When MOD Pizza opened in 2008, customers had a chance to get a taste of something different. MOD, which stands for “Made on Demand,” offers customizable, artisan pizzas, giving customers a choice of more than 40 toppings with various sauces, and customizable salads —delivered superfast.

MOD in America

But pizza (and salads) alone isn’t what separates the Seattle-based chain from the competition and has made it a rapidly growing success. It now has more than 500 system-wide locations throughout the country. 

Two other factors, in addition to its high-quality, personalized products, set MOD Pizza apart from the crowd. The first is a unique pricing strategy. The size of the pizza and not the number of toppings determines the price. So, no matter how many toppings you want, the price is the same for the size you choose. 

The second factor has proven to be an essential ingredient for success: the human factor. Without dedicated, customer-focused employees, even a restaurant known for its cuisine can be difficult to stomach if the service is poor. Happy employees equal happy customers. In 2015, Fortune Magazine named MOD Pizza “one of the 20 Best Workplaces in Retail in the entire US.”

“For MOD Pizza, providing exceptional employee experiences is key to driving workforce engagement and business success,” says Tara Gambill, senior director of enterprise systems for MOD. And to help maintain those exceptional experiences, MOD Pizza added to its business recipe SAP solutions, including SAP SuccessFactors and SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition.

Keeping up with the MOD Squad 

MOD Pizza has more than 10,000 employees, known as the “MOD Squad” (perhaps influenced by the 1968 TV series of the same name – you remember, the one with Linc, Julie, and Pete.) That works out to hundreds of MOD Squad events occurring every day such as hires, transfers, promotions, and separations, generating a lot of data. 

With the chain’s rapid growth, its legacy technology couldn’t keep up. Data was entered manually, which, in some cases, led to inconsistencies and errors and slowed down operations. The company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) and human resources (HR) systems weren’t integrated, creating information silos. Recruiting and onboarding processes were cumbersome. Those issues and more affected the business efficiency and MOD Squad experience.  

Cooking with SAP

MOD Pizza was looking for a solution to efficiently automate, accelerate, and connect the company’s HR and ERP processes and scale. SAP delivered with SAP SuccessFactors (for HR) and SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition (for ERP). SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) provides the scalable foundation for the company’s digital transformation, and SAP Master Data Integration enables accurate data to be available enterprise wide.

MOD has also employed Qualtrics Experience Management solutions to capture employee feedback and refine recruiting and onboarding processes.

“The ability of SAP SuccessFactors and S/4HANA Cloud, public edition to handle our HR and back-office ERP needs in a scalable and powerful way allows us to leverage an intelligent core and weave all of our end-to-end processes together,” says Tara.

MOD managers can now focus on partnering with their teams instead of being overwhelmed with time-consuming HR and finance processes. “Bringing in this single, cloud-based platform to manage all these activities is a game-changer for MOD,” says Tara.

Out of the oven — automating and integrating

Today, back-of-the-house systems and capabilities – including ordering, inventory, labor management/scheduling, repair, and maintenance costs – are integrated into SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition, for seamless operation. 

Hiring and onboarding are frictionless and accelerated to help new employees report to work faster and easier. Up to 1,000 new hires are onboarded each month. 

SAP solutions help MOD Pizza manage 400 event data changes daily. By avoiding manual data entry, the chain saves labor – more than 15 hours a week – and eliminates errors. 

It all adds up to a recipe for ongoing success and happiness – for the MOD Squad, the squad’s pizza home, and MOD customers. For its accomplishments, MOD Pizza has been named a winner in the Experience Wizard category in the 2023 SAP Innovation Awards, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

To learn more about MOD Pizza’s Innovation Awards recipe for success, check out their Innovation Awards pitch deck.

Digital Transformation

In today’s challenging economy, customer expectations are high, patience is low, and attention is at a premium. Your customers demand a seamless experience with your products and services, with easy access to detailed, helpful self-service support options. So how do you stay ahead of ever-increasing customer demands? Data. Harnessing numerous customer data points, often scattered across multiple departments, is the key to unlocking a proactive approach to customer satisfaction (and growth).

So your customer success organization is more integral to your brand than ever. And its job is significantly more complex, too. Your customer success team is tasked with ensuring that your customers have everything they need when they need it. And they must also offer a personalized experience that leads to increased product or service adoption and revenue growth.

Essentially, they need to act as a growth engine for your organization. So, instead of simply responding to customer requests, your teams should be proactive and prescriptive. Anticipate your customers’ needs, impressing and delighting them at every turn. The key to this transformation lies in intelligently using the data you’re already collecting.

Predictive insights. Self-service experiences. Highly satisfied customers.

Unifying data in the cloud to visualize it, analyze it, and apply tools like machine learning allows you to unlock new customer insights. Predict when they’ll need support. Better understand when they’re most likely to drop out of your lifecycle. Recognize when they’re most apt to increase their investment. And, of course, doing all this while carefully respecting privacy and adhering to laws regulating the use of data.

