Meet CIO Hall of Famer Bask Iyer

Today, Bask Iyer, Dell and VMware’s CIO, was named a 2017 inductee into the CIO Hall of Fame from IDG’s CIO. This prestigious honor is bestowed upon a select group of outstanding IT executives and visionaries who have had a significant impact on the IT profession. He will officially accept his award at the CIO Hall of Fame awards ceremony in August; but, I thought today’s announcement of it would be a good reason to catch up with Iyer to discuss what this means for him and his teams at Dell and VMware.

Bask Iyer CIO Dell VMWare

Congratulations, you were recently named as an inductee into the CIO Hall of Fame. What does that mean to you?

Without a doubt, it’s an honor. Throughout my career, I have worked with great companies where I not only honed my skills as a CIO, but was able to push the envelope and make changes to truly evolve the IT experience. I’ve been blessed with smart, experienced IT professionals that have helped me execute on this vision, so this award is also a recognition of the teams around me.

In December, you expanded your role as VMware’s CIO to include Dell.  What excites you about being part of Dell?

Long before I joined VMware, I was a Dell customer and an admirer of Michael Dell as a businessman especially for his innovations in ecommerce and the supply chain. When I think of how my IT team can digitally transform Dell and VMware, we want to take a page out of Michael’s book to help find those business opportunities that can not only be improved, but will be competitively disruptive for the company.

How are you looking to digitally transform Dell?

It’s always a delicate balance.  While our business wants us to be innovative, we must also provide them with the highest performance and unwavering reliability. This year, we are focused on keeping the lights on; further integrating Dell and EMC business systems; continuing to modernize our data centers; and introducing services that enable better communication, collaboration and productivity for our team members. My team at VMware also continues to accelerate mobile experiences for our team members, enable our journey to cloud, and be the best customer possible.

What do you bring with you from your experience at VMware?

After diving into the details and learning from my staff, my first step is to empower Dell’s IT team. Because we are a technology company, our users mistakenly judge situations by their consumer experience or personal tech knowledge. However, there is a tremendous difference between your personal use and what it takes to manage an enterprise IT experience. This is what I initially encountered at VMware, and what I’m seeing at Dell. The second learning from VMware is we still have to continue to address the basics. You cannot talk strategy when some of the basics are broken. As a team we need to focus on the basics and pivot to transformation.

What are the required leadership traits to be the CIO of two companies?

I rely on my excellent leaders and IT organizations. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do this expanded role. As a CIO, I must enable both organizations to run without me. That’s not to say that I’ll be delegating and dumping the responsibility on my teams. My role is to provide the vision and an encouraging and supportive environment where the team is empowered to make decisions and innovate to propel us forward. Ultimately, we are in constant pursuit of excellence for both Dell and VMware and for our customers, which requires us to have the best team in the industry.

As a new inductee to the CIO Hall of Fame, what is your advice for other IT practitioners?

Having the vision and the right technology are essential. However, that alone will not enable you to digitally transform IT and your business. You must have the best and brightest people on your team to work closely with the business to understand the approach, process and opportunity. And you have to communicate and bring your people with you on the journey. As CIO of Dell and VMware, I’m fortunate to have the right people and the right technologies at hand.

About the Author: Laura Pevehouse

Laura Pevehouse was profiled as one of five “social media mavens” in the March 2009 issue of Austin Woman Magazine and named an AdWeek’s TweetFreak Five to Follow. She has been part of the Dell organization for more than 15 years in various corporate communications, employee communications, public relations, community affairs, marketing, branding, social media and online communication roles. From 2014-2018, Laura was Chief Blogger/Editor-in-Chief for Direct2DellEMC and Direct2Dell, Dell’s official corporate blog that she help launch in 2007. She is now a member of the Dell Technologies Chairman Communications team. Earlier in her Dell career she focused on Global Commercial Channels and US Small and Medium Business public relations as part of the Global Communications team. Prior to that, she was responsible for global strategy in social media and community management, as well as marcom landing pages, as a member of Dell’s Global SMB Marketing, Brand and Creative team. When she was part of Dell’s Global Online group, Laura provided internal consulting that integrated online and social media opportunities with a focus on Corporate Communications and Investor Relations. She managed the home page of, one of the top 500 global web sites in Alexa traffic rank, and first brought web feeds and podcasts to the ecommerce site. In her spare time she led Dell into the metaverse with the creation of Dell Island in the virtual world Second Life. Laura has earned the designation of Accredited Business Communicator from the International Association of Business Communicators, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Louisiana State University. Before joining Dell Financial Services in 2000, she worked at the Texas Workforce Commission and PepsiCo Food Systems Worldwide.