Paul Villani is a self-directed and driven technology leader with comprehensive accomplishments leading strategy, hardware, software, security, networking and implementation management and cross-functional teams to ensure success and achieve goals. He is known as an innovative thinker with strong innovation, project management, compliance and infrastructure acumen.
1. How has your IT operating model changed during the last five years?
Over the course of the past several years, the landscape of IT has changed. IT has been expanding beyond IT. No longer does IT run in a vacuum, or in a silo, strictly managing the IT budget and its mission.
As the organization has become more technology-driven, the line of demarcation between IT and the business has shifted—and ultimately faded. There has been a gradual distribution of IT leadership throughout organizations and entire system. Business and IT now share functionality, vision and budget.
2. What do you think are the biggest challenges that networking technologists face in working in a more agile and outcomes based model?
We live in an on-demand world where we need everything seamlessly and instantaneously. The technology boom has spoiled us to the point where everything requires elasticity. We have the ability to “flex up” and “throttle down” the technology on a short notice.
This is an extremely opportune time that inspires to aspire, but I believe that in the midst of this technology boom what some business leaders forget is that their greatest asset is their people. It’s very easy for business leaders to forget that people are a finite resource. As a leader, I’m only as good as my team. It’s important to provide people with the tools, training, and resources to succeed.
3. What set of skills do you think is required for the technology leaders to be successful in the new enterprise landscape?
In my past life I was in the hospitality and travel industry where customer service was not just being a “people person.” It meant providing customer satisfaction with a great attention to detail and customer experience. IT is a service, and the customer is the organization. One of the greatest attributes is having the ability to listen and communicate effectively.
I heard a story recently about a call to the helpdesk that went sideways in a hurry. The customer and tech were having difficulty troubleshooting an issue over the phone. The customer eventually gave up and called the helpdesk manager to request an onsite technician. When the technician arrived, he was able to provide a quick and easy solution. The customer immediately called the helpdesk manager to praise the technician that arrived onsite. He told the helpdesk manager the two technicians were like night and day. The customer was amazed to find the two technicians were the same person.
4. Which growing or future technology innovation are you personally excited about?
As I said previously, we live in an era of instant gratification. On the surface, it’s having the ability to watch your favorite movie or listen to your favorite song on a whim. It’s like the vintage movies from the 1950s that fantasizes about the future where someone requests an ice cream sundae. A small door opens and out pops an ice cream sundae with whipped cream and a cherry. We’re not there yet with the sundae, but the technology behind the instant movie and music is advantageous. To have the ability to start a company overnight and ramp up to meet rapid demand with just a few clicks of a mouse is mind-boggling.
5. We are all dealing with technology every day. How does technology drive your life?
Yes, elasticity is a wonderful thing and it has everyone wowed, but how could you not be amazed at the growing technology for our homes? I remember watching a movie when I was younger about a voice-activated computer that controlled the entire house. I was amazed at how a computer could control appliances, including the thermostat. It’s even more amazing to think about the technology that is available today. I enjoy having the ability to open and close the garage door, brew coffee in my kitchen, and turn the air condition on from my phone. It’s instantaneously gratifying—and convenient.