more lock in—I am free to make the best decisions for my company. Ultimately, this is the most effective way to “future-proof” my company *and* IT.
And that’s the CIO Mandate.
Wendy M. Pfeiffer
"No more lock in — I am free to make the best decisions for my company. Ultimately, this is the most effective way to “future-proof” my company *and* IT."