Enterprises are increasingly investing in the cloud, and are relying more heavily on IT professionals that not only understand the technology, but also their business needs in utilizing cloud platforms.
Enterprise cloud enables business agility in the age of digital transformation, and its value is maximized when the interests of the business are holistically considered and applied. (See Cloud Skills: What’s Hot?)
Telco Transformation reached out to Level 3's Adam Saenger to get his perspective on enterprise cloud trends and how organizations can implement cloud applications to meet their business needs. Saenger is vice president of Global Product Developments and Management at Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT), and his role touches many aspects of enterprise cloud and network-architecture functionality.
In part one of this Q&A, which has been edited for length and clarity, Saenger delves into the drivers behind demand for enterprise cloud functions and technologies, and the types of skillsets employees need to excel in the cloud environment. In part two, Saenger will discuss the intersection of enterprise cloud virtualization with network automation, big data and artificial intelligence (AI).
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Telco Transformation: What enterprise cloud functions are you seeing most in demand right now?
Adam Saenger: It's been interesting. The cloud, if we look back and survey the landscape in 2016 and even prior to, was more of a development platform and an augmentation platform to augment capacity, and it was used for critical-to-success applications, but maybe not critical to the day-to-day because folks didn't want to relinquish that control.
As we sit here today, with the growth and adoption in hybrid IT... industries are getting more and more comfortable with their cloud applications as long as they have ready and performance-sensitive applications at their fingertips when they need it. And so we're seeing these applications or cloud environments popping up with closer proximity to their access points, to their need points, which shows that they're using those applications for more latent-sensitive use cases.
BC/DR (Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery) applications are still a very important driver of cloud consumption. That's probably at the top of the list. Content creation, manipulation, and distribution is another. We're seeing more and more institutions leveraging those resources because the cloud can scale at a very rapid pace. It lends itself well to those high-capacity services. And when I say capacity, that's both network as well as storage arrays.
TT: What factors -- such as geography, business size, verticals, etc. -- are drivers to or away from certain enterprise cloud functions or technologies?
AS: Companies and the industries in which they reside are all looking for their own use case, and the uses are a little different. The large healthcare companies are a lot further along than a lot of the remote offices or the remote clinics I should say because those that are maybe independently owned may not have the resources that the larger institutions have. To them, it's still a scary proposition, and so security is top of mind, and they still want to be able to touch, feel and experience what cloud means to them.
On the other hand, geographic proximity for a more latent-sensitive application that's hosted in the cloud would be more important maybe to a radiological side of the healthcare industry if they're passing imaging and doing both the reading of and responses to the healthcare records that are being passed.
TT: What skills are in demand right now for employees in today's enterprise cloud environments?
AS: Wow, that's a great question. You know, it's interesting, so I'll answer that in two ways.
I would say it's a balance of the technical and the business skillset. I'll take a couple slices of an organization. The CMO is being tasked with new and creative ways to drive revenue and care for their customers. The CIO is being tasked with more efficient utilization of their resources, and the COO is doing more with their current people to operate an organization. Each one of those people now has to have an understanding of the inter-workings of their data, their network, and their IT, along with their business, to bring those things together. If they are all tackled independently, they're going to be working against each other. If those three roles aren't aligned in those four instances, they'll be competing forces. So the skill that they have to have is to not only understand how they run that particular part of the business, but how they're doing it and how that impacts each of the other persons' role. Alignment of those functions and their overarching goals is critical.
Now the second way I'll answer that is this -- the skill of being able to not only recognize but adapt to change fast is critical. Gone are the days of, as an employee or a leader of any organization, being able to come into work and do business as you did the day before. The skill of being able to adapt, read and change, is critical. So I just defined the epitome of a business leader, but we all have to be business leaders in our own right.
—Joe Stanganelli, Contributing Writer, Telco Transformation