Armed with this information, and the right tech platform to glean insights from it, your teams can digitally engage with your customers at the right time with relevant content.

Like any business initiative, scalability is critical. You likely don’t have the workforce to connect with every customer personally. In an already overcrowded digital communication landscape, you’ll achieve greater success by putting the power back in your customers’ hands. Offer the self-service options they want, powered by elegant search experiences that deliver fast access to the information they need.

3 key customer experience drivers

There are three initiatives your customer success organization can implement now to ensure it proactively engages with your customers, offers a self-service experience, and generates continued and repeat business:

Ensure that a customer-first approach is baked into your organization’s DNA.

To position your customer success team as a growth engine, you must have alignment with sales, marketing, product, and other parts of your business.

Make sure everyone in your organization is on the same page about your data collection efforts. And, most importantly, evangelize how all your teams can use that data to set customers up for success and help them grow long-term relationships with your organization.

2. Identify and fill gaps.

What KPIs are important to your customer success team? Are you collecting the right data to report on them?

Ask the right questions of your data based on your KPIs, and you’re likely to uncover gaps or attrition points and identify ways to resolve them. Maybe your customers aren’t receiving enough training or information. Or your team is reaching out to them at the wrong times. Or not at all. When you understand the critical gaps, you can fill them to ensure a smooth road to customer loyalty.

Invest in documentation and metadata.

Your customers need to be able to search for, and quickly and easily find, tools and resources. Your metadata tagging strategy is vital to ensuring they can.

Many companies simply tag their content with internal or company-driven terms, but incorporating the language your customers use to search for information will help them find it faster. Continue to analyze your data over time to see if you’re missing additional content your customers need.

Your customers are at the heart of your organization’s success. And your data is what keeps it beating. When you leverage it strategically to delight your customers, you cultivate loyal customers who are eager to increase their investment in your products or services — a real win-win!

See how Elasticsearch helps foster a culture of customer success.

Rick Laner is the Chief Customer Officer at Elastic.

Data Management

As IT organizations attempt wide-scale cloud adoption, the importance of common best practices across applications and products is growing, sparking an exciting new conversation about platform teams and related disciplines like platform engineering.

The problem statement driving the investment in platform teams is clear: developing, operating, and optimizing a modern application is becoming too complex for many product delivery teams to solve independently. In response to this friction, leading organizations are taking a new approach, allowing workstreams following a given application pattern—perhaps a Java microservice or Kubeflow data pipeline—to use a repeatable, secure set of starters, UX, and automation—a “golden path.”

The game-changing insight of golden paths is an application-centric and workstream-focused approach. From IDE to production, golden paths align development teams with an organization’s cross-functional best practices. The correct way to work becomes the easy way. As a result, many platform teams deliver a more than 50% improvement in developer onboarding speed, eliminating friction and uncertainty for all the cloud applications they enable.

Repeatability is fundamental to realizing value from the cloud at scale. Before adopting a golden path culture, autonomous application teams might share version control systems or continuous integration tools but deploy and update similar applications in needlessly variable ways. Golden paths propose a new level of standardization, implementing internal developer platforms (IDPs) and shared workflows, which guide an application from its first commit to Day 2 operations.

Effectively diffusing cloud best practices requires both a technological and cultural evolution. Many cloud application teams are entirely disconnected; other groups may have no repeatable access to their hard-won cloud and application expertise. The shared patterns and workflows on internal developer platforms become a nexus of repeatable standards, continuously improved by updates from across the organization.

Spotify experienced a lack of repeatability and responded with a significant update to its cloud strategy. They shifted their culture to center around a collaborative set of best practices and workflows as a baseline for every cloud application–golden paths enabled by their platform team. The results proved so decisive they wondered how they operated without them, recalling: “There was a time when engineers at Spotify couldn’t imagine life with golden paths; now we can’t imagine life without them.”

Building a cross-Functional Golden Path

Platform teams building golden paths codify and automate the application patterns across architectural, operational, and security domains. Comprised of experts in cloud architecture, DevOps, security, and automation, platform teams work closely with application development teams to enable an end-to-end experience.

Many application teams are building similar cloud applications but need a cultural prompt and shared platform capabilities to collaborate on architectural best practices. A platform team’s first task is to enable simplified creation and deployment of an organization’s most common application types–preferably with a simplified application deployment manifest.

Common and simplified deployment manifests unlock a powerful new way of thinking of cloud applications as fleets vs. one-off projects. Applications with a tolerance for horizontal scaling employ an easy-to-automate and consistent approach to secure application networking and autoscaling. New security affordances and controls may also be cumbersome to implement without a shared and developer-friendly platform but become the easy-to-consume defaults with one.

