Redefining ERP with SAP: Leveraging the Power of Virtualization

As early as 2004, EMC IT set out on a journey of IT transformation. So far, that transformation has seen it replace an aging and highly customized ERP system to a fully virtualized SAP ERP system in production providing agility, flexibility and operational efficiency.

In late 2012, EMC IT further transformed their SAP landscape with the adoption of SAP’s in-memory high performance analytics platform, SAP HANA with a sidecar deployment to support operational reporting. Now, EMC IT is leading the way in reaping the benefits of an already virtualized SAP landscape, and continuing the same strategy with their virtualized deployment of Business Processing and Consolidation (BPC) on SAP HANA. As SAP innovates, so too has EMC IT by leveraging the power of VMware to support its SAP HANA rollout.

Watch the illustrative video below to see how the deployment came together.

To learn more about EMC IT’s deployment of SAP HANA, Why EMC IT Virtualized SAP HANA with VMware and Adopting the SAP HANA Platform to Power Your SAP Implementation.

Is Traditional IT Still Relevant?

Vic BhagatBy Vic Bhagat — EMC Chief Information Officer

Traditionally, IT organizations have provided infrastructure and basic support to the business as a monopoly.  We used to think of (and deliver) projects in ERP terms with complex, multiyear investments.  And, the business had little choice, but to work with us regardless of how long it would take or what it would cost.   Those days are slowly disappearing as times and technologies are changing.

Today, the users of IT – the information generation – want the convenience and near instant gratification they can get elsewhere through mobility, cloud applications, software as a service and shadow IT investments.  Consequently, CIOs and IT professionals must evolve how we run IT as a business to maintain our relevance.
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Taking the Data Center to the Next Level

Data is growing exponentially, challenging IT organizations to adopt and embrace new methodologies to harness and empower data faster than ever. Yet, the challenge isn’t just managing data’s explosion but doing so in a way that provides easier access and performance for the business while keeping costs to a minimum.

This is the equation facing most database administrators. How can they meet the challenge of simplifying data while pleasing the business? Through EMC ITs implementation of XtremIO and the benefits derived from the all flash array, a balanced performance was achieved that features simple provisioning, a suite of powerful features, while providing database consolidation and increased response times.

For more information about EMC IT’s use of Flash and XtremIO, read Flash Comes Down to Earth: High-performance Storage Goes Mainstream by KK Krishnakumar, VP and Chief IT Architect, EMC IT.

Enterprise Vendor Management: Checking the Heartbeat of Vendor Relationships

By MiDobbinchael Dobbin — Director, IT Partner Management, EMC IT

In our recent series of blogs about EMC IT’s Enterprise Vendor Management Office (EVMO), we offered insights on how to create an IT strategic sourcing plan, forge the right strategic partnerships, and then execute and ensure compliance for contracts with those suppliers. Now that you are up to speed on those three main pillars of the EVMO, you may wonder how we keep it all operational, effective and continually beneficial to the organization.

We use supplier analytics, ongoing process improvement and constant communication—the fourth and final pillar of our overall approach.

Supplier Analytics

Using dashboards and reporting tools, analytics lets us measure our vendor interactions and evaluate them to maximize performance. Think of this approach as tracking the heartbeat of EMC IT’s vendor relationships—a kind of ongoing checkup to make sure this important system is working as it should.  This includes tracking deals to ensure all the right terms and conditions are in place, confirming that what IT spends on them is what was expected, and making sure that each vendor is doing what they are expected to do.
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Assessing Data Loss Costs: Value-Driven Protection of the Bottom Line

Omer2By Omer Sagi — Data Scientist, EMC IT

In an age when most companies invest to become data-driven, the value of data is increasingly a key criteria for making IT decisions, and the protection of the data becomes paramount to those decisions

When making backup-related decisions, price justification involves the potential capital loss to the organization when a data loss or unavailability occurs. Understanding the value of data and access to that data is key when prioritizing backup technology or even for deciding which infrastructure to protect during a cyber-attack. However, estimating this price is not trivial.

I recently worked on a research project with a team of academic partners at Ben-Gurion University for prioritizing data replication to minimize the monetary loss in the case of a disaster. The method we derived can limit the costs of data loss, and could provide a high return on investment (ROI) of up to one million dollars per incident.

