CompuCom's New Divisional CEO: Cloud, Mobility Are The Drivers12:12 PM EST Tue. Dec. 04, 2012
Tony Doye has been CompuCom's divisional CEO for only about a week, but the former Fujitsu Americas CEO has some definitive plans for the company he will lead upon the future retirement of CEO Jim Dixon. Doye spoke with CRN's Scott Campbell about what attracted him to the company, ranked No. 22 on this year's CRN Solution Provider 500 list, and why mobility and the cloud are so important to CompuCom's future. The following are excerpts from the conversation.
CRN: How did you come to CompuCom? What attracted you to them and vice versa?
Doye: As a competitor, at Fujitsu [Americas, where Doye was CEO from April 2010 to November 2012], I spent some time looking at CompuCom in various shapes where we were looking at partnering and acquisition opportunities. I got to know Jim [Dixon] over the course of the last couple years reasonably well. That sort of led to conversations about metrics of styles of business and governance. We saw eye to eye on a number of different things. We were both at IBM a long time [though they did not know each other then]. We both saw an evolution of services and he mentioned to me some time ago that he was looking at succession planning and was that something I was interested in exploring.
I got a call from a headhunter some time later when they were starting to look at a plan for Jim, who will retire at some time in the not-too-distant future. I had a reasonably good idea of CompuCom and knew Jim. I went to see some of the owners in the later part of this year. The conversation went well. I liked the company, the culture, the people, the direction, the size and motivation of where they want to move into with their offerings. All in all, it felt like a very nice fit.
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CRN: What direction is that? What plans do you have for CompuCom going forward?
Doye: The company has been evolving for a long time. They've been in products, moved into services for many years and more recently moved into managed services very strongly. A very large part of the business is managed services now, particularly in infrastructure. Where they have been very successful has been in [providing] service desk, managed data center services. Like everyone else, we are very focused on two emerging areas: cloud, and of course that means a lot of different things, and where mobility intersects with end-user services.
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CRN: What sorts of things will CompuCom look to do in the future around that?
Doye: When you think about a VAR's capabilities, we should do more in packaging solutions and wrapping our services around them as well. There's moving the VAR services to a more integrated packaged set of solutions. There's taking end-user computing and making it more role-based computing with the integration of mobility solutions. How you integrate and manage a plethora of devices and give the CIO a little bit more control. We're working real hard on that.
In coming months, we will have something well thought out that will be a great adjunct to the end-user services we have. On the cloud front, we have made some clear decisions on what cloud platforms we'll support and what we'll build. We're not going to try to be everything to everybody. We won't try to compete against Amazon and Google. But we will build a trusted cloud, for groups of customers or a community cloud on a platform that will link to private cloud. That's in development now. I've only been in the company a week, but I will be spending a lot of time on refreshing, integrating and marketing our portfolio a lot more. We've got so many great assets around data center and mobility and we're not really exploring it.
We'll continue with our data center operations, move into private and trusted cloud platforms. We'll look to supplement those with cloud-based services, whether it's mail, [unified communications], Desktop-as-a-Service. We'll look to build those for small and medium enterprises.
CRN: Can you explain what you mean by community cloud?
Doye: It's not a 'build it and they will come' kind of thing. We will not get into the commodity side. We will pick a cloud environment. There are some issues with people stepping into cloud, security. They want to know, who else is in my cloud? Where is my data? Who can get access? If you get a like-minded bunch of clients, whether it's government or health care, with the same set of rules you need to manage to, like the credit card industry, if you can get a community cloud going because they have the same set of auditing requirements, security requirements. They have the same business goals where you could get a community of practitioners, clinics, hospitals, insurance companies that use the same platform. We give the same warranties around access, where the data is. We can encourage companies to dip their toes into it and give them better visibility around auditing and controls and security.
CRN: So a community cloud is something between a public and private cloud? And it's something you think customers will pay for, correct?
Doye: Take the other two extremes. You could secure a private platform, but they won't really get the elasticity they may need, or you risk that they will utilize a big enough portion of what you have. If it's public, it's much harder and it's shared multi-industry with all. You have an extremely complicated environment for everyone to provide [their] own governance. It's between those. Give like-minded clients a trusted environment where they get scalability and a cost point with a degree of security and transparency. That's what they're looking for.
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CRN: What tools and platforms are you guys using?
Doye: I can't say specifically what tools will be used. We're doing analysis now on what tools there are. We're looking at Cisco, Aruba and others. There's always been tools to get under the covers of Windows, but now with Android and iOS too, we're looking at what commercially available tools [there are] and how we say you're this type of worker, do you need a tablet an iPhone and a PC?
CRN: Speaking of Android and iOS, mobile device management seems to be on the minds of solution providers of all sizes. What does CompuCom have planned around that for 2013?
Doye: I see this [mobile management] as natural extensions around the controls of a laptop vs. a workstation but they are far more difficult to manage. Who manages data, who can partition data on devices. The tools are out there. Our job will be to take best-of-breed tools with role-based solutions we're defining now with what their state should be, bearing in mind that today's generation and knowledge workers and social media users expect more out of a phone. I think there's a bit of work to do on decision-making, but a part of [a VAR's role] will be end-user devices and how to manage them in the data center.
CRN: Will that entail a lot of work and reinvestment and reorganization inside the company to accomplish that?
Doye: A little bit. We have to do more around integrating the portfolio. If your mobile device is utilized as a cloud-based Exchange solution then where is it served up from? It could be our cloud environment. That would need to be considered. How do we support that end user from a service desk? Is it part of a role-based solution, which impacts what other devices they use? We end up in a discussion around provisioning and linkage to PCs and utilization of a cloud-based solution and whether that fits in your portfolio. I have to start having portfolio discussions after having all the elements. How do we package services around those? How do we fit our mobility into our solutions? I see a real opportunity in bringing them together. I think we'll be putting more governance around the front end of the strategy and move out of a siloed view of life.
CRN: Is the technology there, the right tools, applications and platforms, to provide true enterprise-class mobile management, or does some of it still have to be developed and matured?
Doye: There's a maturity model as iOS and Android move to the enterprise; they will offer more in the way of service management. I don't think there's nothing there. There's an evolution. On the cloud side, it's a real complex world. For virtualization and cloud there are three or four major vendors with tool sets and stacks and open systems. Picking a layer to sit over the top of that platform is key. We're looking to narrow down to one or two.
CRN: Finally, where do you think CompuCom is along that path? Do you have the resources in place to lead customers to those solutions?
Doye: What I like is we have a very good customer loyalty base. So we must be delivering good customer service. Without that fundamental underpin, it's hard to go anywhere. What's reassuring is our customer satisfaction rates and our renewal rates. That for me is No. 1. We have a good base. The owners of the business, in terms of investors, are very keen to see us grow. Not just from a view of driving cash but creating the loyalty and the portfolio elements. We're in a good position and in a good mark and have a great opportunity.
PUBLISHED DEC. 4, 2012