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CIOs who try to maintain walls shall perish: Adriana Karaboutis

Anup Varier | May 2, 2013
The speed of IT evolution has had a significant impact on CIOs across the globe. At Dell, Adriana Karaboutis, in her role as Global CIO, is responsible for driving Dell's IT organization evolution--from managing an efficient and innovative global information infrastructure to creating innovative breakthroughs that provide technology advances for the company and its customers. We spoke to her about the role of the internal IT team in enabling business transformation.

So, even in our conversation with the infrastructure and security team, who are outstanding at telling me what I need to do to stay secure, we start with the assumption that we would go ahead with the idea and then ask them what needs to be done to make it possible.

What are some of your key areas of concern as a consumer of technology?

I don't think we are constrained in terms of technology. As a CIO, I am interested in the SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud), and fortunately, at Dell, we are providers of some of these capabilities. I think we have great solutions for all four of these, and have a strong strategy in place. I don't see technology as a limitation.

If there are any limitations in areas such as mobility, you have to weigh a lot of things like security, privacy, and confidentiality among others. But those are things that we can work through, and they don't really stop us. We've got a clear vision of where we'd like to go, and a roadmap of what IT needs to do to support it and make sure we get there fast with the business.

Michael (Dell) and the leadership team have put together a great company, and we've got to be there, supporting it.

Is your internal IT a test bed for Dell's offerings?

It absolutely is. Hemal and I had a discussion with our enterprise service group here in India, and we discussed some of the things we want to be a test bed for.

Our converged infrastructure system--AS800--is a great example of something we are putting into our Dell IT infrastructure base to show how converged infrastructure would perform when you build private clouds. When we talk of mobility, we have 12,000 users who have adopted BYOD.

So we are actually becoming the reference accounts for our customers. And, in reality, our preferred customers might be smaller in size, whereas we tend to be on the large scale, supporting a $60 billion company that's Dell. So, when people see that we have implemented it internally, it's quite a reference.

Does it not deny you the chance of trying a competing product?

Not at all. First of all, I believe our enterprise group and client group are actually looking at competing products, benchmarking, and determining where we need to change, and we are constantly doing that. If there are a set of products that we don't have, we look at best-of-breed from other companies.

Moreover, we've made so many acquisitions that it is hard not to have solutions from other companies. I keep telling people that I have more toys in my toy box than anybody else. We now have the servers, the storage, the networks, device management and the rest of it. While we obviously prefer and lean towards our own solutions, we do look at the best-of-breed solutions from others.


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