In this episode of the Cohesion Podcast, Amanda sat with Wendy Pfeiffer, the CIO of Nutanix, to discuss the innovation, functions, and excellence of operations in business technology that help improve company culture. What is interesting about Wendy is her beginning. Like many others, they find their passion outside of the field they originally started in. They bring a wide range of experiences and abilities that enrich their new work environment in their journey.
Wendy leads the global Information Technology team at Nutanix, supporting the company’s business operations and employees. Her history in tech is vast leading teams at GoPro, Yahoo, Cisco Systems, and many more for over 20 years. However, Wendy began her career in research in a space biology program where she was introduced to large-scale computer systems and networks.
Wendy stated that she was always driven by curiosity. She recalled an experience that fed her fascination with systems early on in her education. She was in high school and working at the NASA Ames Research Center, where they were building a large wind tunnel on site.
“I would take my lunch, and I went out to this construction site where they were building the 40 by 80 by 120 wind tunnel. I would sit inside this giant building, and sort of disappear in the shadows. Every now and then, one of the visiting pilots or researchers would come and kind of sit out there with me and have lunch because it was in the shade and kind of private. That’s how I met some really interesting people like Chuck Yeager, for example.”
The individuals and experiences inspired her, and she learned the significance of mentorship. Wendy discovered that large-scale systems were more appealing to her. She began looking for opportunities to learn and be involved with them.
As Wendy moved on, she realized she wanted the authority to follow through on ideas for organizational structure and organizational design for building out ecosystems. She wanted to work in an environment that was technically interesting. With the advent of digital transformation, Wendy’s emphasis was on service processes and how to deliver them optimally. At Nutanix, she and her team realized that they could never keep up with the pace of change or the complexity of the environments that they were responsible for. They decided to prioritize functional areas of the top five services.
For each of the five services, they defined each service’s FTR, or the “first time right,” goals. Nutanix decided to concentrate on the question, “If they were to deliver this service right the first time, what would be the optimal workflow involved in doing that?” Also, what would be the interaction design? The process was not necessarily about how they were doing it presently, but rather what would be the overall ideal for operations and workflow. Further, Nutanix looked for a way to improve the process, concentrating on modernization and automation.
There are positive outcomes for their improvement, especially for their employees and company culture. Automation has improved productivity and created a high percentage of autonomous work. It also helped during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nutanix’s employees faced extenuating work circumstances that involved multi-step processes generating log-in difficulties and frustration. They found that simplifying “little actions” helped ease employee irritation and improved their experience.
One of the highlights of the podcast was the use of a collaboration platform that also improves the employee work experience. Wendy shared that there is nothing more destructive to a company than a toxic work environment. Various forms of social media can disintermediate the workforce from leadership. A company intranet can not only be a collaboration tool. It can be used to fix a broken or toxic culture. This ability interests a CIO as the technology also provides compliance responsibilities with equitable access that is fair and monitored.
How did Nutanix utilize its platform to enhance and magnify elements of that culture that will help with its productivity and desire to provide egalitarian access? You need to listen to the entire Cohesion podcast. Wendy’s insights on how technology and her position as CIO can consistently improve company culture are some of the best Simpplr has heard. You can access the podcast on Simpplr’s website and Spotify or Apple Podcast services.