A company that has been a pioneer in the technology industry for over 130 years, Unisys’ antecedents rolled out the first commercial typewriter and adding machine and later the first commercially-available digital computer.
It was the second largest computer company next to IBM in the 1980s, and focuses now on projects as diverse as developing biometric technology for national ID schemes, to providing systems integration for airports.
As Ed Coleman, Unisys CEO explains, the company owes its remarkable longevity to keeping a sharp eye on IT's next big sea change, and in today's industry this means a focus on software.
If the current security issues around the software-defined model can be properly addressed, this will pave the way for the true software-defined data centre as CIOs can begin to trust their mission critical work to software-powered architecture, Coleman says. And he believes Unisys has built all the makings of this, with advanced security software designed to cloak networks.
> See also: The software-defined data centre is happening today: Escenbach, VMware
As software truly begins to encompass the enterprise, Coleman is convinced that the role of the CIO will increasingly come to be that of an integrator, taking a back seat to technology while a far more central role in the C-suite.
A great example of the kind of major integration task that now falls into the remit of the CIO is the management of social media, says Coleman.
He explains how Unisys has successfully transformed into a model for its customers to create fully integrated, natural social media platforms for their employees that mirror the way people naturally use social networks.
In this way, Coleman turned his own company into a social organisation, integrating social media into both its IT environment and its corporate culture.
The most positive benefit of this, he says, is the ability to tap into the hidden resource of employee knowledge throughout the firm, creating an environment that fosters and acknowledges contribution and helps identify talent.