Roger Gurnani Has A Front Row Seat For The Digital And IoT Revolutions At Verizon

December 01, 2015
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by Peter High, published on Forbes

12-1-2015

Roger Gurnani has been with a Verizon since its inception, and worked for one of the predecessor companies for a while prior to that. As such, he has had a front-row seat in the development of the internet practically since its popular inception. He has been involved in dial-up connectivity through to the fastest wifi connections; he has helped evolve from 1G through 4G phone connectivity, and he and his colleagues are working on 5G at the moment. He has also been involved in digital business in a variety of meaningful ways, including digital streaming of content through practically all functional forms of consumption. Gurnani is now involved in leading one of the biggest Internet of Things implementations in the world, and Verizon is already among the largest revenue companies when it comes to IoT.

Earlier this year, Gurnani was promoted from Global CIO to Chief Information and Technology Architect, a role which essentially encompasses both the CIO and the CTO role. As such, the breadth of his purview is massive. He spoke about all of the above in great depth in this interview.

(To listen to an unabridged audio version of this interview in podcast form, please visit this link. This is the 27th interview in the CIO-plus series. To read the prior 26 with CIO-pluses from Nissan-Renault, P&G, Mondelez International, Dunkin’ Brands, McKesson, and EMC, among many others, please visit this link.  To read future articles in the series, please click the “Follow” link above.)

Peter High: Roger, I thought we would begin with your role. You are currently the Chief Information and Technology Architect at Verizon. Could you talk a little bit about that role, that new title?

Roger Gurnani: My role encompasses all of technology. Traditionally, we have had two groups: a CTO organization that is focused on our networks – our wireless networks and telecom networks – and then a CIO role that is focused on other information technology and digital technologies to drive customer engagement and run the factory – the business processes. About a year ago, my boss, our CEO, and a few others, and I realized it was time to look at technology more holistically. The world is getting more programmable; everything is becoming software-driven.

My role entails developing our technology strategy, guiding our technology investments, technology planning, which includes technical architecture and roadmaps. I also provide oversight to all our CIOs and CTOs across the organization, across different business units; manage key technology supplier partnerships/relationships; look at various technology shifts that are occurring and marry those into our overall business strategy. That is what I have been doing for the last ten months and it is a new way to leverage technology within our business.

High: Can you talk a bit about some of the things that have made the top of the list of your strategy – some of the imperatives that you and your team are pursuing?

Gurnani: One key area is to look at technology advancements and shifts and figure out how we can leverage those. As we know, no matter which part of technology you look at, you always see performance improving and economics – the price points – keep coming down. For example, in our wireless business, we were the first ones to lead the industry with 4G. We, in fact, deployed our LTE networks a couple of years ahead of the rest of the industry. We are doing the same thing with 5G – the fifth generation of wireless technology. So while others think it is still a few years out, we have started working on 5G in our labs and expect to be conducting field trials in the next several months. The goal is to have a first mover’s advantage and create that competitive edge.

To read the full article, please visit Forbes

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