Flynn Speaks Part 2

In the last installment of the Patrick Flynn Interview, Flynn talked about using performance data to improve the data center’s ability to support software, application-centric infrastructure, and the evolution toward the software-defined data center. In this installment, Flynn discusses the changes that these developments will have on C-level executives.

Interviewer: Aren’t you expecting a big change in focus for CIOs?Flynn: The progressive CIO thinks more about digital infrastructure as a profit center than a cost center. They think about how they can outcompete their adversaries by getting the most out of the existing dollars that they spend, by streamlining the digital infrastructure they have under their control.

If I can reduce the energy consumption of my platform, that means I can get more out of a given building.  I can provide more IT function from the same footprint, from the same chiller plant per unit dollar. That’s the leverage element that a forward-thinking CIO sees here, the return on investment, the return on data center that’s coming.  The most progressive CIOs are already thinking about how much they spend relative to the amount of dollars gained from data center.

Interviewer: If I’m not a CIO, if I’m a CEO, what does this mean to me?Flynn: Well, one big thing that’s coming for everybody in every position in every industry in every organization is the realization that digital infrastructure mediates every interaction with every constituency. Within a company. Between a company and its vendors. Most important, with a company’s customers. Even if I go to my local bank branch, all the teller is doing is accessing a software application to deposit my check. Whether I deposit my check with a smart phone app, or whether I go to the branch, fundamentally, my entire satisfaction with that bank is completely dependent on the performance of its software.

For the CEO I think this is massively important.  Let’s take one part of a CEO’s responsibility, which is company growth in the competitive landscape around that company.  A driver of innovation, an accelerator of performance is going to be digital infrastructure.  If a CEO is not thinking about the quality of the digital customer experience they are delivering, the quality of the data they’re getting, the efficiency of the system that stores it and processes it, the tools with which everybody in his organization can access the right data, at the right time, for the right insight, for the right value, they’re going to get passed by.

Interviewer: There’s almost a revolution underway with shadow IT. People seem to be voting with their feet against the traditional way of doing IT.Flynn: I think shadow IT is one of those places where we’ll look back in ten years and say, “It was the end of one era and the beginning of another.”

Shadow IT comes about because the value per unit cost from leveraging web scale infrastructure that is elegantly engineered and optimized far outstrips the value per unit cost of going through the traditional channels of deploying IT.  In a day-to-day workplace environment you end up with people choosing to provision a virtual machine cheap, quick, easy, and not go through the headaches of putting in a ticket to open up another data center in three years’ time to meet their capacity needs.  Shadow IT is a symptom of a bigger change underway.

Interviewer: If I’m a C level executive and I get a call from IO, why should I take that call?Flynn: I think the most important thing for a C level executive to understand if they get a call or if they get a chance to visit IO is that there’s a likelihood that it’s going to change their business. Significantly.

You don’t fully appreciate what IO does until you show up to IO Phoenix, you meet with the team, you see the data center, you walk through traditional DC 1 all the way through to fully modular DC 7 and you get to witness the evolution of data center.

When you add in an IO.OS demo, a description of IO.Cloud, some information about what IO.Applied Intelligence is doing, a tour of the factory, those who come here get a full picture of what we’re aiming towards.  It’s as if we’re building a strong foundation but photographs of a foundation can only tell you so much about its strength.  You need to go see it and really get to understand it.  Then you see what’s coming and what’s going to be on top of that foundation.

Interviewer: What’s the IO value proposition?  Flynn: The performance of IO technology shows up in dollars, more dollars of value created per dollar spent.

Anybody who’s locked into thinking about the world in terms of square feet, that’s not our customer.  Anybody who tries to compare a module to the same amount of floor space in a traditional environment doesn’t see the point.  The modules are certainly the most memorable, tangible piece of what we do, but it’s the tip of the iceberg.  It’s through the modules that we get the data that drives our decision making.  The standardization exists to continuously improve the product.

We are accelerating faster than everybody else.  Accelerating.  Not just faster than every else, not just widening the gap, but the pace of that widening is also increasing.  We’re learning faster than they are, we’re adapting, we’re evolving. Together, with our customers.