A CenturyLink veteran, Bill Bradley talks about cultural challenges in the workplace, the advantages of cloud computing, and the importance of reacting positively to change.
Tell us about how your ability to rapidly scale operations has changed the way your IT department operates.
Our internal development organizations, including India, work around the clock, creating new solutions. They are able to leverage our high-speed network and cloud platform, which enables them to procure assets and deliver them many times faster than a normal procurement channel. Even internally, you win customers with fast service.
What are some of the key lessons you've learned in your IT career?
I talk a lot to people in our own organization and outside it about how to adapt to change. I like to remind people to react to change and act positively.
IT has consistently changed for decades, but people still seem to fall in the trap of being reactionary to it. At one time people were unsure of the value of a personal computer. Others couldn't understand why they would need a distributed computing platform when they had a mainframe. The core reason people go into IT is because they understand technology and they want to provide a solution. Somewhere along the way we can get buried in our job, and we must remind ourselves that we need to provide that solution every single day.
There are three things every IT person needs to understand about their career.
1. Follow your passion. Ask yourself, "Why am I in IT?"
2. Work hard. If IT is your passion, you should want to work hard. If you don't want to provide solutions every day, maybe you're not following your passion or maybe you're not challenging yourself enough.
3. Give back. You should want to give back—and not just monetarily. When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, 3,000 people from New Orleans ended up in a vacant building near our company headquarters in Monroe, La. Our IT group wanted to help, so we went to the shelter and found a lack of organization. People were separated from their families, and the Red Cross, which was overwhelmed by the sudden arrival of so many people at once, was using handwritten forms to track people, but it was difficult to locate people. People were separated from their families or from each other. Our IT people looked at the situation and said, "I think we can help with that." Before the beginning of a weekend, we brought in some spare servers, setup a database, captured the name and location of each individual, and before the weekend was over, it was possible to find everyone in the facility quickly and accurately.
About the Author
Jack Rosenberger is the managing editor of CIO Insight. You can follow him on Twitter via @CIOInsight. To read his previous CIO Insight article, "Enterprises Double Down With Cloud Investments," click here.