Is the cloud a good investment? Does it deliver strong returns? How can we invest responsibly in the cloud? These are questions IT and finance leaders are wrestling with today because the cloud has left many companies in a balancing act—caught somewhere between the need for cloud innovation and the fiscal responsibility to ensure they are investing wisely, getting full value out of the cloud.  

One IDC study shows 81% of IT decision-makers expect their spending to stay the same or increase in 2023, despite anticipating economic “storms of disruption.” Another 83% of CIOs say despite increasing IT budgets they are under pressure to make their budgets stretch further than ever before—with a key focus on technical debt and cloud costs. Moreover, Gartner estimates 70% overspending is common in the cloud

The need for cloud innovation amid economic headwinds has companies shifting their strategies, putting protective parameters in place, and scrutinizing cloud value with concerted efforts to accelerate return on investment (ROI), specifically on technology.  

New Parameters Designed to Protect Cloud Investments 

While many companies are delaying new IT projects with ROI of more than 12 months, others are reducing innovation budgets while they try to squeeze more value out of existing investments. Regardless of how pointed their endeavors are, most IT and finance leaders are looking for ways to better govern cloud transformation. That’s because, in today’s economic climate, leaders aren’t just responsible for driving ingenuity, they are held accountable for ensuring the company is a good steward of its technology investments with concentrated emphasis on: 

ROI: Capitalizing quickly on new cloud technology, recognizing benefits, and taking ownership of IT assets, success measurement, and feedback loops Operationalization: The ability to effectively use and secure cloud assets as well as manage new service providers and expenses Sustainability: Ensuring that cloud transformation can continue to afford positive outcomes with minimal impact on the business for both near- and long-term success 

If the past three years were dedicated to accelerated cloud transformation, 2023 is being devoted to governing it. But it’s not just today’s tumultuous times calling for executives to heed to the reason of fiduciary responsibility. The cloud also necessitates it—particularly when companies want to achieve ROI faster. 

Cloud ROI Dynamics: Understanding the Economics of Innovation 

The cloud can make for an uneven balance sheet without proper oversight. It needs to be closely watched from a financial perspective. Why? The short answer: variable costs. When the cloud is infinitely scalable, costs are infinitely variable. Pricing structures are based on service usage fees and overage charges where even marginal lifts in usage can incur steep increases in cost. While this structure favors cloud providers, it starkly contrasts the needs of IT financial managers—most have per-unit budgets and prefer predictable monthly costs for easier budgeting and forecasting.  

Additionally, companies aren’t always good at estimating what they need and using everything they pay for. As a result, cloud waste is now a thing. In fact, companies waste as much as 29% of their cloud resources.  

As companies lift and shift their workloads to the cloud, they trade in-house management for outsourced services. But as IT organizations are loosening their reign, financial management teams should be tightening their grip. Those who aren’t actively right sizing their cloud assets are typically paying more than necessary. Hence, why overspending can easily reach 70%. 

Achieving Cloud ROI in One Year 

Achieving ROI in one year requires tracing where your cloud money goes to see how and where it is repaid. Budget dollars go down the drain when companies fail to pay attention to how they are using the cloud, don’t take the time to correct misuse, or overlook service pausing features and discounting opportunities.  

But cloud cost management is not always a simple task. The majority of IT and financial decision-makers report it’s challenging to account for cloud spending and usage, with the C-suite cite tracing spend and chargebacks of particular concern. The key to cost control is to pinpoint and track every cloud service cost across the IT portfolio—yes even when companies have on average 11 cloud infrastructure providers, nine unified communications solutions, as well as a cacophony of unsanctioned applications consuming up to 30% of IT budgets in the form of Shadow IT.  

When you factor in these dynamics and consider that cloud providers have little incentive to improve service usage reports, helping clients better balance the one-sided financials of the relationship, you can see why ROI can be slow-moving.  

FinOps comes in to bridge this gap. 