More secure by default often becomes a top focus for golden paths. Platform teams should use common automation for container builds, removing developer toil and allowing ongoing Day 2 updates. Security posture and vulnerabilities should be holistically tracked and exposed with an intuitive UX by the platform team. More secure infrastructure configurations can be automated by the platform approach such as enabling mTLS for application traffic by default.

If this new approach sounds right for your cloud strategy, here are some aspirational outcomes and metrics proven to help guide and motivate a platform team investment:

1: Ease developer onboarding: When a new engineer joins the team, it’s a living test of your cloud productivity experience. Spotify recorded a rough halving of their total time to value for new hires with golden paths. What’s easier to learn the first time is also often far easier to repeat reliably–making this a great first metric to focus on for a platform team.

2: Reduce inefficient manual tickets: While the promise of cloud-based delivery is on-demand automation through declarative APIs, the reality is often many layers of approval tickets and forms. Golden paths bake in policies and best practices by default. Writing code, not tickets, is a rallying cry for successful golden paths in enterprises. Reducing the number of tickets to initiate and deploy an app by more than 50 percent is a common starting goal.

3: Automate Day 2 operations: Day 2 operations on applications and the platform infrastructure become more automated and frequent. Successful platform teams often rebuild their entire estate, including security updates, weekly. Golden paths also leverage more secure-by-default automation whenever possible, relieving the burden on developers and improving security posture. 

This unique combination of outcomes across developer velocity, day 2 operations, and security is powering an exciting industry shift in cloud consumption. As Gartner analyst Mark O’Neill recently observed: “Looking at our inquiry trends on platform engineering… What a rocket ship of a topic.”

Expect golden paths and platform engineering  to remain one of the most important trends as our industry grows from early cloud platform explorations to repeatable execution at scale.

IT Leadership, Managed Cloud Services

Your digital transformations may have turned your network operations on its head. You’ve moved workloads out to the cloud, adopted SD-WAN technologies and most of your critical applications are now hosted in a SaaS environment. So how do you manage operations when your users aren’t even using your enterprise network anymore?

Join Broadcom for our 3rd annual NetOps Virtual Summit as we showcase Experience-Driven NetOps. We are proud to be the only vendor to deliver network monitoring and management that uses end-user experience metrics to determine the state of the network, for any user, on any device, on any network… anywhere. At Broadcom, we ensure reliable connections that are experience-proven and enable network operations teams to become experience-driven, going beyond just device-specific visibility. This is Experience-Driven NetOps.

Register for the NetOps Virtual Summit today and expect to learn the formula for success from industry experts and your peers in network operations; as they reveal how they evolved their network monitoring and management to the next level by:

Optimizing operations with a 95% improvement in NOC triage

With user-experience metrics surfaced alongside your standardized operational workflows in a single tool, you too can transform NOC triage and response for fast isolation of any network performance impacts on the user experience by 95% with Broadcom.

Accelerating network transformation while realizing a 160% ROI

Gain agility and speed in delivering modern solutions out to market with unified coverage for the most traditional and software-defined, multi-vendor network technologies in the market today. By validating performance across multi-vendor SD-WAN networks; and tracking configuration changes before they can jeopardize network performance, you too can realize an enterprise monitoring ROI of up to 160% with Broadcom.

Enhancing connected experiences while proving your innocence by 91%  

Optimal network delivery for today’s user experience is more critical than ever for today’s hybrid work environment. Ensuring user productivity over managed and unmanaged networks is your new reality now; but you too can identify and resolve issues that impact user experience faster; you can get passive and active insights on cloud application utilization quicker; and you can ensure network resources are operating at optimal levels easier. Armed with these capabilities, our customers have improved Mean-Time-To-Innocence by 91% with Broadcom.

Register today.


By Hock Tan, Broadcom President & CEO

In the years that I have led Broadcom, I have found two things to be true for technology leaders: First, success with your customers starts with success with your ecosystem partners; and second, driving ecosystem growth is key to maintaining the growth of your own business.

This is why, at Broadcom, we bring innovation, investment and attention into our making customer value a lasting reality through our pioneering partner programs. These programs help us drive two pivotal customer objectives: innovation in technology and innovation in business models.

From joint innovation to accessing new markets, our pioneering partner programs help us do more for customers. As digital transformation accelerates, customers need fully integrated solutions that address their needs.

Today, we have more than 35,000 partners in our IT infrastructure and cybersecurity software ecosystem, and every single one plays a vital role in bringing value and success for our customers. We work with many kinds of partners across the entire value chain – including the production, procurement, distribution and deployment of our products. They help us expand the reach of our technology and drive better business efficiency and experiences for customers.

When we set out to make any business decision, we always ask ourselves the following three questions:

Does it drive a better outcome for the customer?Does it allow and enable profitability for a partner?Does it drive better efficiencies for Broadcom?

