Monday, May 23, 2016

WTC Priority: Women in the C-Suite

The Women Tech Council (WTC) has several wonderful priorities for the year. During their most recent Advisory Board meeting I participated in a roundtable discussion on one of these priorities: “Women in the C-Suite.” 

What is the C-Suite? 

Simply put, it means any executive leadership role or title beginning with “Chief,” like Chief Executive Office (CEO), Chief Operating Officer (COO) or Chief Financial Officer (CFO). There is an ever-increasing array of “Chiefs” (Chief Sustainability Officer, Chief Procurement Officer, Chief Information Security Officer, Chief Administrative Officer, etc.). Getting a woman into one of these roles is probably a good thing, but the strategic import varies from company to company. At the end of the day, we simply want more women in the most senior decision-making roles in a company. A better measure might be the number of women reporting directly to the President or CEO outside of her Administrative Assistant. 

How do we do get more women in executive roles? 

The answer isn’t simple or obvious in most cases. You don’t just ignore all of the male candidates for executive positions, especially when you have qualified internal candidates. That would be gender discrimination. Here are some ideas:
  • Support organizations like WTC. Send your senior women leaders to be involved. Send your CEO, regardless of their gender. 
  • Create employee resource groups specifically focused on women that also include men. As an example, EMC has something called the Women Leadership Forum (WLF).
  • Join other local, national and international women-oriented associations and programs. There are several that are even specific to Information Technology, like Women in Technology International (WITI). 
  • Provide training and support for women that gives them business knowledge, skills and encouragement to take risks and prepare them for more opportunities. This should include projects with opportunities for leadership and visibility up to and including the CEO. 
  • Provide resources, options and services that retain women at all stages of their life, including medical benefits with robust parental leave, flexible work schedules, convenient childcare, etc. 
  • Last, and perhaps most important, hire more women into ALL positions so there’s a better chance your internal candidates for management and senior management roles will be female. 
Doing all of the things above will help you attract more women. And once you have a strong base of women employees, that population is more likely to grow. Women attract women.

Why is it important to have Women in the C-Suite? 

Simply put, because not having them there is a disservice to the employee population of most companies, not to mention their customers and partners. If we left nature alone, chances are that there would be just as many women as men in the world (refer to Fisher's Principle). Not only is having more women in executive roles a natural, equitable thing to do, it is also just plain good for business. In most cases, women provide a different perspective than men. They solve problems just as quickly and efficiently as men, but often times in different ways. And sometimes they solve them even faster and more efficiently than men. There's lots of fascinating research about the very tangible, hard dollar value of women in the workplace, including Catalyst's report "The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation on Boards." They state:
Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women board directors attained significantly higher financial performance, on average, than those with the lowest representation of women board directors. 
See also Frans Johansson's work for more on the value of diversity for innovation and success.

Please join me in supporting WTC and in getting more women into executive roles in yours and other’s companies. And let’s not stop there, this push should include governments, schools, non-profits and every type of organization on the planet!

PS – See this post for my perspective on “gender.” 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Another Project Vista Update

Here's another, exciting update about EMC Utah's Project Vista. This past week we announced who will be moving into our new building at Draper Vista Station. The new occupants represent a wide variety of teams, including application development, software quality assurance, product management, product marketing, inside sales, field sales, technical support, professional services, cloud infrastructure management, and more. We also shared details about amenities, including our cafeteria, fitness center, game room, hands-on training room, bike shelter, outdoor seating area, and electric vehicle charging stations. There were lots of questions about our partnership with UTA and the EcoPass program as well as UDOT's project for the new interchange at 600 West Bangerter Highway.

Happily, there are similar amenities coming to our other building at Draper Lone Peak Center, including a café, coffee shop, fitness center, game room, volleyball court, and outdoor seating area.

Here are some current pictures from Vista Station . . .