Managing Cloud Cost Centers: The Rise of FinOps 

Cloud services are now dominating IT expense sheets, and when increasing bills delay ROI, IT financial managers go looking for answers. This has given rise to the concept of FinOps (a word combining Finance and DevOps) which is a financial management discipline for controlling cloud costs. Driving fiscal accountability for the cloud, FinOps helps companies realize more business value and accelerate ROI from their cloud computing investments. 

Sometimes described as a cultural shift at the corporate level, FinOps principles were developed to foster collaboration between business teams and IT engineers or software development teams. This allows for more alignment around data-driven spending decisions across the organization. But beyond simply a strategic model, FinOps is also considered a technology solution—a service enabling companies to identify, measure, monitor, and optimize their cloud spend, thus shortening the time to achieve ROI. Leading cloud expense management providers, for example, save cloud investors 20% on average and can deliver positive ROI in the first year. 

FinOps Best Practices  

As the cloud makes companies agile, managing dynamic cloud costs becomes more important. FinOps help offset rising prices and insert accountability into organizations focused on cloud economics. Best practices for maximizing ROI include reconciling invoices against cloud usage, making sure application licenses are properly disconnected when no longer necessary or reassigned to other employees, and reviewing network servers to ensure they aren’t spinning cycles without a legitimate business purpose. 

Key approaches include: 

Auditing: The ability to granularly collect and maintain service information across the broader cloud ecosystem, analyzing real-time usage data in a central system using AI-powered analytics Cost Optimization: The insights to recognize cloud waste and quickly reduce inefficiencies, adjusting services and reallocating unused app licenses or infrastructure resources Vendor and Expense Management: The ability to validate spending and use automation to reduce the management burdens of bill pay, chargebacks, and allocation Professional Services: Strategic and tactical help at key moments including cloud migrations, cloud service discovery, contractual negotiations, and IT budget forecasting and spending 

Is the cloud a good investment? Yes, as long as the company can effectively see and use its assets, monitor its expenses, and manage its service. The cloud started as a means to lower costs, minimize capital expenses, and gain infinite scalability, and that reputation should payout even after being pressure tested by the masses. With a collaborative and disciplined approach to management, companies of every size can recognize quick ROI without generating significant waste or adding unnecessary complexity.  

To learn more about cloud expense management services, visit us here.     

Cloud Computing

Wendy M. Pfeiffer is a technology leader who’s as dedicated to excellence in operations and delivery as she is to maintaining a focus on innovation. She joined Nutanix as SVP and CIO following a successful career leading technology teams at companies like GoPro, Yahoo, Cisco Systems, and Robert Half. Highly regarded by her industry peers for her courageous transparency and candor, Pfeiffer also serves on the boards of Qualys, SADA Systems, and the American Gaming Association (AGA). 

On a recent episode of the Tech Whisperers podcast, Pfeiffer shared her insights about the numerous demands being placed on CIOs today, what she’s gained from her board experiences, and how the ways in which we work are evolving. Afterwards, we spent some time talking through Pfeiffer’s five-part series for “The Forecast by Nutanix” on IT’s role in enabling hybrid work, as well as what she’s learned running IT for a hybrid-first company. What follows is that conversation, edited for length and clarity.

Dan Roberts: What motivated you to produce this series on hybrid work?

Wendy Pfeiffer: Work is now eternally hybrid. What I mean by that is, we’re not going to be able to count on having everyone in the same place at the same time ever again. So, how do we respond to this changed nature of work? Instead of just being observers and saying, “Well, it’s not like it used to be,” how do we focus on changing the methods we use to respond to that?

If I think about my primary mission as an IT professional, it’s to enable technology in service of business and people, and today, business is different. Technology is different. People are different. So, I’ve been thinking about this a lot, studying it, reading, and speaking to folks. And the bottom line is, I didn’t find that anyone had any great ideas.

