Sramana Mitra: What kinds of organizational changes are taking place as a consequence of all these different things happening? You said your infrastructure IT organization employs the equivalent of 8.5 people. Is that the total IT organization, or has the IT organization as such decreased in size? How have you reorganized or the organization reshuffled itself based on your adoption of cloud computing?
Mark Egan: What we have been able to do is spend more of our time on new capabilities. We are keeping the business running if you will, and we have been optimizing. But a lot of my effort is toward things I can do to help VMware grow. Like the solutions for our sales organization – we rolled out a CRM system over the past year. Also, we recently moved our technical support to a new system, giving marketing organization better analytics, and automating our content management. Most of my time is all about new business-facing projects and a lot of these projects concern top line: you know, the sales marketing, and services organizations.
SM: So, you basically have been able to redeploy your budget?
ME: Absolutely. Although working for the CFO, there is always more to do! We have definitely been able to optimize, but what I spend majority of my time on is our road map. How are we going to continue to support all the growth, the company, the evolving business models that we have? We acquired eight companies last year and we are going to acquire some number of companies this year. So, that is where a lot of our focus is.
One question I also wanted to comment was that organizationally, there is change going on. As we evolve into this cloud environment, one of the things I talk about a lot with my peers is that it is going to be a different IT organization in the future, and there are a couple of things that come to mind here. One is architecture: It is much more important than it was in the past. The infrastructure, apps, and end user [levels] are a lot more complex than they were historically because you had everything in your data center, limited devices, and more standards. So, we spend a lot of time on architecture and getting good architects in the organization. The other thing is to optimize that infrastructure. I will call this a bit more abstract; we spend more time on the business side, with business analysts, developing a deep understanding of the needs of our sales group, our marketing group, and so forth. There has been a shift in that area as well.
Finally, one of the things we are finding is that technology roles are changing. By this I mean specializations such as server administrator, network administrator, storage administrator, and so forth. Someone in the future, I would even say now, has to know all of those, and that is more about cloud administration.
You have to have broader knowledge because in a virtual world, the pool of resources. So, roles are changing, and as IT professions we have to adapt to these changes. I think it is great, but I am not sure in longer term if we will need many of those who are comfortable in a deep technology area.
SM: That is going to be on the vendor side, whether it is the infrastructure vendor side or the application vendor side. It is going to be on the service provider side, right?
ME: I think some of that will definitely shift as people start buying services. I buy infrastructure services from a third party, so that is going to shift to some extent. But I think the corporate IT groups are going to spend more time on the application side, and that is where they really add value. You know, the more I can do as far as giving my business partners capability, systems, and information, the better. That is how they become more productive. I will call tasks such as running my data center, the network, and the e-mail as utility kind of tasks. Not that they are unimportant, but they don’t have as much value to the business.