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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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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Talent and Innovation Come Together To Reach the Third Platform

VicThe journey to the Third Platform is forging new requirements, skills and expectations of the evolving employee. To stay ahead of the curve and fulfill the opportunities associated with emerging technologies, CIOs must tap new resources to acquire global talent that drives innovation. Such is a key mission of the EMC Centers of Excellence, where EMC is constantly breaking new ground to the benefit of the enterprise and our partners and customers.

In the latest edition of Coffee in the Café with Vic Bhagat, Vic traveled to the EMC Israel Center of Excellence. There, he met with Orna Berry, Vice President of Growth and Innovation, to discuss how EMC is finding, fostering and developing talent in a hot bed for technology.
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Strategic IT Partnerships: Framing a Better Sourcing Strategy


Brian_Roy2jpgBy Dr. Brian P. Roy — Sr. Manager, IT Partner Management, EMC IT

All organizations need to strategically manage their IT sources to fulfill their needs in the most efficient way.  Many companies leverage hundreds of vendors to support their IT operations as well as a select core of strategic partners with whom they collaborate for mutual success.

At EMC IT, we are incorporating industry best practices into a newly launched Enterprise Vendor Management Office (EVMO) to bring our IT sourcing strategy to a new level of efficiency.

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EMC Leaps To IT-as-a-Service: Redefining the Organizational Model

1c0038eBy Jon Peirce — Senior Vice President, EMC IT

In describing our journey to Redefine our IT organization at EMC, I told you how we brought in consultants to help us bridge the old IT world with the new, devised a fresh strategy and workstreams to execute on our roadmap and used added insights about our customers to define wins for IT.  What we still needed to do beyond those milestones was to determine what our new organization would look like; we were struggling with several organizational components.

While we had broken down some technology silos in the past, we still had not taken the leap fully into a services-based organizational structure.  We still had “sand in the gears” with respect to how teams worked together.  Each group had its own goals and objectives, and what was important to our end customer was too often getting lost in the “interlock.”
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What’s the Best Predictor of Success With IT Transformation?

Koehler_Mike_v3

By Mike Koehler — Senior Vice President, EMC Global Services

On the road to IT-as-a-Service, transforming your IT infrastructure and applications is the easy part, comparatively speaking, that is. The really tough part is transforming the people and processes, and it’s also what differentiates the most successful IT transformations.

So you’ve virtualized your environment, set up your on-premises private cloud and connected it with a public cloud solution. You have a hybrid cloud up and running and you’re on your way to delivering IT-as-a-Service. Now that you have the hardware and software operating, how do you get your people operating in a new way – with new processes and structure — that allows your business to capitalize on the new IT agenda to deliver more business value than ever before?

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Evolving IT as a Business Partner

VicBy Vic Bhagat — EMC Chief Information Officer
@VicBhagat

I had the distinct pleasure of presenting to many local CIOs and IT professionals at Evanta’s CIO Executive Summit in Boston last Tuesday.  In speaking with a variety of attendees, one common topic revolved around how we must change our conversations and working relationship with our business users.

It is no surprise that today’s business leaders are faced with a trifecta of challenges – unwavering competitive pressures; shifting business and budgetary priorities; and unprecedented new technologies, such as cloud, analytics, mobility and social media.  Traditionally, we would do all we could to help, but were often handcuffed by a budget-driven, multi-year command and control processes for IT projects.
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An IT Epiphany: Getting Back to Basics and Defining Our “Wins”

1c0038eBy Jon Peirce — Senior Vice President, EMC IT

Sometimes simple steps can lead to substantial insights in the midst of transition. One such instance proved extremely valuable in our Redefine IT effort.

In my previous Redefine IT blog, I described the structure of our IT transformation program, the workstreams we used to reshape our organization, and our pursuit of a more inclusive process for driving change.  In this installment, I want to share an elegantly simple exercise that ended up bringing new focus to our IT Strategy.