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Your Data Protection Strategy: An Evolving Business/IT Conversation

Paul-Gogan-1b_By Paul Gogan — Manager, Cloud Platform Protection and Storage, EMC IT

Creating a data protection strategy for your organization is a little bit like selecting the right insurance policy for your home. It isn’t the most flashy of endeavors and nobody likes paying those insurance premiums, but when a hurricane rips the roof off your house, you’re glad that you took the time to do it right.

Structuring your data protection strategy is not exclusively an IT decision. It’s primarily a business decision involving a range of stakeholders (not just IT) which provides the products, solutions and processes to execute that strategy based on the value of the data and the objectives of the business.

Data protection is not a one-size-fits-all process, as we in EMC IT, have come to learn. The following are best practices and lessons learned that EMC IT uses to create and maintain our data protection strategy.
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The Journey Toward a Predictive Enterprise

MAC_0298By Brahma Tangella — Sr. Manager of Service Strategy, EMC IT

The 2014 EMC Digital Universe Study, with research and analysis by IDC, predicts that by 2020 the digital universe will contain nearly as many digital bits as there are stars in the universe.

According to the study, digital growth “is doubling in size every two years and by 2020, the digital universe—the data we create and copy annually—will reach 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes.”

As companies brace for this data tsunami, they are challenged to identify the next business opportunity, improve risk management, customer engagement and sustainability. They will need to become “predictive enterprises” which leverage their data to define their future focus and how to get there. Sifting massive amounts of data to find relevant insights for business will be a continuous process, constantly evolving and adapting to business climate. IT departments need to have a robust framework to manage their organizations’ ambitions and goals.

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The EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud: Hitting New Heights

NorrisBy Mike Norris — Vice President of Cloud Platforms, EMC IT

EMC IT’s ongoing quest to meet business’ need for speed and on-demand infrastructure has entered a new chapter as our IT organization implements a software defined data center using EMC’s Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud technology. As we continue to build our infrastructure and services in the cloud, there are several lessons we have learned along the way that will hopefully help your organization on your path to the hybrid cloud.

Our Journey              

Like most organizations, EMC IT has virtualized and consolidated our infrastructure, achieved significant cost savings, and continued to drive down provisioning time and increase agility. After this, we used a myriad of tools, software, and scripts to deliver some Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) capabilities.  The introduction of new EMC Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud technology (FEHC) is accelerating our progress toward a software defined data center by leveraging a fully integrated technology stack with virtual networking, storage and security, in addition to the virtual compute layer we have been – accustomed to for years.

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Pulling Ahead with Converged IT Infrastructure: More Time in the Driver’s Seat, Less under the Hood

paul-divittorio2By Paul Divittorio — Director of Cloud Infrastructure, EMC IT

With the demand for IT infrastructure growing at a steady rate in most organizations, embracing converged IT infrastructure allows IT operations to keep pace with demand without ramping up resources and expenses. Converged infrastructure combines compute, storage, and network in a single package, through technology such as VCE’s Vblock. EMC IT was an early adopter of Vblock in 2009/2010—first to enable our virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and then to support the build out of our brand new 100 percent virtualized, cloud data center.

EMC IT found that standing up IT infrastructure in pre-assembled, converged chunks offers several advantages, including a single vendor for support, a single end-of-support date for all technology components, and a single code release/support stack.  In addition, due to the reduction in footprint, cabling and errors, we’ve seen faster deployment times.

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EMC IT Proven Going Social at EMC World 2015

Transforming an IT organization is a complex, multi-faceted journey that requires new ways of thinking, analysis and structure. With the industry changing at a break-neck pace, the need has never been greater to assume an IT as a Service (ITaaS) model and become a true service provider to the business. To help organizations with their transformations, EMC IT Proven engages customers so they may leverage EMC IT’s first-hand experience to accelerate their own IT transformation journeys.

