Mark Lewis likes the odd cigar. We know this because, when V3.co.uk caught up with him at EMC's annual Momentum conference in Lisbon, he had just been presented with a box of fine Havanas, his leaving present from everyone at the firm's Information Intelligence group.
It was a fond farewell for Lewis, who has been a popular president of the division for the past three years, and will now move to the role of chief strategy officer of EMC's information infrastructure division.
His final keynote was littered with exhortations to chief information officers (CIOs), urging them to turn their IT departments into the force for business transformation that he believes they must become.
But exactly how do they achieve this while still keeping their heads above water with all the tactical IT tasks which tend to get in the way?
"One of the concrete things IT can do is virtualise their environments, take their existing apps and consolidate them, consolidate the datacentres and really get those savings," said Lewis.
"The second really important thing is to be the IT organisation that says 'yes' rather than 'no', and create a culture where you can embrace new devices.
"Yes, it means figuring out new security protocols and what's dangerous and what's not so dangerous, but CIOs who start doing that find their popularity goes through the roof with users."
Lewis believes this can have the positive knock-on effect of employee motivation also "going through the roof", while proving that IT is aligned closely with the business's needs and a true expert in providing business efficiency.
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