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A Conversation With Neil Lilley About Digital Transformation in Telco



Conversation with Neil Lilley at TMFdigital

Talking with Neil Lilley, Head of Marketing for Analytics & Assurance for Ericsson Digital Business Group, on the Ericsson Digital pavilion at #TMFdigital in Nice, France, about the role of Analytics & Assurance in Digital Transformation across the Telco industry, and the Ericsson Consumer Lab “zero-touch customer experience” report


Events I will be covering in 2019 include:

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Digital Enterprise

Data Professionals Ready to Head Back to In-Person Conferences



The past couple of years have been a sort of barren wasteland for in-person tech conferences. Meeting in large groups was not wise during the COVID pandemic causing hotels and convention centers everywhere to go empty. However, it looks like things are beginning to open back up in the world of data-focused tech conferences in 2022.

2020 and 2021

Before we look at this year let’s first look back and reflect on the impact of COVID on the world of technology and data management conferences. Early in 2020, as the degree of the COVID pandemic became apparent, many tech conferences either were canceled or revamped.

One of the earliest events to be modified was the IBM Think 2020 event, originally scheduled for the week of May 4-7, 2020 in San Francisco. IBM canceled the in-person conference and announced a “Digital Event Experience” to occur May 5 -6. This amounted to what most conferences became during the pandemic – watching presentations over the web, like a bunch of webinars. Many other events followed suit, with IDUG Db2 Tech Conference, Microsoft Build, Salesforce Connections, Oracle World, and many others eventually delivering online versions of their events.

Instead of revamping to an online event, some conferences canceled their events; some for good! The first harbinger of things to come was the cancellation of the South by Southwest conference, originally scheduled for March 13-22, 2020. Industry analyst firm Gartner canceled or postponed all of its conferences for April through August 2020. And perhaps the biggest news of all, O’Reilly Media closed its conference business for good, which sounded the death knell for its annual Strata conference. Data management professionals will miss Strata as it was one of the only vendor-neutral events that focused on data and AI.

As 2020 turned to 2021 it became the modus operandi for conferences to be held primarily online. Some began to wonder if COVID would kill the in-person tech conference once and for all. For many reasons, I don’t see that happening.

For one thing, an online event is easy to disengage from. Sitting at your laptop watching a presentation is no substitute for an in-person presentation where there are no disturbances and you can easily interact with the presenter (via Q&A or even tracking them down after they speak). On the other hand, it is very easy to stop paying attention when you are watching online. I wonder what that email that just showed up was… let’s check… oh, I’ve been waiting for that {clicks a link and starts web browsing}… Was that the doorbell? Probably, because the dog is barking… and so on… none of those distractions exist when you are sitting in a room at a conference!

Furthermore, people like to interact with their peers to share and learn things. That is much easier to do at an industry event where everybody has similar interests. So, in-person events went away for a period of time because it was the prudent thing to do to stop the spread of COVID. But what about now?


Well, the availability and effectiveness of COVID vaccines and people’s desire and willingness to attend conferences seem to mean that 2022 will see a resurgence in live, in-person tech, and data management events. I am not saying that threat of COVID is over (far be it from me as I am no immunologist or M.D.), but the general mood seems to be that it is once again time to attend conferences. Hopefully, we will do it safely.

Furthermore, I contend that an in-person product demonstration can be more illuminating and educational than similar online demos. And it is easier to ask questions and clear up confusing issues or technical problems face-to-face than it is over the web.

In March 2022, I attended my first in-person event since the COVID pandemic began: the SHARE conference in Dallas, TX. I was not sure what to expect, but the event was well-attended and people seemed genuinely enthused to be participating and interacting with their peers again. If this is indicative of the overall mood of the tech world then 2022 will probably be the year that you start attending your favorite data and tech events again. And from what I see, there will be no shortage of opportunities for you to attend.

Upcoming Data Management Conferences

Coming up soon is Data Summit 2022 taking place in Boston on May 17-18, 2022. This event is managed by Unisphere and bills itself as the data management and analytics conference. I have attended and spoken at this event in the past. It offers a lot of educational value, particularly in the realm of data management, analytics, and AI. There are co-running sub-events focused on DataOps and AI/ML that may be of interest.

Next up is the World Data Summit taking place May 18-20, 2022 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. This three-day event hosts speakers knowledgeable on all aspects of data analysis, unstructured data, data visualization, and more.

One conference that I am very much looking forward to attending again is the North American IDUG Db2 Tech Conference, to be held this year in Boston, MA from July 11-14, 2022. If you use IBM’s Db2 DBMS then this is an event you won’t want to miss… not to mention that I will be delivering a couple of presentations there this year, too!