If the answer to any of these is “no”, it’s not a path worth pursuing. Our partners and customers should always benefit from the decisions we make.

What partners bring to Broadcom’s customers

At Broadcom, we understand that the key to growth isn’t found in being all things to all people, but instead we believe our customer-first mindset, coupled with purposeful partnerships, is key to delivering untapped value for customers. 

Broadcom’s innovative and industry-first partnership models provide that purposeful plan for how our partners integrate into the overall value chain, and empower each company to leverage their core competencies and do what they do best. Our highly capable partners help us provide solutions for customers ranging from the world’s largest public and private organizations to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Through Broadcom’s unique friction free Expert Advantage Partner Program, partners deliver high value services to customers of all sizes – including our largest enterprise accounts. 

Yet, the value our partners deliver goes far beyond services. Showcased on our Insights Marketplace at expert.broadcom.com, customers can find our partner-built applications that extend our product capabilities and tailor them for specific use cases – unlocking more value from our customers’ investments. In short, for every challenge, there’s a Broadcom partner ready to deliver the solution and support the specialized needs of businesses – regardless of size. 

What Broadcom brings to partners

At Broadcom, we are unique in how we engage with and support our partner ecosystem. Often, commercial vendors will attempt to control how their partners conduct business. But at Broadcom, we empower partners to identify and pursue their own commercial strategies, so they can bring sales and services to end-user customers on their own terms. We introduce industry-first, go-to-market partner models with shared risk and significant rewards. 

Our Global Cyber Security Aggregator Program (CSAP) is proof. CSAP was launched to expand our market reach and deliver enhanced levels of service to a subset of commercial enterprises with unique needs. The program brings together Broadcom’s Symantec cyber security solutions and partners’ resources along with their in-country expertise to offer a best-in-class customer experience. We have made significant investments, including in-sales training to ensure our distribution partners are well equipped to provide better customer support and a quicker response time to evolving threats.

Our customers can also receive hands-on technical help through our unique Broadcom Software Knights Program. We vet and provide certified partners with ongoing technical training, product presale and sales intelligence so that they can handle any complex issue put in front of them with hands-on technical support. We provide them with the best so that our customers experience the best.

Together, we have a shared goal and responsibility of addressing our customers’ needs and delivering superior outcomes. It’s a win-win-win. Our message to our customers, current partners and future partners is this: our goal is to deliver superior outcomes for customers of all sizes; and our partners’ success is our success. We understand the value our partner ecosystem brings to Broadcom and mutual customers, and we are committed to our partner and customers’ continued success.  

Learn more about Broadcom here.

About Hock Tan:

Broadcom Software

Hock Tan is Broadcom President, Chief Executive Officer and Director. He has held this position since March 2006. From September 2005 to January 2008, he served as chairman of the board of Integrated Device Technology. Prior to becoming chairman of IDT, Mr. Tan was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Circuit Systems from June 1999 to September 2005. Prior to ICS, Mr. Tan was Vice President of Finance with Commodore International from 1992 to 1994, and previously held senior management positions with PepsiCo and General Motors. Mr. Tan served as managing director of Pacven Investment, a venture capital fund in Singapore from 1988 to 1992, and served as managing director for Hume Industries in Malaysia from 1983 to 1988.

IT Leadership

The retail industry is transforming rapidly. Modern retailers rely heavily on automation for managing inventory, shelf design, customer service, and logistics. Video cameras and sensors that allow for unique store design help to enhance the customer experience. Technology is truly powering retail transformation, setting modern stores apart from traditional brick-and-mortar ones.

It is no easy feat sending all these video streams and sensor data to the cloud for real-time analysis. High bandwidth is required to move heavy data streams. So is low latency for quick data processing and decision making, especially when robotics is involved. 

This is where edge computing and edge-native applications become relevant for retail stores. They allow computing to occur closer to the source of data–right inside the store. Coupled with a private 5G communication network, retailers can deploy cost-effective and high performing ‘edge-native’ applications.

At the same time, companies must maintain secure environments and prevent fraud. According to a recent Microsoft blog, organizations can use security and compliance solutions in Microsoft 365 E5 to have visibility into their threat landscape and leverage built-in AI and machine learning in Microsoft Sentinel and Microsoft Defender for Cloud to proactively manage threats and reduce alert fatigue.

Read the full blog post to learn more.

Cloud Computing, Retail Industry

Figure 1: Source: IDC’s Future Enterprise Resiliency and Spending Survey, Wave 2, March 2022


For today’s teams, it is exceedingly complex and costly to support multiple generations of infrastructure and applications. What’s worse, according to an IDC report on network observability, this is the number one challenge to achieving digital transformation success.

The right data will lead you to the right root cause

The reality is that teams lost visibility and control when workloads started moving to cloud and SaaS environments. To get that visibility and control back, you need to be able to collect, correlate, and contextualize network and user experience data from all networks—whether you own the infrastructure or not.