That is why EMC IT experts will be hosting five LIVE Virtual CrowdChat events during EMC World this year which can be attended virtually from anywhere in the world!
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Creating New Business Value Around the Business Data Lake

Profile PicBy Sean Brown — Director of Big Data Service Strategy, EMC IT

If your organization is like most, you have multiple business groups seeking to leverage pools of segmented Big Data in various ways to improve their operations, gain insight into customers, target marketing efforts, hone product features and more.  Maybe you are even one of the few who have gained some significant value from these siloed business analytics using increasingly popular data science techniques.

However, most organizations, including EMC, still have a way to go to become an analytical enterprise, which bases both tactical and strategic decisions on data and analytics.  This does not mean that the decision-making is out of the hands of the leadership of the company and the years of experience they bring, but it does mean that every decision has been critiqued based on what your analysis is telling you.

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Flash Comes Down to Earth: High-performance Storage Goes Mainstream

KKBy KK Krishnakumar — Vice President and Chief IT Architect, EMC IT

Flash storage is getting decidedly more flashy these days. The once exclusive and expensive, high-performance storage technology is staking out an increasingly mainstream storage footprint across the current data environment.

Typically, flash has been the Formula 1 of storage technology, used to meet workloads requiring high-intensity IO with low-latency needs for applications like high-performance computing, database acceleration and data mining support. While it is still used to meet these demands, we find that due to both technology and business model changes, we are able to use flash in a variety of general purpose storage situations, and, in fact, that’s how we are putting it to use in EMC IT.

There are several factors that have made flash a more viable option for a wider array of storage needs:

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10 Lessons Learned from the EMC IT Transformation

1c0038eBy Jon Peirce — Senior Vice President, EMC IT

We have shared many insights on EMC IT’s multi-year journey to transform from a traditional IT operation to an IT-as-a-Service model—from steps which determine a new organization structure to strategies on changing the mindset of employees to focus on serving our clients. With some significant transformation successes under our belt and many more in the works, it seems like an opportune time to look back a bit on how far we’ve come and reflect on what we’ve learned in the process.

What follow are the Top 10 Lessons EMC IT learned in its IT transformation process. Regardless of whether your IT organization is just beginning this crucial transformation or is in the throes of the climb, we hope these lessons will help you move forward.

#1:  IT Transformation is not a project. It’s a journey.
IT transformation is a complex challenge, for which a prescriptive approach to change management is inappropriate.   A more iterative and agile approach is necessary.

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Enterprise Vendor Management: Getting What Vendors Promise

DobbinBy Michael Dobbin — Director, IT Partner Management, EMC IT

“That’s not what I wanted”… “You said you were going to seamlessly support my apps”… “I thought you understood what the project was”… PROJECT STATUS: RED

Have you ever heard of the Latin term ‘Caveat Emptor’? It means let the buyer beware.  How many times have you heard about someone who purchased a product or service and it is not what they thought they were buying? In countless courtrooms, both large and small, consumers (whether individuals or corporations) are warned about understanding what they are agreeing to, knowing what they are buying and taking responsibility for any agreements they are entering into.  In a way – our computer age has made this easier than ever to do.  So if this is so easy why are there still many vendor disputes or – worse yet for IT organizations –failed projects?

Contract Execution and Compliance is a key part of EMC IT’s Enterprise Vendor Management approach that can have a huge impact on the ongoing success of the work we produce. It is one of four pillars or focus areas we use to address key components of our IT sourcing. The other three pillars, discussed in other blogs in this series, are Strategic Partnership; Partner Selection and Negotiation; and Analytics, Process and Communication.

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Adopting the SAP HANA Platform to Power Your SAP Implementation

By Mike Harding — Senior Technical Architect, EMC ITHarding

If your organization is running SAP’s software products and applications, SAP’s in-memory computing platform, SAP HANA, offers tremendous game-changing potential for delivering business value via data analytics. However, as EMC IT recently discovered, there are key steps you should take to pave the way for leveraging this new platform.

EMC is still a relatively new customer of SAP’s software products and applications, having gone live with a large-scale greenfield SAP deployment back in July 2012.  The implementation program continues to thrive, having added more SAP modules and solutions over the course of the last couple years, and gearing towards a large SAP CRM deployment in 2016.