And I cannot mention IBM without also mentioning Oracle, can I? Well, this year Oracle OpenWorld has a new name – Oracle CloudWorld. And it has a new location, too! Although for many years Oracle held its events in San Francisco, this year the event will be in Las Vegas from October 16-20, 2022. There is a bit of irony in renaming an in-person conference to CloudWorld though! The online events held that past couple of years during the pandemic were more cloud-like virtual events. But I understand the reasoning, what with cloud computing becoming so popular these days.

Of course, there are many other in-person events that might be of interest, and I am probably missing a few. That said, here are some others to keep in mind:

The Bottom Line

2022 looks like the year that in-person tech conferences will be returning, so if you are comfortable traveling and being out and amongst people again this year, you might want to start making your plans to attend your favorite events.

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Digital Enterprise

 NextGen Networks Transforms Enterprise Business: CXOCyience​ 2



I recently got the privilege of hosting one live-stream event, second in this exciting series, with the fantastic team at Cyient.


#CXOCyience​ – #DesigningAConnectedTomorrow​ – Livestream #2

Designing Networks of Tomorrow –  NextGen Networks Transforms Enterprise Business


This discussion on enterprise business transformation is a talk you can’t afford to miss! During this Livestream, I found this opportunity to talk with two executives & experts, Ray Achemedei and Aashu Virmani. They shared their unique viewpoints on personal networks occurring across enterprises and how 5G and other arising technologies play a role.


A little to know about the featured guests for this conversation:


+ Ray Archimedes: General Manager, Technology & Digital Transformation, at Horizon Power

+ Aashu Virmani: Vice President & Client Partner, Communications at Cyient


The list of the topics for this event comprises:

+ What is 5G, and how it is suitable for enterprise transformation

+ Different architectures enterprises can feel when executing private networks

+ Traditional mechanisms of feasibility survey and LiDAR based surveys and virtual walkouts

+ Enterprise use cases enhanced and made attainable by 5g private network




The advent of Next Generation Networks, a converged private network across enterprises built on top of 5g enterprise private network, allows new business opportunities on many fronts, making innovative business models possible as new use cases arise for Consumers and Enterprises.


We see more and more opportunities for organisations to transform themselves into Enterprise Business Models by integrating Next Generation Networks and converged networks, adopting new operating models, and using the technologies behind Next Generation Networks and converged networks.


As private networks are implemented, enterprises can now consider a wide range of architectures, and a number previously thought of as the sole province of telcos and carriers are now available to enterprise customers over the spectrum ( pun intended ).


The goal is now to build it right and ‘intelligently’ for the very first time so that operation & management becomes valuable and perfect.


Organizations must find the best possible Partner of Choice to support them if they desire to achieve such transformative outcomes. It is not a generally core business for most organizations to operate, implement, or manage Next Generation Networks.


Market Update “mini-keynote”:

To initiate this “hour of power” well, Aashu Virmani from Cyient, shared a “mini-keynote” style Market Update. The update is all about Enterprise Business Transformation and Next Generation Networks along with the fresh news and insights from the company.


Vital topics from the Panel section:

+ Topic #1:

At the very first, we discussed what 5G is, 5g enterprise private network and how it benefits enterprise transformation. Experts speak about industry 4.0 being enabled by 5G; what are some of the key abilities 5G private network offers, which make it appealing for Enterprises.
+ Topic #2:

Private networks can be implemented using various Next Generation Network architectures with a variety of design patterns that can be deployed in this space – for example:

  1. Completely Air Gapped private networks.
  2. Private locally hubbed Networks with the least external connectivity ( Mobile Edge Compute ).
  3.  CSP network’s densified versions for industrial use cases

    + Topic #3:

Are there any use case or ROI opportunities in the Utilities, Port & Rail, and Energy market segments that organizations should look for when addressing Next Generation Networks and Business Operations Transformation?


Check out the video and do not miss this riveting discussion I had on Enterprise Business Transformation through Next-Generation Networks with Ray and Aashu.


The video was created in collaboration with Cyient.

To get details on containers, visit:

Cyient homepage: 
Cyient communications webportal: 
Cyient network services webportal: 



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Business Continuity

Commvault’s Martha Delehanty Discusses joining the company



Martha Delehanty joining Commvault

Imagine stepping into a new video game where you know nothing of the rules or the genre, much less have a strategy. You are paired with a random team of assorted players and you are responsible for their survival. As you press start, you feel tremors beneath your feet in the real world.

 It’s an earthquake!

