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BigQuery vs. Snowflake: Making the Right Choice for Your Data Warehousing Needs

Data Warehouse PlatformsBigQuery and Snowflake are data warehouse platforms. Both allow organizations to have access to an all-in-one platform that manages data analytics, data transfer, and virtual workloads. As technologies and business practices change, data extraction methods need to be able to keep up, to ensure there are no bottlenecks or errors throughout information management. By fully incorporating a data warehouse, organizations can have full control over product SKUs, customer information, and other forms of secure data with ensured future scalability. BigQueryAnnounced by Google in May 2010, BigQuery is a fully managed cloud-based data warehouse that has the ability to analyze petabytes of customer data at a scalable level. BigQuery acts as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) and uses a dialect of Structured Query Language (SQL) to support querying and overall data management. BigQurey was made available to the general public in November 2011. BigQuery FeaturesMachine LearningBigQuery has the capability to use GoogleSQL to create and execute machine learning models. Users can pair BigQuery ML functionality by using it in conjunction with one of the following platforms:Google Cloud BigQuery’s REST API Integrated Colab Enterprise notebooks in BigQuery The bq command-line tool Other external toolsData ManagementBigQuery allows for the manipulation of dashboard views, tables, and most other functions that allow user customization. Since data management is a more streamlined process, fewer tools are needed, ensuring a more simplified process. Google Storage data can be imported from most standard sources such as:JSON CSV ParquetQuery CapabilitiesBigQuery has the ability to run terabytes of queries in a matter of seconds. This data is expressed in a SQL dialect. The results are then returned in a JSON format. Typically, query results have a maximum reply length of up to 128 MB, but the reply length has the ability to support unlimited sizes when enabling the platform’s large query results.Integration With Google Apps ScriptWhen using BigQuery alongside Google Apps Script, users can make their Google Docs fully customizable without having to write any code. Flexible Access and Data-Sharing ControlsAccess to datasets and analytics in BigQuery can easily be shared with specific groups, locked off from others, or shared with anyone that an organization might desire. Cross-cloud Analytical CapabilitiesUsing BigQuery, dataata can easily be analyzed across any applicable platform for a complete analytical view. Systems can gather and digest data across platforms that include:Google Cloud Amazon Web Services Microsoft AzureIn-Memory analysis serviceBigQuery boasts a fully integrated business intelligence engine that allows users to view complex datasets and analyze them at a more granular level. Data can be imported into Data Studio and dissected with sub-second query response times and high concurrency.Flexible PricingFlexible pricing for BigQuery is available, and falls under two main structures: Compute Pricing - the cost associated with processing various query types, user-defined functions, scripts, and applicable data manipulation language (DML) and data definition language (DDL) statements. Storage Pricing - the cost associated with storing any data that organizations specifically load into BigQuery. SnowflakeSnowflake Inc. is a cloud computing–based data and analytics company founded in July 2012. Much like BigQuery, Snowflake offers a wide suite of cloud-based data storage and analytics services that allow organizations to manage data using cloud-based hardware and software. Snowflake has been running on Amazon S3 since 2014, on Microsoft Azure since 2018 and on the Google Cloud Platform since 2019. Snowflake FeaturesSupport for Both Standard and Extended SQL SupportSnowflake offers support for most Data Definition Language (DDL), as defined in SQL:1999 including: Databases (schemas, tables, etc.) Core data types SET operations CAST functionsSnowflake also supports parts of the SQL:2003 analytic extensions, including:Windowing functions Grouping setsSnowflake Information Schema can also be used for querying both historical warehouse data and object and account metadata.Customizable Tools and InterfacesSnowflake includes numerous tools for data management like Snowsight, which has the ability to oversee general management over all accounts and data queries. Virtual warehouses can be easily managed from anywhere, and even resized, suspended or dropped altogether. SnowSQL, on the other hand, serves as Snowflake’s Python-based command line client. Virtual warehouse management from the GUI or command line, including creating, resizing (with zero downtime), suspending, and dropping warehouses.Replication and Failover SupportDepending on regional restrictions, Snowflake allows for objects or data to be replicated between multiple Snowflake accounts within the same organization. Failover support can also be configured to ensure automated responses in the face of any emergency. Tailored Applications and Connectivity SolutionsSnowflake allows users to build applications that process data, but without the added hassle of moving data to the system that actually runs the app code. Snowflake includes APIs for the following:Java Python Scala Snowflake also provides a wide variety of client connectors and drivers, including:Python connector Spark connector Node.js, .NET and PHP PDO drivers JDBC and ODBC client driversData Import, Export and Sharing CapabilitiesSnowflake allows for bulk loading and unloading a variety of data sources, including XML, JSON, and Parquet formats. A command line client and web interface allow files to be loaded from either cloud storage or local sources.Snowflake also includes Snowpipe, which has the ability to load different types of data in micro-batches from either internal or external stages. BigQuery vs. Snowflake - Choosing a Data Warehouse SolutionSo how does an organization choose the right data warehouse solution? When deciding between BigQuery and Snowflake, the choice really comes down to preference and a complete understanding of the needs of the business. BigQuery works seamlessly throughout the Google Cloud Platform, whereas Snowflake makes more use of Amazon and Microsoft platforms. Both have flexible pricing options as well. That said, it’s important to note that pricing between the two platforms is not the same. Snowflake typically charges for query execution time. BigQuery, on the other hand, specifically charges based on data returned by queries. Organizations should therefore understand what the end goal is for using these platforms. When running complex queries within larger datasets, Snowflake may be a more cost-effective option, while BigQuery may be more cost-effective while running more simple queries on small datasets. Important Similarities Between BigQuery and SnowflakeReporting CapabilitiesBoth BigQuery and Snowflake offer unparalleled support in terms of reporting and dashboard views by allowing individual workloads to be isolated for more granular reporting. That said, neither platform includes the performance needed to support interactive or ad hoc queries at scale, which keeps both platforms from being ideal for operational and customer-facing use cases.One important difference to note is that while Snowflake does not support low latency streaming (below one-minute ingestion levels), BigQuery does. Data Quality and Privacy ProtectionsBoth BigQuery and Snowflake are scalable in terms of compliance with government laws and regulations, and include integrated privacy controls, data filters, and Demand Signal Repository (DSR) capabilities. These features ensure organizations always remain in line with ever-changing privacy policies and regulatory restrictions.  The Decision is YoursAt the end of the day, the argument of BigQuery vs. Snowflake comes down to preference, business needs, and what organizations already have set in place. While Snowflake supports more data types than BigQuery and provides encryption for all data at rest, BigQuery works seamlessly across all Google Cloud platforms and provides automatic encryption not only for data at rest, but for data in transit as well. “The data warehouse landscape is constantly evolving, and both BigQuery and Snowflake offer compelling options,” says Scott Sanders, CIO at Rackspace Technology. “We embrace a platform-agnostic approach. Our data experts can manage your chosen platform, whether BigQuery or Snowflake, with equal proficiency. Additionally, we offer consultancy services to help you stay ahead of the curve, explore emerging platforms, and optimize your data strategy for the future.”Of course, BigQuery and Snowflake are just two peaks of the data warehouse iceberg. To learn more about designing data warehouses within BigQuery or finding a solution tailored to your organization’s needs, visit the C2C community today.

Understanding Cloud ETL

What is Cloud ETL Digital data is constantly being moved between various pipelines for various purposes. Data engineers and IT specialists often use a method called ETL to securely and efficiently move this information to different places, such as data warehouses and centralized databases.  ETL stands for extract, transform and load, noting the three main parts of the overall process. When used to its full capabilities, ETL is helpful in taking disorganized data and making it easier for organizations to navigate and digest.  The ETL Process Data ExtractionThe first part of the process is extracting. This occurs when specified data (either structured or unstructured) is taken from a particular source such as: Websites Mobile applications SaaS platforms Analytics softwareOnce the data is retrieved, it is sent to a staging area to await data transformation.  Data TransformationAfter the data has been extracted and sent to the staging area, it can be transformed in preparation for loading into a new storage area. For example, the data may be a list of names, first followed by last, in a random order. During the transformation process, the data can be reorganized to last name followed by first and alphabetized for easier navigation, and data masking and aggregators are added. Data transformation (or cleaning) often consists of the following actions:Cleaning: finding any inconsistencies in the data and correcting them if possible Standardizing: formatting the data based on predetermined guidelines set by an organization to ensure the data displayed is ready for consumption Deduplication: identifying any duplicate data entries and removing any redundancies Verifying: identifying any data that doesn’t fit in with the data’s eventual uses and removing it Sorting: scanning and reorganizing all data based on the needs of the organization Data LoadingThe final part of the process involves actually transferring the reorganized data through pipelines to their final destination, usually data warehouses or data lakes. Data loading is typically performed in one of two ways:Incremental loading: loads only new or updated data points Full loading: fully loads all data Incremental Load vs Full LoadWhile incremental loading is more efficient and faster because only certain data points are updated, full loading allows all data to be reloaded if there’s an error, something that incremental loading does not allow.  Cloud ETL Tools While the ETL process can help organizations to effectively organize and transfer data in numerous ways, executing the process with only manpower can be complicated, leading to potential errors. ETL tools automate the entire process, reducing errors and speeding up transfers. Benefits of Cloud ETL ToolsOrganizations often have massive amounts of data that need to be moved to various places. ETL tools ensure that all pieces of data are securely transferred to all locations necessary with very little (if any) human interference.  Sometimes this means sending data not only to a data warehouse, but also to a cloud setting. ETL tools help to ensure no data is lost or duplicated when sending it to completely different destinations, and ensures that digesting data is as streamlined and accurate as possible.  Finally, cloud ETL tools typically include various forms of technical support, such as chats and forums, adding an additional layer of knowledge and help that organizations wouldn't have when transferring massive amounts of data in-house.  Types of Cloud ETL Tools Cloud ETL ToolsCloud ETL tools allow those in an organization (with proper access) to easily access and digest massive amounts of cloud-specific data from anywhere.  Batch ETL ToolsBatch ETL tools extract data from different sources, but do so in batches to limit the resources needed during extraction. This makes batch tools more cost-efficient than other tools. Hybrid ETL ToolsHybrid tools are used when organizations require a data transfer solution that is tailored to their specific goals and needs. Hybrid tools can take aspects from other toolsets to ensure total customization.  Real-Time ETL ToolsAlso known as streaming ETL tools, this solution allows for data extraction and transformation to be done in real time, giving businesses actionable data faster than other solutions. Custom ETL ToolsCustom tools often allow for the highest customization and usability. That said, this solution requires IT specialists to program most of the workflow with Python scripts. This makes the overall setup more time consuming and leaves more room for human error than other ETL tools.  On-Premise ETL ToolsOn-premise tools are typically best suited for older data transfer architecture. These on-premise workflows typically use data management protocols that aren’t quite up to date, making them perfect for on-premise tools.  Open-Source ETL ToolsWhen organizations don’t want to depend on third party solutions when securing and analyzing private data, they can use open-source ETL tools as the groundwork to further build their toolset, allowing for more customization and security.  Learn more about the benefits of ETL tools and processes from our community, or contact us today to learn more about partnering with C2C.  

