A veteran of the information technology industry, Lionel has over 30 years of experience leading and managing global brands and organizations across the Asia Pacific region.
We understand that you led and managed various global organisations (including Sun Microsystems, now known as Oracle) before retiring. What made you take up your current role at Pivotal thereafter?
My passion has always been around solving business problems using IT. I get really excited and passionate when I can see how the company and team I lead help business differentiate and compete using IT. There was nothing new after a while so I decided to retire. Two years later, Pivotal came along and got me excited again.
Traditionally, in order to reduce costs and save time, businesses would purchase their software instead of building them. In today’s fast-changing landscape, businesses must innovate to grow and maintain their competitive edge and having the capability to build high-quality software in-house is one of those advantage.
Pivotal is a unique company that fulfils this demand and transforms how the world builds software. We provide a platform for companies to be able to develop and deploy their own software, enabling them to reduce the long term cost of provisioning this software.
The journey does not end there though. At Pivotal, we constantly teach our customers how to adopt the culture of transformation, work closely with them to build better software and impart modern software development methodology. This is what excites me about my role at Pivotal.
What do you find most fulfilling about your role at Pivotal?
I find it fulfilling to build and empower teams to support our customers’ transformation into Digital Enterprises and help our Partner retool to become Digital Enablers. It is an honour to work amongst very smart people, working collaboratively with a common purpose that is to transform how the world build software. Software is eating the world and every company must become a software company.
It’s safe to say that DevOps efforts do not end at deployment. What else must be done to ensure its continued success?
DevOps is a way of working that focuses on delivering quality software that meets the business needs. There is more to DevOps than just processes, it is a combination of process, culture and tools.
It is a constant effort that involves developers and operators within the organization. This means that developers must better understand operational needs and operators must be involved in the development process.
This is paradigm shift for many organizations today and it is especially crucial for industry that are facing heavy disruption, such as financial services and telecom.
Any other advice and/or tips for companies looking to adopt DevOps for the first time?
The first step is that organizations must be ready to make a change. There must be direction and support from senior leadership as adopting DevOps could mean radically changing the way you operate and adopting new tools in the organization.
Plus, people must be at the centre of this change. Companies that are used to ‘business-as-usual’ will reach a stalemate. It is imperative to start encouraging employees to take ‘big bets’ and innovate creatively.
Finally, take a look at your company assets. Unlike start-ups, most enterprises are stuck in the old cost structure. These companies are struggling with legacy IT systems that are slow and processes that are poorly integrated over the decades. Adopting DevOps could mean changing the way your organization is set up to innovate.
Where do you see DevOps heading in the next decade?
DevOps is a practice philosophy which will continue to see dynamic changes over the next decade. As the business landscape shift, the DevOps practice needs to grow and evolve to continue meeting its goal of delivering software quickly and reliably. DevOps organizations cannot remain static. If it does, the organization will produce static software that slows down the business, opening opportunities for faster moving competitors to gain advantage.
You will be speaking at the ConnecTechAsia Summit. In your opinion, what will be the most important takeaway from your session?
The takeaway will be showcasing the success of our customers, who will be joining me on the panel discussion, and help the audience better understand the advantages of DevOps.
When you’re not busy transforming organisations, what do you like to do in your free time?
For now, there is not a lot of free time for many activities. Things are moving faster than ever and it is becoming pretty intense. Our customers are facing many disruptions so they depend on us to be there for them and with them along their journey. Whenever there is free time, however, I will spend it with my loved ones and keep myself fit at the gym. For leisure, I enjoy diving and skiing.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
To give is better than to receive.
Keen to hear more from Lionel Lim? Join him at ConnecTechAsia Summit 2018’s NetworkComms Track, where he will be discussing the following: “How DevOps is Shaping Enterprises and Evolving the Digital Landscape”. Level B2, Marina Bay Sands, 27 June 2018. Delegates may register for the Summit here.