Leading IT in the New Normal

BrandPost By Deborah Lynn Blumberg
Oct 06, 2020
IT Leadership

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Credit: istock

IDG recently sat down with Paul Lewis, Global CTO at Hitachi Vantara, and Jason Carolan, Chief Innovation Officer for Flexential, to discuss the challenges and opportunities involved in leading in IT during times of instability.

Q: What are the issues IT leaders face in the new normal?

Lewis: You see four big considerations. First, now that I’ve gone from tens of people to 10,000 people working at home, how do I deal with things like communicating with each other and creativity when there’s no whiteboard and sticky notes? The second is resiliency versus capacity. How do I think about working at home differently than working in the office? The third is cybersecurity. The bad guys have extra time, and they can find ways to engineer their ways into our technology. Finally is the digital pivot. All organizations have been striving to make a digital change to compete with digital natives, and they’ve created new customer experiences or new business models. They’ve had to pivot dramatically.

Q: Tell us more about cybersecurity concerns during the pandemic.

Carolan: Unfortunately, ransomware seems to be up, and phishing emails, especially around stimulus payments. We provide instant response for our customers for security issues, and it’s been a hot service lately because of ransomware issues. It’s tough to watch companies that are struggling, especially in the travel industry, and then to have ransomware issues on top of that. Not only will COVID put some companies out of business, but some of these other activities will as well.

Lewis: There’s a whole swath of people who weren’t used to these potential problems, and therefore might not be patching their operating systems enough or securing their Wi-Fi. I’m more likely to trust a bad guy who calls me on my home phone than a bad guy who calls me on my office phone.

Q: What initiatives are you focused on right now?

Carolan: Our larger initiatives are generally facility-related. So, building out data center capacity. Those have stayed on track because they’re longer-term. From an internal IT project perspective, we’ve spent more time thinking about our customers’ digital experience, how they consume data during this timeframe, plus our employee experience. Data access has to be a lot easier, a lot more robust. It’s all about connectivity, ultimately.

Q: What are some positive developments you’ve noticed?

Carolan: Some early survey data seemed to indicate that the Internet of Things (IoT) took a backseat. But I’ve seen IoT projects really accelerate because of the remote nature of data access and delivery and analysis and not having to put workers at risk to go get that information.

Q: What do think the future of work looks like for IT?

Lewis: Virtual will be the default versus the physical. Physical becomes meeting space instead of working space, and then all that extra money can go into IT. Agile IT also becomes the only IT. We’re not going to go back to a six months’ timeframe for projects and $1 million. We’re going to stay at three weeks and $100,000.

For more information on this topic, visit “Leading IT in a Pandemic: The New Normal”

For more information on Hitachi Vantara, visit Hitachi Vantara.com


About Paul Lewis

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As Global CTO at Hitachi Vantara, Paul Lewis is responsible for the leading technology evangelism, client executive advocacy, and external delivery of the Hitachi vision and strategy, especially related to digital transformation and social innovation.


About Jason Carolan

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Jason Carolan is Chief Innovation Officer for Flexential where he leads a team focused on defining, assessing, and providing direction on the changing technology landscape of Flexential’s business and customers.