Journey to Cloud: Step 7 - Measure Success by Delighting IT Users

In the seventh segment of a 10-part Tech Barometer podcast series “Journey to Cloud,” Nutanix CIO Wendy Pfeiffer explains why it’s critical to measure and optimize performance in order to delight IT users.

By Jason Lopez

By Jason Lopez February 12, 2021

Enterprise apps need to be easy to manage and train so IT professionals can do more than just keep IT systems running, according to Wendy Pfeiffer, Nutanix CIO. 

“We’re not there, yet, but we’re getting there,” she said in part seven of the Tech Barometer podcast series “Journey to Cloud,” based on the ebook

Pfeiffer explains how she measures the effectiveness of her IT team’s interaction with machines.

“There should be a little humor in it,” Pfeiffer added. “There should be some humanity in how we interact with the machine. And then ultimately we should be able to affect that interaction.”

As her company’s hybrid cloud operation leans more on automation, she said it’s critical to measure that procedures are performed in the right manner the first time and every time thereafter.


How a Billion-Dollar Business Moved to Hybrid, Multi-Cloud IT

Pfeiffer’s team uses a performance measurement system to identify and define the optimal workflow and IT service interaction. She said fixing bottlenecks quickly and fine-tuning IT system performance over time helps her deliver value to Nutanix and generate proof points that the company can share with customers.

More from the Podcast series:

Transcript (unedited):

Wendy Pfeiffer: Now we're at step seven. There were no instructions. Right away, you could figure out how to start catching Pokemon. It was instantly compelling. It was fun. It was delightful

.Jason Lopez: The Journey to Cloud with Nutanix CIO, Wendy Pfeiffer,

Wendy Pfeiffer: Let's say the next time that we interacted with our corporate enterprise environments and our corporate enterprise apps if those enterprise applications were as accessible and as easy to use and as compelling as, say, Pokemon go, what an amazing level of productivity we'd have in our companies.

Once we start to do these autonomous things, the potential is that the work that we're doing and the service that we're providing becomes a sort of two dimensional for our users. If you think about the way that you interact with Siri or the way that you interact with Google Assistant, sometimes those interactions kind of fall flat.

We had a lot of focus on finding tools and technologies, including natural language processing tools and technologies that matched the ideal interaction design and the ideal workflows that these different groups of users required and wanted. We used a couple of tools to measure our baseline operating model. We used a quantitative tool called FTR -- means first-time right. And we use that to measure the optimal workflows and interaction designs that we were delivering to our users. And then we used Net Promoter score to gauge sort of how people felt about what we were delivering to them. In the beginning.

Oh my goodness. We had very, very poor FTR scores and very, very poor NPS scores when we were operating in standard IT mode. But as we've undertaken this journey to autonomous operations and machine learning and natural language processing enhanced operations across about 35% of the things that we're doing, what we've discovered is that our FTR score has increased tremendously. But way more impactful, our NPS score is among the highest IT NPS scores in the industry. Today, we often operate at an NPS of around 90, which is just enviable. There's almost no one else that level and industry. And so it's a real, a real advantage for us.

Now, ultimately I have a very small team that supports a multicloud infrastructure with multiple workloads, multiple applications that can run interchangeably across lots of different hardware, several different clouds. But because I have this foundation of a single code set that spans all of those things, and I can call that code via very simple automation that my expert team members have developed, and we can refine the way that we operate through machine learning and natural language processing tools and technologies. We have this very efficient mode of operation that is also highly satisfying to our employees. And ultimately, what does that, what does that translate to? Well, what that translates to, and when you have happy employees, those are productive employees. And so we're back to IT's original charter.

Our charter is to enable our business to thrive and to enable our employees to be productive. And so when we get to the point where our IT team members are, have stopped focusing on all of the different vendors and modes of operation and keeping the lights on and maintaining all of these diverse environments. And instead we focus on enabling our employees to be productive, to be, dare I say, happy in the way that they're working. And we can provide that optionality efficiently with a relatively small team in ways that are cost-effective to the company. Well, then we're starting to truly operate in this mixed mode, this hybrid cloud mode, because it's not about multi things. It's about hybrid things. It's about this optionality of operating on any hardware in any cloud, any application or combination of applications via multiple access methods and being able to do all of this as autonomously as possible so that we can scale efficiently.

Jason Lopez: Wendy Pfeiffer is the Chief Information Officer of Nutanix. This podcast series of 10 steps to cloud comes from her ebook, charting the course to cloud. This is the Tech Barometer Podcast from The Forecast. 

Jason Lopez is executive producer of Tech Barometer, the podcast outlet for The Forecast. He’s the founder of Connected Social Media. Previously, he was executive producer at PodTech and a reporter at NPR.

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