So, I started thinking about the IT experience as a product, and the employee experience as a product. If I were delivering a product into a new marketplace, I would need to learn everything I could about that marketplace, and then I would need to adjust some parameters of the product to be appropriate. And in doing so, I discovered these simple principles that I think make a difference towards enabling hybrid work.

Hybrid work is asynchronous, so you have to enable asynchronous things. It is characterized by context switching, and context switching has a negative impact on productivity. How do we counterbalance that? There are just all sorts of principles that are at the heart of hybrid work that, if you take them one at a time, we already have some tooling to address. We already have some techniques in use. We already have some design thinking around how to address those things. If we focus our efforts on those, we can improve the nature of work.

Part one focuses on managing constant change. Why should that become a bigger focus in 2023, and what are some everyday ways we can do that in a hybrid workplace?

I think that hybrid work in general is characterized by the change that comes from continuous context switching on purpose. Like most people, I find change to be stressful, and yet, I have developed some ways to deal with change. One is to have a home base, a foundation that’s not changing and that’s solid even as things around it changes. So, I was thinking about how to create a solid foundation in technology, and one of the easiest ways to do that is through ‘anchor technologies.’

In my organization, we have chosen a handful of anchor technologies, and we’ve doubled down on enabling our employees to be very comfortable with them, to always expect that those technologies will be available, functioning, and even to feel expert in them, the same way that you feel expert after you’ve been using your smartphone for a while. We want people to feel like, I’m not just a medium user of Zoom or Slack — I’m a Zoom ninja and know all the secrets. As soon as that competence and bedrock are there, then that gives us the foundation from which to launch new things.

For example, with online whiteboarding, I’m not launching a new technology; I’m launching a new online whiteboarding feature in the context of Zoom. So, I’m minimizing the amount of change the employee has to go through. They already feel comfortable when they see it show up as a feature in one of these anchor technologies.

It’s psychological, but it makes a huge difference in terms of our adoption of new technologies. We find that when we are launching new technologies in the context of our anchor applications, we see a massive uptick in adoption. In the past, we would launch a new technology, and about 30 days in, we would see about a 25% adoption rate. Now we see about an 80% adoption rate. And, you know, that’s a beautiful thing — much less training time, immediate productivity for our employees, etc.

In your second video, you get into asynchronous productivity, and you talk about those ‘watercooler’ conversations that many CIOs are concerned about — chance meetings that foster collaboration and innovation. How has that changed in the hybrid workplace?

Before the pandemic, most of us who worked in global companies already had people who worked in different time zones in different locations all over the world and were part of our teams. But back then, we didn’t care what kind of an experience they had. We didn’t pay much attention to them. You sort of had to be physically in the room, where the conversation was happening, to have a voice in that conversation. So we were leaving some of the productivity of those ‘remote’ participants on the table.

For example, before the pandemic, about 30% of our employees, globally, were full-time remote. They were not associated with a hub office. But 99% of the time, when we would have ideation sessions or strategy or planning sessions, those of us in a US time zone would physically get together in a conference room. If somebody couldn’t be in that conference room, they could be on the call, but they wouldn’t really collaborate and participate. We would use whiteboards, and the very act of stepping up and writing scribbles down on the whiteboard is an exclusive in-room experience. If you’re not in that room while it’s happening, you can look at those whiteboards afterwards and they’re unintelligible. If you’re listening in or you’re even viewing that conversation from a camera in the room, you can’t understand those whiteboard scribblings.

In 2023, we’re looking at fully 60% to 80% of most knowledge workers, at least at some point every week, working remotely. We’re never all going to be back in that room. Therefore, the biggest request I get as a CIO — and it’s usually from senior executives — is related to that: ‘Ideation has stopped; innovation is going to grind to a halt because we can’t all sit in this room and whiteboard together.’

I have a different point of view. I think that perhaps if we can find a way to ideate in a hybrid mode or asynchronously, then we can suddenly take advantage of that 30% of our employee population whom we used to not engage. Now we can have 100% participation.