Categories:Storage and Data Transfer

Peace of Mind: The Pillars of Cloud Security

As organizations continue to adopt new digital practices and transfer to more cloud-native strategies, digital security becomes increasingly important. Cloud migration can help businesses achieve maximum productivity, but the bigger digital landscape that it provides also means more opportunities for cyber attacks. What is Cloud Security?Cloud security is made up of a wide variety of procedures, technologies, policies, services, and controls that are designed to protect cloud-based applications and systems from various kinds of attacks.  There are three main categories of cloud security: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): any on-demand application software that is ready-to-use and cloud-hosted. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): back-end infrastructure that provides on-demand access to both physical and virtual servers for managing workloads and running cloud-based applications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): any on-demand access to a ready-to-use, cloud-hosted platform, primarily used for developing, running and maintaining various applications. The Shared Responsibility ModelSome organizations use a shared responsibility model for their cloud security. This model delineates security responsibilities between the customer and the provider to ensure more robust security and safer processes.  The shared responsibility model establishes the responsibilities and accountability that:Are always the provider’s Are always the customer’s Depend on the service model Cloud Security ChallengesBroader Area of AttackComplex cloud environments with dynamic workloads require tools that must work seamlessly across any applicable providers and at scale. Because of the cloud’s ever-evolving landscape, risks of Malware, Zero-Day, Account Takeover, and other attacks are always a concern. Privilege ManagementGranting user privileges to those outside an organization or to those who have not been properly trained can lead to malicious attacks, data deletion, and other security risks. This makes it more important than ever to keep privileges organized and grant them only to those in an organization who need them. Compliance and LegalWhile cloud providers are backed by accreditation programs, it is still the responsibility of customers to ensure that their processes are compliant with government regulations. Because of the dynamic landscape that comes with cloud computing, this can become complicated Security That EvolvesZero TrustFirst introduced in 2010, Zero Trust is a principle according to which a system does not automatically trust anyone or anything outside an organization’s network and requires verification and inspection. Users who have access are confined to using only the tools and applications that they require. Furthermore, Zero Trust requires developers to ensure that any web-facing applications have the proper security. Security Service Edge (SSE)Zero Trust is an important part of SSE, which provides secure access to the internet and an organization’s private applications, as well as SaaS and cloud applications. This allows for more streamlined and robust security while also making costs more predictable and reducing operational overhead.  The Pillars of Cloud SecurityTo ensure that there are no gaps in security between cloud-based applications and that security solutions can scale in a dynamic cloud environment, there are several best practices organizations should follow. Identity and Access Management (IAM)IAM helps to regulate access to tools and applications in cloud environments. This ensures that there are no users within the cloud who have access where they shouldn’t.Data Protection and EncryptionEncryption should be used for any and all transport layers, and all file shares should be secured. Good data storage practices should also be followed, such as terminating orphan resources and detecting and optimizing misconfigured buckets. Detection ControlsThe use of asset and configuration management systems and vulnerability scanners is beneficial for cloud security and offers a better view of the landscape, as well as any threats looming over the horizon. Anomaly detection algorithms also use AI to quickly detect unknown threats and determine the best course of action. Incident ResponseIncident response should be automated as much as possible. By automating responses to the most common threats and security breaches, IT teams can spend time working on more complex tasks that require human solutions. Learn more about cloud security from our community members today!

Categories:Cloud OperationsIdentity and Security

Bringing The Customer Community Together in Real Time at Google Cloud Next ‘23

Google Cloud Next, Google Cloud’s annual conference bringing customers, partners, and Googlers together to discuss and explore the latest cloud technology developments and Google product updates, is the biggest community event in the Google Cloud ecosystem. In 2023, for the first time, the C2C team appeared onsite to bring sponsoring partners and existing and prospective customers into the Google Cloud Customer Community in real time.For two and a half days, from August 29 to 31, C2C manned a booth right next to the conference’s main presentation space, greeting Google Cloud community members from all over the world. C2C’s Director of Communities, Alfons Muñoz (@Alfons), traveled to San Francisco from his home in Guadalajara, Mexico to host a live keynote watch party with Google teammates Kyle Murley (@kylemurley) and Chris Willis (@willisc7), and to spread the word about C2C’s online and face-to-face community programming.Alfons and Maureen BarahonaWhen Alfons arrived, he was most struck by the size of the event and the organization that went into it. “Next is a summit,” Alfons explains. “It’s where you meet everyone. Every partner. Every customer.” Besides the C2C booth, where Alfons spent most of his time, he saw booths hosted by Google partners large and small, including Accenture and Deloitte, a designated space for the Google Cloud Champions, home to the Google Developer Experts, and another space for the Google Cloud startups community, where he was able to meet longtime colleagues Louis Huynh (@louisphuynh) and Madison Jenkins (@MadisonJenkins).One of the most exciting parts of the experience for Alfons was meeting other guests who had traveled internationally to attend the conference. “We had conversations with companies from Germany, and also the Nordic countries,” he says. “I had a lot of visitors from Latin America, a lot of people from Chile, a lot of people from Brazil.”One of Alfons’ biggest initiatives as Director of Communities has been to launch the C2C Community in the LATAM region, where C2C has already hosted several in-person events in Portuguese. Alfons was happy to be able to talk about the LATAM community with attendees based in the region, including some state government officials from El Salvador, Honduras, and his home country of Mexico. “They were just getting into the cloud space, trying to do these public projects on the cloud, and they were sharing with me because we are in the same country.”In addition to making new connections, Alfons was able to connect face-to-face with colleagues with whom he has been in communication on the C2C platform for years. C2C’s community partners were all tabling onsite, and Alfons made a point of introducing himself to all of them, snapping photos to post on LinkedIn with representatives from Aiven, Splunk, DoiT, Deloitte, and Rackspace, as well as customer Optimizely and Google Developer Expert Maureen Barahona (@evilmona).Alfons and Hugo HuangAlfons also met Canonical/Ubuntu Product Manager Hugo Huang (@Hugo), an attendee at many of C2C’s online and face-to-face events, in person for the first time. After connecting with the team, Hugo agreed to join C2C’s 2Gather event in Boston as a speaker.After each full day of conference programming, partners hosted afterparties for attendees, but according to Alfons, they filled up so fast that hundreds of guests were stuck waiting to get in. Alfons was not surprised. While the focus of the content presented at the conference was technical, the main goal for most of the attendees was networking. Plenty of guests approached Alfons looking to connect with more customers and peers, and luckily he knew exactly what to tell them. “One person approached me on how to get more clients. ‘How can we use the community to get more clients?’” he remembers. “I said, well, use the community. Jump into the community. Talk with people. Interact with people.” Extra Credit:  

Categories:Google Cloud NewsC2C NewsGoogle Cloud Partners

The Human Side of Things: How Connecting in the C2C Community Helped Workspot and Wealthsimple Connect To Workers Around the World

