Hervé Renault, Cloud Sales Chief, EMEA, VMware
We are entering a new era of strategic cloud adoption; one that’s inspiring greater collaboration and connectivity, and enabling business-critical and game-changing applications, innovations and experiences. It’s an exciting time, but also one fraught with complexity and challenges.
2020 also marked my tenth anniversary at VMware. When you’ve been in a business for that length of time sometimes you can be aware, but not fully comprehend, the volume of innovations to the solutions and services you deliver every year. We perhaps forget to reflect on, and consider, the great progress we’ve made, and the enormous strides technology has already taken to reshape business.
This innovation in cloud technology has pushed the boundaries of what’s possible, which is something I discuss with my guests in a new podcast series: Connected in the Clouds. I wanted to bring together VMware, our partners and customers – the technology innovator, the technology providers and integrators, and the businesses actually embracing the technology – to dive into the big business and IT issues enterprises are facing: how they’re using multi-cloud to manage and even embrace change, and what they’re doing to tackle the complexities, real or perceived, associated with deploying a multi-cloud strategy.
In our first two episodes, I spoke to Michael Schoeberl, CIO at OSRAM Continental, a firm shaping the future of automotive lighting, and Sanjeev Kamboj, Head of Sales & Pre-Sales, Applications & Multi Cloud Services at Fujitsu.
From a customer perspective, Michael brings a powerful voice as an enterprise looking to innovate, while navigating the intricacies of making the joint venture between OSRAM and Continental a success. He talks extensively about managing the expectations of employees leaving the environment of one firm, and bringing them into another where things are a bit different, by using a multi-cloud strategy to deliver a consistent, high-quality user experience across applications and clouds.
As he notes, such an endeavour appeared complex at first, and a lot of the initial feedback suggested employees wanted access to the same applications and services as before, which wasn’t feasible. And it could lead to a risk of shadow IT and workarounds from staff that were not fully engaged with the transition. “The difficult part is the human, the people part, that you need to convince them to go into a new set of processes and a new set of applications, and that you will first of all take away their comfort zone”, he explains to me.
Michael’s point absolutely highlights what we as technologists can sometimes overlook – that we are delivering solutions to make people’s lives better in the long run. It doesn’t matter whether that’s to make their jobs easier or their personal experiences more enjoyable; particularly in business settings, we always need to consider how people, and their behaviours, need to be put at the centre of any transformation.
A necessary focus is on navigating the internal resistance to cloud computing, about communicating the benefits and getting people on side, but being realistic about what’s going to happen. You can hear more insights from our conversation here.
In the second episode I talked to Sanjeev, whose role at Fujitsu is to help enterprises unlock the benefits of multi-cloud. While customers are always VMware’s focus, partners like Fujitsu are our sales force, so it’s critical that we maintain a healthy, constructive and honest relationship with them.
One of the valuable aspects of that connection, I always find, is the perspective partners provide – they can be closer to the customers, and also work with a wide range of them on interconnected but different projects. Sanjeev talks about the opportunities cloud is bringing to a diverse range of enterprises, which he distils down into three key pillars: the ability to accelerate the pace of change, to co-create on an industrial scale, and to introduce new skill sets, or a “scaler quality” as he calls it – the ability to scale quickly. This all leads him to surmise that the impact of cloud is often more than the sum of its parts. “It’s not just cloud as this nebulous thing”, he says. “It’s a complete ecosystem, all the way from the front-end business, all the way through to delivery all the way through to service. So [that means] pace, co-creation with partners, and scaler quality. And I think those three things are actually a real force for good, and actually increasing demand in goods and services.”
We also cover how the pandemic has altered customers’ approach to technology consumption and the procurement of services. Sanjeev has been talking to enterprises about ‘crisis-on-demand’, and how their plans have accelerated from two to three years to two to three months. His assessment of the pandemic was that it forced many enterprises to turn to IT to keep them operational: “[it] forced a lot of organisations, and it forced in many ways, through cost optimisation, the message that they need to survive”, he tells me. If you’re looking for a partner’s honest perspective on what enterprises need to do with multi-cloud to ensure they are future-ready, then have a listen.
In the next episodes in the series we dive into the world hyperscalers – the companies building cloud solutions themselves. From Microsoft’s Steffen Schlecht discussing the “two years of digitalization” we witnessed in mere months last year, to Sylvain Rouri at OVHcloud highlighting the complexities of migrating the most business critical applications to the cloud, we’ve some fantastic episodes on the horizon featuring:
- Aleksandar Francuz, EMEA Cloud Infrastructure Lead, IBM Public Cloud
- David Lim, Head of VMware Cloud on AWS: Public Sector – APJ, AWS
- Matt McNeill, Director of Solutions & Technology, Google Cloud, EMEA
- Steffen Schlecht, General Manager, Azure Application and Infrastructure, EMEA, Microsoft
- Sylvain Rouri, Chief Sales Officer, OVHcloud