Forbes CIO-plus Series: Vic Bhagat, EMC

June 23, 2014
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Vic Bhagat’s Journey From CIO At GE To CIO-Plus At EMC

by Peter High, published on Forbes.com

06-23-2014

Vic Bhagat held a number of prominent CIO roles at General Electric during a more than 20-year run with the company, including time as CIO of GE Aviation Services, GE Global Growth and Operations, CNBC, GE Corporate, and GE India and Southeast Asia. That breadth of responsibilities fostered an understanding of how IT can add value across industries and geographies. Bhagat also has dealt with most major vendors in the IT community, and has strong feelings about what makes for a strong partnership.

All of this has been put to good use since January of 2013, when Bhagat joined EMC as the executive vice president, Enterprise Business Solutions and the chief information officer. The breadth of his responsibilities, which are both internal and external in nature, underscore what a multi-talented IT executive Bhagat is. Now, he works for one of those vendors that he got to know as a buyer of its products and services. He has become an advocate for EMC and an empathetic voice to CIO customers of the company.

(To listen to an unabridged audio version of this interview, please visit this link. This interview is the 19th in the CIO-plus series. To read the past 18 articles in the series, please visit this link. To read future articles in the series, please click the “Follow” link above.)

Peter High: Vic, after a couple of decades with General Electric GE -0.6% and a lot of success in a variety of roles in that esteemed organization, in January of 2013, you made the switch over to EMC EMC +0.65%. I wonder if you could talk about your new beginning – your first new beginning at a new company in quite some time.  How has it gone?  And how did you organize yourself for this new opportunity?

Vic Bhagat: I had a phenomenal ride at GE, and it was bittersweet for me to depart. I was extremely fortunate that there was an enormous chemistry between EMC and me, and I thought it was a great move as I got into a technology field, which has always been a source of excitement for me.

The time I have spent so far with EMC has been all about learning from the employees’ perspective, the business leader’s perspective, and the customers’ perspective because our company is totally focused on customer satisfaction. A key metric our chairman keeps is TCE, which stands for Total Customer Experience. Our bonuses are determined by what the customers think about us, and that’s extremely refreshing because these days, it’s all about the growth, it’s all about increasing your revenue, it’s about penetration. With that mindset, sometimes we forget what the customer really wants?  Having that focus and becoming sensitive to that has been humbling.

This job that I have just taken over didn’t actually exist; it was created with a collection of a lot of different organizations, different verticals within the company to make it into a significant role, which I’m delighted to be part of.

Additional topics covered in the article include:

  • You are the executive vice president of Enterprise Business Solutions and the CIO. Could you talk a bit about what is included in Enterprise Business Services and the organizations that now report to you?
  • You used to be on the other side of the table in the conversations you are now having with customers, as a former EMC client. How has the experience of having been the client helped your approach in your current set of responsibilities?
  • Vic, with a group that is as diverse as yours is under the title of Enterprise Business Services, as well as IT, how do you think about the strategic planning process?  And to what extent do you bake in that process a greater degree of collaboration across the traditional silos that are now united under your leadership?
  • For others who would hope to follow in your footsteps to become what I’ve referred to as a CIO-Plus, what sort of advice would you have for them?  If they’re currently CIOs or a degree removed, but they want to have a broader set of responsibilities like yours eventually, what would you suggest they do?

To read the full article, please visit Forbes.com

To explore other CIO-Plus Series articles, please click here.

To explore the Technovation Column library, please click here.

To listen to a Forum on World Class IT podcast interview with Vic, click here.

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