Wealthsimple is an online investment management service based in Toronto, Canada. The company provides a range of financial services for investors, including custom portfolio development and regulated crypto trading, but it also provides a tax filing service open to all users. This means that every year come tax season, Wealthsimple does enough business to warrant hiring an entire cohort of remote workers.At the beginning of 2023, Wealthsimple was looking for a vendor. The company needed a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) partner to service about a hundred new staffers working on Windows systems. A team met with Google to source some candidates, and Google suggested C2C partner Workspot, a cloud-native VDI technology provider specializing in delivering virtual apps and desktops to end users.Wealthsimple initially considered three other vendors in addition to Workspot. Its main priority was logistics: shipping laptops to remote workers just for tax season, a contract that might last only a few months, could involve numerous headaches. Workspot’s modern VDI solution was a natural workaround. Wealthsimple was interested, but before committing, the team decided to attend the C2C Cloud Adoption Summit in Toronto, where the Workspot team would also be onsite. The experience made all the difference.“We’re all very personable people, so that really helped, meeting in person and getting that face-to-face connection, hanging out a little bit. That really sealed the deal for us from a human side of things,” says Wealthsimple Infrastructure Project Coordinator Jessica Boyle. “We decided that Workspot was going to be our solution, and we’ve been running with it ever since.”Workspot, meanwhile, had maintained a presence in Toronto for some time. “We make a joke about Rob [Scola, Director Sales, Workspot] (@Rscola) that he basically lives in Toronto because he’s literally always up there,” says Bogdan Petrescu (@bogdan.petrescu), Workspot Senior Director of Google Cloud Partnerships. After the two companies met at the Cloud Adoption Summit, when Workspot was returning for a 2Gather event in the Fall and looking for a customer to collaborate on a presentation, Wealthsimple was a natural choice. “Wealthsimple was one of a few customers that we were working with in Toronto, but probably the company that we were furthest along with and had built the best relationship with as a result of that facetime.” “That face-to-face connection really sealed the deal for us from a human side of things.” Wealthsimple and Workspot eventually joined C2C’s October 3 2Gather in Toronto to give a joint presentation on using Workspot's modern, cloud-native VDI solution for hybrid and remote work. Wealthsimple IT Specialist Bruno Ramos was initially very nervous about speaking onstage. “I was shaking,” he says. Having been connected with Workspot for the better part of the year, though, helped alleviate that tension. “It seemed like we were really good buddies, everyone on stage, really easy conversation, really easy talk…it felt like family.”The presentation also led to a huge influx of interest in Workspot’s product and the solution they had created for Wealthsimple. “At the end, I spoke to probably seventy people. So many questions that they had in terms of how Workspot is, why did we choose Workspot specifically, our use case, so many questions, and I know for a fact that other companies inquired about Workspot, and specifically they spoke to Rob,” Bruno says. Bogdan confirms this account: “Indeed, we had two or three companies reach out to us afterwards like, ‘Hey, we’d like to explore this and see if it matches what we’re looking into.’”The team attributes this success to two things: the tight-knit nature of the tech community in Toronto, and the community atmosphere of C2C’s events. “Everybody knows someone that knows someone, so we do talk a lot throughout several events,” Bruno says of the city. “There is a really tight community, and we do speak about everything that we do and then compare to other companies, what they do.”“The community piece really sticks out too in C2C,” Jessica adds. “It’s very comfortable, and you can really feel that sense of community with people. It’s not scary…some tech events are a little bit more daunting, and you don’t talk as much to other people, but C2C gives that environment where you’re comfortable to do that.” Extra Credit:  

Categories:Infrastructure

Creating Value Together: My Journey as Team Leader for the Google Cloud Customer Community in the DACH Region

As the Head of Partner Management at Parashift, responsible for overseeing our platform hosted on Google Cloud and leveraging various Google Cloud technologies as the foundation of our product, I coordinate all indirect sales activities and maintain a close working relationship with Google Cloud. Since joining C2C Global, the Google Cloud Customer Community, in December 2022, my experience as a Team Leader has been nothing short of remarkable. In this article, I'd like to share my journey and the role my collaboration with@Dimitris Petrakis and @ilias has played in shaping it.My role as Partner Manager at Parashift involves nurturing the strategic alliance between our organizations. I was first invited to a C2C event by our Google Partner Advantage Portal Manager. Parashift's reliance on Google Cloud infrastructure makes our interaction with the Google Cloud Customer Community vital as well as mutually beneficial.My weekly meetings with the C2C team are highly productive and incredibly pleasant. We are dedicated to generating value for the Google Cloud Community, and we achieve this by organizing events at least once a month, where Google Cloud customers come together to connect, and leading experts share their experiences and use cases with Google Cloud.The highlight of our journey was undoubtedly our participation in 2Gather: Zurich, an on-site event at the Google office in Zurich on February 9, 2023.This event provided us with the unique opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the Google Cloud Community and the dedicated employees of Google Cloud. What's remarkable is that even though this was a networking event, where the focus wasn't on selling products or services, the connections we made there have resulted in significant business opportunities for all involved. For example, after the event, a Google Cloud sales engineer reached out to me to discuss an opportunity to leverage the Parashift Platform in an ongoing digitization project with a leading hospital in Switzerland in the exploratory stages of migrating to Google Cloud. Other business opportunities with leading organizations and companies from all kinds of industries followed. “We left 2Gather: Zurich with insights and leads as well as a deep appreciation for the sense of unity and collaboration that the C2C event fostered.” During the event, we had the privilege of having my manager, Alain Veuve, Founder and CEO of Parashift AG, present as a featured speaker. His presentation on "Automating Document Processing with Parashift on Google Cloud" was pivotal, not just for our community but for Parashift AG as well. It elevated our visibility within the Google Cloud Community and drew attention from Google Cloud employees, including those in sales and project teams.The impact of Alain's presentation extended beyond the event itself. It led to engaging conversations with other potential clients, driven by the newfound visibility and trust established through our participation in the C2C event. These interactions have opened doors to potential collaborations and have solidified our commitment to further strengthening our partnership with Google Cloud.The remarkable aspect of events like these is that they transcend traditional business boundaries. They create an environment where professionals can come together, not to sell, but to learn, share, and connect. It's this open exchange of ideas and the building of relationships that often lead to the most fruitful business opportunities.This event was more than a one-time meeting; it was a catalyst for ongoing connections and collaborations. It was also a platform for learning from other industry leaders and hearing about their experiences, challenges, and solutions. It allowed for candid conversations that enriched us both professionally and personally. We left the event with insights and leads as well as a deep appreciation for the sense of unity and collaboration that the C2C event fostered. The power of networking lies in the relationships built, the knowledge shared, and the trust formed.Our journey continues, and we look forward to more exciting experiences and opportunities within the Google Cloud Community. As a team leader, I'm thrilled to see how these strengthened relationships will continue to flourish and create value for all involved. The lesson here is clear: in the world of business, the power of meaningful connections cannot be underestimated, and the C2C platform has proven to be a catalyst for these connections in the Google Cloud Community. Extra Credit:  

Categories:C2C Community Spotlight

Evolving Opportunity: The Four Pillars of Cloud-Native Architecture

As technology-based companies rapidly grow and evolve, applications and software can often be left in the dust due to limitations on what can or cannot be optimized. These outdated tools can be a hindrance and make the customer journey more difficult. That's why it’s imperative that businesses employ solutions that are scalable and customizable while also ensuring that applications can be updated in a streamlined process to meet customer demands. What is Cloud-Native Architecture? Cloud-native architecture allows businesses to develop applications and software that are easy to update and maintain in nearly any dynamic environment. By employing the four cornerstones of cloud-native architecture, organizations can develop and support applications and software more efficiently.While cloud-native and cloud-based applications share similar characteristics, there is one factor that separates them. Cloud-based applications take advantage of the cloud and can function within its infrastructure but will find limitations when interacting with some cloud features. Cloud-native applications, on the other hand, are fully optimized for the cloud and are adaptable within the cloud’s dynamic environment. C2C partner Aiven provides a platform that cloud-native organizations can use to manage their spend and host their resources with optimal efficiency at scale. According to Mike von Speyr, Aiven Director of Partner Sales, "With public spend on cloud infrastructure expected to rise over 20% this year, it is important to remove the complexity from your cloud operations if you want to be truly cloud-native - and that's where Aiven comes in. Our data platform can operate all the major open-source data tools, including those that aren't native to Google Cloud such as Apache Kafka, Apache Flink, OpenSearch, and Cassandra, all within a single control plane, with the same reliability guarantees. We also offer a 'bring your own cloud' service that allows you to have the power of the Aiven Platform directly in your own accounts and this has proven to yield reductions in TCO of over 30%." The Four Pillars of Cloud-Native ArchitectureFor a cloud-native strategy to work optimally, it should include four main components. Each of these pillars plays a part in ensuring that updates and development run smoothly with little error. This increases efficiency for organizations while ensuring continuous quality.  DevOpsSoftware projects usually consist of development teams that make changes and updates based on user feedback and operations teams, which resist change in an attempt to keep the software running smoothly and securely. This often leads to internal friction between teams and delays in product launches. DevOps is a process that focuses on optimizing the delivery and development of software by emphasizing communication between:Product management Software development Operations professionalsCommunication between these teams is made easier by automating and monitoring critical processes in the development cycle, including:Software integration Testing Deployment Infrastructure changesBy implementing DevOps in software development, organizations tend to see increases in code quality, testing accuracy, and predictability. Furthermore, an emphasis on automation ensures a decrease in human error from initial development to future updates.  MicroservicesMicroservices are small, autonomous, and independently deployable services that run in separate processes yet still continuously communicate with each other. Microservices interact with each other over HTTP-based RESTful APIs, an architecture used for reading, storing and deleting forms of data. Because they work separately from each other, microservices can be tailored to any given load demands and can be scaled independently. This makes it easier for organizations to optimize specific components or areas where needed without having to worry about disrupting other systems in the process. ContainersWhen looking for a reliable and flexible way of moving software between different computing environments (from PCs to the Cloud, for example), containers are the best bet. Containers allow for seamlessly migrating software between different isolated environments, making it easy to move data anywhere or reproduce specific conditions throughout development processes.  Continuous DeliveryTypically, traditional software development follows the waterfall approach, which sees updates released over long periods of time. Continuous delivery streamlines this process by ensuring updates can be delivered as rapidly as needed, sometimes several times within one day. Organizations see increases in development efficiency when using continuous delivery, as it is highly automated and allows for experimentation without the typical associated risks. Updates roll out faster, and human error is less of a concern.Dig deeper into cloud-native infrastructure by visiting our online community, or contact us today to learn about becoming a C2C partner!

