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CTO Focus Interview: Rick Blaisdell, Motus

In the second installment of our CTO Focus Interview series, I got the chance to sit down with Rick Blaisdell, CTO at Motus, at a coffee shop in Portsmouth, NH. Rick is an experienced IT pro with more than 20 years experience in the industry. Some of his specialties include SaaS, cloud computing, virtualization, software development and business process improvement.  Rick is a top thought leader in the industry. He has a very successful blog, Rick’s Cloud, and his opinions and insights are very well respected on Twitter. Definitely an interesting guy to talk to – enjoy!

CTO Focus InterviewBen: Fill us in on what you do and your IT experience.

Rick: I’m currently the CTO for Motus, a mobile technology company that builds solutions for mobile employees. I also advise technology companies on becoming more efficient, scalable and moving physical workloads to the cloud and streamlining their development processes. Small technology companies need direction with best practices; most of these companies have not yet invested heavily in physical infrastructure so it is easier for them to move to, and embrace, cloud technologies. Mid-size and larger companies have more complex issues when moving to the cloud as most of their infrastructure is physical with complex workloads that require assessments, partners and advanced planning before moving to the cloud.  I help these organizations with these types of decisions.

Ben: What are your main goals when heading into a new company?

Rick: My main objective is to migrate companies from CapExt to OpEx. I spend a lot of time discussing the advantages of moving to the cloud. The ultimate goal is to remove internal employee workloads to SaaS and external customer facing production workloads to IaaS and PaaS. Internally it is critical to get your data out of your closet. An enterprise private of hybrid managed cloud solution with process and controls around the data is often the solution for most companies. Migrating 100% of the workloads to the cloud may not be feasible for all companies, although if you are a small business or new technology startup that should be the goal.

Ben: Do you often get pushback from C-level executives about utilizing the cloud?

Rick: The C-suite understands the high level benefits and business value of utilizing the cloud. One of the unknown barriers of moving to the cloud often comes from within a company’s own internal IT fears.  The IT team has been focused on keeping physical environments running, security, patching and maintenance. Shifting to the cloud removes physical resources into virtual resources and now with managed solutions, shared experts are responsible for making sure your environment has the highest level of SLA’s and security. The internal IT team sees this as a threat and in some cases will find out how to slow cloud adoption.  The C-Suite wants to be efficient and grow by concentrating on what’s core to the business, not spending energy hiring employees to maintain hard drives. The challenge is educating and retraining these employees to be able to take on new tasks that accelerate the core mission of the company.

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Ben: Which area of technology interests you the most?

Rick: The Internet of Things fascinates me, where there are billions of objects like toothbrushes, wearable technology, home appliances and tracking devices collecting data. Most technology companies in the near future will have some sort of IoT device. I recently wrote a blog post highlighting some cool internet of things startups.

Ben: What’s your view on the concept of Anything-as-a-Service?

Rick: Things are shifting to the “as a service” mentality. People like the pay as you go model. Everything is being added to the XaaS stack. Overall, I embrace the financial advantages of this model. All the companies I have worked with end up being more secure and efficient while saving money after migrating to SaaS, PaaS, DaaS, MCaaS services.

Ben: Throughout your career, what concept or technology would you say has had the most drastic impact on IT?

Rick: Virtualization would be my first answer. High density cloud environments cost less, are more efficient, are easier to scale and can be as secure as any physical environment. This has had a major impact on IT.

Ben: Where do you see IT in the next 5-7 years?

Rick: That is a long way out, my guess is that workloads will be fully commoditized, think of Priceline when you search for hotels today, this is where the world is headed, providers with services large and small available at discounts that meet your SLA’s, security, time frame all being managed and seamlessly migrated between each other. If this doesn’t happen, I will buy you dinner 😉

Are you a CIO/CTO interested in participating in our Focus Interview series? Email me at [email protected]


By Ben Stephenson, Emerging Media Specialist