One major benefit of going private is the ability to invest in longer-term business initiatives – including recruitment of smart talent to drive growth. To that end, BMC has added some serious talent to the executive team in 2014 – from global sales and business unit leaders to world-class customer service and marketing leaders.
One of the latest additions to BMC is Elizabeth Xu, Ph.D., who joined in October as CTO and global vice president of engineering for BMC’s service and support business. Dr. Xu is a seasoned business and technical leader with 15+ years experience in software-as-a-service, big data and mobile enterprise software. She has led engineering and product development teams for Acxiom, Rearden Commerce, Vitria and IBM, and is a recognized Stanford University instructor and leadership mentor.
We sat down with Xu to find out more about her background and, of course, why BMC?
BMC Beat: I’ve heard you have a “four L’s” philosophy for life and management – what are they and how do they apply to your role here at BMC?
Xu: The four L’s are absolutely my focus in life and business. They are:
- Live to the fullest potential
- Love people around you (enable them to live to their fullest potential)
- Learn from everyone (continuous learning and teaching)
- Leave a legacy (build something outstanding)
People are the most important element in any business. Without great people, you can’t do well. I want to build a culture that is transparent and respectful for each individual. The only way to make people successful and creative is if they feel supported as a person.
Regarding teams, it is important to make sure everyone is on the same page and same pace – cultivate innovation, standards and quality; use real-time dashboards to drive engineering progress; identify the risks, dependencies and priorities.
At BMC our teams are distributed – different time zones, locations, cultures and practices. We need to unify the practices and make our software more transparent, visible and predictable. Continuous improvement is critical, and we need to beef up our automation, shorten our development cycle (weeks rather than months), create architectural consistency and standardize platforms that should be shareable across all BMC. If we can do all three – get all the teams contributing; drive internal open sourcing; and have teams subscribe to the same standards and technical stacks – we’re going to be awesome.
BMC Beat: What motivated you to join BMC now?
Xu: There are three very compelling reasons. First and foremost it is the people. I interviewed with many companies, but BMC had strong top leadership, peers and direct reports. At my first meeting with Bob Beauchamp we talked for over an hour, and I concluded this is a great leader, great culture and great leadership.
Second is the technology. We already have great products, and we’re innovating in several important areas (mobile, social, cloud, etc.). Clearly there is investor commitment to the technology, which is very important to any VP of engineering. Last but not least is the transformation – BMC is going through significant product and business transformation. This fits my personality and experience. I like to drive change, bring new things to the environment while adding fun.
BMC Beat: Where is IT headed in 2015?
Xu: Mobile and wearables are a big trend. More sources of data coming into your IT system expand the challenge of big data. More than ever, IT needs to be able to handle structured and unstructured data. We need to produce insights as we’re being flooded with data in corporate life and family life. It is as if we’re buried in water but not one drop is drinkable. We need the software to become more intelligent. Analytics and machine learning will drive the future. For companies, how you make use of big data and display the data will drive next year’s IT. IT should empower business, not just support business. It’s time to make business more efficient and more real-time with a lot more insight.