Categories:DevOps and SRECloud OperationsGoogle Cloud Certifications

2Gather Chicago: Google Cloud Next ‘23 in Review

On October 10, hot on the heels of Google Cloud Next ‘23, customers, partners, and Googlers were invited to Google’s office in Chicago to recap critical takeaways from the event. This gathering allowed for a nuanced examination of the emerging technologies that had been discussed and gave partners and customers further ideas and implementations to build on.  A Special FocusCompared to Google Cloud Next ‘23, 2Gather was a smaller event that created a conversational atmosphere. While the event included the panels and fireside chats that attendees have come to expect, the more intimate setting encouraged more interaction and questions regarding some of the biggest news to come out of Next. This was especially true for those who were newer to events like Next. "This was a great opportunity to meet customers and get a recap of the San Francisco event I previously attended," said Kyle Wheat (@Kwheat17), a software engineer for CDW Amplified Education. "This was a great event as well because it felt like it had a more specific focus, and it was a little less overwhelming.” Google PanelAfter a brief welcome, the event started with a Google Panel moderated by Geoff Kramer, Head of Customer Engineering. Panel participants included:Eric Strader, Principal Architect, Google Fiona Egube-Waters, Cloud Customer Engineer, Google Rick Westrate, Principal Architect, Google Rikin Asher, Cloud Architect, GoogleThe panelists discussed the takeaways and announcements they found to be the most important coming out of Next ‘23, primarily surrounding the role that AI will play in organizations in the coming years and how AI can be used to take advantage of an organization's data.Panel members explained how there is a very low bar of entry to break into generative AI today. Because of this, there are still some “off-the-wall” solutions that organizations can find in its use, thereby increasing productivity across the board. For example, instead of writing endless painstaking lines of code, developers can point Google's LLM (PaLM 2) at databases. While AI is slowly being implemented by organizations across all spectrums, Google's Panel made one thing clear: it's here to stay. Every day AI makes data management easier (BitQuery and Salesforce even work together seamlessly now). In the next three to five years alone, AI is projected to help organizations increase their productivity by 20%.  Fireside Chat - LyticsAfter the panel, Google's Customer Engineer Manager Todd Sheetz (@tsheetz) sat down with Jascha Kaykas-Wolff (@kaykas), President of Lytics, to further discuss the relationship between AI and data management. Jascha stressed that the real acknowledgment for him coming out of Next ‘23 was the importance of thinking about how we structure and organize data and the critical importance of security when experimenting with AI. "In an age where predictive and generative AI technologies are transforming the very fabric of enterprise operations, it's imperative to underscore the significance of data security," Jascha said after the event. "As companies deploy these intelligent algorithms to forecast market trends, optimize supply chains, create content or even design new products, the data feeding into these systems is both voluminous and sensitive.” Jascha explained how business intelligence, proprietary algorithms, and customer data all represent an invaluable asset to an organization. "But it's a double-edged sword," he continued. “The very data that empowers us can be exploited if not rigorously safeguarded. So, when you're experimenting with predictive or generative AI, we must take a multi-layered approach to security."In today’s world, the security required to safeguard these assets goes far beyond encryption practices, though. According to Jascha, "it involves real-time monitoring, stringent access controls, regular security audits, and confidence that the hyperscaler you are working with can uphold your privacy posture. Failure to do so not only risks the integrity of the AI models but also jeopardizes the trust and compliance we have built with our stakeholders.” Customer Panel - Q&ATo round out the event, Geoff Kramer took the stage again to moderate a customer panel to focus on the customer journey. The panel included:Andy Goodfellow, CTO Zoro Gaganpreet Randhawa, Assistant VP, Enterprise Architecture, CNA Insurance Joel Vasallo (@jvasallo), Senior Director, TAG - The Aspen GroupThis panel was an excellent resource for other customers who are recently learning about Google Cloud and who want to know more about the capabilities they could use for their own organizations. More a community conversation than an informative panel, it gave attendees insight into wins and challenges that industries are facing when adopting AI for data management. There were two things that all panel members agreed on. First, any organization's data structure and management could always be better (especially when using AI). Second, it’s imperative when organizations are starting out (or restarting) their data management journeys to modernize and understand what they're building toward. Organizations should have a deep understanding of how data will be accessed, how it can be segmented, and which data is most important.  Fostering a CommunityThe conversations kept rolling after the customer panel during a happy hour, where customers and partners networked and discussed the ideas that were mentioned and expanded on during the panels. Whether during the Q&A or during the networking opportunities before and after the event, everyone got a chance to discuss their challenges, ideas, and solutions. With a focus on cultivating a community for both partners and customers, it’s crucial to ensure no one leaves an event with more questions than answers.When the audience can ask questions and network with panelists and other partners, it encourages idea generation around broader topics such as AI and BitQuery, two of the biggest topics of the night at this 2Gather event. "The main benefit to me is not only the opportunity to ask questions and engage with the panels,” Kyle explained, “there were also a lot of topics covered that we can go back and use in our own organization, like the BitQuery implementations.” 

Categories:AI and Machine LearningData AnalyticsSustainability

Two Sides of the Same Coin: Business Intelligence & Business Analytics

It seems like there isn't a day that goes by where new technologies are being introduced or sunsetted in an effort to keep up with the dynamic digital landscape. In an ever-evolving digital world, it's only natural that business practices and technologies evolve in tandem. Two such practices are always at the forefront of this conversation due to their importance to organizations’ digital presences: business analytics and business intelligence. Business Analytics & Business Intelligence: Understanding the DifferenceWhile both practices are vitally important to an organization's healthy digital presence, business analytics and business intelligence are somewhat different. Nevertheless, understanding how both processes work is paramount in developing a sound digital strategy. By harnessing the power of both business analytics and business intelligence as individual services, organizations can understand how powerful both are when used in collaboration. Business IntelligenceBusiness intelligence is often defined as the process that organizations use to generate relevant data reports that can be used to further develop strategy. Business intelligence systems usually consist of four main parts.Data WarehouseThis is where all important company data (from both external and internal sources) is stored. These locations often prioritize the safety of all stored data while remaining easily accessible to applicable employees. Business Performance Management (BPM) ImplementationsBPM tools are vital in benchmarking any progress made towards an organization's goals. These tools often present this data on dashboards where viewers can easily digest the given data. The User DashboardThis is where most eyes will be glued. These dashboards display all relevant information with regard to an organization's goals and often feature data reports and easily digestible scorecards. Better yet, they are often completely customizable so that the most important data is always a click away. Business Analytics or Data Management ImplementationsBusiness analytics (or data management) tools crawl and flag information throughout the data warehouse. That data can then be used by organizations to identify areas of opportunity or those that need further optimization. Business AnalyticsNow we can begin to see how business analytics works best as one part of the entire makeup of business intelligence practices. Essentially, business analytics takes the data found using business intelligence practices and turns it into actionable insights that organizations can use to meet goals. There are four recognizable facets of business analytics. While each can be used individually to gather valuable data, organizations tend to use each in some capacity to get a more complete picture of their data across the board. Descriptive Analytics - "What Happened"Dashboards and scorecards that present an organization's most important data are usually made up of descriptive analytics. This allows any viewer to get a better understanding of any anomalies that are occurring or have occurred. Diagnostic Analytics - "Why it Happened"Diagnostic analytics help organizations to understand why something has happened or will happen. Drill-down data is used to find historical correlations. By looking at this data as a whole, diagnostic analytics can identify repeating patterns of historical behavior, allowing organizations to focus on areas of optimization or better prepare for the future. Predictive Analytics - "What Will Happen Next"Predictive analytics are used every day in countless industries and offer organizations a prediction of events that are likely to happen. This powerful practice helps retailers to understand future consumer spending habits, allows medical organizations to pre-determine patient illnesses, and can even be used to help determine the outcome of court cases. Prescriptive Analytics - "What Should We Do Next"If all other forms of business intelligence are about the “what's” and “why's” of data anomalies, prescriptive analytics are all about taking action. This practice leverages optimization opportunities and decision modeling to help determine the best actions to take for the best possible outcome. Analytics in Action - Quantum MetricBased out of Colorado Springs, Quantum Metric began with the singular goal of improving how organizations use their data. Using a groundbreaking process called Continuous Product Design, they aim to help businesses understand their customers' needs and build digital products faster and better. By harnessing the power of accurate and detailed analytics practices, Quantum Metric has made a name for itself by helping organizations alleviate the frustration that can come with data unfamiliarity. After an organization understands the "how" and "why" of what they're seeing, Quantum Metric can take it to the next level by optimizing marketing campaigns and tracing the customer journey for an overall enhanced customer experience. Google Cloud and Quantum Metric are proud to have partnered together to deliver unparalleled cloud and technology support to strengthen customers in a diverse range of industries. In addition to its partnership with Google Cloud, Quantum Metric is also a partner to C2C Global. Visit our website today to learn more about becoming one of our partners.  

