Investments in AI and data pay off big for CIOs

Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: Four corporate tech leaders discuss the state of computing, an accident at a memory chip factory was the last thing the chip shortage needed and where top corporate tech executives then head.

Twirl up

AMD has gained market share of x86 server chips for 11 consecutive quarters, largely at the expense of Intel, according to data from Mercury Research. AMD has now captured 10.7% of the server market, up 3.6 percentage points from the year-ago quarter.

It’s the data, stupid

It wasn’t too long ago that Fortune 500 CIOs were valued more for their acumen of cost reduction than for their technological vision, but those days are long gone. The CIO of a megacorporation today is at the heart of their company’s business strategy, now that every company is a technology company to one degree or another, which means they play a unique role in how whose business and technology teams work together.

Protocol Enterprise was delighted to welcome four technology leaders some of the biggest companies on the planet – Rob Carter, CIO, FedEx; Sheila Jordan, Director of Digital Technology, Honeywell; Chris Bedi, IT Director, ServiceNow; and Vittorio Cretella, CIO, Procter & Gamble – during our “Changing the Role of the CIO” virtual event earlier this week. You can watch a replay of the whole discussion here, but we wanted to recap a few highlights.

The pandemic has forced every business in the world to think differently on their technology strategy, which made our panel’s job easier in some ways and harder in others.

  • “We’ve all been thrown into the future here through the pandemic, and over the past two years, and so the dialogue has intensified,” FedEx’s Carter said.
  • “One of the benefits of COVID-19 is that it has made technology very real and relevant to every individual in the organization,” said Jordan of Honeywell.
  • “Every function, every strategic business unit has a digital agenda and we can sit in the middle to help orchestrate that,” she said.

But skilled IT professionals are rare, even in companies with huge budgets.

  • “What keeps me awake at night is…how do I make sure we continue to feed the talent pool with bright technologists who have a good business outlook,” P&G’s Cretella said.
  • That means embracing the concept of “shadow IT” rather than fighting it, ServiceNow’s Bedi said.
  • “I really think if we do that, we can let all the talent in our companies participate in their own digital transformation without having to go through a central organization,” Bedi said.

Investments in data and AI technologies pay real dividends for the technology leaders on our panel.

  • “Data is the currency of digital transformation,” Jordan said. “I really think at some point – and I don’t mean to insult anyone in the audience – but infrastructure and applications will become less and less relevant.”
  • However, “putting in place the right safeguards, good governance and good data management has been the best way to empower [employees]“, said Carter.
  • All of the panelists thought AI would be a hugely important part of their future, but Bedi cautioned that “the more sophisticated the AI ​​algorithm, the less understandable it is to humans, and humans want that explainable AI,” which can lead to disillusionment.

We closed the panel by asking our team to list emerging technologies they are very enthusiastic about integrating into their businesses.

  • For Carter, edge computing has enormous potential to transform the shipping industry: “It’s the frontier; how far do networks and technologies go to enable new things that we have not even dreamed of? »
  • Jordan, from Honeywell, stressed the importance of data, but also emphasized sustainability. “Examining products and services, what we deploy and how we can actually have a positive impact on sustainability will be critical over the next three years.”
  • “I don’t want to use the word metaverse, which is a bit inflated these days,” P&G’s Cretella said. “But definitely, I think the hype around virtual realities and hybrid environments is going to become less hyped and more mainstream in the future.”
  • ServiceNow’s Bedi didn’t want to single out a single technology, instead pointing out that modern CIOs have an incredible set of emerging technologies to play with. “What really excites me is their application: how can we make them real?

—Tom Krazit (E-mail | Twitter)


Businesses need applications faster than ever, and they need them to solve increasingly complex and sophisticated problems. This means IT teams need a more efficient way to deliver powerful software quickly and a better way to partner with their business counterparts. This is where low-code comes in.

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Memory prices are expected to rise

A mysterious hardware contamination in flash memory made at two factories in Japan triggered shutdowns beginning in January, Western Digital and Kioxia revealed on Wednesday evening. The hardware contamination has affected 3D flash memory chips built at the factories, which operate under a partnership between the two companies. Neither gave an in-depth explanation of the problem or what caused it.

Memory is like the oil of the semiconductor industry: an essential commodity. And now there will be 6.5 exabytes less memory on the market, which equates to about 50 million 128-gigabyte solid-state drives, or about 13 percent of the groups’ total Q1 production.

Due to the contamination issue, TrendForce now expects flash memory prices to rise 5% to 10%, compared to an expected price drop before the factory issues. What’s bad for Kioxia and WD, however, could be good news for Micron and Samsung, which also make flash memory.

— Max A. Cherney (E-mail | Twitter)

Company moves

Laura Heisman has been appointed CMO at VMware. Heisman previously led communications and marketing at GitHub.

Sylvain Cazard has been appointed GM Asia Pacific and Japan at VMware. Cazard was previously vice president of the Central Europe, Middle East and Africa business.

Janet George joins Intel as Head of Cloud and Enterprise Solutions Group. George was previously vice president of Oracle and starts with Intel on February 14.

Josh Leslie joined Gremlin as CEO. Leslie previously held senior positions at VMware and served as CEO of Cumulus Networks, later acquired by Nvidia.

Thanks for reading – see you tomorrow!

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