The secret to digital transformation at Dell, VMware: 1 shared CIO
Bask Iyer wears the hat of CIO and CDO of Dell Technologies and VMware and EVP of Dell Digital, owning much of the technology leadership of the large company, he said in an interview with Forbes. When Michael Dell asked Iyer to take on the role of CIO at Dell, he was not asked to leave the same position at VMware during the acquisition of its parent company EMC in 2016.
VMware acts as an independent company from Dell, despite the latter owning 80% of it. Iyer is responsible for two separate audit committees and independent entities. His jobs at VMware and Dell largely remain separate, he said. "I work for Dell and I am a person of interest at VMware."
Iyer avoids having a "slow IT and a fast IT" with his inclusive leadership at both companies, he told Forbes. "Digital is the way to go," which lead to the renaming of Dell Digital because he doesn't "call it an IT organization at Dell," he said. By comparison, "digital has been a part of IT from day one" at VMware.
CIOs are a special breed of leadership in an organization because they are often faced with many different kinds of disruption, including trading some their control for influence. By giving up some of the traditional responsibilities the cloud or tech partners can take care of now, CIOs can focus on the changing tech culture and driving microservices to the forefront.
Only 15% of large businesses have a CDO. Historically, since the CDO's rise in 2012, it can throw off a CIO and their feeling of security in their role. However, Dell and VMware avoided the complication altogether with Iyer.
In July Dell announced it is buying nearly $22 billion in shares of VMware's tracking stock, allowing Dell to go public without filing for an IPO. The deal will allow VMware to continue operating as a separate publicly traded company through the move.
The uncertainty of a decision like this could wreak havoc on the two companies' internal operations, yet Iyer was able to maintain functional IT. Iyer wants the focus of VMware's IT to transition to a subscription business model with a focus on hybrid cloud environments. Dell, on the other hand, finished its EMC integrations and is focusing on Dell's continued digital transformation, according to the report.
Even Iyer noted his frustration with the slow pace the transformation was moving and acknowledged the first part of a successful transition is beginning with the people. This is true for any tech and nontechnical company as about 80% of organizations that implemented a digital culture found a breakthrough performance during their own transformation.
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