Executive Podcast: Bask Iyer, VMware and Dell Technologies CIO
Bask Iyer is the chief information officer for not one but two companies: Dell and VMware. The combination of his current position, plus more than 25 years of experience in IT, gives him a unique perspective on the technology industry.
Recently, Iyer sat down with Eric Nielson, senior director of marketing at VMware, to discuss what he sees as most interesting and relevant in today’s dynamic market. Listen to their full conversation below.
IT is in its infancy relative to industries such as agriculture, education, and healthcare, and major changes still happen periodically. The current digital transformation of the enterprise represents an epochal shift, but the term is misunderstood, says Iyer.
“In 2000, my title was vice president of digitisation for Honeywell,” he says. “So, we’ve been doing digitisation for a while. Digitisation is not new, but today’s digital transformation of the enterprise is significant.”
Digital transformation is refashioning business as a result of two related dynamics, Iyer says. The modernisation of IT, as it evolves from a client-server model into a cloud-mobile design, is forcing infrastructure changes across companies worldwide. At the same time, businesses are using technology to disrupt entire industries.
“CEOs used to worry about the CIO spending too much money, but in the last six months their concerns have completely shifted,” he says. “Today, they’re all concerned about how upstarts are going to disrupt their business and if their IT department is doing enough to transform the business.”
Be Paranoid (and Humble)
For those who lead organisations, Iyer offers advice for how to guard against being disrupted by a competitor. He regularly asks his teams to come up with plans on how to disrupt VMware and Dell.
“We constantly discuss how to disrupt our own businesses. It causes us to think through all our plans comprehensively,” says Iyer. “Be paranoid, but also remain humble. Accepting that you don’t have all the answers helps teams retain humility.”
Iyer also offers advice on how companies can successfully embrace digital transformation, avoid common pitfalls, and which technologies he sees disrupting markets in the near-term future.