NetReflections With Bruce Davie: Networking, Transformation, and Cultural Shift

This is the second in a series of four articles and videos featuring VMware’s Bruce Davie, CTO, APJ, discussing the future of networking and the role of networking in digital transformation.

Organizations embarking on a digital transformation journey are realizing that it requires not only technology change but also people and process change. Interestingly enough, the technology transformation may be the easiest of the three, due to the current state of networking.

For most organizations, networking is still hardware-oriented, so changing a network service is traditionally a matter of reconfiguring a router or installing and configuring a new piece of hardware. This is how networking has worked for decades. But according to Bruce Davie, this current way of thinking about networking needs to change for organizations to successfully move to a virtualized networking environment.

A Software Approach

Davie says what organizations need to do is think about networking as a “set of capabilities” that can be deployed wherever the applications run, on whatever infrastructure or development environment is being used. “It’s a software-oriented approach to networking,” Davie says. And because of that, he continues, “there’s a combination of things that have to change.”

On the technology side, the key technologies of network virtualization that are the foundation for digital transformation are already available, Davie explains, or far along in development. New approaches to networking are moving forward that allow organizations to deploy new  capabilities and services wherever they do the business the most good. It’s the people and processes, the cultural shift, that may be more difficult.

A Cultural Shift

In most organizations, networking is typically siloed from the rest of the IT organization. But a software approach to networking requires a different mind-set, one in which the organization thinks in terms of delivering services to the applications that make the business successful.

“That’s a really big cultural shift,” Davie says. And the businesses that are successfully transforming their enterprise, Davie concludes, “are getting there by actually pushing a change of attitude, this change of culture” through their organizations.

View the video below to learn more from Bruce Davie about the state of digital transformation today, and read his Office of the CTO blog post, in which he reflects on his first four months as VMware’s CTO, APJ.