CIO Perspective
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CIO Perspective
How Can IT Become the Business?
Mar 15, 2013

Earlier this week I spoke on a panel with 3 other CIOs—all of us are based in Silicon Valley: Gerri Martin-Flickinger from Adobe, Mark Tonnesen from Electronic Arts, and Walter Curd from Maxim Integrated Products. Collectively, we’ve all shared a similar experience: we’re working for high tech companies, we deal with very tech-savvy users, and our IT function supports the creation of technology.


The panel topic “New CIO Manifesto---A Playbook for Successcovered the usual technology suspects---cloud, BYOD, etc. But we also touched on leadership topics too: knowing when to wear the IT Ops hat versus the IT Strategy hat, as well as how to earn and keep a seat at the company’s leadership table (or even board of directors).


When it comes to IT being more strategic, one question popped to the surface: “how IT can become the business?”.


That is, instead of just making sure the company’s email is working, IT can provide real-world, hands-on feedback on what your company’s products or services do (or don’t do) to the design engineers, technical support, and services teams who are all involved in the delivery of that product or service to the end customer.  


Gerri Martin-Flickinger at Adobe is known “to ensure IT innovation drives the business”. This means her IT team develops innovative enterprise solutions built with Adobe products and technologies to solve business issues and reduce IT costs—in partnership with the product design teams.


Walter Curd shared that Maxim's product development and R&D “engineers are king”, so he has his senior IT staff embedded within various business units to best manage on-going IT demands in order to further drive innovation.


At Juniper Networks, we are using our own technology and solutions to run our business and deliver core business services. We call this Juniper on Juniper or “drinking our own champagne”. For Juniper IT, these networking deployments have served as the ultimate test drive to build the best.


customer#1.jpgWe launched a formal internal program called Customer #1---a program to capture data and analysis while using Juniper technologies in our internal networks and share the performance/findings with the teams that design the products and support our customers. 


As Customer #1, Juniper IT engages in a bi-directional way with both Juniper customer support and Juniper advanced services to obtain assistance and also to provide feedback. We deliberately pay for our support so we are treated like any other customer.  We work closely with Juniper’s Technical Assistance Center – or “J-TAC” and also purchased Juniper’s Advanced Services, J-CARE PLUS with a dedicated service manager.


Any discoveries made from our in-production enterprise network are reviewed by Juniper’s development cycle and support processes. As a result, the Customer #1 program is helping our company improve the overall quality of our products and services and, ultimately, deliver a better solution to our customers. As Customer #1, the Juniper IT team will continue to engage cross-functionally to ensure our Juniper on Juniper imperative maps to our evolving product portfolio.