Categories:Data AnalyticsIdentity and Security

CarCast with Bruno Aziza: How To Create and Destroy Value with Generative AI

Hello C2C!When it comes Generative AI, Data really is your MOAT!  This week, we cover the latest in Generative AI research from the Boston Consulting Group (you might have read Matt Marshall's latest perspective on it here).  I also bring an "expert guest" to help use determine why Chief Data Officers are set up to fail.   Let's dive right in!How To Create and Destroy Value with Generative AI. According to Boston Consulting’s latest research, 90% of participants improved their performance when using generative AI for creative product innovation and in fact converged on a level of performance that was 40% higher than that of those working on the same task without Gen AI. HOWEVER, when participants used the technology for business problem solving, they performed 23% worse than those doing the task without GPT-4. Even participants who were warned about the possibility of wrong answers from the tool did not challenge its output. Bottom Line: Gen AI is a powerful LEVELER of performance BUT seems that people might mistrust the technology in areas where it can contribute massive value and to trust it too much in areas where the technology isn’t competent. How To Prioritize Generative AI use-cases: drawing from examples of great organizations (Wendy’s, Mayo Family Foundation, Walmart, Wayfair, Bloomberg…etc) and research from BCG, McKinsey and more, I unveil my “MT-CAC” acronym to select the right use-cases for Enterprise Gen AI applications. MT-CAC stands for Multi-Modal, Trusted, Current, Applied, Contextual.  In this LinkedIN Live, we also discuss why Data Quality is in fact your MOAT and how Generative AI execution is stuff between FOMO and FOMU right now. Are Data Leaders Set Up To Fail?!  A meager 20.6% of executives reported that a data culture had been established within their companies, down from the 28.3% of companies reporting having established a data culture back in 2019.  It doesn't seem we're making progress.  What's really happening?  My "special guest" explains!The CarCast also includes EXTRAS like: “The latest Cybersecurity MAP”,  “The future of Generative AI. In 15 charts” and a Marc Randolphism (Netflix co-founder) on what defines a company. What's your opinion on this week's topics? Leave your comment below and let's continue the conversationHave a great week!--Analytically yours,Bruno

Categories:AI and Machine Learning

C2C and Fulfilld Return to LinkedIn for a Live Stream with Uber

On October 9, 2023, C2C and Fulfilld are returning to LinkedIn for another live-streaming conversation about transforming digital businesses on Google Cloud. For this conversation, Fulfilld CTO and Co-Founder Michael Pytel (@mpytel) will be joined by Uber Engineer Ajay Thakur.Fulfilld is a Google digital native warehouse management orchestration platform incorporating Google Vertex AI. As a major disruptor in the warehouse management software space, Fulfilld is in contact with a range of enterprises who want to streamline their warehousing operations using tools like Fulfilld’s AI-powered spatial analysis functionality, custom digital assistant, and digital-twin. With Engineer Ajay Thakur’s help, Uber, the leading ridesharing and transportation network company, has recently integrated Google Cloud across its AI operations. Join us on October 9, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. EST on LinkedIn to share a special conversation between Michael and Ajay. No registration or unique link is required.C2C exists to bring companies of all sizes and across all industries together. That’s why we’re pleased to be partnering with Fulfilld, a major Google Cloud startup success story, for this series of conversations with Executive and C-Level representatives of enterprise Google Cloud customers. Join this event to experience this unique benefit of the Google Cloud customer community with us! Extra Credit:  

Categories:AI and Machine LearningC2C News

Turning Imagination into Reality: Catching Up with Trevor Marshall at Cloud Adoption Summit New York City

Trevor Marshall (@tmarshall), CTO of Current, first joined C2C in person at a 2Gather event in New York City as a guest of our partners at DoiT International. At that event, Trevor coined the unofficial Google Cloud marketing slogan “come for the credits, stay for the kubernetes,” and took home some ideas about C2C partner AMD’s compute instances. At the Cloud Adoption Summit in New York on September 12, 2023, Trevor returned for a customer panel and a fireside chat with DoiT Field Sales Manager Meryl Hayes (@merylhayes).After the event, we caught up with Trevor to see what he thought of AMD’s offerings, get his thoughts on the hysteria over generative AI, and look back on his past as a concert musician. Read on below for a short interview with Trevor, a full recording of his conversation with Meryl, and a fireside chat on security and compliance with Wayne White and Lawrence Chin (@LawrenceChin) of C2C partner Palo Alto Networks. At 2Gather: New York City, you spoke onstage with Michael Brzezinski from AMD. When we spoke afterward, you mentioned you had been considering the AMD-powered C2D compute instances for a proof of concept you were working on. Did you work with AMD on that at all? We tried spinning up some workloads. We have a very C2-heavy stack. Most of what we do is throughput-based. We’re not keeping stake in a lot of processes, so a lot of the compute optimization chips that we’re using are the best thing for what we’re looking for, and that’s most likely going to be the case going forward. Because it’s the C2 family, we get the benefit of any other underlying actual physical substrate coming through. and the benefit of those improvements. We’ll probably stick with that family over the next couple of years in case something else emerges. Did you see or hear anything at this event that applied to your work in a similar way? We’ve been PCI compliant for a couple of years. We’re getting our SOC 2 attestation this year, so standardized control frameworks regarding regulatory oversight and technical oversight have been top of mind. There was a nice presentation from Palo Alto Networks regarding some of what’s on the horizon when it comes to technical regulation, so it was good to see that. We’ll probably look at some of what they call harmonized frameworks, because there’s all sorts of ways of looking at basically the same technical control, and so we’ve taken that approach in the past and we’ll probably just revisit that. Especially now that we’re attesting to multiple certifications. That was cool to see and get more information about. At 2Gather: NYC, you mentioned the tendency of some coders to get carried away experimenting with a new “sweet tool.” Do you have any thoughts about how to manage that tendency when it comes to generative AI? I think that there’s quite a lot of moral hazard that’s emerging. It’s so easy to now get auto-generated code through Copilot or through other products that are emerging. No doubt, if you are an efficient developer, you can leverage that type of technology to become more efficient, produce more code, and things like that, but it’s going to lead pretty quickly to an abstraction and a disconnect away from the actual business logic itself, where something goes wrong in production, you don’t really know what’s happening, and you’re probably going to produce less efficient code.Now, maybe some of these autosuggestions get so much better than the human that eventually they take care of it, but you always end up––and this is the nature of our systems––when we think about ourselves as engineers, we don’t really hold ourselves to the same high standards that a mechanical engineer would where the tolerance is zero percent for failure. Software engineering has always had this built-in, “hey. some things are going to go wrong, but we’ll have incident response and we’ll make sure that we’re operating as correctly as possible.” Especially for a company like us, where we’re in financial services, reliability is super important for us. As these gen-AI code production things come into production, and that “sweet-tooling” of, “oh, look at this sweet intelligent plug-in that now writes half my code,” I’d just keep an eye over the next couple of years on some postmortems that emerge from code that was not written by a human. I read that you used to be a musician. What was your instrument? I played orchestral percussion and I wrote music. Did anything from your music background carry over to what you do in technology? Two big things came for me from my music background. The first was discipline. I was very hardcore, conservative. I was at the Juilliard precollege. Every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., I’m doing music, and then every day besides that I’m practicing 5 hours a day. I wasn’t big into sports. I wasn’t that big into education at the time. Knowing what it took to be exceptional in a true meritocracy, which until very recently, especially in classical music, it’s still pretty much a complete meritocracy. There are some political navigations around that, but for the most part, you can’t fake being a great musician, because everyone ends up finding out in some way or another. Even if you look at the hyper-produced artist, what they have is beyond music, as in image. There’s an artistic integrity generally that’s really hard to fake, so that discipline was really important.The second thing was the creativity with writing music. Actually, a lot of the abstractions that would come up in writing music with metric modulation, those immediately had applications into algebra when I started studying math in college, which is the direction I took once I went to undergrad. It tickles the same part of the brain. So I think those were the two big things: the ability to imagine something and turn that into reality through creativity––you have to completely understand what you’re trying to produce when you’re writing music––and then the discipline of actually being able to produce it and get it to that place that you’re thinking of. DoiT and Current at Cloud Adoption Summit New York City:  Palo Alto Networks at Cloud Adoption Summit New York City:  Extra Credit:  

