An Internal Look at NetApp’s Innovations in the Storage Market | #VMworld

Cynthia Stoddard, NetApp CIO

Cynthia Stoddard, NetApp CIOWhat is it like being the CIO of a large corporation that specializes in delivering solutions for other CIOs? NetApp’s CIO Cynthia Stoddard sat down with The Cube hosts to talk about it at VMworld 2013. Wearing a VMware baseball  jersey with AT&T Park in the background, Stoddard revealed some of the inner workings of NetApp’s IT operations and how the company has adapted to the changes in the storage market.

Stoddard stressed that in order to survive the myriad of changes, an organization has to be willing to embrace the trend, be cognizant of how to keep the system running, and inspire those involved to take on the challenges of new tech and be able to experiment. If they cannot, they will end up with something that will not scale and will not be agile.

When asked what the winning formula was for someone in IT, Stoddard suggested they should focus on adding value to the business. They need to understand what the business challenges are and be able to look at the tech portfolio and pull out from it just what the business needs. Part of that winning mindset is to embrace the unknown and do not be afraid to look to the future and see what it can do for the organization.

She also recommended that companies wishing to push the envelope of innovation incubate those new ideas in playground or sandbox-like environments where the developers are free to experiment, but they should also allow others to peek in and try new things as well. NetApp’s own internal cloud was born in this type of environment.

For NetApp, the way they handle people, process, and technology has been evolving. They have moved beyond thinking in terms of a silo and instead work as one team. The team must be able to sit in the seat of the end user and look at issues from their perspective. It is more about service than it is about technology.

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