Today, it is actually possible to realize complete network monitoring visibility, even across multiple generations of network infrastructure. You can establish unified views of bare metal infrastructures, VMs, and containers, even those hosted in ISP, cloud, and SaaS environments. 

In action: Full NetOps visibility and control

I recently caught up with an IT executive at a U.S.-based financial services institution. This organization provides services to banks all over the nation. When the organization began migrating services and workloads to the cloud and adapting to hybrid work realities, they realized they had an urgent network monitoring need. Customer and employee services were suddenly reliant upon internal corporate networks, ISPs, and cloud service providers. When customers and employees encountered downtime and performance issues, they needed to be able to quickly identify which domain the problem was arising in.

Their team was able to establish the comprehensive network monitoring capabilities outlined above, including across ISP networks, their data centers, and the cloud. Now, they’re tracking the user experience, no matter where customers or employees are located.

This visibility provided immediate dividends. For example, when a banking customer began reporting timeouts and latency issues, the financial service firm’s NetOps team was able to quickly identify the cause of the issue: a misconfigured load balancer running on the customer’s network. This is a great example of how teams can improve mean time to innocence (MTTI) when they have the right data in front of them. The NetOps team could quickly determine the issue wasn’t arising in their environment.

Not only does this provide significant improvement in operational efficiency and service levels, but it enables better, more proactive customer service. As a senior systems manager with the financial services firm stated, “We showed the customer that we really do care about them and their business, and we can continue to improve the outcomes our services provide.”


Everyone is talking about network observability today, but any industry analyst or seasoned IT veteran will agree: network observability is really just about having a network monitoring system that collects a complete and diverse set of network data and delivers actionable insights. By harnessing these capabilities, this financial services firm was able to improve network delivery, optimize the user experience, maintain business continuity, and achieve better business outcomes.

Click here to learn more.


How are modern CIOs making an impact with multi-cloud? A recently released VMware report, “CIO Essential Guidance: Modernizing Applications in a Multi-Cloud World,” outlines these four key factors that influence success:

Drive Developer Velocity

The best applications are created by the most talented developers, so it’s crucial to attract and retain the best talent. Taking it a step further, according to a recent Forrester poll, 69% of business leaders agreed that a good Developer Experience (DevEx) results in a better customer experience (CX).1 In fact, it’s clear that DevEx directly impacts CX: 45% of enterprise IT executives report that their dev teams push software releases on a monthly or faster pace (on average).2

With so much at stake, it’s critical to enable your developers to do what they do best: code. But all too often, barriers prevent this from happening. Cumbersome legacy platforms and tools slow down developers, which is why CIOs need to remove friction from the underlying development infrastructure and create an environment where teams can focus on achieving outcomes.

This may include creating agile workflows and automating manual processes as well as handoffs, provisioning and even meetings and paperwork. Adopting a cross-cloud development platform that offers the programs and codes your developers prefer, including pre-selected open-source products, will also elevate velocity, improve DevEx and unleash innovation.


Embrace Unified Cloud Management

Despite all the advantages of multi-cloud development environments, if you can’t easily manage your cloud estate, you’re not reaping the full benefits. You could be underutilizing resources from one cloud provider, while maxing out on another. Moreover, lack of visibility means greater risk.


A successful strategy for overcoming these types of challenges is to choose the best cloud provider for each app – whether it’s an application platform for developers, an observability app for risk management, automation for operations, or something else — yet manage all clouds as if they were one, using a single platform. This approach reduces operational complexity and presents opportunities for greater governance, cost savings and risk management. 

Shift Security Left

Shifting security left – meaning building in features that bolster security across the entire app pipeline, from the build phase all the way through deployment and optimization – is essential in today’s complex threat landscape. This approach, combined with a unifying security platform and modern development principles, reduces risks and allows you to identify vulnerabilities and issues faster.


When security management controls reside on a central platform, CIOs can better manage risk,compliance, and more across their overall cloud strategy – spanning entire application development and operations processes.

Take a Platform-as-a-Product Approach

Unifying platforms are vitally important to the success of your modern apps in a multi-cloud world. The operation of these platforms should be of the utmost importance, seeing as they are the product that keeps the company running.

If you view your unifying multi-cloud platforms as drivers of innovation, growth and data protection, and run them as a product, you can reimagine the way you prioritize and manage your apps and cloud estate. With a Platform-as-a-Product approach, it’s easier to keep your focus on the big picture.

Bringing It All Together

With almost 75% of businesses operating across multiple public clouds 5, it’s become clear that efforts to modernize need to be executed strategically. CIOs who’ve enjoyed success in this area are realizing cost savings, revenue growth, and improved innovation. They have taken the time to standardize functions across clouds, chosen the clouds that best meet the needs of their apps, and operated unifying platforms that maintain seamless business control over multiple cloud providers. They have also improved DevEx to make the best use of one of their greatest assets: their Dev team.