Categories:AI and Machine LearningComputeIdentity and Security

Announcing the 2023 Google Cloud Partner Awards

From August 29-31, Google Cloud hosted 1,500 people in San Francisco for Google Cloud Next ‘23. The event touched on several changes coming to Google Cloud that are sure to help businesses and organizations across the world, as well as noteworthy changes to AI platforms like Duet AI. The event was also home to the Google Cloud Partner Awards, presented to standout Google Cloud partners who have achieved significant success in a given field or technology. The partners listed below are this year’s winners in each award category.Global Partners of the Year With an already impressive history as an established leader in cloud consultancy and technical services, SADA has won the Global Partners of the Year award for the sixth year in a row. The company was awarded for its significant accomplishments in the Google Cloud ecosystem, including adding more than 566 new customers to its portfolio in 2022 alone. Another award in this category went to Deloitte in recognition of its positive impact on the private sector. From tax services and business consultation to mergers and acquisitions, Deloitte has carved out a space where its cloud-based services can be a powerful tool for its global customers. The momentum is noticeable, with the company reporting a record-breaking 14.9% growth in 2023 and a global workforce that just recently reached 457,000. Service Partners of the Year Deloitte - North America also picked up the award for Service Partner of the Year, presented to partners who continue to provide unparalleled Google Cloud services and solutions to customers. Deloitte continues to demonstrate a vast knowledge of Google Cloud and understands the right combination of cloud services to tailor to a client’s needs. Sales Partners of the Year (Regional Winners) Searce (Asia Pacific) and Devoteam (Europe, Middle East, Africa) both took home awards for Sales Partners of the Year in the regional category, which is awarded to partners who have seen remarkable success in building strong customer relationships, identifying customer needs, and selling Google Cloud products.A 15-year partner with Google Cloud, Searce Inc. has dedicated itself to ensuring that businesses across various industries are modernized and ready for the future of tech. Along with cloud modernization, Searce Inc. leverages AI, software engineering, and data intelligence to help businesses keep up in the ever-evolving modern world of technology, ensuring no one is left behind. Devoteam was named Sales Partner of the Year for the fourth year in a row, further proving the company’s commitment to understanding current technologies and the needs of its customers. Devoteam is working to change the technology we use for the better, with service offerings ranging from digital and cloud products for businesses to cybersecurity and even digital sustainability.  Sales Partners of the Year (Sub-Regional Winners) A multi-award-winning startup with exceptional cloud-based experience, DoiT added another award to its roster for sub-regional Sales Partner of the Year. DoiT offers the support of over 150 senior cloud architects who live and breathe cloud service technology. This dedication to learning and understanding the cloud has allowed DoiT to position itself as a top-performing sales partner.  Technology Partners of the Year The Technology Partners of the Year award is presented to partners who are able to think creatively about customer needs, allowing them to deliver innovative solutions to problems and ensuring customer satisfaction. Winners in this category included Gitlab, Quantum Metric, NetApp, Palo Alto Networks, and Dialpad. Gitlab won the award in the Application Development (DevOps) category for the third year in a row. Their work in tech development, security, and operations has paved the way for new customer solutions and applications, while continuously driving AI-powered features that place the utmost importance on privacy and security. Quantum Metric received the award in the Technology (Collaboration) category for its willingness to go above and beyond for customers. Quantum Metric strives to thoroughly understand its customers, and in doing so has created a process called Continuous Product Design that allows a high-level overview of a customer's data to show how it's being used and how it could be used more effectively to meet the needs of the customer. NetApp won two Technology Partner of the Year Awards, one for Infrastructure–Storage and the other for Infrastructure–Marketplace. NetApp is a pioneer in cloud storage solutions which allows customers to fully realize their data management strategies in a streamlined process. The solutions that NetApp offers allow for seamless integration and scalability, giving customers a new level of flexibility in day-to-day business operations. Palo Alto Networks also brought home several awards, winning in the categories of Marketplace Security ISV Partner, Security Infrastructure, and Security Configuration, Vulnerability Management & GRC. With an emphasis on helping organizations grow digitally through cybersecurity, Palo Alto Networks continually explores new ways to disrupt the cybersecurity industry with cutting-edge research and innovation. Dialpad took the award for the remaining category, Productivity and Collaboration. Known primarily as a digital communication tool for businesses, the company’s work with AI technology has not only allowed for easier software integrations across all platforms but has also helped customers find new and fast solutions to their needs. By placing an emphasis on optimizing conversational AI, Dialpad has solidified itself as a leader in upcoming AI technologies. Industry Solution Services Partners of the Year Industry Solution Service partners are those who have found new ways to create service solutions that have had a significant impact on one industry across regions. Deloitte received its award in the Generative AI category, having consistently demonstrated an ability to adapt to the continuous evolution of generative AI. Deloitte’s vigilance in staying ahead of these industry trends has allowed the company to provide fresh and effective customer solutions that yield strong results. Publicis Sapient won for the Sustainability category, which recognized the company's dedication to working with organizations to fulfill their sustainability commitments. Google and Publicis Sapient recently partnered with Renault on Plug Inn, a new initiative that aims to add 475,000 new electric charging stations in remote regions. Specialization Partners of the Year Searce, Devoteam, and Deloitte all picked up additional awards for Specialization Partners of the Year. This award is given to partners who have earned a specific Specialization and have gone on to excel in that area, resulting in significant success for their customers. With a specialization in location-based services, Searce works with customers to deliver real-time insights on location-based data. From automated routing and tracking services to actionable Google Maps data, Searce has proven to be an expert in location data technologies, earning it the Location-Based Services award. Devoteam is an expert in AI utilization for a variety of industries and continues to study new AI trends with workshops and hackathons to find new features and implementations. Devoteam then selects the most valuable use cases to push into production. This approach earned the company the Machine Learning Specialization award, and has had a positive impact on both customers and Devoteam itself, strengthening brand representation externally and team productivity internally.  Deloitte was recognized with a  Specialization in Security award. Cybersecurity is constantly evolving, and its best practices are always changing. Deloitte continues to evolve with these trends to ensure that it continues being recognized as a trusted cybersecurity partner offering unmatched security solutions to customers. Breakthrough Partner of the Year Aiven was awarded the Breakthrough Partner of the Year award, recognizing the company’s dedication to providing customers with the tools they need to fully harness the power of open-source technologies. By leaning into Aiven’s knowledge of managing cloud data infrastructure, customers have seen positive results on a global scale.  Interested in learning more about our partner program? Visit our partner page today. 

Categories:C2C NewsGoogle Cloud Partners

CarCast with Bruno Aziza: Decrypting the “Gen AI Mania”

Hello C2C!Generative AI is everywhere.  It’s in your apps, in your database, in your dashboards, on your phone. If you’re a tech and data leaders, you're probably wondering: "How am I supposed to take advantage of the Gen AI mania?".  This week, a "special guest" joins Bruno's CarCast to help decrypt the “GenAI Mania”.  The CarCast also covers some of the must-read resources from last week and the key ones to pay attention to for next week!  For instance:The Boston Consulting Group just released interesting data about where CIOs should focus their efforts with GenAI, what use cases they should pick to get started, and more importantly, how they should prioritize their work.  The answer is not a stack rank, it’s a quadrant.  AI in sales.  Did you know that 1 in 5 leaders is NOT getting value in their sales app?  Why is that?  Most likely because they are using AI at the WRONG time in their sales cycle. How is Generative AI impacting cybersecurity?! Ben Lorica's podcast features an approach for how to think about this emerging concern ("Inside the Mind of a Hacker").  A good resource to listen to ahead of key cyber events, Crowdstrike's Fal.Con and Mandiant mWise next week!The CarCast also includes EXTRAS like: “How to Explain Vector Databases to a 5-year old”,  “8 ways chief data officers can demonstrate value” and Why “GenerativeAI is just a phase”…What's your opinion on this week's topics? Leave your comment below and let's continue the conversationAnalytically yours,Bruno

Board Moods: Bronwyn Hastings, Corporate Vice President, Global ISV Partnerships and Channels, Google

