We have embraced big data analytics to manage our IT assets

Having spent 30 years in the IT indutry, Vic Bhagat joined EMC in January 2013 to lead EMC’s Information Technology, Global Centers of Excellence, Global Business Services and Indirect Procurement organizations. During his more than 20-year tenure at GE, Bhagat served as CIO for multiple GE organizations, including GE Aviation Services, GE Global Growth and Operations, CNBC, GE Corporate, and GE India and Southeast Asia. Along the way, he not only drove the company’s IT strategies, but managed large global shared service applications; built a technology center focused on high-end technology and digital solutions; and fueled GE’s global innovation opening numerous centers of excellence focused on big data, digital analytics, and digital strategies.

How do IT transformations impact the way IT has been viewed hitherto and in future by an organization? What is the role that IT today plays in an organization?

Over the last few years, we have made tremendous strides in transforming from a traditional to contemporary IT organization. Leveraging virtualization and cloud computing, we have simplified our infrastructure to drive utilization and to offer our users elastic IT through flexible and on-demand cloud services. While this has been very well received by the business, we must build on our solid foundation and transform from a multi-year, ERP mindset to one that leverages exciting IT trends to provide even more agility, value, and instant gratification for our users.

Can you share an overview of IT transformation at EMC so far? How do you propose to take it forward from here?

To date, we’ve been focused on bringing more value and elasticity out of our infrastructure. This has increased our utilization and enables us to scale our operations to meet EMC’s growing needs. Moving forward, we are focused on leveraging IT megatrends-such as cloud, big data, analytics, security, social, digital, and mobile-to launch new products and solutions that deliver a competitive advantage for EMC. For instance, by harnessing and analyzing our big data, we not only introduce more predictability and prevention into our IT environment, but we can help our business users get even closer to customers.

How are emerging technologies affecting what you do as a CIO today?

We have wholeheartedly embraced big data analytics to manage our IT assets; predict and prevent potential issues in our environment; and monitor our network for security concerns. We have also introduced business analytics as a service and other data science capabilities to help our users around the globe to analyze information that helps them drive agility into their business objectives.

How has cloud computing changed the nature of conversations between IT and business?

Cloud computing enables what I call Elastic IT-the flexibility and on-demand ability to quickly and easily leverage private, public, and hybrid clouds to meet the dynamic needs of the business. For instance, we offer infrastructure-as-a-service that is comparable and competitive with public offerings, but is managed and secured by EMC’s IT organization. With elastic IT in place, our conversations with the business are less about ‘what the application runs on’ and more about ‘what else can IT do for us’.

How will the big data analytics drive the future of businesses?

While we have improved our IT asset utilization; gotten a jump on potential security threats; and begun offering users business analytics as a service, we have only just begun. The true potential will be unlocked as our IT organization collaborates with data scientists throughout the company to apply the technologies and best practices we need to make faster, more informed decisions that drive value for EMC.

Can you elaborate on the implementation of big data tools in your internal IT and how has it helped EMC drive business value?

Internally, we began using big data analytics to improve our exchange email system by collecting, analyzing, storing, and leveraging key indicators to predict and prevent interruption in mission critical operations. Since we began, we have been able to predict and prevent half of the outages we would have encountered. We will not only improve on this, but will apply these practices elsewhere in the organization.

Cloud computing and big data are here to stay, what does this mean to a CIO and IT team from a skills perspective?

While we have made great progress and achieved many results through our technological transformation, we must also transform our people and processes to take advantage of cloud, big data and the other emerging IT megatrends. This will not only help us attract and retain the best and brightest IT employees, but it will enable us to partner more closely with the business; deploy exciting new and mobile applications; and unleash the true value of big data and analytics to meet EMC’s dynamic business needs.

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