The Usual Suspects are not the Real Trends

By Walter Curd, Vice President & CIO, Maxim Integrated

Walter Curd, Vice President & CIO, Maxim Integrated

Based in Sunnyvale, Maxim Integrated Products (NASDAQ:MXIM) designs, manufactures and sells high-performance semiconductor products. The company was founded in 1983 and has a market cap of $9.23 billion.

There are the usual suspects such as cloud, mobile, social and big data, but those are not the real trends that are impacting IT in our organization. They are tactical enablers. The trends that drive us from a strategic viewpoint are:

The business gets IT now
Company leaders and employees know that transformational change requires a new Business/IT relationship and, as a result, we have completely realigned our IT organization to support them.

The business demands ease of use
The bar has been raised, and the traditional IT focus on functionality and ease of integration is not well received. As a result, we have to spend more time on design and end up with more applications because the primary ERP vendors have not spent any time on user interface of their existing systems.

The “fragmentation” of IT
The cloud has enabled a proliferation of point solutions with better user interfaces. The business is moving to those applications. As a result, IT has to get much better at integration. On the device side, the old mode of a standard computing platform for all employees is long gone. IT has to support the device proliferation.

Turn an IT organization into a True Strategic Business Partner
IT knows that security tools are very expensive and not effective. We can “check the box” for security tools and processes; however, they are not effective against state-sponsored hacking or hacking for profit which is a huge gap.
How to turn the IT organization from a tactical execution engine into a true strategic business partner for the executive team is also a major issue. The world is changing around us, and now, almost every initiative for every functional executive has a large IT component. We need to change our support model to integrate completely with the business.

Constantly Review Technology and Trends

We use the push model for innovation. I encourage my teams, and they encourage their teams, to constantly review technology and trends to see what we can pilot and/or apply in our organization. Of course, it does not hurt that we are located in the middle of Silicon Valley. We are tied into some VC firms and review the portfolio of their companies to assist in guiding their products for our market. Based on our reviews and pilots, we determine what fits and move forward with implementations after demonstrating the value.

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