For more ways to influence multi-cloud success, download the complete report: CIO Essential Guidance: Modernizing Applications in a Multi-Cloud World

Learn more by clicking here.

[1] Taking it a step further, according to a recent Forrester poll, 69% of business leaders agreed that a good Developer Experience (DevEx) results in a better customer experience (CX).

[2] In fact, it’s clear that DevEx directly impacts CX: 45% of enterprise IT executives report that their dev teams push software releases on a monthly or faster pace (on average).


As CIO Neil Holden moved his company, Halfords Group, further into the cloud, he sought to do more than simply “lift-and-shift” IT operations.

Rather, Holden — like most CIOs — wanted his increasing use of cloud to enable and shape the company’s transformation agenda. To succeed in that objective, he knew he had to transform not just the tech stack but his own IT department as well.

“You definitely have to look at your own IT [department] structure with any kind of cloud adoption,” he says. “IT has to operate very differently now not just because of cloud but because of what cloud means to the business.”

So Holden, who has been CIO at Halfords — the UK’s largest retailer of motoring and cycling products and services — since 2017, developed a strategy to reorganize his tech team. He did that as he was devising the company’s overall cloud strategy, seeing that as the best way to ensure his staff could seize on the capabilities that the cloud provides and the business opportunities that the cloud could enable.

“You have to have the right organization to achieve that, because if you’re just going to stick your stuff in the cloud, you’re not going to leverage those investments [to their fullest],” he says.

CIOs along with researchers, consultants, and advisors agree that IT must change itself, how it works and how it organizes its workers, if it wants to gain the most benefits out of cloud computing.

Otherwise, they say, IT simply moves the location of its servers from its own data centers to someone else’s — and risks missing out on the innovation, transformation, and speed to market that cloud adoption enables.

“You can’t take your same skills and teams from on-prem to the cloud. That’s where you’re going to fail,” says Sushant Tripathi, vice president and North American lead for cloud transformation at Tata Consultancy Services. Instead, CIOs need to retrain and reorganize IT to take advantage of all the bells and whistles that cloud offers, he says.

Here, four IT leaders detail how they have taken action on this front.

Leaving behind linear processes

Holden’s reorganization focused in part on eliminating linear software development, a linear project process and the department team structure that accommodated that linear approach to getting work done.

Neil Holden, CIO, Halfords Group

Halford’s Group

“We changed our structure entirely,” he says.

Previously, Halford’s IT function was conventionally organized with a structure made up of separate teams for business analysis, solutions design, infrastructure, and so on. Under that organization, work moved from one team to the next down the line.

“Someone would talk to the business, hand off the requirements to the design team, and that’s then handed over to delivery and infrastructure teams,” he says, explaining that the teams worked independently and created agreements between themselves that hashed out each team’s deliverables and timelines. “Now all that [work] happens within an agile circle with iterative delivery, so the linear process has all been crushed together.”

Here’s how he did it: Holden hired cloud architects, who brought cloud integration experience and training to the agile methodology Holden embraced. He also trained existing staffers in cloud skills and the agile method. And he hired agile coaches to work with his IT team. Then he broke up those distinct, independent teams and created Scrum teams staffed by product owners, business analysts, solution architects, front-end developers, back-end developers, and testers.

The new Scrum teams worked iteratively instead of in a linear mode to speed up the delivery of new capabilities and features, allowing IT — and the business as a whole — to capitalize on the company’s cloud investments.

“A big part of this change wasn’t just cloud but changing the hearts and minds of people. So we put a huge amount of effort into training,” Holden says, adding that he orchestrated a nearly clean cut-over to this new structure in late 2021.

Holden says he sees the value of this reorganization in his team’s ability to more quickly. He calculated that one project, created and deployed in 42 days by his revamped IT team, would have taken the old IT department 152 days to complete.

Cores and chapters to unlock cloud talent

Arizona State University CIO Lev Gonick has similarly reconfigured his IT team to better seize on the opportunities cloud provides.

Lev Gonick, CIO, Arizona State University

Arizona State University

That reconfiguring didn’t happen right away, Gonick says. ASU started its cloud journey a decade ago with experiments, before becoming more strategic and aggressive about cloud adoption when Gonick became CIO in 2017. ASU now has about 85% of its workloads in the cloud.

Gonick says his team had to change if it was going to be agile enough to keep pace with business needs and scale as the university grows. Gonick’s solution was to “fundamentally flatten the organization.”

“It was a high-stakes gamble on my part,” he says, noting that he decided to make the changes during the early part of the pandemic. “What we did instead of having vertically oriented teams, we created series of ‘cores,’ which is the language of large software development shops.”

