When touting their company's products, EMC sales reps often get this question from prospective customers: "Do you guys use your own stuff?"
Those types of queries led Sanjay Mirchandani, CIO and chief operating officer for EMC's Global Centers of Excellence, to decide that IT should show customers how the vendor uses its own technology. He had his staffers work with product engineers so IT could be an early adopter of EMC products in an active IT production environment -- when products were either in the early stages of development or close to release.
"We kind of turned IT on its head," says Mirchandani, 47. Not only is IT providing the infrastructure for the organization, but "we have legitimate-use cases and experience with the product, so engineers have feedback, and customers have early-use cases from us," he adds. Committing to new software always carries risk, but Mirchandani says he feels it's a risk that can be managed.
Chuck Hollis, CTO of EMC's global marketing unit, says the change in IT under Mirchandani's leadership "has been amazing."
"He's singularly passionate and enthusiastic about what could be -- and putting all his effort into making it happen," Hollis says. "He has that special ability to create a vision that senior executives, business stakeholders and his IT organizations all can enthusiastically endorse. I don't think of him as the CIO, per se. I see him as a business leader who is capable of accomplishing great things."