As cloud technology became one of the defining characteristics of a resilient, nimble business out of the pandemic, many commentators and analysts began asking themselves, ‘what next?’. Those were answered by technology leaders with more questions. How can I perfect my cloud vendor relationship? Is it time for the hybrid cloud model? What about redundancy in my networks because of crisis decision making? All vital questions—and all ones we’re beginning, in the industry, to answer.
This roundtable featuring technology leaders and decision makers at The Studio, looks at those questions and more. Specifically, how the promises of cloud computing can be best activated to ensure ROI is secured. Watch the roundtable discussion to discover more, and read the below article for an introduction to some of the comments made.
The first question set the tone of the debate: has cloud computing met expectations?
For Natascha Polderman of the international law firm Schillings, the answer was not yet…but soon. The reason behind that lag time is down to the particular business model Schillings uses.
“We’re a law firm and an advisory service specializing in privacy and reputational risk,” Natascha explained. “For those clients in the latter part we do collect a lot of data and right now we are in the process of a two-and-a-half-year digital transformation. We’re still yet to achieve ROI, but cloud features heavily in that transformation program.”
When Natascha joined Schillings, she wanted the firm to be able to provide better services and insights to its customers. That meant focusing on the basics.
“We have spent time setting the scene at the foundational level, moving away from legacy infrastructure into a fully cloud-enabled environment. We’re now far more agile”.
Cloud ROI considerations
Over at the Africa-based Coca-Cola division where Jackie Mampana is based, his cloud strategies also includes skills investments.
“Investing in technology requires investing in skills to make the best use of that technology,” he said, to nodding heads from the rest of the roundtable. “It also means investing in your partners and colleagues across your supply chain. For example, we get a lot of our data from our bottling partners. If they don’t invest in their technologies, we won’t benefit from their insights. It’s a two-way street.”
Natascha agreed with the commentary on skills and data as key drivers of cloud ROI.
“In order for us to remain competitive we need to focus on data and we’ve spent a large proportion of our time ensuring that that process is as seamless as possible.
“Previously, our investigations on behalf of clients were manual on open source platforms, before inputting that on legacy infrastructure without visual tools. So, in addition to moving to the cloud we have also bought tools to consolidate different open sources, presenting them to the intelligence team in one view. We’re looking at visual tools and questioning what internal skills we need to do all that work.”
Natascha identified that although the wider teams had a lot of intelligence there were no core data analytic skills present, so has also been looking at upskilling and bringing in partners to plug that gap.
Data, data, everywhere
Interestingly, data played a significant role in this cloud conversation, perhaps because to enable ROI from cloud investments one needs to have the insights provided to make better decisions. Cloud is the enabler of that, not the genesis or the output.
Frank Moser of Wandisco illustrated this point with an interesting observation about the value of data in the now highly competitive car manufacturing industry.
“Germany is known for its automobile industry,” he said, “but there have been big changes in the last few years, namely Tesla and the pandemic. Traditional car manufacturers are struggling—but the one sweet spot is data.
“We’re working with a large automotive supplier worldwide who has a joint venture with many of the German car manufacturers, collecting their data at scale. They’re moving around 30 petabytes of data every two weeks. They then sell that data as a service back to those manufacturers and to insurers, and it’s interesting it is the only supplier to increase its revenue during the pandemic,” he concludes.
This roundtable was created in partnership with Wandisco.