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Why Just Knowing about IT Doesn't Make You a CIO

July 11, 2017 by Amanda Maksymiw

Earlier this month, members of the Fuze team attended the Boston CIO of the Year Awards, honoring CIOs who have shown excellence in technology leadership in New England, including finalist John McGregor of Kronos (a Fuze customer).


Bask Iyer, CIO and EVP of Dell, was the keynote speaker offering up sage advice and several laughs. With more than 25 years of experience in both traditional Fortune 100 manufacturing companies and Silicon Valley-based high-tech firms, Bask Iyer leads DELL/EMC and VMware’s global information and technology organization, managing critical technology applications, and running the private and public clouds.


“Knowing about IT doesn’t make you a CIO. You need to know how to deal with people.” – Bask Iyer


Here are our main takeaways from his interview:


The expectation is already set

Iyer spoke very candidly about the importance of user experience. When it comes to any type of technology, the expectation is already set. Consumer technology has set a very high bar and the same holds true for enterprise apps. The UX needs to be just right. He even mentioned that he often deletes enterprise apps from his phone when he runs out of storage because the experience isn’t there.


This sentiment resonated so well with us. The consumerization of IT is something that our product team has embraced when thinking and planning how to design our products. Fuze was designed with sophisticated UX principles and extensive field testing to ensure that everyone can navigate across voice and collaboration channels with little or no training. The same familiar experience spans desktop, mobile, and conference rooms. This unification improves user adoption rates, decreases training costs, and makes workers more efficient, mobile, and productive.


Getting the right balance

The role of today’s CIO has never been more challenging. Operational responsibilities, financial pressures, rising expectations from customers, and the demands of the business are creating a unique landscape for the CIO to navigate. CIOs are juggling the desire to drive innovation with the necessity to keep the lights on. Iyer offered advice on balancing the two – if your CIO isn’t innovative or passionate about digital, you need to find a new CIO. But he/she needs to be comfortable and confident. If email isn’t working, strategy shouldn’t be a priority.


Managing the next wave of talent

2.5B millennials will be part of the workforce over the next few years. This new group of tech-savvy employees has never known a world without a smartphone. They’re poised to enter the workplace, demanding to work as they want, when they want, using the technologies of their choice. Iyer pushed the idea of reverse mentoring when it comes to working with millennials and younger generations at work. He keeps up and takes time to unlearn so he can stay fresh and humble. So what is the right way to manage millennials? Iyer offered the advice to be a good person and work to inspire your team. He personally liked to work for tough bosses and always believed that ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ but he is realizing that that is the wrong approach today.


Want more information on how CIOs can prepare for the future? Read Breaking Barriers 2020, our research based on 9,900+ respondents across the globe.



Amanda Maksymiw
Amanda Maksymiw

Amanda is responsible for setting and managing the Fuze content marketing strategy including creating, producing and publishing engaging content. Throughout her career, she's worked with fast-growing tech companies and VCs on developing content marketing, influencer marketing and social media strategies. Amanda received her BBA in Marketing from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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