What are some of the ways you’re doing that?

Asynchronous work requires a steady-state set of content that people can interact with. It requires writing, for lack of a better term. It requires expressing ideas in a context that transcends space and time. And then, of course, not everybody likes to read, not everybody speaks the same language, so we also need tooling that makes recordings and that creates transcripts of those recordings, so that over the course of 24 hours, a global team that might be living in 15 different time zones and 30 different countries can all take part in contributing to a conversation.

We are using tooling that creates persistent ways of communicating so that, even if you’re not in the room where it happens, you can still understand what happened, have a voice in what happens in the future, and make your mark. There are other tools and ideas as well. Nutanix’s Head of Design, Satish Ramachandran, talks about the need to make organizational changes to create ecosystems of collaboration around a time zone radius, so that we treat our global workers more respectfully.

Back in the day when we would have critical meetings in the US time zone, we had another set of executives who were missing dinnertime or getting up at four in the morning to participate. Most of us learned when we were all working from home that that’s incredibly disrespectful to our families and ourselves. People don’t want to go back to that. And yet, those people are key contributors, so we need to find ways of ensuring that we’re respectful of all participants.

Parts three and four are about reducing context switching and focusing on automation and self-service. Why is that important? 

One thing that happens when you are working in multiple modes is that the work itself can become complex and the technologies that we use can become complex. The more that we personalize, the more we have people engaging in using technology from all different contexts — this creates the need to do a little bit of everything.

The question becomes: How can we deal with the complexity of a work environment that’s inclusive of consumer tech and public internet and yet also must be very performant in physical offices and needs to happen across time zones and SaaS applications and on-premises data centers and all of those things? It’s overwhelming even to talk about it!

When we have great complexity and high volumes, those are wonderful times to automate, to take those high-volume tasks, those complex tasks, break them down into components and hand them off to the machine. It’s the same principle behind assembly lines. It’s setting up employees to succeed using the right mix of technologies, processes, and methodologies.

The fifth part explores consumer technology experiences for hybrid work. How do companies benefit by integrating consumer technology into the hybrid work system?

I think one of the things we miss as employers is that over the last 15 years or so, technology has become fun. I’m a huge gamer. I love the art and the science and the capability and the interaction design that’s grown up around that space. I’m a huge proponent of mobile devices. All of these things blend some serious technology, but also with serious fun. There are all kinds of interactions that are available that are just super cool. So why do we have to be so 1980s and sad and serious in the workplace?

If we brought our sense of engagement and our sense of fun and our sense of pleasure in using those technologies to work, what could we achieve, particularly if we’re working in a company that’s making products for other human beings? There’s no rule against me sitting here in my gaming chair, using one of my gaming computers, to do work. I’m even curating my own visual experience. I have this really cool streamer camera that lets me show up beautifully. Even using that consumer tech to curate my appearance is one of the things that’s available to me, so why not have a little fun as I’m working? Why wouldn’t we enable our employees to be comfortable and feel good about themselves and how they’re showing up professionally?

There are multiple studies that show a direct correlation between employee happiness and employee productivity. In fact, many studies show that employees are about 15% more productive when they report their mood as being happy versus their mood as being sad. So why not? Why not have happier employees by using technology to give them the experiences that they enjoy, even while they’re working?

For more from Pfeiffer on the changing nature of work and her passion for developing the human side of technology, tune in to the Tech Whisperers podcast.

Collaboration Software, IT Leadership, Staff Management

Not every IT project can be completed end-to-end with in-house talent. For CIOs who lack the full-time technical resources needed for deploying a solution, such as an ERP or a CRM system, often for the first time in their organizations, an implementation partner can play a key role in the project’s success.

Implementation partners offer CIOs broad experience and expertise in deploying solutions at a range of companies. The learnings thus accrued for partners can be leveraged by CIOs for their own implementations to avoid common mistakes and save a lot of time and effort.

