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Chuck Hollis

Chuck Hollis

Chief Strategist, Storage and Availability, VMware Inc.
Chuck Hollis

Latest posts by Chuck Hollis (see all)

How EMC IT Does Storage

You might be used to getting storage advice from a storage vendor, but the better source might be to speak to someone in their IT group.

Such is the case with EMC IT — a great team I’ve written about consistently over many years.

It’s an interesting perspective on several levels.  EMC is a well-regarded $20B+ global enterprise in a highly competitive industry.

EMC IT also has direct and somewhat privileged access to the engineers who build the stuff, although they still have to pay for their toys just like everyone else.


More On Mobilizing Your Enterprise

Originally posted on Chuck’s blog 6/25/2012:

Just about every aspect of enterprise IT is in play these days, if you think about it.
One of the more challenging aspects is fully embracing the new endpoint for IT service consumption — the ubiquitous mobile device.

To be clear, we’re not simply talking about a BYOD (bring your own device) program, or re-hosting legacy apps on mobile devices via VDI — although those are pieces of the bigger picture.
No, what we’re really talking a fundamental re-thinking about how application experiences are built, distributed and consumed.  Mobile first, if you prefer.
And whether that new capability is pointed at your employees, your partners or your customers — the changes are turning out to be very far reaching indeed.
EMC’s own IT group is no stranger to these forces.  For the last few quarters, a small team has been working towards enabling mobility across our entire organization and business model.  I first introduced this story back in January of this year.
Now, five months later, I thought it would be good to circle back with the EMC IT team and get a status report: what have we done, and what have we learned?
Quite a bit, it turns out.

Leading an IT Transformation

Reposted from Chuck’s blog entry on 10/25/2011:

Slide1Leading a transformational change in any large organization is not for the faint of heart.  

Even more so when the subject of said transformation is a large, entrenched IT organization delivering mission-critical services.  But that is exactly the situation so many IT leaders find themselves in these days.

At our recent IT Leadership council, Sanjay Mirchandani opened with an extended keynote detailing EMC’s IT transformation: the “why”, the “how” and the outcomes.  

This post is part of an extended sequence recapping all the excellent content at the event.  The back story and overview can be found here.

Why do I find this presentation particularly interesting?  

There are undoubtedly IT organizations out there that are arguably “better” than EMC’s own IT.  And I know for a fact that there is a large population of IT organizations that are still running in a tradtional legacy mode and have yet to begin their journey.

What’s fascinating to me about this story is the change: how a large IT organization went from one kind of IT organization to another.

Yes, EMC IT supports a large, global technology company, i.e. EMC itself.  And, yes, our situation and experiences might not be an exact match to your situation and experiences.

But, as I’ve shared the story over and over again, there is plenty to learn for many IT leaders who are looking for clear (and successful!) examples on how a large IT organization can fundamentally change how it does business.

To read the full blog, click here…

Organizing For Success

Reposted from Chuck’s blog entry on 10/26/2011:

Maybe I’m getting more cynical as my career progresses.  I’ve found I can take a quick look at just about any org chart, and quickly figure out how well the team is doing — or not — as the case might be.  

Most of the time, I’m pretty accurate.

Slide1The corollary is also true: if you want to deliver different results than you have in the past, you’re going to have to take a hard look at your organization: their mission, their structure, their skills — their very DNA.  

That’s what good leaders have to do to achieve results, I’ve found.

When it comes to IT transformation, the same is inevitably true — an organization produces what it’s organized to do.  

Organize around technology silos, and that’s what you’ll deliver.  Organize around large and complex projects, the same is true.  Ultimately, if you organize around delivering attractive and competitive IT services that your internal customers want to consume, and that’s what you’ll eventually deliver.  

And that’s exactly the mission that so many IT leaders are facing.

As part of our recent EMC IT Leadership Council, Jon Peirce delivered his experiences in leading just such an IT transformation.  Jon, as you might remember, is the key actor in many previous popular posts, such as “From Silos To Services“.  During this presentation, Jon laid out the key concepts and insights better than I’ve ever seen him do.

If you’re an IT leader, or aspire to be one, you’ll likely want to invest the time in reading this very lengthy and detailed post…

Achieving Financial Transparency

Reposted from Chuck’s blog entry on 10/26/2011:

You’re in the middle of a sequence of posts recapping the key thoughts and discussions resulting from EMC’s recent IT Leadership Council, the main theme being “IT Transformation”.

The background and context behind the event can be found here.  A more brief summary can be found here.

As a starting point, I wrote up Sanjay Mirchandani’s excellent foundational presentation “Leading an IT Transformation“.  Warning: it’s long, even by my verbose standards.

I folllowed that with a thorough recounting of Jon Peirce’s amazing presentation on “Organizing For Success“, which can be found here.  Warning: it’s even longer.

Presentation1During the event, we shared with the group that we were near completion of what we thought was groundbreaking work on a methodology for achieving financial transparency within the IT function.

Why is this important?  

At the end of the day, it all boils down to people and money as the big levers that IT leaders need to pull on.  Especially transformational IT leaders.  

Jon covered the people side at length.  I believe this white paper represents our best current thinking on how one goes about achieving financial transparency.

Any time there’s free market forces at work, intelligent choices tend to get made: what to invest in, how to measure returns, etc.  In many of our minds, financial transparency is the key enabler to achieving a virtual “free market” between internal IT services and the businesses that consume them.

Or, at least as close to one as we’re ever likely to get 🙂

Please — if you’re interested, take a moment to read this, and offer up your thoughts as to overall usefulness, how to improve, etc.  

We think it’s going to be a big discussion going forward.

Another Progress Report on EMC IT’s Journey To The Private Cloud

Reposted from Chuck Hollis’s blog entry on 5/7/2010:

By now, you’re probably aware that our IT organization is in the process of pivoting from a traditional IT model to one where they look like an internal service provider — using IT infrastructure that’s built differently, operated differently and consumed differently.

Our IT organization is no different than many others. EMC is a global, diverse and fast-moving technology company. We want our IT to be better, faster and cheaper just like everyone else.

But they’ve got a special challenge …they’re part of an extremely aggressive IT infrastructure company: EMC. (more…)

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