Agents of change: three approaches, the same drive for change

July 12, 2018

Agents of change: three approaches, the same drive for changeAgents of Change is VMware’s initiative celebrating smart CIOs who challenge the status quo. By harnessing the transformative power of technology, they are creating unlimited possibilities for their businesses.

As the saying goes, the only thing that is constant is change itself. For businesses seeking to thrive in the digital era, being comfortable with change is critical. It’s a view that leading cable operator Liberty Global very much subscribes to. With the cable industry having seen huge disruption in the last ten years, change is a given for the company. It has to keep evolving and it must do it fast.

It’s the same for the University of Pisa. One of the world’s oldest universities, “it has never stopped reinventing itself”, says CTO Maurizio Davini. He’s responsible for shaping its future at a time when digital is playing a key role in helping universities compete globally for students, academics and funding.

For Heinz Herren, CIO and CTO at Swisscom, change is the difference between triumph and obsolescence. Being good in the present is no guarantee of future success. “If you’re good today, you’re out tomorrow.”

Both Herren and Davini understand that being able to manage change effectively is a key part of any technology leader’s role. As Davini explains: “IT leaders of universities need to be change agents. They have to drive change from the old world of IT to the new world of IT – a new world where universities are enterprise-oriented and customer-centric.”

However, understanding change theoretically and being able to deploy it successfully are two different skills. For Liberty Global, the University of Pisa and Swisscom, being able to effect change, both in the way they operate and the services they deploy, meant finding an engine which could power that transformation.

As the leading Swiss provider of telecoms and IT services, Swisscom was quick to recognise the future importance of cloud to consumers and enterprises, going so far as to develop its own cloud management platform. However, as the market evolved, so did Swisscom. Rather than compete with dedicated cloud vendors, it switched its focus on the development of services for its customers enabled by the cloud platform, working with VMware to create the Enterprise Service Cloud, which was launched at VMworld Europe 2017.

Liberty Global’s approach was slightly different. It needed a way to support a company-wide growth initiative while realising cost efficiencies of €1 billion globally. At the same time, it had to keep innovating and driving new products to market. That flexibility, agility and scalability could only come from one place – cloud computing. The results, following the consolidation of 65 data centers in to three primary locations, has given it a scalable platform to support its customers’ current and future demands for TV and broadband services. It has also been able to speed up its time to market with new products and offer greater service assurances.

In Pisa, as the university evolves to adapt to the digital era, departments multiply and so do their IT requirements. To support this growth, Davini’s team modernised data centers with virtualization technology. This allows IT to provide maximum flexibility for the growing student and faculty populations, while still ensuring high reliability and security.

All three organisations have gone through periods of significant change. To deliver that a formidable team is important. According to Herren: “You have to trust your leader, make sure you follow his strategy, and if you work together as a team, the results are just fantastic.”

Three different enterprises, with three different approaches, connected by the same commitment to change.

If you’d like to hear from other Agents of Change, take a look at some of our previous posts.