Letter from the Publisher: The ONUG Report April 2020

From the Publisher:

To say we all have been challenged over the past few weeks is a total understatement.  We are concerned for the health of our families, self and businesses. At ONUG, last year we had scheduled our ONUG Spring conference in Dallas for May 2020; while it’s obvious now that a change was needed, it wasn’t so in early February. 

We are very fortunate to have a community during these times. So many people have offered advice and input. What proved to be the most potent advice was ONUG Board members sharing their companies’ pandemic mitigation plans. During that meeting, we realized the time from recovery to normal life would have a long tail, well into the summer.  

Thus ONUG Spring would be transformed into a virtual conference with complimentary registration. We launched ONUG Digital Live on Friday, March 20, and as of this writing, we have more registrations than we did for last year’s ONUG Spring in Dallas. All of our speakers are excited to participate as well as sponsor community members. Our goal for ONUG Digital Live (ODL) is to bring up to 2,000 IT executives into the community; we are well on our way. 

It’s also obvious that digital transformation is no longer a wishful project but a business survival strategy. ONUG is THE enterprise cloud community of digital architects and strategists. Our community will lead the acceleration of the digital economy in the post-pandemic world. I provide the narrative and focus for ODL in this month’s blog. Join us on May 6th and 7th for ONUG Digital Live (put reg link here) where we keep the ONUG conversation going.

ONUG Digital Live:  Women Leadership, Automated Cloud Governance and Post-Pandemic Digital Strategy 

ONUG Spring scheduled for Dallas on May 6th and 7th has been transformed into a virtual conference with complimentary registration. We branded the virtual conference “ONUG Digital Live,” ODL for short. ODL will actually be better than what we had planned for Dallas, thanks to the ease of which speakers and community members create and access its content. ONUG is The Enterprise Cloud community made up of professionals who architect, build and run secure digital enterprises. At ODL, we take the discussion and experience to another level as we’ve added so many great features afforded by a digital platform, such as attendee interactions, introductions, networking plus open spaces for community-driven topic discussion, as well as traditional fireside chats, keynotes, panels, roundtables, etc. 

Ernest Lefner; ONUG Co-Founder, and I will be your emcees for the two days. ODL is a special-edition ONUG focused on Automated Cloud Governance, a major issue within the large enterprise to speed cloud consumption thus agility in a time when corporations need to move fast to survive. While there are many topics that will be discussed at ODL, there are three themes that I want to point out in this blog.

Automated Cloud Governance: United Technologies, Cigna, FedEx and ONUG created a collaborative to develop a framework that assists organizations to automate cloud governance. There are specific industry recommendations for public and private cloud providers/suppliers too, as they have an important role to play. This collaborative formed a working group which is populated by the above companies plus Pfizer, UBS, JPMC, PNC, Kaiser, et al. The output of this working group is a report that will be distributed at ODL as well as sessions that address the topic. Everyone who registers for ODL will receive a copy of the report. Here are a few of the working group’s sessions:

Wednesday, May 6th 

CISO Fireside Chat: Automating Governance in the Cloud Era 

Moderator: John Willis

Confirmed Speakers: Gene Sun, FedEx CISO; James Beeson, Cigna CISO; Daniel Conroy, United Technologies CISO/CTO

Cloud Governance & Controls – What Are They? Why Are They Important? How Can It Possibly Work with Agile? 

Moderator: Don Duet 

Speakers: Ernest Lefner, SM – FSO Digital Advisory, EY; Chris McCarthy, Manager, EY; Michael McKenna, Cigna; John Rzeszotarski, PNC 

Institutionalizing DevSecOps in the Large Enterprise 

Moderator: Keith Shinn, Caliber 

Speakers: Carlos Matos, JPMC; Shannon Lietz, Intuit; Pat O’Neil, FedEx; Chris Zanelli, CitiHub

Thursday, May 7th

Automated Governance to Reduce Compliance Audits from Days to Hour

Moderator: John Willis 

Speakers: Caleb Queern, KPMG; Pat O’Neil, FedEx

Automation of Infrastructure/Infrastructure as Code: The Tools & Techniques You Need to Do 

Moderator: Ted Turner, ONUG Board Member 

Speakers: Bruce Pinsky, Intuit; Brian Silverman, McKesson; Carlos Matos, JPMC; Peter Kazmier, Fidelity

Women Technology Leadership: I have a good friend who is the CEO of a high tech company whom I have known for some 30 years. We started in the industry together, not in the same company, but we worked together from time to time. I had told her once that she is the best women CEO I know. She responded, “I want to be the best CEO period.”  That five-second exchange happened over five years ago, and it rings so clear to me even now. The IT and tech industry, in general, struggles to include women. This goes all the way to engineering schools that also struggle to increase the percentages of women enrolled in those programs.    

At ONUG, we have focused on being more inclusive of women too. I am so pleased to announce that we are taking the lead of a Board member company, Cigna, who has a public policy that by 2025, 50% of its IT technical staff will be women. ONUG will be following Cigna’s lead by challenging the ONUG Community to do the same. ONUG’s efforts will be to only add women Board members until its board is populated 50/50, to assure women have high-profile speaking spots at ONUG and to profile women industry leaders. At ODL, most sessions have women included in panel sessions, and we are so excited to host these two special sessions.

Wednesday, May 6th

Keynote Panel:  Building Your Digital Transformation Leadership Teams

Speakers: Renee Galitis, CIO, Caliber Home Loans; Paola Saibene, American Heart Association, Vice President of Enterprise Risk Management; Shannon Lietz, Intuit

Thursday, May 7th

Closed Door Women Only: Women in IT Career Advice – How to Accelerate Your IT Career 

Moderators: Janice MacDonald, VP IT, Fidelity; Paola Saibene, American Heart Association, Vice President of Enterprise Risk Management; Renee Galitis, CIO, Caliber Home Loans; Shannon Lietz, Intuit  

Post Pandemic Digital Strategy: Most IT teams are dealing with remote workforce issues such as bandwidth upgrades. A quick shout-out and hats off to carrier networks and internet providers for doing such an amazing job during the pandemic. The biggest issue most are dealing with is managing end users. There are expectation issues associated with remote vs. in-office experience, local broadband and home network variability seem to be the biggest complaints; at times, they may get fast busy calls, or Webex/Skype/Hangout/Zoom performance varies. Many users are not used to working from home and the tools with which to get work done. But we know that there is an immense acceleration to align digital and business strategy going on systematically throughout the economy right now. To help our community move at the speed and scale of DevOps, we polled the ONUG Board and ODL registrations to ask them what they need help on to accelerate their digital transformation projects. We are gathering those responses and feeding it to our 350 working group members to develop solutions to present at ODL.

During all of last year, one of the key messages that kicked off each ONUG was that as the economy goes into a downturn, those companies that invested in digital infrastructure and human capital would break away from their competitors that didn’t. We used Warren Buffett’s quote “It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked.” In May and June, we’ll see which companies are naked. I’ll be surprised to see any ONUG Community member company naked.

We have a great ODL program developed; check it out at onug.net and register. Bring your entire team…it’s free, and the more the community is gathered, the more value we all receive.

All the best, and please stay safe and healthy,



Author's Bio

Nick Lippis

Co-founder and Co-chairman, ONUG