From August 29-31, C2C will be onsite at Google Cloud Next ‘23 to meet face-to-face with the Google Cloud community and help our members connect with their peers and leaders in the cloud ecosystem. C2C is excited to take this opportunity to bring the C2C Board of Directors together in front of our broader network. For our members who will be joining us, as well as those of you who will be following along remotely, the Board Moods series is our effort to make our board members more accessible and available to the members they serve. In this installment of the series, we speak with Bronwyn Hastings, Corporate Vice President, Global ISV Partnerships and Channels, Google, about neurodiversity, regional diversity, and all things horsepower. Tell me about something important to you outside of your career in technology.I very much like to invest in younger people early in their careers. I don't call it mentoring, because I don't actually like that word. It's more to do with helping people understand early in their careers about not feeling like they have to be empowered. Soft skill development is as important as domain development. A role or a job description is just what's described versus how you make the job come to life. So really spending time with young or early-career people envisaging the potential of how they can build careers in different domains.I spend a lot of time on neurodistinction and neurodiversity, the reason being my daughter had a very serious brain injury as a young adult, and it was very eye-opening. The journeys that anyone goes through, whether it's autism, or unseen injuries. My daughter now is a veterinarian. We do things like run help for autistic children with horse therapy. So it's trying to give back to the community in a way that also supports the younger people coming up to learn to be in the world with these unseen disabilities that quite often are very hard for them, because people don't see them to have that disability.The third, fun thing is, I like anything with horsepower, whether it's horses, motorcycles, or cars. What do you think peer-to-peer professional communities can do to accommodate neurodiversity in their memberships?At Google, what we did was we brought on some neurodistinct people and allowed them to talk from their perspective about what helps them be really productive people in the working world. They talk about how to make the workplace available, how to play to people’s strengths.I'll give you one story: I was in a different company where we were doing neurodiversity, and I remember so distinctly this young man came up, and he was so excited. He was talking to me and the CEO at the time. He was so excited, because he delivered something so impeccably well, and on time. Think about that. Why would someone get so excited about that? Because he had the space to do his best work by having by people allowing him to have what he needed to be neurodistinct and actually use his strengths rather than look at his gaps.We are joining forces with a lot of the partnerships that we have, and we actually have formed a cohort that's focused on neurodiversity as a topic, and how we can bring common thinking to how neurodiversity can be supported in the workspace. Like, when people are being recruited, can you actually help them understand how to interview someone that is neurodiverse? You know, usually they won't get the interview process right in the same way. So how do you interview, and then when they're in the workplace, how do you allow for the neurodistinction? Some people might just need a quiet space. It's simple little things that can build up this neurodiverse inclusion process to make them feel like they're part of being able to contribute their best work.This neurodistinct person that I was describing for you, he's an advocate at Google. There's an actual role on neurodistinct advocacy, and he works with the cities on how to bring this into syllabi. There's so many things you can do. We just try to chunk it down into, “how do we partner with purpose to have neurodistinction as a core element of how we can actually work as a cross-company team to bring these things to a real live environment, using some actual neurodistinct people to give us the guidance?” Not us thinking that's what we need to do, but actually letting them have the voice to guide us.One of the business strategies you use is called Partnering with Purpose. Was Partnering with Purpose something that you personally developed? Did you bring it to Google?I was part of creating Partnering with Purpose at SAP. While what we’re doing at Google is different, the concept is similar. The concept was, two companies come together and are more purpose-driven in the core values of each company, and in what they do the business itself is always elevated and performs better. That was a concept at SAP, and Google has some underlying value systems with diversity, but also inclusion, and we took it a step further to say, suppose we break it up into buckets. One is the people side, and the other is sustainability, making sure you’re creating a world that is continually doing good. We've linked it to things like what we call a Jumpstart Program. Underrepresented children coming out of college get put into these programs that allow them to learn the skills that would be relevant. Some of our partners are contributing to that.In the Google context, we try to connect all of these things that are fundamental value systems to Google, and also bring partners into that, so it isn't an adjustment. It's something that I had been part of developing somewhere else and then took on board in Google to make it a priority for us as the way that we look at partnering as well, underpinning our relationships at the same time, not just business relationships but more purpose-driven relationships as businesses.You’ve worked in a number of different global regions. What was the arc of your career journey, and how did you end up where you are today?I’m originally South African. I went over to Australia, and in fact changed industries. I was actually an industrial chemist. I started from building a multi-route go-to-market business with some international companies that were coming into the APAC region. I started helping them build their presence. Logically, a lot of them started with some direct selling, but a lot of partnering. So that's where my domain and partnering strength came in, because APAC is such a partnering region.Through that, I ended up in Oracle for a number of years, and in my Oracle journey, I went from a country-based role to a regional-based role to a global role, but also did 65 acquisitions at the global level, which gave me the best grounding in how other companies run. After that, I moved into SAP, where I did actually go from the global role back to a regional role when my daughter had her brain injury. I needed to actually step back a little bit, and Oracle was wonderful. They gave me the opportunity to be able to do that and supported me in that journey. And when I went to SAP, something happened. I was in an APAC role. I went into Singapore and ran Asia-Pacific, ran greater China partnering and growth strategies.So, I lived in Hong Kong, and I have lived in the US twice on each coast. I spent a huge amount of time in Germany, and a lot of time in LATAM. So I'm very international in my thinking and understand how to bridge between global requirements and regional requirements. My personal thought process is, people in regional roles need to be able to bridge between the global strategy and the regional. It's always good business, but you have to have the nuance of how business is done on top of that, and be very cognizant of the cultural requirements. In my career, whenever something's in growth, in transformation, or in new areas of innovation, usually I would step into and help establish those high-growth areas. What are the regional requirements in APAC that C2C should be aware of as they're trying to build those connections? If you look at APAC, it is a very relationship-based environment. When we go in, usually we’re going in straight. Here's the business. Here's what we need to do. What's important to understand is the challenges they face in a region that is unique that have to be incorporated, and those challenges could be anywhere.If we talk about credit, we think about 30 days as standard. Going to China, 180 days is standard. How do you find those pieces that are so different, that you actually have to make part of the way you tell the story? How do you take care of the four to five things that are unique in China? I would represent the same baseline, but I add color. That makes it relatable for them. You've got to know the actual country norms, the norms of how business is done. And then find your connection to those country norms.Coming from another country anyway when I started in APAC, I was very conscious of not necessarily feeling comfortable that I knew how all the businesses ran. I knew the business economics and knew good business models, but I could see the distinction straight away between even South Africa and Australia. You realize there is a difference, and you have to actually acknowledge that, because if you don't, you think you’re saying the same thing, and you absolutely are not. So, it's not something that was automatic, but it was conscious. Because I was from another country. Extra Credit:  

Categories:C2C News

Board Moods: Daniel Stuart, CIO of Southwire

From August 29-31, C2C will be onsite at Google Cloud Next ‘23 to meet face-to-face with the Google Cloud community and help our members connect with their peers and leaders in the cloud ecosystem. C2C is excited to take this opportunity to bring the C2C Board of Directors together in front of our broader network. For our members who will be joining us, as well as those of you who will be following along remotely, the Board Moods series is our effort to make our board members more accessible and available to the members they serve. In this installment of the series, we speak with Dan Stuart, CIO of Southwire, about partnership, family, and bringing tech to underserved regions through community. Tell me about something important to you outside of your career in technology. An important part of my life outside of work and everything else I do is really my family. We try to spend a lot of time together due to the fact that I work a lot of hours, so when I have the time, it’s really all about the family. You’ve been at the CIO level for quite some time now. What were your early career experiences that helped you grow into that role? My experiences go back pretty far, so let me jog my memory a little bit. I started when they still had big computer rooms. I started my career at Sperry New Holland in New Holland, Pennsylvania, back in the early 80s. I’ve been very fortunate to work for a lot of great companies, but also through my career have moved into different positions going up the chain. I really think that has helped me in my career when I look back at it, going from way back when computer operators were a big thing to programmer, to project manager, director, right up to the VP level into the CIO levels. Having that complement of working in different roles within IT and working within different industries has been a big help in my career. You might look at my career and look at so many different industries and say, “Well, they’re pretty different form each other,” but there’s a lot of similarities in business when it comes right down to it, especially when it’s in the IT sector. Obviously manufacturing is where I’m at today. It’s kind of where I started my career, so it’s pretty nice to be back in a big manufacturing organization like Southwire. You’re also on the board of ASUG, our sister community. What unites these two communities, and what makes C2C a unique value prop? Obviously, being on the ASUG board, the SAP client members that we have at ASUG, there’s a good number of them that are Google customers as well. Google and SAP have a great partnership in a number of areas, so I think having that ASUG and C2C connection is really huge. What brings value both from ASUG and C2C is that networking. That networking between different organizations, whether they’re in your industry or outside your industry, is critically important for anyone at my level, because you can learn so much from different organizations. C2C brings a lot. That networking brings a lot. The awareness that C2C brings around what google is doing is very important for everyone. You’ve been a proponent of SAP for a long time. What makes you as an IT leader feel similarly invested in Google Cloud? We’ve been on Google Cloud since 2020, and talking with the Google team probably since 2019, and one of the things that really attracted us to Google Cloud for our SAP environment––and by the way, more than just our SAP environment now here at Southwire––has been the teamwork and the partnership we have bonded with Google. We’re leveraging Google not only through Google Cloud, but also for other things around AI. Obviously, Google is a big player in AI. They’ve been doing it for years, and so you look at the strengths of your partners, like what Google has in that AI space, and I think that’s something that I was leaning on a lot from the Southwire side. You’re a part of a White House project devoted to promoting technology jobs in rural America. How do you think customer communities can contribute to the growth of the tech sector in rural and less developed areas? Google plays a big role in delivering technology to communities that have not had it before. At the White House, I was there with one of our partners at the time, and it was really to promote rural development of technology in areas that were losing their workforce to one change in life or another. This is where organizations like Google I think are very strong, in helping out in certain geographical areas of the US. When we were at the White House we were looking at areas like West Virginia, Arizona, New Mexico, areas that you don’t probably think of as high tech areas, but they have the skill sets. They have the universities. Why aren’t more people investing in those area? That has changed a lot since I was at the White House, but with all the stuff Google has done over the last three to five plus years, I think they’re probably playing a bigger role in those areas than they ever have been before. In a community like C2C, what’s a lesson that IT business leaders today can take away from their conversations with their peers? What we leaned in on from the Southwire side was the partnership with an organization the size of Google, and the breadth and depth of what they have to offer. I can tell you that our journey had a lot to do with being able to be scalable, secure, and flexible to grow quickly, and all of that has come into play for us at Southwire, so I have to say my journey has been pretty successful with Google. Extra Credit:  

