Cynthia Stoddard, at 56, loves cross-country skiing and even skiing downhill, in weekends, just to keep her reflexes in top form. As the senior vice-president and CIO of NetApp, she believes agility is the current call in international IT business. ďIts a business wand, not a technical wand that a CIO is sought to wield, in these days of rapid flux in business opportunities,Ē she tells M Sarita Varma, in an exclusive interview. California-based NetApp is a Fortune 500 company, with revenue running to $7 billion and leadership in computer storage and data management.
You have been travelling from Sunnydale in California to South Kerala in India, just to meet a business client. How important is extensive travel to an IT business decision-maker, especially when the suppliers and clientele are spread all over the globe?
It has been the sixth or seventh time that I am making a business trip to Thiruvananthapuram to meet the UST Global people. I do this kind of travel all the time, whether it is to Korea, Singapore or Geneva. Not just because, meeting the key people is called for in a company with 12,000 employees and over 150 offices worldwide, but also because, one needs to be open to new developments in technology and businesses to be on toes about the latest trends in IT. Direct interpersonal communication and interaction is fundamental to take any business process forward.
What are the latest trends in technology that you see as impacting businesses at the cutting edge level?
The mobile, cloud and big data are the most happening places in the recent times. Together the opportunities in these segments have been revolutionising business and society, collapsing old business models and creating new leaders. PC is soon likely to be replaced by the personal cloud. The personal cloud will be the portable, always-accessible location, where employee keep their personal data and corporate data, in different compartments. Web and connectivity will become important.
IT would be called to do two roles. One, it needs to maintain the stability and predictability of services. Two, it needs to give flexibility, where one can swap a component or two, in and out or add a matching resource, without affecting the functionality. Managing the diversity and the mobile device management will determine the key technology player. Already, businesses have been shifting to bring your own device (BYOD) model to incorporate more flexibility of operations.
How would this