Gonick says these cores represent “rapidly reconfigurable pools of talent” with each one focused on five specific areas. He says the majority of the teams and their work is organized around five cores, which are professional development communities around a common practice. There are four technical cores: engineering, service delivery, product and programs, and data and analytics; the fifth core is related to learning experience.

Managers in the product and programs core bring the right combination of talent together to work in chapters, which Gonick likens to work groups; for example, there are 30 engineering chapters.

“The reason we did this is to make sure we’re aligned to what the cloud affords us the opportunity to do,” he says, adding that this organizational structure lets IT professionals stretch and exercise their talent by working on diverse projects “rather than be in a salt mine and work day in and day out with the same set of tools.”

He adds: “It’s really about unleashing human talent. This is my own personal view here, but most enterprise technical teams are steeped in hierarchical organizations that suffocate way too much of the talent. Most [professionals] have a breadth of knowledge that they rarely have a chance to explore, share, and build. But this affords our teams the opportunities to grow as a professional community and to be highly engaged — not only between themselves but with the business.”

Centralizing teams for cloud success

Like ASU, Liberty Mutual Insurance has been on its cloud journey for the past decade, starting off with experimentation before going all-in six years ago for its ability to “give us speed to market, drive costs down, and give us flexibility in turning on and off capabilities,” says Monica Caldas, who became Liberty Mutual’s executive vice president and global CIO in January after serving in two other executive IT roles at the company since 2018.

Monica Caldas, EVP and global CIO, Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual

Throughout Liberty Mutual’s cloud journey, IT leadership has focused on developing the talent and skills needed to move from an on-premises environment to one that’s mostly in the cloud, Caldas says. “It became a large-scale transformation [in which] everyone had a part to play.”

As part of that, Liberty Mutual’s infrastructure team needed to be reshaped, as it no longer needed to maintain the same expanse of hardware that it had managed over the years. Instead, the infrastructure team was transformed into a centralized digital services unit with a global mandate focused on cloud capabilities to be leveraged across the company.

Caldas says infrastructure professionals previously had been focused on working with and supporting the company’s business units, “but they didn’t have one single set of strategies with one roadmap on where they were going.”

Under the new structure, where the new digital services team has a global mandate, they are creating repeatable processes that the entire company can easily access and use, which “generates that flywheel on the speed of delivery,” Caldas says.

Moreover, the digital services team, because it is centralized, does this more efficiently, saving costs she says. And the team is able to do so more effectively, as team members are able to hone their skills, refine processes, and thus deliver high quality results.

“Our Global Digital Services [GDS] team is a centralized function that ensures critical business applications are always available. With over 70% of Liberty Mutual’s application and infrastructure footprint operating in the public cloud, GDS has oversight of the company’s global cloud and DevOps architecture and operations, helping the company work faster,” Caldas says.

Other IT teams then focus on delivering solutions for business needs.

“We have technology teams who are also focused on driving outcomes for our core business units with a mission of delivering differentiating capabilities in service of our customers, agents, clients and partners,” Caldas explains.

On a similar note, Liberty Mutual IT leaders have also created a centralized cybersecurity and operational resilience team focused a global mandate to ensure “secure, stable systems.”

Caldas adds: “Today, we are aligned as a global organization oriented around a single set of strategies, roadmaps, and vision statements about where we are going. Everything is digital-first for our customers, agents, clients, and partners, and our cloud journey brings it full circle in terms of how we use technology as a competitive enabler.”

Consolidating teams for better security operations

For Brad Stone, CIO of Booz Allen Hamilton, cloud enables the speedy delivery of needed capabilities and supports business innovation and transformation.

Brad Stone, CIO, Booz Allen Hamilton

Booz Allen Hamilton

“We have organized ourselves to make sure that we can capitalize on that,” he says.

That includes how he has approached his security strategy, an area Stone believed needed to be transformed to ensure Booz Allen achieved the successes it sought from its cloud investments.

“You’ve got to set a strong foundation between your cybersecurity and your IT operations teams,” he says, stressing that consistent security operations across the enterprise helps identify and reduce risks.

Stone, who also oversees security, says security operations at Booz Allen had previously been structured under three infrastructure-based units: one supporting on-premises infrastructure, another supporting cloud, and a third supporting the company’s software-as-a-service platforms.

Despite all three teams reporting up a single leader, each team optimized for itself, resulting in individual stovepipes and technology inefficiencies, Stone says. Moreover, the differences between each stovepipe also meant more work for security teams trying to manage and mitigate risks. In fact, it fostered “a legacy mindset” as well as a fragmented approach with security thinking it needed certain tools for on-prem and others for SaaS and still others for commercial cloud.

“We struggled with commonality, common visibility, and we just had too much churn,” Stone says. So he collapsed the three infrastructure teams into one integrated infrastructure and compute team, so “it was not on-prem versus cloud” but instead “made it more of a team sport” — with workers from each of the original three teams being cross-trained to break down the silos and work as a cohesive unit capable of supporting all flavors of infrastructure that exist at Booz Allen.

