With Susannah Streeter moderating this roundtable, the speakers include:
- Eileen Jennings-Brown, Head of Technology, Wellcome Trust
- Robert Christiansen, VP, Strategy Office of the CTO, HPE
- Robert Sheesley, CIO, Wrench Group
What cloud is right for you?
As companies become more global, integration of cloud systems is crucial for all employees to access data, no matter their location. In this roundtable, Robert Sheesley, CIO, Wrench Group; Eileen Jennings-Brown, Head of Technology, Wellcome Trust; and Robert Christiansen, VP, Office to the CTO, HPE discuss the factors considered before a company decides which cloud provider is best for them.
Moderator Susannah Streeter began the discussion by asking the importance of choosing the right cloud service for an individual company.
Robert Sheesley raised the issue of data governance and security, but a significant focus of Wrench Group was interoperability. He highlighted how the correct cloud system must be seamless across all systems: ‘The architecture that you choose and design is just as important as the cloud provider that you choose.’
In fact, the roundtable’s discussion often referred back to the topic of interoperability. The complexity of data requires interoperability, and the speed of which is crucial to how quickly employees can access and utilise the data.
‘The realities of your world’
Alongside this, there are features specific to the company that must be considered. Jennings-Brown mentioned the importance of considering the company’s preferred systems in this decision making: “Are you a Microsoft house or a Google house?” She noted that many of her employees were keen MacBook users, a computer that certain software cannot operate on. This incompatibility could stop employees from accessing data and software; choosing a cloud provider that can be used by all is essential.
However, Robert Christiansen argued that a lot of companies use multiple providers. As VP at Hewlett-Packard, Christiansen has helped several companies in their integration of a new cloud provider, including the aid of finding the best solution. In response to Jennings-Brown, he explains how many companies use a variety of providers; often there will be a primary provider, with additional providers selected depending upon their individual strengths. The main importance, to Christiansen, is choosing a cloud based on “the realities of your world.”
Jennings-Brown stressed the importance of ethical partnerships, too, which is something that the entire roundtable agreed on. From potential pay gaps, corporate governance and sustainability, the ethics of a provider is crucial.
Sheesley agreed that questions about ethics naturally surface: “We’re wanting to work with brands with a strong social conscience and are doing things about that,” recognizing the implications of partnering with an unethical provider. The issue with this, Streeter adds, is that if your company is relying on the cloud, you rely on the provider’s ethics aligning with your own.
‘Once you’re in, you’re there,’ Christiansen said. ‘You’ve glued yourself to that platform.’
In a constantly evolving market, Streeter highlighted the need to be always ‘scanning the horizon.’ Sometimes, a company discovers a new provider is better suited to their needs than one they were working with, although Christiansen explained that the importance in that situation is to change momentum. Spending time and resources changing providers does not mean you should ignore a newer system when it is better suited for your company.
The roundtable ended with the group agreeing on the importance of leadership in these situations, and how crucial it is to remain aware of the market even if the current provider seems to tick all the boxes.
This roundtable was created in partnership with HPE.