by Peter High, published on Forbes
Seven months ago, Trevor Schulze joined $16 billion Micron Technology, a global provider of semiconductor devices, as the company’s first ever chief information officer. After spending time as a technology leader at other technology-centric companies like Broadcom, AMD, and Cisco, Schulze found an opportunity that it seemed he had been preparing for throughout his career. He had been an IT executive who had worked well in companies where even members of the Finance or HR teams had technology backgrounds, and was able to make the case for the value that IT could create on behalf of the enterprise.
Prior to starting his job, he delved deeply into all strategic collateral he could, and got to know more about the company and its culture. Once on the job, he spent time with his new colleagues across the enterprise. Since then, he has changed the organization structure such that IT is closer to the other business functions, and has developed a dedicated business intelligence and data team, as he believe these are areas of substantial opportunity for IT and for Micron Technology more generally. He also notes security as an area of increased investment, as he hopes to develop true thought leadership on his team in this critical area.
(To listen to an unabridged audio version of this interview, please visit this link. This is the 31st interview in the CIO’s First 100 Days series. To read past articles with the CIOs of Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergn, Deutsche Bank, General Electric, and Procter & Gamble, please visit this link. To read future articles in the series, please click the “Follow” link above.)
Peter High: Please begin with a description of Micron Technology’s business.
Trevor Schulze: Micron has been around for more than 35 years. It is a global leader in advanced semi-conductor systems. As a company, we design and manufacture an incredibly broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies. These include DRAM, Flash Memory, SSDs (Solid State Drives), and emerging technologies like 3D Xpoint, which we announced recently. In a short period of time, I have been exposed to this internal innovation as a company. I am blown away by how strategic it is. In the world’s innovation engines – compute, storage, networking, mobile, and embedded – if it has a computer in it, it most likely has Micron memory associated to it.
High: I was also curious to find that you are the first CIO of the organization, despite its long history. Why did the organization feel the time was right, and why did it wait so long, in your estimation?
Schulze: We went through the interview process we were discussing what the first CIO would be responsible for. The company is evolving from an operations perspective. If you step back and look across all industries, there is a core infrastructure renaissance underway. The demand for innovations in memory solutions is unprecedented. Micron’s business model is pivoting. It has done from a demand fulfillment model, where we would make parts, put them on the market, and people would buy them by the pound.
We are evolving to this “demand-creation” model. What this means is that we have an expanded set of customers that we have never had before. There are more diversified end-markets, and new operational scale and speed demands. The industry has a voracious appetite for memory solutions. As the first CIO, they recognized that there needed to be somebody with industry experience to support this business transformation that we have underway. They needed someone to sit at the metaphorical table and help drive the new and changing processes. There are new demands for data and insights. There is a new speed of delivery required. Information technology inside of Micron is poised to grow significantly in importance and opportunity. That is where they felt the opportunity was to bring in a CIO and drive this opportunity forward.