Why is Having a Cloud, Data and Edge Strategy so Complex?

These technology leaders discussed their cloud, data and edge strategies and the complexities that surround them—and why they’re necessary.

Technology leaders’ cloud, data and edge strategies are more important than ever. The combination of these elements into a single, easily identifiable strategy has proved to be one of the challenges facing many executives as they seek to consolidate and simplify their cloud strategy, data collection points and interpretative analysis, and their shifting edges. Complexities therefore are expected. In order to stand out in the industry, companies need to continually revisit their strategies—and their relationships—in order to guarantee success.

The panellists of this Studio roundtable debate discuss why having a cloud, data and edge strategy is so complex.

With Peter Stojanovic moderating, the speakers of this roundtable include:

  • Nigel Williams, WW Storage Field CTO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise 
  • Andrei Adler, Head of Engineering and Data, Cancer Research UK 
  • Kshitij Kumar, CDO, OneFootball 
  • Maritza Curry, Head of Data, BNP Paribas Personal Finance SA 
  • Krishnamurthy Rajesh, Director - Information Technology (Global), GreyOrange



Application of the cloud 

Moderator Peter Stojanovic kicked off the debate by asking the speakers about the “right mix of choices” for their application of the cloud, and for their cloud strategy. 

“The challenge was to define some sort of strategy, to decide what should go where”, said Head of Engineering and Data, Cancer Research UK, Andrei Adler. He explained that when he began his role at Cancer Research three years ago, they had an “eclectic” mix of everything.

Fellow speaker Martiza Curry, Head of Data at BNP Paribas Personal Finance SA, was in agreement with Andrei. She believed that technology leaders deal with a lot of complexities in the IT environment. “I love that approach of looking at ‘what skills do we already have’ and what platform and technologies will align with that”, she said. 

Maritza later added that the “people component” is the key to cloud migration. In her view, technology leaders should find the stakeholders who are going to support them in making this decision.


Workloads, data and applications 

WW Storage Field CTO at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Nigel Williams, believes that an organisation’s workloads, data and applications should live as close to each other as possible. He emphasised that we need to look at the business priorities when trying to run things efficiently. 

“The other risk consideration that you have to think about is the level of disruption to your business”, said Maritza. She went through the risk factors to consider in the IT function and the protection of data. She added that applications need to be classified in terms of risk, as well as the level of disruption. 

Her advice is to start with applications that are easy to migrate. What technology leaders should be looking for is something with “high business value” and “low business risk”.

Much like Maritza’s argument, Krishnamurthy Rajesh, Director of Information Technology at GreyOrange, focused on business requirements. He argued that despite putting forward what could be perceived as one of the “best solutions”, that solution would need to fit around the organisation’s business requirements. 

Kshitij, is the CDO at OneFootball. He doesn’t believe an audit is the best way to go about taking care of business priorities. Instead, he divulged how he can solve technical problems and business priorities using lower costs.

KK gave an example from his previous roles at Farfetch and Zalando, discussing what went on during Black Friday. He explained that: “any retailer can do a month’s worth of business in one day”. In order to stay ahead of the competition, his organisations needed to move to the cloud and develop their cloud strategy. 

The idea of using a different approach apart from conducting an audit is something Maritza agreed with. “It’s a good approach to start with a use case that’s going to bring value to the business”, she said. 


Maximising your cloud strategy

Krishnamurthy believes the best way to maximise your benefits is through different subsets and becoming more agile. He suggested that rather than taking on one big chunk of work, technology executives should execute and oversee their projects step by step. 

“One needs to see the output, one needs to see the benefit it is bringing to the table”, he said. Krishnamurthy explained here that businesses have reservations when it comes to new and innovative ideas. However, once they see the output and end result of these ideas they are more likely to buy into it. 

Nigel’s take on this was: “When you look to show the benefit, you have to step away from the technology”. He believes that the benefit changes depending on who you are talking to within the organisation. Based on this, technology leaders should tailor the language they use to whoever they are conversing with. This would help “maximise the message” of what the impact will be on business outcomes.

When thinking cloud strategy, Andrei stated that anything to do with the cloud is only to serve his organisation’s objectives. “For us we’ve got strategic outcomes from how we engage with our audiences”, he said. This is in addition to their supporters and volunteers. 

Another aspect he mentioned was sustainability and how to better deliver the mission while spending as little as possible. He called these objectives their “strategic pillars”; outcomes that the organisation strives to achieve. 

This roundtable was recorded at The Studio and made in partnership with HPE. 

To find out more about The Studio, click here.

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