Moreover, implementation partners provide the all-important bandwidth needed for a successful deployment of standard applications, allowing IT leaders to focus on more critical areas of the business.

As Naresh Pathak, CIO at Gurgaon, India-based civil construction company GR Infraprojects Limited, says, “I have 15 members in my SAP team but majority of them have functional rather than technical roles. Therefore, the in-house team can make only small tweaks in the workflow. For any major change, we must seek external help from a partner. Also, it is increasingly becoming tough to retain technical talent, more so after the pandemic. If crucial resources leave in the middle of a project, filling up the position takes time as the recruitment process is long. An implementation partner provides us dedicated resources to ensure our projects continue seamlessly.”

Implementation partners strive to deliver on time as their payments are linked to the delivery of the project. Also, the partners help in documentation of the project and in retaining and transferring the knowledge within the organization — attributes that are crucial for the overall long-term success of any technology project.

But not all implementation partnerships go smoothly or end up being successful. Several issues can crop up while engaging with a partner, and it is important to identify these pitfalls lest the projects fall short on expectations or even fail miserably. Here are some strategies recommended by senior IT leaders that could help prevent you from getting burned by your implementation partners.

Complement your partner with a purpose-built team

San Francisco-based Ashish Agarwal, senior director of product management, CX, and strategic programs at ATM manufacturer Diebold Nixdorf, is well-versed in the shortcomings of implementation partnerships.

“One of the most significant challenges that companies face with implementation partners is their lack of understanding of client’s business and strategic objectives,” he says.

“I have experienced similar situations across industries that I have worked with, whether it was implementing enterprise-wide analytics at a health insurance company or automation of end-to-end onboard catering process at an airline. The technology implementation partners usually talk about technologies and toolsets but depend deeply on the customer for knowledge around their business operations,” says Agarwal, who previously worked as head of technology at IndiGo Airlines and Apollo Munich Health Insurance.

Sudip Mazumder, head-digital at Larsen & Toubro, an Indian multinational engaged in manufacturing and engineering procurement construction (EPC) projects, says due to the partners’ lack of understanding “the business processes, nuances, exceptions, mandatory items, workflow, and state models, they are unable to provide a robust business function blueprint. Instead of customizing a solution based on an organization’s specific business and technology environment, the partner implements it in a straightjacketed manner. The approach is bolt-on when it should be built-in.”

In such cases, implementation partners can be prone to poor design practices, he says, especially when it comes to modular, scalable, and extensible systems.

“In many cases I see that designers are not even starting with an ERD [entity relationship diagram], which clearly demonstrate what kinds of relationship or data structure, or usage of global variables are required. As a result, design becomes inflexible, resulting in cost and time overrun,” he says.

Agarwal says the key then is to complement your implementation partner.

“We realized this nuance ahead of our implementation and designed an internal team to complement the partner with business knowledge, solution design, and change management,” he says. “It’s important to design a team that leverages the strengths of the implementation partner and complements it with other internal or external team members to set up transformational programs for success.”

This process, Agarwal says, begins as early as the partner evaluation phase. “We must realize that to maximize the outcome, heavy lifting is on the client side as well as the implementation partner,” he says.

In assembling their team, CIOs should “employ key business analysts of adequate functional knowledge and communication skills,” Mazumder says. “IT leaders should also use good solution architects with experience of enterprise applications skills with adequate overseeing by senior designers.”

Build a foolproof contract

CIOs should also be aware that implementation partners can sometimes find loopholes in contracts and use them to their advantage.

Ashok Jade, group CIO of auto component manufacturer Spark Minda, points out that bigger partners often outsource the work to smaller players, “which leads to a CIO eventually

working with unskilled vendors. This happens when the agreement between the partner and the enterprise is not well thought through,” he says.

Pathak encountered this problem when he joined GR Infraprojects. “Before I joined, the company had decided to move from Google Cloud Platform to Azure and had engaged with an implementation partner about a year back. The project scope involved migration, capacity planning, and support,” he says.

