Pfizer and Cigna IT Leaders Appointed to the Open Networking User Group Board of Directors

August 11, 2014 – Boston – The Open Networking User Group (ONUG) appointed IT executives Michael Elmore of Cigna and Nelson Tai of Pfizer to its Board of Directors to help drive the deployment of open networking and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) solutions. The ONUG Board now includes 16 IT executives representing a range of industries, enterprise requirements, and challenges.

“Network infrastructure in general is in the midst of a major transformation, which will require direct input from the enterprise community,” said Michael Elmore, IT senior director, global enterprise network engineering at Cigna. “ONUG represents a great opportunity and platform to help shape and accelerate this transformation by influencing OEMs and service providers to deliver open solutions that address real problem statements of the enterprises, while enabling them to ‘get it right’ from the onset. ONUG represents a win-win for all.”

“IT business leaders today have clear business goals and understand the level of effort to accomplish them. These leaders are rallying around open networking organizations and solution providers that can deliver,” said Nelson Tai, senior manager, hosting and connectivity services at Pfizer. “I am pleased to join the ONUG Board and work with IT peers to help set the agenda, define the requirements, and guide the industry through the most important network transformation cycle in years.”

“Both Michael and Nelson are IT innovators who presented deployed SD-WAN use cases at ONUG Spring 2014. They represent the vision, initiative, and pragmatic approach to institute broad-reaching change in the networking industry,” said Nick Lippis, ONUG co-chairman and co-founder. “We welcome Michael and Nelson to the ONUG Board to help lead the network transition as companies move from Proof of Concepts (POCs) to production deployment in 2015.”

ONUG Fall 2014, October 28-29 at Credit Suisse in New York City, will feature real world use cases and published requirements from the ONUG Board-led working groups that will serve as vendor development guidelines regarding investment directions for the user community.

As their first task in the role of ONUG Board members, Michael and Nelson contributed to the recent ONUG white paper which outlined the ONUG Community’s open networking expectations. These included a lower operational cost model (OPEX) on the order of 15-30 percent relief, a new definition of network OPEX based on real vendor support cost rather than a fixed percentage of capital cost, CAPEX cost relief on the order of 25-75 percent, a thriving software ecosystem which provides rapid innovation, vendor-independent network design flexibility, faster IT delivery, and efficient business process. In the white paper, the ONUG Board also defined six architectural areas that will open the networking industry and deliver choice and design options, an open networking ecosystem, and a common multivendor approach:

  • – Device discovery, provisioning, and asset registration for physical and virtual devices
  • – Automated “no hands on keyboards” configuration and change management tools that align DevOps and NetOps
  • – A common controller and control protocol for both physical and virtual devices
  • – A baseline policy manager that communicates to the common controller for enforcement
  • – A mechanism for sharing (communicating or consuming) network state and a unified network state database that collects, at a minimum, MAC and IP address forwarding tables automatically
  • – Integrated monitoring of overlays and underlays

To learn more about the Board of Directors, visit the ONUG website, and to download the ONUG white papersign up here.


About ONUG

ONUG is the leading user-driven community of IT executives focused on leveraging the power of their engineering and procurement to influence the pace and deployment of open networking solutions. The ONUG Board is composed of IT leaders from Bank of America, Citigroup, Cigna, Credit Suisse, FedEx, Fidelity Investments, Gap Inc., JPMorgan Chase, Pfizer, Symantec, UBS, Nick Lippis of the Lippis Report and others. For more on ONUG, go to


ONUG Contact:

Mira Genser Woods

(617) 513-7020