VMware and CHOC: enabling better outcomes
Rodney Davis has a background in delivering technology solutions inside hospitals and healthcare organisations. After a stint at Texas Children’s Hospital where he was responsible for providing applications, devices and technology in many different forms to care providers and patients, he joined VMware as part of their solution architecture team, focusing specifically on healthcare. “We try to take that same knowledge and apply it to more practical situations, rather than just the traditional VMware products and solutions that we have in our portfolio, which is very vast” he says.
Their core service is delivering any application to any cloud to any device. “That means customers are going to be able to get applications and services into the hands of their customers, no matter where they are, or what they're doing. That's where VMware is leading the charge in the industry.”
They have a partnership with Children's Hospital Orange County (CHOC), helping the organization with their strategy and vision as well as execution plans. Davis explains this involves “understanding the business needs coming from their executive leadership, and then translating that back into organizational opportunities for us to invoke change and digital transformation within the organization.”
“The mission that CHOC has is something that's near and dear to most professionals - we all have family and most of us will have children as well, so we understand that providing good natured care is critical for their mission and their success. The partnership comes by way of making sure that our technology is supporting that mission, from top to bottom” Davis explains.
As an example he cites a current project to deliver a new technology into clinicians’ hands, something that has previously never been successful. “From VMware’s perspective, we’re here to make sure that is successful. Ultimately that's leading into care being more accessible to the clinicians, and maybe more consistent as well. Finally, those patients get to go home with better services and the clinicians can do their jobs in a more efficient manner.”
He sees VMware as enablers of these efficiencies. “VMware is a component of the organization's ecosystem. We're not the be all and end all to every solution that's out there, even though our portfolio is very vast, but we absolutely are in the middle of just about everything from the consumer to the data centre.
“But in order to truly be impactful, extending to a third party is very important, so there are a lot of system integrators and other partners that are part of that ecosystem. We want to integrate with those individuals and organisations as well, so we're delivering consistent end-to-end solutions that may carry outside of VMware’s point of view. Ultimately that’s going to drive better outcomes for CHOC, and make them more successful from a patient care and delivery perspective, and hopefully drive all the different financial and business outcomes they need to be a relevant player in the Southern California medical industry.”
VMware’s portfolio is continuously expanding, and Davis explains that in the last decade they’ve transitioned from being a data centre company to an application company, before moving into security and networking. “All this ties into the idea that we make sure our customers are connected, no matter where they are” he adds.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.