1st floor - Note the structural support in the ceiling for movable walls in our large training rooms
2nd floor - Note the open floor plan and ample natural light
3rd floor - Note the offices & huddle rooms in the center of the building
4th floor - Visible power & network along the spines of our honeycomb workstations 
4th floor - Almost done! Some workstations will have additional glass panels which double as writing surfaces. 
Exterior shot from the northwest corner - Note the new asphalt and curbing

Monday, May 9, 2016

10 Reasons Why I Like Dell-EMC

I've spent a lot of time talking to my fellow EMC'ers about the pending transaction between EMC and Dell. Following is a list of my own personal beliefs about why the combination will be a very good thing.
  1. Complementary nature of our products - In general, we have a lot of to share across our product portfolios. Among other things, this means Dell servers will probably be standard issue for EMC converged infrastructure products. There are also smaller, but equally exciting opportunities. For example, EMC's online backup business (Mozy) has millions of consumer and small business users. I'm guessing that the Dell ecosystem will be an even a better place for that business to thrive. 
  2. Proven history - In the early 2000's both companies had a reseller partnership together which resulted in billions of dollars in incremental revenue. It is great that the agreement has been dusted off and re-established while we wait for the transaction to complete. This new combination will make that reseller arrangement look quite simple, not to mention small. 
  3. Scale and strength of the combined company - The economies of scale with a company of this size are tremendous. We'll have hundreds of thousands of employees, many tens of billions of dollars in revenue, a massive partner network, and a huge customer base. We'll be able to provide more and better products and services more efficiently than before. 
  4. Long-term view of a private company - It will be very helpful to have a view of our business that is longer than just 90 days. We'll be able to mitigate challenges, like large swings in inventory which spike at the end of a quarter. Instead, we'll be able to make business decisions based on carefully considered facts and the strategic fit for all parties. At the same time, we'll have more latitude to increase our R&D investments.  
  5. Complementary customer relationships - EMC is world-class in terms of enterprise customer relationships and very solid in the commercial/mid-market space. Dell is world-class in terms of consumer and small business customer relationships, solid in the mid-market, but with room to grow in the enterprise space. Together we will have unmatched technology choices for everyone, no matter what their industry, size or appetite. 
  6. Cultural alignment - My own personal interactions with Dell employees have been very encouraging. But perhaps most encouraging are the conversations I've had with EMC'ers who worked at Dell in the past. One of them worked in Texas and another in Utah. In both instances, they shared stories about giving back in the community, the value of integrity and diversity, and a passion for changing the world through technology. 
  7. New personal opportunities - I am personally excited about the many new people I will get to meet, the new things I'll be able to learn, and the new opportunities that will undoubtedly emerge. Regardless of your role, including in our customer and partner ecosystem, I believe we will all have an opportunity to learn more and do more with that new knowledge and the new relationships. 
  8. Brand recognition - The only complaint I have about working at EMC is the fact that I have to explain who we are and what we do in 9 out of 10 external conversations (CIO's & IT geeks excluded). Dell, on the other hand, is a household name. Of course, most people don't fully understand the breadth and depth of the Dell portfolio, but at least there's a solid, directionally accurate start for the discussion. 
  9. Strong intermingled executive leadership - Michael Dell is a world-class executive surrounded by multiple others. Joe Tucci assembled an equally stellar groups of executives, like David Goulden, Howard Elias, Bill Scannell, Jeremy Burton, and others. The first glimpse of what will be a new executive leadership team promises to include people from both companies. This intermingling will be instrumental for the smooth operation of the combined companies, I'm sure. 
  10. Strategic alignment of closely-held entities - Not the least of these entities is VMware, which will be majority-owned by the new combined company. The entities also include Pivotal and SecureWorks. These businesses are multi-billion dollar ventures on their own and all very relevant for our customers. Think of this strategy as version 2.0 of what EMC called "The Federation" and what we'll now call "Dell Technologies."
Remember, these are my own personal beliefs. Read the official details, including all of the appropriate disclosures about forward-looking statements, etc. here

Monday, May 2, 2016

We're Prepared in Utah!

We recently had a statewide emergency preparation drill for one of more likely natural disasters in our fault-ridden, mountainous region. We don't have much to worry about when it comes to tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms, tsunamis, etc., but experts say there's a very good chance for Utah to experience a moderate earthquake sometime in the next 50 years. See The Great Utah Shake Out website for more details on the event, related emergency preparedness details, and the geological research. In a nutshell, the 3 things to do in an earthquake are:

  1. Drop
  2. Cover
  3. Hold on
There are important things to do before and after as well, like securing household items, having emergency supplies, and maintaining a preparedness and response plan. We've spent months preparing our office for all types of emergencies and incidents so The Great Utah Shake Out was a perfect opportunity to actually practice. We held "silent" drills in each of our buildings where we exercised our emergency communication systems, people exited the buildings, and we met at the designated rally points. It feels great to be prepared!

Our Incident Commander on the satellite phone
Members of the Incident Management Team
A couple of employees taking cover