 And your survival in the real world is dependent on you somehow learning the game well enough to survive in it within the next thirty minutes.

The story of Martha Delehanty joining Commvault

Martha Delehanty’s story of joining Commvault in the week just before the company went into global remote is much more dramatic. This is a story of grit, perseverance, and keeping not just your wits, but also your empathy around because the numerous people depending on you at work and at home really need it. This is the story of Martha’s amazing start with Commvault as Chief People Officer, and the journey the twain have been on throughout the rocky ride that’s been the year 2020.

Why people?

This is one of the first questions I posed to Martha and her answer was atypical. She found her passion in working with people and large organisations through her experience of restructuring at a psychiatric institute where she was interning as an art therapist. She never got to like art therapy but found her calling in the disruption and sweeping organisational changes going on around her as the institute shifted from being federal to state-run. That experience provoked her interest in harnessing the capacity of people into making money and she went on to pursue an MBA to learn P&L for business transactions.  

Martha spent nearly three decades working at Verizon and joined Commvault at what should have been an auspicious moment – the company had just successfully acquired Hedvig, had a very successful launch of SaaS-based data protection and data backup product called Metallic and were set to go full-swing into 2020. And then came the pandemic.

Perfect organisation, perfect role, great acquisition, fantastic launch of a startup into a legacy company – and the pandemic 

What should have been a dream start to a new inning in her career turned into a quagmire of uncertainty as Commvault went into global remote within a few days of Martha coming on-board. Imagine being responsible for taking care of people and continuity of a business (that went remote overnight) in a global organisation without really having access to the ecosystem of people and relationships you would have available to you in any job. You probably don’t even know your executive team yet.

Martha was forced to make big, bold decisions quite literally in the dark as the pandemic situation unfolded with its own Pandora’s Box of uncertainties – knowing full well that her decisions might have second or third orders of impact that she simply could not gauge at this point.

Martha’s experience, put quite simply, was probably once-in-a-generation.

Martha herself takes a different approach. She reiterates that in a crisis situation, a lot of bureaucracy simply goes out of the window and decisions and people come together much faster than normal as they band together to survive. This included making tough calls such as voluntary reduction and global salary reduction while ensuring transparency in communicating with employees and supporting them in every manner possible.

Working with the wrinkles and remembering to smile

Once the remote paradigm of work settled in, it was time to deal with the fallouts. As Martha puts it, there was no longer the scope to put away the noisy dog or hide the misbehaving child on your lap during work in the new normal. People were dealing with anxiety, exhaustion, and burnout, trying to get adjusted to the new regime of work where the ‘off switch’ had all but disappeared. 

In Martha’s case, it wasn’t just about finding the balance between the professional and personal (home-schooling and taking care of three children plus other responsibilities) that all of us struggled with, but also helping her team and the larger ecosystem of partners, integrators, resellers and customers find that balance and ray of sanity. 

Shaping the future by not holding tight to the past

Martha is introspective and insightful when it comes to defining the future. She believes in helping people thrive during and going forward from the crisis rather than holding tight and praying for the storm to pass. After all, the past ‘normal’ we can’t help but hanker for at times – had its fair share of problems too. The pandemic has forced us not only into changes in jobs and relationships, but also into setting different priorities altogether. As Martha puts it quite profoundly, “A good day looks different now.” 

Commvault has tried walking the path by enabling people to collaborate better not just at work, but in sharing home and social responsibilities, better channels of communication and resources through podcasts, having non-scripted courageous conversations around difficult topics (generally cast aside in professional environments as ‘too personal’), engaging communities in dialogue and participation, partnering more with mid-tier companies and the UN, coding challenges for young students, and something as seemingly basic as ‘story-time’ for kids of employees or keeping empty office canteens open for frontline workers and first responders at a local hospital and residents of a domestic violence shelter. In the process, hopefully, they are becoming more comfortable with being vulnerable and better partners to each other throughout the crisis. 

Changing for the better and building value and relevance

Martha says we could all do with being a bit ‘less comfortable in our glass houses’ and accepting the reality we live in rather than living in a veneer of Instagram-like unreality. She is quick to recognise that even in the pre-Corona times, we were at a breaking point with an epidemic of stress, suicides, domestic violence, exhaustion, depletion and more.

She believes people officers right now have ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity window of influencing organisational processes for the better and creating an environment where people create value by thriving, not just surviving. Simple steps like assuming positive intention, partner mentality and community-enriching mindsets can go a long way for businesses to stay relevant and create sustainable value in a world that’s (hopefully!) long since passed the grasp of the pandemic. 

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