How CIOs Can Foster Innovation

By Vic Bhagat (@VicBhagat)

Despite obstacles such as budgets and legacy IT models, CIOs need to think differently about how to cultivate innovation in order to secure their businesses’ futures.

Deloitte recently reported in its 2015 Global CIO survey that 84 percent of IT budgets are dedicated to day-to-day operations and incremental change, and only 16 percent for innovation and growth. The survey cites a few things, like CIO skillsets and his or her relationship with the c-suite, as contributing factors for this. However, I think it is more foundational and cultural.

The traditional IT operational model was funded and managed to deliver highly customized offerings and multi-year ERP-like projects. We did it very well and were comfortable living in this world. However, as CIOs, we not only need to do even more with flatter budgets, but we are now living in a world of instant gratification and Twitter-like attention spans. Consequently, we need to embrace a more agile, contemporary and innovative operational model to quickly deliver services that drive value for our businesses.

Here are a few ways we are fostering innovation in EMC’s IT organization.

  1. While we always supported the business, we realigned our organization to better understand and collaborate with our business partners. Rather than being order takers, our newfound seat at the table enables us to have more transparent and proactive conversations about how IT can help them meet their objectives.
  2. To free up budget and employees for innovation, we are digitizing and automating our manual, resource-intensive IT processes. For instance, we recently introduced infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service offerings to provide users with quickly ordered and provisioned environments like they can order from public cloud companies. And, we are looking at numerous other processes that will make us more contemporary and cloud-competitive. Not only will digitizing processes like this free up time for us to focus on innovation, but we also can extend our digitization experience to driving efficiency and reducing cycle time in critical business processes.
  3. To evolve from a traditional to more contemporary IT organization, we must embrace agile methodologies and DevOps to deliver software quicker, better and cheaper through a continuous delivery method. If we don’t, we jeopardize our relevance and force our users to consider faster, external solutions.

We must invest in innovation to move at the speed of business. As CIOs and IT professionals, we are up for the challenge and are seizing this opportunity to contemporize our IT organizations; increase value for our business; and to revolutionize our careers. How are you innovating in your organization?


Vic Bhagat
Executive Vice President, Enterprise Business Solutions & Chief Information Officer

Vic Bhagat is Executive Vice President, Enterprise Business Solutions and Chief Information Officer at EMC Corporation. He joined EMC in January 2013 and is responsible for leading the information technology, global Centers of Excellence, global business services, and indirect procurement organizations. He is based at EMC’s corporate headquarters in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, United States.