Robin Johnson, CIO at Dell on being a vendor's IT leader
Dell's renaissance man
Global CIO at one of the world's biggest computer makers, London-born Robin Johnson wants to support a reinvention at the company
By Martin Veitch
1. Robin Johnson, CIO at Dell
Dell's IT chief has an annual budget of $1.2bn
2. Robin Johnson, CIO at Dell on company motivation
"Dell uses technology to drive its business and eats its own dog food."
3. Robin Johnson, CIO at Dell on his IT strategy
Johnson believes that Dell now has a "renaissance" underway and, having completed the task of hardware, datacentre and application (from 10,000 to 2800 apps) consolidation in EMEA he is now addressing the challenge of supporting the new Dell with its growing focus on services and a cutting-edge design ethos.
4. Robin Johnson, CIO at Dell on the PC
"The Dell model was all about the ability to uniquely configure and there's still an enormous audience for that but as the PC has become mainstream, the usage pattern has become 'am I net-enabled?' and you get a broader audience where worrying about processors and how much memory doesn't matter so much."
5. Robin Johnson, CIO at Dell on how corporations learn
"Everybody gets focused on [the consistency of] the device but what's more important is how corporates learn from ways people interact so you don't have to retrain everybody."
6. Robin Johnson, CIO's in business
"You can't hide what you are: I came through the development side of the IT world and have always been involved in application development. The people who can lead IT well can describe a business agenda and understand technology too. It's being able to say: 'There's a technology-enabled opportunity you haven't thought of'."
7. Robin Johnson, Dell CIO on the advantages of being in a tech firm
"It does help that they're in the technology business and they support IT and have got around the concept of simplification and 'standardise, consolidate, automate'. The standard response to the IT guy is 'you're not doing enough' but we've demonstrated that we're really serious about fixed cost."
8. Robin Johnson, on being a CIO
"I think the most important thing we can do as IT leaders is to convert the 'IT speak' into plain English. We are great at communicating among our own kind, but usually fail spectacularly at talking to the business in terms they can understand and in terms of business value or business risk."
9. Robin Johnson, the role of cloud computing
"I like the cloud where appropriate," he says. "Software-as-a-service is here to stay, we use the Innovis business services exchange and Salesforce.com and we're a big provider of cloud technologies to the providers like Microsoft Windows Azure and Salesforce. It's just the cost equation: you can do so much more over the wire now, without tons of support. Broadband and connectivity are changing what we can do."