As our transition to IT-as-a-Service was taking shape, we decided to actually spell out our IT Strategy and how it connects with what matters most to EMC. We have always had an implied IT Strategy that was tightly aligned to EMC’s corporate strategy; however, we had never written it down, and consequently there was varied understanding of it across our IT organization and across the company.  Continue reading

The “Unconference”: IT Chief Architect/CTO Forum Takes New Approach to Idea Sharing

KKBy KK Krishnakumar — EMC Vice President and Chief IT Architect

 

It may not take a village to create cohesive IT architecture in a changing high-tech world, but forging a small community of Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) and Chief Architects is proving to be a helpful tool. At least that is the consensus of the feedback EMC and VMware have gotten to our Chief Architect/CTO Forum that debuted at EMC World last spring.

As an IT Architect I can tell you that CTOs and Chief Architects don’t just focus on technology, though it is certainly central to their world. They also deal day-to-day with a more holistic set of problems, including resources, employee skill sets and ensuring that their organization’s architecture comes together as need. And, until earlier this year, they didn’t have a place to discuss these challenges with their peers at EMC events.

In May at EMC World, however, we decided to give this unique group of professionals a chance to do just that at our first Chief Architect/CTO Forum. We invited some 20 CTOs and Chief Architects to a day-long event in the midst of EMC World 2014, which ran from May 5-8, 2014 in Las Vegas. I co-hosted the event with Job Simon, Vice President, IT Architecture and Strategy at VMware.

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Redefining EMC IT: A Fresh Strategy to Reach the New ITaaS World

1c0038eBy Jon Peirce — Senior Vice President, EMC IT

In my last blog about Redefining IT into a successful IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) operation, I described how EMC IT partnered with our trusted IT consultants, EMC Services, to help us assess, refocus and accelerate our IT transformation progress.

As I noted, we were stalled.  While we had achieved significant benefits from adopting a standardized and virtualized infrastructure, we had an operating model and 2,000-person organization that had one foot in traditional IT and one foot in ITaaS. With EMC Services’ help, we regrouped, assessed our model’s maturity level and created a clearer roadmap to move forward. The next step was creating the workstreams to execute against that roadmap; reshaping our organization’s processes and the roles of our people in the new ITaaS world.

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Affordable Flash: New Dedup Power a True Game Changer

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

Flash technology isn’t just for storing your most critical data anymore. Thanks to all-flash storage arrays with super-efficient, in-line deduplication capabilities, flash can now be the most cost-effective choice for your less critical storage needs as well.

This can be illustrated by two use cases we’ve developed for EMC’s all-flash, solid-state clustered storage system, XtremIO. The first is virtual desktop infrastructure. I know what you’re thinking—why would you want to use the most expensive storage for one of the less expensive applications, virtual desktops? To provide a consistent desktop experience and to save money, actually.
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Building the Security Team of Today and Tomorrow

Dave-Martin---Headshot2By Dave Martin — Vice President and Chief Security Officer

Technologies such as mobile, social networking, analytics and cloud computing are changing the security landscape, and security technologies are rapidly evolving to address that change.

It’s not just the technology that needs to change, however: security teams need to change as well.

EMC has evolved and must continue to evolve our security team to effectively combat the threats of today and tomorrow. The core skills essential to expand include business engagement and awareness; a consultative approach; the ability to sell or “market” security; and creative control design for the mobile and cloud-enabled world of tomorrow.

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Changing Security Behaviors: How Marketing Savvy Can Break Patterns

Doug headshot2By Doug Graham — Sr. Director, Global Security Organization, EMC IT

Data-hacking hound dogs beware. EMC recently got a little help from Elvis in battling cyber criminals.

The “King” was at the center of an integrated marketing campaign our Global Security Operations ran this spring to encourage IT users to avoid clicking on suspicious email links that could lead to phishing attacks on our company’s data.

The several-week advertising effort featured a videotaped parody of the Elvis Presley song “Suspicious Minds,” in which ITers acted out why users shouldn’t click on “Suspicious Links,” It also featured a security awareness contest.

The campaign resulted in more than double the number of users reporting phishing attempts via suspicious emails. It also substantially increased the number of users going to our security awareness site, which we call FirstLine in recognition of the fact that the actions of IT users are the first line of defense against cyber-attacks.