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From Neuroscience to Data Science

Shiri_blogBy Shiri Gaber — Data Scientist, EMC IT

Project: Root cause analysis of difference in support hours
ROI: Model suggests saving of 500-1,000 support hours on average weekly (up to $5M annually)

I have recently made the transition from academic neuroscience to becoming a member of the Data-Science-as-a-Service team in EMC’s IT organization. The change from academia to the business world is far from trivial. Coming from a computational neuroscience lab, where most of the work involved developing probabilistic models for the activity of neural populations, simulations and implementations were not a top priority. As a data scientist with a mostly theoretical background, coping with implementation, let alone implementation in a Big Data environment, is challenging.

Lucky for me, the change of scientific domains underlying the two disciplines is not as large a “leap” as it may seem at first. When you think about predictive analytics, what is more natural than to think of our brain as a complicated learning machine whose main goal is data compression and interpretation?

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The CIO/CMO Relationship: Breaking New Ground Together

Tccthumbnail2he idea that Chief Information Officers and Chief Marketing Officers exist in different worlds, where one is a service provider and the other a service consumer, is outdated thinking. With demands growing on CIOs to drive value to the business, and CMOs operating more rapidly to customer demands, the need for harmony between the two has never been greater.

In response, the CIO/CMO relationship can be forged by mutual opportunity. As IT transforms to more contemporary operating models and services, Marketing can embrace agile technologies, such as analytics and data science, that unlock value and bring success to the CIO, the CMO and their respective organizations.

In the latest edition of Coffee in the Café with Vic Bhagat, EMC CIO Vic Bhagat and Jonathan Martin, CMO, EMC II, discuss the deepening relationship and how their respective organizations can advance together.

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Enterprise Vendor Management: Forging the Right IT Partnerships

EcklerBy Richard Eckler — Senior Manager, IT Partner Management

Second in a series on Enterprise Vendor Management

Selecting IT sourcing partners and negotiating effective contracts are key to the success of your organization’s IT sourcing strategy.  Failure to dedicate enough time to these items will almost certainly lead to issues down the road, either in project failure or not achieving intended goals.  In this the second blog on Enterprise Vendor Management, we will review some foundational steps to get you started in the right direction. (Read the first part on Framing a Better Sourcing Strategy)

Selecting a partner

Before deciding who you want to purchase services from or partner with, you must clearly define your goals and requirements including timeframe and budget.  If possible, do this without a specific partner in mind to avoid tailoring your requirements.  Depending on the scope of your project, you may want to issue a formal request for proposal (RFP).

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EMC IT Redefines IT as a Service: The Transformation Story

For several years, EMC IT has been on a journey toward ITaaS and has gradually evolved the structure, culture, and role of its organization to better align with the needs and objectives of the business. This organizational transformation has touched every aspect of IT—from architecture, infrastructure and application development, to the way in which IT services are created and funded, to enterprise security and support.

No longer does IT hold a monopoly on technology. Instead, EMC is building new consultative relationships with the business, streamlining business units’ access to IT services, and creating new job functions centered on providing the business with not only the services it needs, but, just as important, an outstanding customer experience.

In addition, EMC IT is helping business units reduce risk by building controls into the services it offers, rather than attempting to bolt security onto services that already are being delivered.

This animated video provides an overview of EMC’s IT Transformation journey, from a reactive IT organization to a true service provider. For more information about the EMC IT Transformation, read the latest white paper titled EMC IT Redefined.

Service Portfolio Management: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

KKBy KK Krishnakumar — Vice President and Chief IT Architect

When it comes to running your IT operation like a business to deliver IT as a Service (ITaaS) and competing with outside providers, Service Portfolio Management (SPM) is where the rubber meets the road.

SPM is the process by which your IT organization makes sure your service catalog is providing the right mix of services that will meet customers’ needs and deliver business value while at the same time enabling you to be a financially viable service provider. Or, put in plain business terms, SPM is how you make sure you are selling the right product mix to meet your customers’ demands (and needs) at the right price to keep you in business–to keep IT relevant. It is basic supply and demand.

That said, achieving SPM as you transform your traditional IT operation to ITaaS has its challenges. EMC IT has been in the process of transforming to an ITaaS model for several years now. And just as our transformation journey has been a learning process, so has our journey to effective SPM.

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