Bask Iyer, CIO of VMware and Dell, thinks that CIOs require to lead by example since they are the first customer of the company. In a chat with the media, Iyer said about the altering role of the CIO and the IT change of VMware and Dell.
How has the role of the CIO evolved?
CIO is a role which was given to the most technical person. Now, the role is more about managing people which needs leadership skills to influence the business. You’ll obviously see many CIOs end up as CEOs because the job is becoming more IT centric. Like Madonna who changes her style every year, a CIO has to change his/her style every two years.
You’ve led the IT transformation of Dell-EMC and VMware after the merger. Take us through that?
This role is very unique. I’m the CIO for two companies. Even though Dell acquired EMC and through that Dell got VMware, VMware is an independent company. This is like doing two jobs at the same time. One is a $70-billion company and the other is a $7-billion company. The difference is they are also at different stages. The last year or so has been completely transformational with mobile apps. The first order of business in Dell is to bring EMC and Dell back together.
I have to make sure IT and rest of the team work so that customers don’t face any issues. The second is: when teams come together, the acquired company needs to go through a cultural change. The good news is we have gone through all of that. Now, we are building a private cloud and mobile applications in Dell. From two of everything, we’ll have to make one of everything.
With organizations going digital first, is it better to make CIOs the new CEOs?
We have already seen the trend of CIOs becoming CEOs. Typically, boards looked for CFOs. But now every board wants a CIO because of cyber security issues, digital issues, etc. Going forward, every board will have a CIO.
How do you see millennials fit in the organization?
The work culture has changed from command and control to inspirational leadership. Yelling and screaming doesn’t work anymore. It worked some 20 years ago. Management styles have to change. Companies who have people who cannot motivate and inspire would never get good talent. What’s happening now is millennials are bringing about a leadership shift.