Category Archives: Awards

Merrimack Valley Sandbox Awards

A couple of weeks back, I was one of the judges for the Merrimack Valley Sandbox finalists. The Sandbox is a mentorship program to encourage entrepreneurship in Lowell and Lawrence, Massachusetts.  Seven contestants made a pitch (they are with me in the picture) and we ranked them.  Then a second round of judges on another day ranked another seven contestants.  And finally, last week, Desh Deshpande, whose foundation is a major contributor, and Daniel Rivera, Mayor of Lawrence, handed out cash awards to the winners, from a pool of $25,000. Continue reading

What does the “I” in “IT” stand for?

[This is a transcript of my extempore acceptance speech at the 2013 CIO of The Year award ceremony.  The award was given by Boston Business Journal & Mass High Tech.]

Thank you very much, Boston Business Journal and Mass High Tech.

I thought I would start by giving you a couple of reactions from my family.  So my son who is studying in New York said, “Dad – congratulations!  This is fantastic news!  I hope you are planning to share the money.”  [Laughter]. Then my uncle called from Karachi, Pakistan.  He is 90 years old.  And he said, “Azmi – I always knew that you would become a CIO.  Now, remind me again of what the ‘I” stands for.”  [Laughter]. And that got me thinking…  What does the “I” in “IT” stand for?  I think that today it stands for “Intelligence” – whether it is in the form of network intelligence, or customer intelligence, or more broadly business intelligence.  I think it stands for “Insight” – because the whole purpose of delivering this intelligence and the ecosystem that produces it and delivers it, the main purpose of that is actionable insight, business insight that results in revenue. And finally “Innovation”.  I think that if you treat IT as a commodity, that is what you will get.  If you treat IT as the creative edge of your business you have a weapon like no other.

Thank you.  And I would like to thank my IT Team.  It is your success we celebrate here.  And I would like to thank my business partners.  It is your trust and confidence and expectation of IT that makes it successful.

[To read my interview with Boston Business Journal click here]

Winning IBM’s Websphere Community Award

Over the years Ipswitch has won many awards — and we continue to do so — for our stellar software products, our community work, and our workplace environment.  Yet there is one award that stands out for me.  It is one that my IT team brought home: IBM’s Websphere Community Recognition Award.

What the award recognizes is the Ipswitch IT teams’s excellence in the integration work we did between Salesforce and more than a dozen on-premise and cloud products using IBM Websphere’s Cast Iron product.  Paul Ray is the master of this.  His Introduction to the Websphere CastIron Management API graces IBM’s developerWorks web site.  Paul steered the effort and led his colleagues to this success.

A motto of mine, one that I have always emphasized with the folks who wok for me, is:  “Make ships not waves”.  Here is a good example of where the waves just naturally follow when the work stands out.  I am grateful for my team of stars for what they accomplish.