As corporate vice president and deputy CIO of Applied
Materials, Jay Kerley has the responsibility for Global Information Services
strategy, planning, operations, infrastructure, and development. With two
decades of rich experience across business verticals including pharmaceutical
R&D, global logistics and high-tech leading IT transformation and globalization,
Kerley co-led Applied Materials IT transformationconsolidating seventeen
decentralized IT groups into one, shifting contextual work to strategic managed
service partners and reducing the number of vendors from fifty to two. Prior to
joining Applied Materials in 2006, Kerley led Global Operations and M&A
Integration for DHL Americas. Kerley is well-known in the global CIO community
and was one of the twenty-five IT leaders named in the prestigious Ones to Watch
list by CIO magazine and the CIO Executive Council.
IT is too critical to be left to the IT guys. Your comments?
It should be seen from IT capability perspective. When IT is left to
business persons, it is not done well. Historically, I think there has been an
approach that you can take business leaders and give them an operational role or
functional role. My experience has been that it has been unsuccessful because
they do not have those close ties with the industry, the standards, and are
easily swayed by their internal constituents.
Can you give an overview of the IT infrastructure at Applied Materials,
and the way you have overcome the key challenges?
Three years ago we took the decision to consolidate the entire governance of
IT and technologies across the company. As a part of that initiative, we took
control of the entire worldwide IT infrastructure of Applied Materials. Between
that time, we have laid a foundation of a consolidated ERP, strategy, product
lifecycle management, and product data management as well as core collaboration
capability. From that foundation, it has been about integrating business units
into that roadmap and driving consistent processes from business
perspectivecommon data, common systems.
One of the key challenges we had was 3D modeling and large amounts of data on
a global scale. Applied being a very aggressive high technology company was less
interested in managing the processes from a global perspective and was really
interested in a global solution which gave them a global development platform.
The challenge was that the existing infrastructure could not support that.
That was when we arrived at a solution which allowed us to give high performance
experience to end users from thousands of miles away, and very low latency
sensitive applications which could travel with 150 seconds or so delays. This
initiative globalized the product development of Applied Materials.
How has Applied Materials India R&D benefited from all this?
This has been critical for India as well because it gives the Indian R&D
community the capabilities to do a lot more in modular design. It has helped
bring India on the global design platform and they can now collaborate and
contribute at all levels. Earlier they needed to subscribe to tasks and then
pass them on to other geographies to be completed. The entire CAD infrastructure
from engineering perspective is now in place. There is unified voice, data, and
video and all this helps in doing design reviews collaboratively. As we expand
our portfolio of products and services more and more, we find that we need to
expand to meet the growing infrastructure challenges that allows us to innovate
on solar, LED, crystalline silicon products and leverage our Indian R&D
Can you throw some light on Applieds IT and communications
There are multiple layers. We have Teamcenter collaboration engine which
includes teamcenter community and teamcenter engineering which is actually the
vault of our engineering product data. Apart from that we have multiple CAD
tools that allow for different visualization data based on user and product
needs. It is layered into HP CAD led infrastructure which really drives high
performance visual compute experience along with a core infrastructure. This is
supported by a global MPLS network. One of the key strategies that we looked at
during this period of transformation was to have a new business platform that we
could operate on.
How important is video communication at Applied Materials?
We have deployed Ciscos telepresence in seven locations. The interesting
dynamics in India are that in order to leverage telepresence you have to have
your people come into the office, so based on time zones it is not very
effective. Our strategy is to really focus on Webex and OCS video integration
into the backbone so that it could be more mobile, remote, and people can work
from home to deal with those time zones with consistency. Recently, we did a
research with our engineering community and discussed in detail about the work
from home experience. Not only are they able to work in this CAD led environment
but they are able to do powerful 3D CAD rendering from home. Also, they are able
to do some standard stuff like VoIP activities from their homes.
How is Applied Materials leveraging mobile phone capabilities for
We have used mobile, not so much for CAD related things, but mostly for
having our field engineers who work on repair or specific tools, to deliver that
content to the common platform as a possibility.
How is your green IT initiative progressing?
In 2008, the company launched a program to reduce the overall carbon
footprint by 50,000 tons. We took the challenge from an IT perspective to
contribute 20% to that goal by 2012. In two years we contributed to a reduction
of 7,600 tons and we are on the way to achieve our goal. We moved from a green a
IT program to a culture where it is embedded in our processes.