EMC World 2014 Outtakes: When It’s Okay to Talk RTOs and RPOs

If you’ve been in the IT world as long as I have and have seen it from as many angles, you know all-to-well that things in this industry haven’t always moved swiftly.

Quite the contrary. Despite no shortage of innovation over the years, the industry has generally been slow to change and IT organizations a bit reserved in their uptake of new technologies.

But things are evolving… and quickly.

As @guychurchward blogged about here on The Protection Continuum, retail, transportation, and other industries will be virtually unrecognizable in a decade’s time as our lives and businesses become more data-driven, more interconnected and more automated.

Thanks to the Social Network of Things, long-standing business practices and IT technologies are being questioned and conversations are taking place within organizations.

In fact, new world dynamics already have some folks challenging Roger’s diffusion of innovations’ theory, which has been this industry’s go-to-measure of technology adoption for decades.

On the business side of things, the focus is shifting from product to customer (where it should be) and as it does, IT and business teams are moving closer together.

Even we marketing folks are taking pause to reevaluate our role within the organization, how we engage with customers and how we can leverage data about our customers’ behaviors, likes and wants to drive business.

Yep, it all comes back to data, or the metadata as @makitadremel (a.k.a. Stephen Manley) explains in his latest post The ‘Journey to Redefine’ Hinges on Metadata.

That’s why at EMC World this year, whether you were in Joe Tucci’s general session on Monday; Guy’s and Stephen’s Unplugged and Amped Up session on Tuesday; one of our technical or product-focused sessions scattered throughout the week, watching a Cube interview with one of our customers or reading any of the media coverage that followed, you heard a business message first, and a technology/product story second.

I’ve been trying to figure out how many EMC Worlds I’ve been to over my career, and I think this was my sixth or seventh (my third as an EMC employee). Wow, what a journey!

Putting my vendor hat aside for a minute, I can’t say how exciting it is to watch, participate in and help drive this type of evolution. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

As ESG senior analyst Jason Buffington and the Cube’s Dave Vellante discussed last week at the show, the mere mention of RTOs and RPOs is enough to turn some business leaders off. Heck, it makes crazy.


It’s not that RTO and RPO aren’t important; they are. But there’s a time and a place for this discussion, and it’s not the boardroom. Instead, these types of conversations should center first on the value IT can bring to the business and, second, on the ROI and cost-savings of any investments.

So, questions like what business ventures IT can help drive, how IT can enable new innovation, and how IT can help the organization compete better in the marketplace are on point.

It’s about having the right conversations with the right folks at the right time, and it’s also about context. With this mind, over the next few posts, I will be sharing some short video segments from this year’s show that I hope will help steer your conversations. Up first is the ESG/Cube interview. Enjoy!

About the Author: Heidi Biggar