“Migrating O365’s email and collaboration was easy but migrating the complete instance of SAP to Azure was complex. Therefore, when the project went live in April, our SAP deployment in Azure encountered a lot of performance problems. We also noticed that the support ticket was going to a third party, which is when we realized it was outsourced to it by our implementation partner,” Pathak says.

GR Infraprojects’ contract with its implementation partner didn’t prohibit the use of third parties. “The partner didn’t have the requisite technical capability to handle the project. It was good with selling licenses but not adept at handling projects of this level,” he says. To this day, the company’s Azure environment still isn’t stable, and the company is considering repatriating the workloads.

“From this experience, we learnt that it’s extremely important to draft the agreement carefully to make it foolproof,” Pathak says. “Also, a CIO should do background research in the market about the partner’s capabilities before signing up.”

When there is ambiguity in contracts, especially around goals and metrics, both parties will often have their own interpretation of the expectations, Agarwal says. “Avoid ambiguity on expectations and potential measures of success as much as possible. Also, be clear about how the two teams will handle situations that fall outside expectations.”

Avoid big bang approach

The rise of next-generation technologies such as IoT and low-code no-code has given rise to a new breed of implementation partners that focus on projects involving such technologies.

“There’s always a tradeoff between working with an established implementation partner versus a startup,” Spark Minda’s Jade says. “As compared to the credible and entrenched Tier I partners, startup partners are agile, but their processes aren’t well established. Therefore, a lot of time is spent in signing agreements and doing the paperwork.”

CIOs should be prepared to spend a lot of time hand-holding less experienced partners, he says, adding that startup partners can also end up shuttering due to management issues or financial problems, leaving CIOs in the lurch. “To take advantage of a startup implementation partner, one should ideally go ahead in a phased manner,” he says.

For example, when partnering with a stratup to integrate 100 CNC machines with IoT, Spark Minda chose to first integrate just 10 machines. “In the second phase, we covered 20 machines. The subsequent phases saw 30 and 40 machines being taken up respectively,” says Jade.

Design for change

It’s also important to plan for change. For large transformational projects, not every detail is known at the onset of the project. Plus, when deploying an agile implementation approach, programs are progressively elaborated.

“It’s important to plan for absorbing these changes from a financial, implementation, and business process perspective,” Agarwal says. “Do not lock yourself into relationships that tend to forecast outcomes over long periods of time. Change is the only constant and it’s important to ensure that you’ve set up your relationship with your implementation partner to be able to support changes that come along the way.”

Leverage standardized templates

Working with top implementation partners who have well-established processes comes with its own set of challenges.

“Established processes have their dark side,” says Jade. “It could take days and even weeks to sign an NDA as the partner’s team spends too much time on the legal language and clauses. Even a small change in the project could take two to three days as partner would follow the laid-out rules that would include referring to the card rate and having discussions at various levels, including with the project manager and the top management.”

To expedite the process, Jade says, “NDAs are fairly standardized these days. Rather than drafting one from scratch, a CIO should pick a standard template. After all, it’s the intention that matters and not the language.”

For removing the bottlenecks in the approval process from his end, Jade has delegated signing authority to the project manager. “All approvals need not come to my desk. Delegating authority helps speed up things,” he says.

Forge direct relationships with your partner’s management team

Having a strong rapport with the implementation partner’s C-suite can help a CIO wriggle out of a sticky situation.

Pathak describes one such commitment failure on the part of one of GR Infraprojects’ partners. “The company has 20,000 to 25,000 trucks, dumpers, and JCB machines. To meet the fueling needs of these vehicles, we have a tie up with Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. As we wanted to update the refueling date, quantity supplied and payment details directly into our systems, an implementation partner was roped in to bring about integration of SAP and IoT,” he says. “However, even after more than a year and a half, the project still hasn’t gone

live. This was because the implementation partner shifted its focus from the corporate sector to government, leaving the former’s projects in limbo.”

