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The Grill: Bill Murphy, Hilton's new CIO/CTO

Lucas Mearian | Feb. 13, 2013
For Hilton Worldwide's Bill Murphy, attaining the rank of CIO didn't mean his CTO duties disappeared. His slate of new projects includes standardization of the hotel chain's property management platform across 3,900 hotels, rollout of a wireless platform and implementation of an ERP platform.

I do know your choices these days are fewer and fewer, and alignment of Oracle platforms vs. SAP platforms typically [follows] industry lines. Some of the SaaS options just aren't there for your larger enterprises.

What's lacking in software-as-a-service options for the enterprise? Sophistication and the ability to cater to the business and to plug in, in some cases, hundreds of interfaces.

Does Hilton have a bring-your-own-device policy? People have their own devices. You can't stop that from happening. We do have the ability for people to access our network via secure sign-on through effectively any device. We don't have a comprehensive BYOD policy in place. That's one of the things we're going to have to button down in the short term. You're not allowed to have your corporate email on your personal device. Any device that has corporate information on it has to have the ability [to be wiped by the company].

What's the most difficult thing about creating a BYOD strategy? Whatever you decide today, it's going to change tomorrow.

How has the job of an IT manager changed over the past decade, and how has that added to your responsibilities? It's changed significantly in the last 10 or 15 years. Clearly, in the mid '90s, IT was in the back office. It was the engine room of any company. With the advent of the Web, it's been thrust into the forefront of corporate strategies and not just corporate processing.

I think it's more fun. You're more instrumental in delivering business value and making critical business decisions involved in business strategy as opposed to just maybe execution.

What are your main concerns about technology?What keeps you up at night? Certainly, security and risk related to cyberattacks. With the sophistication and pluralization of technologies across the board, you're providing opportunities for security threats and risks.

How are you addressing the security threats? By investing in our security infrastructure and taking it very seriously and not closing our eyes to known vulnerabilities in the infrastructure. We've got to address them. If there's an opportunity out there, there will be a breach.

What current or upcoming technology do you see as a game-changer in the data center, and why? Certainly, the question of "In the data center or not?" -- the whole idea of how to best utilize cloud computing. More and more of your processing does make sense to have third-party partners provide it via the cloud.

Moving your own data centers to a private cloud also makes sense. We've not done it yet, but that's going to be part of our infrastructure strategy.


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