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Closing the IT Transformation Gap: Outside Help Can Bridge the Chasm

1c0038eBy Jon Peirce — Senior Vice President, EMC IT

Making the transformation from the old, traditional IT world to the new IT as a service (ITaaS) world is about more than technology. It involves the much more gradual and, at times, more challenging evolution of your operation’s people and processes into a new operational and organizational structure, while maintaining the old processes and structures that need to exist until the transformation is complete.

This split focus of having one foot in the traditional IT world and one in ITaaS can undermine your transformation journey by adding complexity and uncertainty that conspire to prevent true change from taking root in the organization.  The reality is, every IT organization on a transformational journey faces this type of challenge and there’s no need to tackle it alone.  You may want to take the time to get some help from someone who’s done it before and can provide some “tough love” to get you over the hump.

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Data Quality Management: An ITaaS Game Changer

NeilBy Neil Thibodeau — Senior Director, EMC IT Business Management

Becoming financially transparent and allowing IT customers to see and control what they invest in IT services is a critical part of transforming your IT operation into an IT-as-a-Service model. But those financial details are only as good as the data they are drawn from.  Data Quality Management is foundational to building an ITaaS model, as well as to maintaining credible financial transparency as your IT operation evolves and matures.

EMC IT began focusing on Data Quality Management back in 2011, when we pursued financial transparency as part of our ITaaS transformation. The goal was to transition our IT operation from a traditional centralized, cost-center based IT budget— where users had little or no information on the cost and value of what they consumed—to a financially transparent one providing increased detail on users’ IT spend.

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Convincing the Business to Embrace the Cloud: A New IT Mindset is Key

1c0038eBy Jon Peirce — Senior Vice President, EMC IT

When it comes to transforming your traditional IT operation, convincing business users to embrace your new cloud architecture can be an uphill battle.

As I noted in my last blog, EMC IT initially provided infrastructure to our business users free of charge and stepped up our guaranteed service levels to convince them to adopt our new infrastructure. Virtualization and multi-tenancy were creating tremendous cost and efficiency benefits.

Nonetheless, we faced an interesting phenomenon—even though our infrastructure was free, some business units were still opting to work around us and spend real money on services.  It really caused us to pause, and ask, “Why is this happening?” Continue reading

Data Science as a Service: Driving Agility and Innovation to the ITaaS Model

AlonBy Dr. Alon Grubshtein, Principal Data Scientist — EMC IT

This is a great time to be a data scientist –a bit like rock stars with all the fans always trying to catch some private time with us. While there’s is no clear definition of what a data scientist is (see related blog or view diagram of DS skillset) our take on this role is quite simple:

  1. Work with stakeholders to elevate high impact business related questions
  2. Find the means to answer these questions

This blog aggregates our collective experiences as members of EMC’s Corporate IT Data-Science-as-a-Service (DSaaS) team. Our team has been active since 2012, providing Data Science (DS) services to different business units as part of EMC IT’s transformation to an agile and innovative IT-as-a-Service model.

Although we aimed for a technical blog, we thought that the first post should provide a broader context to the DSaaS offering and it will, therefore, be dedicated to the process of innovating and driving data science projects in the corporate environment.

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EMC IT Deploys Syncplicity: CIO Vic Bhagat Details the Enterprise Rollout

As data growth continues unabated, with users demanding performance across multiple devices, file sharing has become an indispensable part of successful collaboration and management. To support this growth, EMC IT embraced Syncplicity to provide our global workforce of more than 60,000 people with a fast, simple, reliable service to share the content they use every day. Syncplicity has proven to be a game changer and now comes out of the box for every new EMCer.

With speed and efficiency, EMC IT migrated nearly the entire enterprise onto Syncplicity within mere months. How? Watch below as EMC Chief Information Officer Vic Bhagat (@VicBhagat) discusses the rollout of Syncplicity.

Want more information? Watch EMC Chief Security Officer Dave Martin address the security elements behind Syncplicity. You can also read the following content that further details Syncplicity’s place within the EMC service catalog.

(blog) Syncplicity and EMC: Providing File Sync & Share For All
(white paper) EMC IT Deploys Syncplicity With Private Cloud Storage
(white paper)
How EMC IT Deployed Syncplicity With On-Premises Storage