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Robert Deutsche, Global Top Technology Expert and Executive

Robert DeutscheRobert Deutsche
Principal Architect/Systems Engineer — Enterprise Cloud Solutions, SOA, IT Transformation & Data Center Consolidation

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Robert Deutsche.

Bob Deutsche provides business and technical advisory services as well as thought leadership to mid-level and senior-level executives in the Global 50 and public sector.

With 30 years of experience in industry, Bob has held senior level positions with companies that most recently include Intel, CSC and Deloitte. With a varied background that includes data center operations, software development and CIO positions in both enterprise and LOB IT organizations, Bob has an extensive and pragmatic knowledge of cloud solution frameworks, big data, information security investments, enterprise architecture, business process improvement, business process reengineering, organizational change management, software development (CMM Level 4/5 organizations), systems engineering, and governance frameworks. His passion is to insure that technology investment is based on the benefit it provides to the enterprise.

Bob is a retired Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force and holds a Master's of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:23: Bob, thank you for sharing your deep experiences with our audience.
"....Thank you for the opportunity. I'd like to say I've done a lot of things in my life. Master of none, but a whole lot of information to share with you I hope...."

:00:47: When I listen to your colleagues they say you are the ultimate guru on the global stage. Can you give us a little background?
"....If you look at my background I'm one of those folks who has had one foot in different worlds. I started off in Line of Business IT organization many years ago....Then I morphed into enterprise and then I had my own business. I tend to look at things very differently.... "

:01:54: What is the state of enterprise security spend and why should this change?
"....The easiest way to respond is today enterprise security spend is reactive, it's 'whack-a-mole'....What you find is that historically, security spend has been a reaction to a breach....The problem is that's not sustainable as you move outside your firewall...."

:10:22: Are the days of large central IT organizations numbered and why are they numbered?
"....I think what we're going to see within 5 to 8 years is there is always going to be a need for some type of a central IT function that provides core services...."

:15:13: I guess there is a lot of churn amongst people who work in the IT shops around the world as they are seeing this movement from the large central organizations as it will have some impact on jobs, etc. Can you comment?
"....I think the IT shops that have the highest probability of surviving are going to be the ones who are closest to their business. I challenge people who listen to this podcast to go out and ask the question: How many CIOs in their organization have been career IT people rather than people who have been rotated in from other parts of the business to get the CIO experience and then they move on to something else?...."

:18:14: What are your feelings about enterprise architecture and aligning IT with business, etc, and is enterprise architecture becoming more important, and do you see that role of the enterprise architect expanding in some way?
"....I don't see them reporting directly to the CEO, but I could see them reporting to the CFO....Chances are that whatever they might be working on would ultimately impact the bottom line of the company...."

:27:24: What are your thoughts on Big Data and what are the problems with Big Data?
"....What I'm looking for is a chief data architect's perspective on Big Data because Big Data is going to sell a lot of software and a lot of professional services....The fundamental question I keep going back to with Big Data is that it is about the data, and some of the challenges that a lot of companies have never confronted even within their firewall is data ownership and data stewardship. The question is who owns this record?..."

:34:42: What are the government policy implications on Cloud Ecosystems?
"....There are probably six or seven considerations when I look at government Cloud policy that make for interesting discussions....Security and it involves things like privacy....Competition and Standards....Bandwidth....Sovereignty....Copyright....I keep telling people security is an issue for Cloud but it isn't THE issue, particularly if you are a large multi-national company or you want to do business worldwide...."

:45:21: In your work you see this different marriage between different domains from business to software and hardware. Where does business, software and hardware begin and end?
"....Once you start influencing the large eco-system, it's like anything, it involves change....People and organization's ability to change strike me as being one of the biggest challenges as we move forward...."

:51:52: What do you foresee as some of the truly disruptive technology forces for the next five years and why are these your choices?
"....I see Cloud as being one of the most disruptive only because companies still haven't figured out what it is....How that plays out is that it's the company's ability to look at the new model and figure out whether it can or can't reduce costs, and then adapt the organization to that....I think another disruptive force (I don't feel as comfortable with the term disruptive as with the term game-changing), I see some of the things we are doing with these multi-core chips as potentially changing everything...."

:01:00:24: What bleeding edge technologies are you working with?
"....There probably was a time when you could impress people with what we call 'speeds and feeds', those days are done I believe. The question always comes back to 'what does it do to improve my business and how much does it cost?' That's probably where I'm most focused right now...."

:01:02:11: From your extensive background, what are the top challenges facing the world today, and counter to that, what do you see as the top opportunities facing the world today?
"....I think that the technologies are evolving faster than the people and the policy can adapt....The number 2 challenge is today companies are understandably focused on revenue. How do we shift from being worried about revenue to actually building and making something?....The capability is there to connect the world in a way that's never been done before. Once you get connected there are incredible opportunities, but at the same time the other thing that I fear is that sometimes it is too easy not to get up and meet somebody — you lose the personal touch or interaction and that's the flipside of this connectivity...."

:01:06:46: From your prior roles, share some key lessons or best practices?
"....You always have to balance your pragmatism with the excitement....The other thing is I always try to keep a sense of humour....There's always going to be something more difficult than what you think you are experiencing now...."

:01:10:36: Describe some areas of controversy in the areas that you work.
"....This question about sovereignty that I mentioned earlier can be controversial, but obviously you try to avoid that level of detail...."

:01:12:05: Do you feel computing should be a recognized profession on par with accounting, medicine and law with demonstrated professional development, adherence to a code of ethics, personal responsibility, public accountability, quality assurance and recognized credentials?[See and the Global Industry Council,]
"....I don't think it would be a bad thing, but I think it would be a pretty heavy lift....Id like it to be done I just don't think it's going to happen near my lifetime.... "

:01:22:13: From his extensive speaking, travels, and work, Robert shares some stories (something amusing, surprising, unexpected, amazing).
"....Think big, act small and I've also added move fast, because all of that ensures you are going to get funding for next year...."

:01:25:49: If you were conducting this interview, what would you ask, and then what would be your answer?
"....Where is the IT profession going, and how is it getting there, and what's going to be happening to the profession are things which are foremost on my mind right now...."

:01:30:49: What are your top resources?
"....Generally I look at stuff coming from TOGAF and Zachman....Gartner....Some LinkedIn groups....IEEE...."

:01:33:35: Bob, with your demanding schedule, we are indeed fortunate to have you come in to do this interview. Thank you for sharing your deep experiences with our audience.


Music by Sunny Smith Productions and Shaun O'Leary