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Actions speak louder than words. People are watching at all times. You are never “off” the clock as a leader – Bethany Mayer



A Interview with Bethany Mayer, President of Ixia Solutions Group, a Keysight Business


Q:           What lessons did you learn from the “turnaround” success story of Ixia?

A:            I learned that developing a strategy together as a team, communicating it across the organization, aligning and staying in touch constantly with the leadership, and larger company, is the key to turning around a difficult situation.  I am a huge fan of one on one meetings.  I meet with every member of my leadership team every week to discuss what is happening, how they are doing, issues they face, etc.  I also do one on one meetings throughout the organization to get a feel for how people are doing. Broader communication on the progress of the turn around and transparency on whether we are succeeding or not is important, as well as quarterly all hands, emails to the team, brown bag lunches, and site visits.  It all matters.  And finally, tie everyone in the company to the larger goal financially.  We are in this boat together and we sink or swim together.

bethany-mayer-ixia-president-and-ceo-320xx2574-3861-0-0Q:           Do you feel that your time at HP influenced your strategy for Ixia?

A:           My time at HP helped me in several ways:

  • Learning how to scale and design teams that create success – not doing “unnatural acts” in org design for individuals.
  • Learning how to communicate broadly and to diverse teams – I learned Mandarin in order to speak to my China team!
  • Learning how to inspire and gain loyalty even while giving people negative news.  Dignity and respect remain important no matter what message you have to deliver.
  • Actions speak louder than words.  People are watching at all times.  You are never “off” the clock as a leader.
  • Being authentic – unfortunately, I can’t help this one.  Even when I try to be a little different to fit in, I end up going back to being myself – it just comes out that way.  I am not saying people can’t change and moderate their behavior – that is very much the case, but if you don’t feel like you fit into a culture, your gut is probably telling you it may not be the place for you to work – listen to it.

Q:           What makes Ixia better than the competition? Why was Keysight attracted to the company? What are the biggest growth drivers?

A:            Ixia leads with technology.  Period.  We strive to be the best technically in all that we do.  We have a massive patent portfolio for a small company, and we are consistently first to market.  We are not the low price leader, and we never will be.  We offer the best products on the market, and then we work to support our customers in whatever they need to ensure they are successful.  Keysight saw that in Ixia and it was highly attractive to them, as that is Keysight’s mission and culture.

 Q:           Do you feel that the acquisition by Keysight is a success?

A:           Yes, very much so.  It is important for Keysight to add value to their customers by providing solutions to layer 1-7 testing and offering best in market products.  Keysight is the market leader in their space.  Ixia brings layer 1-7 technology and is the market leader in our space.  This is a strong combination.

Q:           What’s next for Ixia now that you’re a part of Keysight?

A:           Our goal is continued growth in our markets and delivering growth with profitability to Keysight.  In addition we are moving into the Cloud with both our test and visibility products.  This is an exciting time for Ixia and Keysight.  We will apply our first to market, best in class technologies to the cloud and offer our customers solutions to help them migrate with performance and security to the cloud.

Q:           What are the growth strategies for Ixia as a business together with Keysight?

A:           High speed Ethernet – particularly 400G; Cloud – both in test and visibility, as well as Security – applying our security technology to ensure resilience in the network

Technology Innovation/Network Test

 Q:           Ixia has a long, successful history and reputation in the test market, in your opinion what are the company’s greatest innovations?

A:           Layer 2/3 high speed Ethernet, our PerfectStorm and CloudStorm products, Vision One, and our Application Threat Intelligence.

Q:           What is the next big opportunity for Ixia in testing?

A:           There are several big opportunities for Ixia in testing, including:

  • Testing High speed Ethernet due to the demands of the cloud providers and the move to higher speeds in the data center
  • Testing Wifi – 11ax – this is the new WIFI standard that will enable multi-gigabit throughputs over fixed wireless
  • Testing 5G – new cellular standard that all carrier are moving toward
  • Test and Visibility for the Cloud

Q:           How has Ixia differentiated versus the competition in testing?

A:           Our products are technically superior both in performance and in their ability to test complex protocol sets and with real world environments.  Our CloudStorm solution is unparalleled in its ability to test terabit speeds of SSL encrypted traffic.

Cloud + IT Qs

 Q:           What is the single biggest cloud-related issue that you think businesses are overlooking right now?

A:           The issue that customers face now is how and what to migrate to the cloud.  And once migrated, how to ensure performance and security of workloads and applications in the cloud.

Q:           What risks are organizations exposing themselves to when they move applications to the public cloud?

A:           Business continuity issues and security issues.  Public cloud right now is not always as reliable as a customer’s data center.  If there is an outage, depending upon the workloads in the cloud, it can pose a serious risk to the business.  In addition, security of data is always a concern in the cloud, and there are not as many solutions as customers would like right now to solve that concern.

Q:           What do organizations need to do to minimize those risks as they move applications to the cloud?

A:           They need to stage what they move to the cloud in terms of importance and complexity.  They also need to consider tools that can provide them with visibility into the traffic and workloads in the cloud to assure performance in the cloud.

Q:           What is Ixia’s strategy around helping organizations move securely to the cloud?

A:           Our strategy is twofold.  Offer test solutions that test the security and resiliency of their instances in the cloud, and provide scale out visibility tools that can enable a customer to assure the performance of their workloads in the cloud.

 The Future

 Q:           Do you have any thoughts on promoting technology careers to young women?

A:        I have spent my career encouraging women to join us in the technology industry.  Through my work with industry associations, mentoring and founding women’s forums, as well as speaking at many women’s events, my goal has been to have a stronger pipeline of women entering our industry and promoting them in their journey.

I think that my generation of women in technology need to be active in this.  If we don’t do our part to help, women will not feel comfortable or empowered to be a part of our industry. In addition young women and girls need encouragement to stay in math and science throughout their education and we need to offer support – either financial or volunteering – to organizations working to help young women and girls see how vital it is to stay in math and science and have fun with it.  Technology is fascinating and compelling.  I am very thankful that my career has been in technology.  It still excites me every day and I still enjoy it after 30 years.  It can be a wonderful career, and I want more women to join us in it.

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