Being a CIO focused on customer experience

Byron Connolly

Scott says he jumped across to CIO roles at technology firms because he had a good working relationship with vendors -- he could be a "constructive critic." Improving the customer experience was important to him.

"We needed a lot of help from all these technology companies and in many ways it helped [because] their products were getting better and were becoming more useful for the needs of whatever business I happened to be in.

"So if you have that kind of conversation over a period of time, at some point, the technology companies say 'hey smartarse, you come and help us fix these issues' so that's kind of what happened," he says.

The internal customer experience
As CIO at VMware, Scott is also responsible for real estate and improving the workplace experience.

"What's interesting about that is ... we are starting to think about our employee experience from a productivity and usability standpoint.

"For example, what happens when you go into a conference room or what is your cross-campus wireless experience or identity access management experience in the various places where VMware does business?

"It's about bringing together the physical and digital in a way that is interesting and compelling," he says.

Latest innovations
VMware is creating virtualization solutions beyond the compute platform, focusing on network virtualization, which involves segmenting available bandwidth into independent channels, which can be assigned to a device or server in real time.

"We can tailor our network environment to literally put a software firewall around anything that we want to - we microsegment the network and just allow the kind of traffic [to flow through] the part of the network that we want it to," he says.

A new facility in Bangalore will be a software-defined and network virtualized campus, he says.

Network security is a big challenge for IT today, he says, and the traditional model to secure networks has been to create a hard perimeter and place firewalls and intrusion detection around the edge.

"In Bangalore, where we have many different projects going on, we can start to isolate traffic based on project needs or demands or a bunch of different things. The beauty of all this is if something bad happens in a part of the network, you can quickly quarantine that and cleave it off from the rest of the network," he says.

VMware also last year unveiled VRealize, a tool for managing and understanding - at a granular level -- IT costs, service levels, and other things that have been hard to pull out of a traditional ERP system.

"This is the tooling that will allow a CIO to work in an "IT-as-a-service" model, run IT like a business and have the kind of conversation that we have always wanted to have, saying 'here's what our IT costs are by critical element and here are the levers that both IT and business can use to drive those costs and more importantly, drive capability," he says.

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