The project, which was started before Pathak joined the company, could have benefitted by a stronger relationship with the partner, he says.

“A good rapport also helps in resolving conflicts that are too common in promoter-led companies where the project scope changes often, leading to disputes,” Pathak says. “Leveraging his bonds with the partner company’s leadership, a CIO can get both sides to engage and resolve the dispute. There should not be any ego in the partner ecosystem and a CIO should have a great personal and professional relationship.”

Establish a shared vision

It’s important to share your strategic vision and business goals with your implementation partners so there can be shared clarity around the project and its measures of success.

“The implementation partner is a key contributor to business objectives and should have absolute transparency on the progress towards the program goals,” Agarwal says. “Many a times, companies do not establish a trust relationship with implementation partners and think of it as a zero-sum game. This approach leads to a relationship that is transactional and does not deliver full potential of a partnership.”

To be strategic, CIOs must ensure true partnerships with their implementation providers. Anything less can jeopardize the likelihood of delivering successful results.

Project Management

By Viki Paige, Head of Broadcom Software Marketing

As recently announced, Hock Tan, Broadcom Inc.’s President and CEO, will be also directly overseeing the operations of the Broadcom Software Group. Now that Hock is leading Broadcom Software, we sat down with him to learn more about his career, personal philanthropy and areas of achievement.

Q: Having grown up in Malaysia, tell us a bit about how you got to the U.S. and what it was like to become an American citizen?

I came to the United States in 1971 on a scholarship to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  I was both fortunate and proud to attend MIT. The American college and post-graduate educational system has always been a magnet for aspiring students around the globe. Like so many world-class U.S. colleges and universities, MIT has opened many doors for me, and made it possible for me to live the American Dream. I graduated from MIT in 1975 with both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering, and then worked as a research engineer at Union Carbide Corporation for several years before attending Harvard Business School where I received my MBA in 1979. It was then in 1990 that I became an American Citizen.

Q: How have these defining moments shaped who you are and how you lead?   

I have the best job in the world as CEO of Broadcom because I get to work alongside some of the smartest and most creative people on the planet. Success is a team effort, and at Broadcom, we know that our talented workforce is our most valuable asset which is why we continue to take steps to ensure that we will have access to bright and hardworking talent in the future. The Broadcom Foundation, which funds science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs for middle school students inside and outside the U.S., is just one example of how Broadcom is working to encourage the next generation to take an interest in areas of study that will be critical to the continued growth of both our company as well as our country.

Q: What was your career path to becoming Broadcom’s CEO?

My path to becoming CEO of Broadcom was not a straight line. After getting my MBA, I began my career in the auto industry with General Motors, before moving to the food and beverage industry and spending a few years at PepsiCo. From there, I held leadership roles at Hume Industries, in the building materials space, at PacVen Investments, a venture capital firm, as well as at Commodore International, best known for its personal computers.

I made the transition into semiconductors when I joined Integrated Circuit Systems (ICS) in 1994. Five years later, I moved from being CFO into the CEO role after leading a management buyout. It was while working at ICS that I first had the opportunity to collaborate directly with the U.S. Department of Defense, gaining a security clearance as part of the work we did on the radar systems for the Patriot anti-missile program.

We eventually sold ICS to Integrated Device Technology in 2005 and one year later, I was hired by the private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts and Silver Lake Partners to become the CEO of Avago Technologies, which was a spin-out of the legacy Hewlett Packard semiconductors team. Avago later acquired Broadcom Corporation in 2016 and rebranded itself into the “Broadcom” that you all know today. I never would have predicted that I’d become CEO of this great company when I began my professional journey and consider myself fortunate to be where I am today.

Q: What personal initiatives and causes are important to you?

