App Think Tank: The skills and people IT needs most

April 22, 2014

Yesterday I featured the first of three videos that tackle the topic — the skills CIOs and IT need for success.  Today’s video features Ranga Jayaraman, Associate Dean and CIO of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford.

Ranga responds to the question, how would you set up your IT environment today if you had the luxury of starting completely afresh.  With regards to the people and skills he would assemble, Ranga talks about the importance of IT people who understand the business and can act quickly.  He also discusses the difference between developers in an IT shop and those in a product shop and how open source and reusable frameworks have served to make the IT developer much more powerful.  Take a listen.

Ranga’s right

I would say whether your starting from a greenfield environment or improving on your current set up that Ranga is right, you need IT people who understand the business and not just the technology.   Its no longer ok to simply be a tech expert, its about what’s most important for the customer and business and being able to move and adapt quickly.  These messages will continue to crop up as we go through the rest of videos.

These videos were taken from a think tank Dell Services held back in January in Silicon Valley which featured a panel representative of old school and new school companies, big and small.

Still to come

Later this week, I will have the last video on this initial topic, What the CIO of the future must do.  Next weeks’ series will focus on the topic Applications and software strategy and the week after that I will conclude with Cloud and Infrastructure thoughts.

The Think Tank, Sessions one and two

  • Think Tank Session 1- Welcome to the application-centric world – best practices in the ‘greenfield’
  • Think tank Session 2- Nexus of forces – CIOs under pressure and the rise of the enterprise developer

Extra-credit reading (previous videos)

App Think Tank: What a CIO must do

April 21, 2014

A couple months ago Dell Services held a think tank out in Silicon Valley at the venture firm, NEA.  We had 10 panelists representing both old school and new school organizations, both big and small:  Intel, Safeway, American Cancer Society, Puppet Labs, NGINX, Stormpath, Stanford Business School, 451 Research and TechCrunch (check out the complete list of participants and session questions).

A cross-section of voices

The idea was to use this cross-section of the tech industry to really learn what was happening in IT today and where it will be tomorrow.  As a group we discussed the challenges of the new app-centric world as well as how to leverage both the four mega trends: Cloud, Mobile, Social and Big Data, and the “three enablers”: Open Source, DevOps and APIs.

We have a series of 10 videos from the event, grouped into three, sections that I will be posting over the next few weeks:

  • CIO and IT skills needed for success
  • Applications and software strategy
  • Cloud and Infrastructure thoughts

Today’s Topic

This week’s topic is, CIO and IT skills needed for success and this first video features Jay Ferro, CIO, American Cancer Society and Barry Libenson, SVP and CIO,  Safeway.

As Barry points out, the role of the CIO is completely different from how it was five years ago and the ability to be agile and nimble are no longer nice-to-haves but rather, essential for success.  Additionally, as Jay states, it is imperative for the CIO of today to simplify their architecture and virtually become an app shop themselves.

Dell would agree with both Barry and Jay.  IT is in a big period of transition and you can learn a lot from the these gentleman and the rest of the think tank :-).

Coming up this week:

  • What skills and types of people does IT need today
  • What skills does the CIO of  the future need

Watch the entire Think Tank

Here are the two sessions that made up the think tank.  Each are about 90 minutes:

New Age of Apps and the Delivery Gaps

  • Session 1- Welcome to the application-centric world – best practices in the ‘greenfield’
  • Session 2- Nexus of forces – CIOs under pressure and the rise of the enterprise developer

Extra-credit reading (previous videos)

Pau for now…

SXSW: Talking with AllDigital

March 11, 2014

Im currently downtown at SXSW after having had lunch with a customer, AllDigital.  AllDigital delivers digital content from the cloud to multiple endpoints for corporations and entertainment properties.   They are here at SXSW to support some of their customers and prospect for new ones.

Before Tim Napoleon, AllDigital’s Chief of strategy, took off for his next meeting I grabbed a couple of minutes of his time.  He explained what they do and why they made the trek from LA to Austin.  My take away, both mobile and video are big deals and we are only going to see more.

The two projects that Tim mentions

Pau for now…

24 Hours of Pizza-fueled Innovation

March 7, 2014


Postponed:  Over the weekend, due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to postpone our first hackathon.  Stay tuned for more details.

Im very psyched to announce Dell’s first Hackathon which will be happening next week right here in Austin.

The Dell Center for Entrepreneurs and Dell Software Information Management Solutions are teaming up with music and entertainment television network, Revolt TV  for this 24 hour code-battle.

The event, which will take place at the #DellVenue, kicks off on Monday, March 10th and ends 24 grueling hours later at noon next day.

The Challenge

The task at hand is for the developers to create an app against the Revolt API that is based around Music, Videos, and/or Artists and their data.  Revolt has put together their wish list of apps and functionality they’d love to see created, but sky’s the limit (within 24 hours ;)

Applications that can be used

  • Windows Phone 8
  • Xbox
  • Android
  • Node.js
  • .NET

Databases that can be used

  • MS SQL Server
  • MySQL
  • MongoDB
  • Redis

The competition is limited to 50 developers who can form teams of up to five people.  At noon on March 11th the teams will present their work to a panel of judges and 3 team-finalists will be chosen.  All panelists will receive a badge to the Fader Fort for the preview party that night, with the winning team announced at the event.

The Reward

The top finalists will receive products and swag from Revolt and Dell.

  • The grand prize winning team receives $2,500 and the chance to work with Revolts’ team to integrate their app.
  • XPS13Im also particularly proud to say that each member of the winning team will receive the Ubuntu-based XPS13 developer edition aka Project Sputnik.  But wait, there’s more…all developer finalists get a free 1 year license of Dell Software’s Toad Data Point.  :)

Want in?

If this sounds like something you like to take part in, we are taking the first 50 devs who sign up here.  Who knows, you could be one of Dell’s first ever Hackathon champions.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…

App Think Tank: The Web Of C-Level Relationships

February 6, 2014

Here is the last in a series of videos from the Dell Services Think Tank.

During the event’s first session I posed the question –  given the chance, how would you set up it for the CIO, CMO, business and developers to work together?

NGINX tech evangelist, Sarah Novotny jumped right in, having had a chance to do just this previously at a start up.  The model which she proposed, which many of the room liked, was one where IT would act as a consultancy to the business and provide an ecosystem of services.

Take a listen:

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…

App Think Tank: The persistently, ubiquitously connected to the network era

February 5, 2014

The third short video from the Dell Services Think Tank features the always enlightening and entertaining Jimmy Pike.  Jimmy, who is a Senior Fellow at Dell and was once called the Willy Wonka of servers, was one of the 10 panelists at the Think Tank where we discussed the challenges of the new app-centric world.

In this clip Jimmy talks about what he terms the “persistently, ubiquitously connected to the network era” and what this means for applications going forward.

One more video still to come

  •  The web of C level relationships

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…

App Think Tank: IT is facing competition for the first time ever

February 4, 2014

Here is the second video snippet from the Think Tank that Dell Services held the week before last.  At the event we assembled 10 panelists representing both old school and new school organizations and discussed the challenges of the new app-centric world.

The short clip below features Barry Libenson, CIO of Safeway, Luke Kanies, CEO of Puppet Labs and Jay Ferro, CIO of the American Cancer Society.  The three men talk about the pressure IT is under these days as consumerization drives up expectations and shadow IT has crept in.

Videos still to come

  •  The persistently, ubiquitously connected to the network era
  •  The web of C level relationships

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


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