Categories:C2C News

Board Moods: Paul Novak, CIO of Community Health Systems

From August 29-31, C2C will be onsite at Google Cloud Next ‘23 to meet face-to-face with the Google Cloud community and help our members connect with their peers and leaders in the cloud ecosystem. C2C is excited to take this opportunity to bring the C2C Board of Directors together in front of our broader network. For our members who will be joining us, as well as those of you who will be following along remotely, the Board Moods series is our effort to make our board members more accessible and available to the members they serve. For the first installment in this series, we sat down with Paul Novak (@paul_novak), CIO of Community Health Systems, to discuss his journey from consulting to organizational leadership, the reputation and changing role of IT, and the importance of education and family. Tell me about something important to you outside of your career in technology. The thing that’s driven most of my decisions over the last twenty, twenty-five years has been family. I’ve been married to my wife now for almost thirty years. It’ll be thirty years in two years. I’ve got three kids, two boys who are twenty-four and twenty-two, and a girl who’s nineteen. I used to work for Accenture, that’s where I first started my career. In the age of consulting, and especially back in the nineties when I started, you were flying out Sunday night and flying back Friday evening, and so your ability to have those kinds of relationships outside of work was limited at least to the weekend. When I quit Accenture, mainly it was because of my ability to live my life and support my family as I thought was the right way to do that. For me, that’s always been a driving decision: what’s going to allow me to have the relationships with my wife and my kids, and do the things that I did growing up with my parents, and have that kind of life outside of work. In your own words, walk me through your background and your journey to where you are in your career today. When I started, it was Anderson consulting. I spent fourteen years there, and halfway through it moved over to Accenture. Other than the travel, I really enjoyed working at Accenture. I thought the people that I worked with were extraordinary. I got to go from project to project to project, and typically I was given significantly more experience than I probably had had in the past. That was the way it worked in consulting. As soon as you got comfortable in a role, they’d move you on to the next role, or the bigger role.I had started out in the SAP space so most of my career was spent doing ERP and SAP work and really helping to build that capability within Accenture. After fourteen years, I decided to go on to corporate. We were in Chicago at the time. We moved back to Minnesota, where I grew up, and I went to work for a company called Ecolab. They were starting up a brand new SAP implementation and needed someone who could help run their center of excellence and the program. That started my stint in the corporate world. I spent a couple years at A.O. Smith and spent a number of years at Target as a senior director. That was my first push into a non-ERP or a non-SAP space. I was supporting all of HR and legal and store security, so I had a number of different business units that I was supporting at the time, and that was the first time I started to get more into partnering with the business, working with the business. Up until then I was more on the technical side.I started my own company called Novacon Solutions out in Minnesota, and that was basically doing SAP consulting at a pretty high level. I did that for a number of years and was successful at that. I had a couple subcontractors that were working for me, and really had somewhat of a growing business. Then the kids were starting to get to that middle school range and we said a couple things: one, let’s get back into corporate, for a little bit more security as college is coming up, and two, we really want to move down South. My wife is from Indiana, I’m from Minnesota, and we got tired of the winters. I opened up my search and found a job with A.O. Smith out of Nashville. A.O. Smith’s a very large water heater manufacturer. They were just starting an SAP program and looking for someone to come in and be a vice president of their infrastructure and operations, as well as help run their SAP implementation.We moved the family down to Nashville. My son was starting high school and my kids were in the middle school, elementary range. I spent eight years at A.O. Smith helping to build and grow their company and really manage their entire environment. When I left, I took a job at Community Health Systems, back in 2020, in the middle of COVID. I started as their CTO, and after about a year the COO had left, and they offered me the CIO job. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last two years. How do you think C2C’s mission aligns with your guiding principles? Something that I’ve told my team since I started, both as the CTO and the CIO, is one person is never as smart as a group of individuals. There’s a reason why crowdsourcing of certain things has become so successful in social media, and that is: when you get a number of different brains together with different experiences, different ideas, things that have worked and not worked, you can tap into that experience, and you can actually get much farther much faster and be more successful. The things that I have told my team are: I want to rely on them to make decisions. I want to rely on the people that are actually down there doing the work at the ground level. They’re the ones that know the most about what’s actually happening at that level and can help influence and work the right decisions in the long run. I think you run into problems where you have someone who’s sitting at the top thinking that they know everything making those decisions, and I think that feeds right into this type of community.Being in the SAP space, I was at the forefront when ASUG started, and helping to build what that community was. When you had this growing community of SAP clients as SAP started to really take off in the nineties, there were a lot of questions. You had code documentation that was in German, and so you had no idea what was happening. Starting out, it was very immature in certain ways. By taking groups of people, pulling them together, and talking about issues, you found solutions, best practices. Pulling those people together really helped speed up the problem resolution, time to market, new ideas, innovation, all of those things that you want, that you say, “Oh, this is what a successful team looks like.” Pulling together that information is just as important as running your own team. When I got more involved in the Google space and I heard about this organization, that’s when I started to get excited again to be at the forefront of creating something that can really help a lot of different companies. What makes you as an IT decision-maker feel particularly invested in Google Cloud? In some ways it was the decision that was handed to me when I started. When I started as CTO, the company had already moved off of the Microsoft productivity suite and moved over to the G-suite, so we were already there. We had made our decision to go with Google Cloud for our enterprise data warehouse. When I came in as the CTO, I was the owner of those two spaces, so I said, “Well, if I’m going to own this space, I’m going to make the most of it and ensure that we can be successful,” not only with not as mature a public cloud environment as you’ve seen with AWS or Azure, but also taking what had traditionally been more of a retail or individual customer product and turning it into an enterprise product. Helping not only to be successful at CHS, but also to help build those products and make sure that they’re as successful as we are. You’re a member of several boards, including the board of Lipscomb University in Nashville. Do you see education as a part of your role as an IT decision-maker? I think so. I’ve seen so much when it comes to education. Typically when students are going into college, and especially when they’re going into computer science (my degree was in computer engineering), it’s a very academic view of the world. I felt that with all my years of experience both within consulting and within the industry or the corporate world, I was able to provide some insight, whether it was curriculum or being a mentor. They used to do things called office hours, where you’d go sit in an office, and so you had a vice president or a CIO of a company sitting in there if you wanted to ask some questions about things. Those types of things were very powerful and helped lead people in the right direction. They’re not only getting insight from their professors about specific educational topics. They’re also getting insight into how the world works. What do you hope to see happen in terms of IT and business transformation in the future? Transformation’s always been something that I’ve been a part of. Back in the consulting days, we were transforming every company we were going to. From a C2C perspective, there’s a couple things about transformation in terms of what we’re trying to do. We are trying to take advantage of cloud technology to be able to make better business decisions in a more efficient and effective manner. Taking advantage of Google’s data warehousing capabilities, not only can we present data and information in a way that’s easy to read, in a way that’s fast and responsive, but we can also scale up and scale down in a way that we never could have before. For instance, as we’re running financial reports, the vast majority of our financial data warehouse reporting is at month end, so our ability to ramp that up during a month-end process and then ramp back down gives us the ability to close our books faster and to make better decisions.There’s the ability to transform the way we’re making decisions and getting data out from a cloud perspective, as well as taking advantage of today’s technology to make data, presentation of data, and access to data easier to use, better to use. Making smarter data. Then you suddenly fold in all of the AI capabilities that you can take on top of that, so now not only are we giving people data, but we’re actually processing some of that data to help make better decisions. We’re making recommendations based on the data that we’re seeing. It goes from seeing data to seeing relevant information that’s going to help our business users be more effective on their end. To me, the IT transformation is doing things that more effectively to help the business. IT never has a great reputation, because the only time people talk about IT is when it’s not working. By presenting new tools, new capabilities, better availability, faster speed, suddenly you’re getting people looking at this and saying, “Hey, wow, this is actually good. This is helpful. We hadn’t seen this type of data, this type of presentation in the last fifteen years.” We’re getting a lot of these little wins based on some of the newer technologies that we’re putting in place, and to me that’s transformational just in terms of how IT is looked at, the morale of the team. We as a team get used to getting beat down quite a bit, and now suddenly we’re showing that we can present wins to the business. Register now for Google Cloud Next ‘23 on the official Google Cloud Next website.

Categories:C2C News

Introducing C2C Live on LinkedIn with Fulfilld and Cintas

Greetings C2C members! Today we’re excited to let you all know about a new content series C2C will be piloting later this Summer: a live interview series hosted on our LinkedIn account, featuring interviews with enterprise Google Cloud customers, hosted by Fulfilld’s CTO and Co-Founder Michael Pytel (@mpytel).  Fulfilld is a Google digital native warehouse management orchestration platform incorporating Google Vertex AI.  As a major disruptor in the warehouse management software space, Fulfilld is in contact with a range of enterprises who want to streamline their warehousing operations using tools like Fulfilld’s AI-powered spatial analysis functionality, custom digital assistant, and digital-twin. How this all happens, and how Google Cloud makes it all possible, is more than worth breaking down with an in-depth discussion.Join us on August 23, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. EST on LinkedIn to share a special conversation between Michael and Matt Hough, Cintas Vice President and Chief Information Officer. Cintas––a Fortune 500 leader––leverages Google as a strategic component within their complex landscape. C2C exists to bring companies of all sizes and across all industries together. That’s why we’re pleased to be partnering with Fulfilld, a major Google Cloud startup success story, for this series of conversations with Executive and C-Level representatives of enterprise Google Cloud customers. No registration or unique link is required; in fact, if you follow C2C on LinkedIn, you’ll get a notification as soon as the stream begins.In the meantime, take a look at some of our previous content featuring Fulfilld to get a preview of what you can expect:  

Categories:AI and Machine LearningApplication Development