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A CIO’s Perspective on Embracing BYOD and Enterprise Mobility

by Hu Yoshida on May 22, 2013

I recently interviewed my colleague Rex Carter, CIO of Hitachi Data Systems.  He joined HDS in 2006 and has played a major role in the transformation of our company through the innovative use of IT technology. He is well known to many of our customers and partners as he seeks every opportunity to engage with them and share best practices. Rex and the IT team are rolling out a new BYOD solution, called HCP Anywhere to Hitachi Data Systems 6,000 employees.

Q: Rex, thank you for agreeing to do this interview.  One of the biggest challenges that our customers are facing is the proliferation of mobile devices and the exposure of corporate data through the use of outside services to share information.  Many companies have banned the use of mobile devices and outside services in the workplace.  I would like to get your perspective on the use of mobile devices as our CIO.  

A:    Many CIOs have banned the devices and have set policies to control accesses to outside facilities.  Others have embraced BYOD and the new capabilities provided by these ubiquitous devices and network access.   From a CIOs perspective, BYOD is permitting the merging of personal life devices and work/enterprise devices by enabling them to sync and share files across these devices.  This capability is desired by employees, particularly our tech savvy/Silicon Valley type of employees.  For enterprise IT, it adds complexity and costs in data and device security, application testing and support (browser compatibility), and customer support/IT help desk.


Q: I can see how the merger of personal life devices and work devices can increase productivity and increase job satisfaction, but as you point out it adds complexity and costs to IT. I am aware that you have been running a pilot with a new solution called HCP Anywhere.  What is it and how does it solve the problem of data and device security?

A: What HCP Anywhere does is allow the secure syncing and sharing of files from multiple devices and from any location. Once you enable the Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Option to your Windows server, you register and download the client code to your devices. This connects your devices to our Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) where your files are stored. It enables the enterprise class of security and controls required for CIOs, auditors and others concerned about IT asset protection, management and monitoring.  These capabilities are lacking in some form or another from outside, consumer-grade file sharing systems that were developed for family photos or similar files. If you use some of these services mainly intended for personal documents for storage of enterprise data, you have control/compliance issues, and enough vulnerability issues to give an auditor a heart attack.          


Q:I understand that our CEO Jack Domme was one of the first to use HCP Anywhere. Is it difficult to use? 

A: HCP Anywhere has been a big hit with all users.  It is so easy and yes, even executives want to use it.  Both our CEO and COO have their Air Books, tablets, smart phones and office PCs connected and sharing documents.  Itprovides   t secure easy access to information while they are traveling that they did not have in the past.  No need to carry a PC and be tethered to the internet for those critical documents that they need to share with authorized users. A critical part of our product roll out is to be an aggressive, early, best in class user.  It makes our products better and the experience for our customers improved.     


Q: What key features have stood out to you about HCP Anywhere?

A: Enterprise class controls, security and administration for our documents and IP.  Files are synced and up to date and the user controls what can be shared and for how long.  We also have the ability to wipe a device if an employee leaves the company or loses a device. 


Q: Anything that surprised you with HCP Anywhere? Any unexpected benefit or challenge? 

A:  Ease of use is superior.  It supports a self-serve, self-sufficiency model, while providing all the features our compliance staff require. The client for iPhone and iPads can be downloaded from iTunes.  Our broad employee base can set up their own sharing and self-defined collaboration groups in a fully secured and controlled access manner.  This is facilitating product development and analysis throughout HDS.  We have been able to reduce IT internal support time in set up and administration of these collaborative efforts. It has also reduced the amount of storage and the need for backup.   


Q: Tell us about some of the other tools that your team has implemented to help us be more productive. 

A:   In addition to using Sharepoint, we have created internal online communities using Jive software, we call it the Loop. When we work on an announcement or other projects we can set up a social media community. In addition to providing a way to synchronize the sharing of information, Jive also provides social media metrics to monitor the conversation. This empowers all the stakeholders working on the project to take ownership and collaborate with full transparency. By the way this is all stored on HCP.


Q:Any last thought or comments you would like to share with other CIOs?

A:  Most of our customers tell us that their employees want to have all the capabilities at work that are found in the consumer device world. Unauthorized devices and public shareware is often the result.  With the right tools, enterprise IT can meet all the rigors of security and compliance while meeting the desires of our very tech savvy employee communities.  The right tools, like HCP Anywhere, empower our employees with capabilities they desire, while reducing IT support requirements and making all our compliance staff very content. This is huge win for all the constituents we serve. The trend to BYOD presents many opportunities for increasing innovation, but it also presents many IT challenges. You can try to embrace it or try to ban it. Doing nothing is not an option for a CIO.


Rex, thanks for sharing your insights on HCP Anywhere from a CIO’s perspective. I am ready to download the HCP Anywhere client and register my devices so I can leave my laptop in the office.


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