That work took about eight months, happening in 2021 and into 2022, Stone says, adding that the integrated infrastructure and compute team has enabled Stone to modernize security operations to better suit the company’s mixed technical environment.

“Our security team could better integrate,” he says. So instead of security operations addressing availability, reliability, and confidentiality requirements for each individual stovepipe, it could address that triad across the entire infrastructure landscape. That makes security both more effective and more efficient.”

To illustrate this, Stone offers the following example: “Let’s say you have a critical vulnerability for an open source piece of software. When you have your different infrastructure run separately and you’ve created some stovepipes between them, you have a harder time responding at the speed of the threat, to discovering and remediating,” he says.

But by collapsing all three into an integrated infrastructure team, security is able to use common tools, a single IT service management solution and one configuration management database across the whole — upping the ability to discover and respond to security issues in a timely manner.

Cloud Computing, IT Leadership, IT Skills, IT Strategy

Sustainability is a major priority in business boardrooms already, and pressures from regulators, shareholders, board members and employees are likely to further drive this trend. 

Businesses need to do more than just track carbon output. They must reduce waste and increase efficiency. Going green makes good business sense.

While organizations know they need to mitigate environmental risks more effectively across the supply chain, often they struggle to translate that ambition into results. Due to the complexity and scale of the challenge, not all businesses have the resources to move toward net-zero at the necessary pace, and many are lagging.  

At the same time, companies are increasingly being held accountable for their environmental impact, with many countries legislating on emissions reductions. 

There is a clear company risk in not being sustainable, both to the planet and to the business. 

Today’s complex challenges require ambitious solutions that can scale and evolve over time.

NTT recognizes this and has launched the industry’s first full-stack Sustainability as a Service offering. This is designed to help manufacturing, transportation and other industries accelerate sustainability initiatives and make data-driven decisions to reduce their carbon footprint and become more efficient through the intelligent use of IoT connectivity. Rather than making huge investments in infrastructure to collect and process data, companies now have the option to get this as a secure, scalable, fully managed service that requires no large capital outlay.

The full-stack offering, which includes devices, network connectivity such as private 5G, edge computing, an analytics and insight platform, and systems integration, takes a human-centric approach to ensure that the right decision-makers receive relevant and timely information.  The technology stack is complemented by professional services from strategy through to execution to ensure that the data is actionable and that there is a clear ROI.

For example:

NTT is leveraging computer vision to reduce waste in a logistics warehouse. This solution recognizes items that are being picked and packed and provides verification that the quantity and products are correct. NTT is not only providing the technology but is also redesigning the pick-and-pack process and the pick stations to ensure the adoption and effectiveness of the technology.NTT provides a vast ecosystem of sensors that can be used to automate the collection of data on temperature/humidity, occupancy, soil moisture, air quality, water quality, etc. This data can then be combined to provide insights and information to lower energy usage and reduce impact on the environment – for example, by giving notifications of water leaks, chemical spills or exterior doors that are left open. Smart spaces can reduce energy use when unoccupied, while predictive/preventive maintenance can reduce wasteful downtime.As an ICT company with large assets such as undersea cables and data centers, NTT has made aggressive sustainability targets to become net-zero by 2030 and through their supply chain by 2040. NTT is sharing their experience with clients through Sustainability as a Service.

Although evolving, the process to calculate an enterprise’s carbon footprint is still highly manual. Data lives in silos across the IT and OT environment.

Collecting data across the supply chain for scope 2 and 3 emissions creates more complexity.

Organizations can find themselves questioning the accuracy and reliability of their data.

NTT works with clients to understand their data blind spots and leverages the right solution building blocks to collect the data and aggregate it with other complementary data, such as weather and location, to provide actionable insights.

“One of the biggest challenges of IoT is proving ROI,” says Devin Yaung, SVP, Group Enterprise IoT Products and Services at NTT. “You can solve any problem given enough budget. The challenge is to solve the problem in the most efficient way possible. We leverage the right building blocks for the use case and environment and offer these as a service so that clients can start small and grow their sustainability program.”  

He adds: “What is more important is that the data needs to be trusted and actionable rather than just noise. That’s why we also take a user-centric approach to understand who needs to receive the data, how much data they need and at what frequency.”

This becomes more important as the workforce evolves from digital immigrants to digital natives who are accustomed to receiving near real-time data and updates on every aspect of their lives. Sustainability as a Service is not just technology but also considers people, process and the regulatory environment.

Sustainability is a journey that all companies will have to embark upon. NTT’s Sustainability as a Service allows clients to travel this journey at their own pace.

Not only do these solutions help businesses meet sustainability goals, but they also help them benefit from energy cost savings, advanced operational excellence, enhanced risk management, and better work enablement across the organization.

Find out more about NTT’s commitment to sustainability.

Edge Computing