Bill Coleman, a 25-year veteran of the tech industry, became Veritas Technologies’ CEO a little over a year ago. He’s been leading the charge to help the software vendor transition from selling legacy point storage products to creating an integrated information-management platform. The goal is to provide something that’s agnostic — will work in the cloud or on-premises or both — and that won’t require customers to invest in a constant stream of upgrades to get there.
In this installment of the IDG CEO Interview Series, Coleman sat down with IDG U.S. Media’s former Chief Content Officer, John Gallant, and spoke about how he plans to get there and what’s next for the 25-year-old company now that it’s completed its split from former parent Symantec.
Let’s start off by about helping readers understand the split of Veritas from Symantec. What drove that decision, and what does it mean for customers?
I think what drove the decision was that both the security and the data sides were undergoing transformation in the marketplace. Security is a little ahead and data is moving toward information management. I think the Symantec board felt that the synergy between the two was less and therefore being able to execute a business transformation on both sides would be better with them split apart. That’s the feeling I got when I started talking to [Symantec CEO] Mike Brown. I’d been on the board for many years — until 2011 — and he called me when he became the CEO and we talked about it right from then. I think it was just a practical business decision.
I want to talk a little bit more about the whole shift to this information management strategy but just a couple of quick things before we get to that. What is your number one priority now that Veritas is a standalone company?
My number one priority is to turn Veritas into the leader in the digital transformation age.
Can you expand on that a little bit more? What does that mean?
What has really surprised me is as the quarters progressed, when I meet with a customer the first thing I ask is: Would you mind telling me what your strategies, priorities are? [For] almost every one of them it’s digital transformation. One of them was the CTO of a large bank; he actually was a Sun Solaris guy years ago too. His answer was very simple: Digital transformation is taking data, turning that into information, turning that into insight and then turning that into value for our customers that we can use to go beat our competition.