Clarity and culture: Lessons learned from recent technology staffing shifts

Clarity and culture: Lessons learned from recent technology staffing shifts


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Photo: Joe McKendrick

As information technology staff dispersed to remote or work-from-home locations, what was the impact on initiatives such as DevOps and development? There are technological tasks that are well suited for remote work. Still, there are other aspects of the job that still work best face to face.

That’s the words of Andy Nallappan, chief technology officer and chief business officer of Broadcom Software, one of the world’s largest technology entrepreneurs. I had the opportunity to chat with Nallappan while at Infosys’ recent Cobalt event, where he shared his experiences with managing a large workforce of technologists and the challenges he has faced over the past two years. years.

For starters, it’s not always easy to manage a remote workforce, as the company did until recently. “There are two pieces of software development,” he explains. “First of all, there are mostly operational things, which are mostly predictable. It works very well remotely. It’s very outlawed and governed by the process.”

The other side of software development is “customer interaction, adoptions. Feature requests,” he adds. “This involves designing solutions for them. You need a lot of discussion in the boardroom and working with “This is faster if you are face to face with them. Otherwise, it takes time to understand what the customer wants. You can’t expect them to go through this sprint and more interaction.”

The remote part consists of tests to validate and deploy, he continues. “But part of the collaboration can make it better quality, a better way out. This is always a mixed bag.”

As with all technology-intensive companies, Broadcom has had a difficult time acquiring all the necessary talent. Nallappan says a corporate culture based on collaboration and ownership has proven to be an effective hiring and retention tool for the company’s technology talent. Broadcom produces both software and hardware, and the software part has seen “a lot of challenges because there’s a lot more demand,” he says. “Everything becomes software, and everyone wants to have the best talent. Now they can hire from anywhere, which makes it difficult. The barriers in the region and the town are gone. People can hire from anywhere.”

Broadcom, for example, has a culture of shared ownership, in which 96% of its employees have a stake in the business through stock options. Another key aspect is ongoing training and retraining, which Nallappan considers an essential element in attracting and retaining talent. At the same time, there must be a fit between the employees and the culture of the organization. He explains that the main risk of hiring is to bring talent that may not fit the organization. “Maybe they’re not aligned with the culture, but aligned with a business model that six months later may have to change. That’s not good for the employee or the employer.”

Consistency in corporate culture is also vital. “Not only do you keep changing it. You offer the same leadership over the years, and people will see that it’s consistent and it’s proven: culture works and makes business sense. Sometimes it can be a culture that isn’t popular, but the “People see it working. It helps a lot.”

In the case of Broadcom, corporate culture is also based on cultivating innovation and keeping talent in its tracks. The company focuses on “modernizing technology, going to the cloud from the company,” Nallappan says. “We modernize the software. We contain all the workloads. We innovate in areas where we have established products and a consolidated market. We are not going to create new markets. Our model is to go and acquire growth and optimize it.” (Note: This interview was conducted prior to media reports about Broadcom’s interest in acquiring VMware.)

The important thing about corporate culture, he adds, is that “it should be clear. You can’t have chaos with the cloud. We do things that make business sense, things that we can monetize with and grow with.” add. “If we can’t monetize, we can’t innovate. We’re very clear.”



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