As I have had much good fortune in my life, it is really important to me to give back to the community and to others. Autism research is a cause that I’m deeply involved in and affects me personally as the father of two children with autism. My family has made substantial gifts to Harvard, MIT and Cornell to fund programs to improve the work-life of young adults with disabilities as well as to support research in the areas of neurodiversity.

Q: What has your greatest professional achievement been to-date?

I am very proud of the work that we have done at Broadcom in the 15+ years since I joined the company. The introduction of industry-pioneering products, such as optical navigation in PCS to the first Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM combo chip for mobile phones has enabled the company to achieve great success and to continue to be at the forefront of leading-edge innovation in technology. I look forward to welcoming the VMware team when the transaction closes to advance our strategy to build the world’s leading infrastructure technology company.

And if you haven’t taken a look, please visit https://Reimaginingsoftware.com, our recently launched website that contains useful materials about the VMware transaction and other relevant information.

About Viki Paige:

Broadcom Software

Viki is responsible for end-to-end marketing for Broadcom Software, ensuring that marketing strategies are developed and executed across the organization. Viki has extensive experience in product/solutions marketing, software solutions, and product strategy.

CEO, IT Leadership

Trying to explain secure access service edge (SASE pronounced ‘sassy’) and zero trust can be exasperating when you’re making the case for business leaders to invest in new products and infrastructure. The onus is on IT leaders to focus top executives on the business benefits these technology concepts entail and how they will advance the cause of enterprise security.

Both SASE and zero trust are fast-evolving security concepts, creating somewhat of a moving target. Vendors and service providers are eager to frame those concepts within the frameworks of their own offerings; that can create confusion, though.

“Currently, the single greatest hurdle the market is facing is a high degree of hype and confusion,” IDC analysts explained in 2021. “In its current state, SASE must be explained over and over again and customer expectations must be managed.”

Evolving quickly

The analyst insights underscore that the role and definition of SASE and zero trust is evolving at a faster pace than traditional legacy solutions for networks and security. “The SASE concept has placed tremendous pressure on vendors to combine networking and network security into a single as-a-service offering,” IDC points out.

According to Gartner, which coined the term, SASE combines network security with WAN capabilities, and can encompass multiple components such as SD-WAN, secure web gateways, cloud access security broker functions, firewall as a service, and zero trust network access (ZTNA) in a cloud-native delivery model.

While there are a growing number of available ZTNA offerings, “There is no silver bullet product or service, nor even a coherent, integrated suite of products or services, that delivers ‘zero trust in a box,’” according to Nemertes CTO John Burke writes.

ZTNA fits within a broader zero trust architecture (ZTA) that involves protecting assets, workflows, and services. An emerging class of zero trust application access (ZTAA) offerings further complicates attempts to explain the differences in business terms.

Transformative explanations

When it comes to networking and security, though, confusing acronyms are nothing new. But what has changed is the speed and nature of the delivery. The SASE model embodies flexibility and integration, and is delivered as-a-service, all of which should appeal to CEOs, CFOs, and other business decision-makers.

Other key points to keep the discussion focused on key business benefits, include:

SASE represents a transformative approach that “will ultimately enable better security outcomes and business value.” — IDC A single policy platform at the heart of zero trust architecture “would minimize the number of integrations the enterprise would have to create and maintain, or the amount of redundant work the enterprise would have to perform…” — Nemertes“SASE combines networking and security into a scalable cloud service that fits with the remote and hybrid work models companies use today. Potential benefits include easier network and security management, flexibility to scale up or down as business needs require, and lower costs.” – Network World“94% of respondents say their adoption of SASE solutions has accelerated due to the need to make digital services and/or remote/hybrid work sustainable for the long term.” — CIO 2022 SASE Market Trends Study

As you evaluate SASE and zero-trust offerings, making sure solutions and services providers are first making the business case for your organization is the best way to simplify decision-making process. Learn more about evolving security frameworks in the on-demand webinar from Comcast Business: “Beyond the Buzzwords – Networks and Security Converge”

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