6 Things To Know About Intel's New CIO Archana Deskus

With her new role at Intel, Archie Deskus takes on the CIO job at her sixth company. CRN takes a look at the 5,000-person IT organization Deskus will lead at Intel as well as her accomplishments in leading a massive IT reorganization at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Starting 2020 With A New CIO

Like it did in 2019 with Bob Swan, Intel is starting the new year with a major executive appointment — Archana "Archie" Deskus, who is joining the chipmaker as CIO and senior vice president after spending more than two years at one of the company's major OEM partners, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company announced on Monday that it had hired Deskus, a seasoned IT executive who was most recently CIO and senior vice president at HPE.

Deskus is taking over from Aziz Safa, who had been serving as interim CIO since the departure of Paula Tolliver, who left in August, according to Intel. Safa will continue in his permanent roles as vice president of IT and chief data officer, a spokesperson said.

What follows are six important things to know about Deskus and her role at Intel, ranging from her new responsibilities in leading a 5,000-person organization to the major IT restructuring she led at HPE, which has had a large impact on channel partners and their ability to close deals.

The CIO Job: Transform Intel From The Inside

As CIO, Deskus is tasked with leading Intel's global IT operations, which, for Intel, is a crucial role, because it serves as an opportunity for the chipmaker to demonstrate how its own technologies can transform IT organizations and data centers.

"At Intel, the CIO job is critical as we expand our growth opportunity and showcase the power of IT to unleash the potential of data for our customers and across our operations," Bob Swan, Intel’s CEO, said in a statement. "Archie has deep experience and a strong track record of driving operational excellence and transformation in complex global IT environments."

Deskus is entering the role as Intel continues to move away from supplying PC processors as its main business to one that provides a multitude of data-centric solutions for digital transformation initiatives. This transformation has been reflected in the balance in revenue between Intel's Client Computing Group, which has traditionally been the largest driver in sales, and its data-centric businesses, which have largely been growing faster and are now close to one-half of Intel's total annual revenue.

"Intel is going through an exciting and historic transformation as it extends the reach and impact of information technology in an era of data," Deskus said in a statement. "I am thrilled to join the Intel management team and to lead an extraordinarily innovative global IT group at this strategic inflection point for the technology industry."

AI Is Becoming Increasingly Central To Intel IT

Deskus is taking the reins of Intel's IT organization as artificial intelligence becomes increasingly central to the group, mirroring the chipmaker's broader strategy to embed intelligence everywhere. According to the company's annual IT report from last year, the IT organization delivered more than $1 billion in business value in 2018 thanks to the integration of AI.

The IT organization is accomplishing this by using machine learning and predictive analytics to optimize the delivery of parts across businesses and supplies as well as reduce the materials costs for new systems and boards, according to the IT report. The group is also using IT to create automation tools for improved product validation and to analyze sales data for better customer engagement.

More recently, Intel said the IT organization has increased its collaboration with the chipmaker's PC business, also known as the Client Computing Group, to integrate AI into Intel client processors. This included work on the new Intel Dynamic Tuning Technology that uses pre-trained algorithms to predict workloads and increase performance when needed.

Intel's other recent AI product developments include the $2 billion acquisition of deep learning chip startup Habana Labs, plans to launch new Nervana and Movidius AI chips and the rollout of new Core and Xeon processors that use Intel's Deep Learning Boost technology.

Intel's Global IT Organization, By The Numbers

At Intel, Deskus will be in charge of a global IT organization that had more than 5,400 employees at 22 Intel IT sites as of the end of 2018, according to the Intel's most recent IT report that was filed last year.

That IT organization is tasked with supporting roughly 107,000 total employees across 147 Intel locations in 56 countries. In 2018, Intel's IT spending per employee was $11,300, down from $12,100 the previous year and $12,700 the year before.

Device-wise, the IT organization oversees managing 210,000 client or mobile devices, which consists of 150,700 mobile PCs, 54,000 smartphones and 7,300 desktops. On the server side, Intel had 260,000 servers and 315 PB of storage across 55 data centers across the world.

When it comes to the business value the Intel IT organization delivered in 2018, the group saved 933,000 hours per quarter by doing things like reducing PC build times providing mobile versions of enterprise apps as well as implementing solutions such as self-healing VPNs and one-click video meetings. It also improved time to market for key products by roughly 52 weeks and increased top-line revenue in 2018 by $2.85 billion, thanks to business unit partnerships.

Work History: CIO Roles At Five Previous Companies

Prior to joining Intel, Deskus had served in CIO roles at five previous companies. Most recently, she was CIO and senior vice president at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which she joined in October 2017.

Before that, she was a vice president and CIO at Baker Hughes, the oilfield services company that was majority owned by GE until 2019. During her four-and-a-half-year tenure, she transformed the company's IT organization "into a strategic business partner while delivering operational performance and business value through successful execution of their strategic initiatives," according to HPE.

Previously, she served in CIO roles at watchmaker Timex Corp., industrial conglomerate United Technologies and manufacturer Ingersoll-Rand.

Deskus currently serves as a board member for East West Bank in Pasadena, Calif., and she once served as an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut.

She received her bachelor's from Boston University and her Master of Business Administration in finance from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

Tenure At HPE: NextGen IT Transformation

During her two-and-a-half-year tenure as CIO at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Deskus oversaw a massive IT restructuring initiative called NextGen that was expected to save the company hundreds of millions of dollars over multiple years while reducing the number of applications and ERP systems HPE uses.

When she was hired in 2017, CRN reported that the NextGen restructuring plan involved moving the company from 1,000 business processes supported by 10 ERP systems and more than 950 applications to just 100 businesses processes with a single global ERP system and 350 applications.

At the time, HPE said the NextGen initiative was expected to reduce costs by as much as $200 million to $300 million for the 2017 fiscal year. Over the next three years, the company was expected to reach $1.5 billion in total cost savings due to the efforts led by Deskus.

In an interview published by DXC Technology, Deskus said her organization spent 2018 creating the foundation for the NextGen initiative, which involved moving all of the company's core financial processes to SAP S/4HANA. The group also rolled out an integrated configuration and quoting tool as well as a new travel-and-expense management system.

For 2019, Deskus said, HPE was expected to roll out new capabilities for order management, supply chain and services, which the company was planning to deploy across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, followed by the Americas and the Asia-Pacific.

Where it was taking HPE under three years to restructure its IT organization, it would have taken other companies an additional four or five, Deskus told CIO magazine.

NextGen's Impact On HPE Partners

Under Deskus' leadership, the NextGen IT initiative was expected to have a direct impact on Hewlett Packard Enterprise's channel partners, according to CEO Antonio Neri.

As reported by CRN in late 2018, Neri said NextGen would reduce the number of touchpoints in the sales process from 1,000 to 100, which was expected to help partners and salespeople get quotes on complex solutions and close deals faster.

"Today, a transaction takes roughly 1,000 touch points across our processes from the time you log the opportunity into Salesforce.com all the way to building a quote, pricing, putting a PO [purchase order] in the system, shifting it to the supply chain and shipping the product," said Neri. "Tomorrow when we are done we are only going to have 100 steps in that process."

In a post to LinkedIn on Monday, Neri thanked Deskus for her "notable contributions" to HPE.

"I have personally valued Archie’s accomplishments and counsel during her time with us, and while I’m sad to see her leave, I’m glad she’s staying in the HPE network by joining one of our close strategic partners," Neri wrote in the post.