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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

Data Consolidation and Integration: Challenges and Solutions

Data is critical in order for an organization to make informed decisions. Both data consolidation and integration allow organizations to analyze all aspects of their business in order to make improvements. Data integration involves combining data, systems, and platforms to create a unified perspective of all data. The goal of data integration is to harmonize elements of important data sets and to create a process of data merging and data unification. This creates a seamless process that allows organizations to efficiently access data and share it across the business to improve their insights. In contrast, data consolidation is bringing data from multiple sources into one cohesive framework. The process involves combining data from various sources, locations and systems to reduce redundancy and increase efficiency. The purpose of data consolidation is to reduce data duplication and help to facilitate easier data access as well as management. Both data integration and consolidation involve combining data from multiple sources. However, the main difference is that data consolidation is combining data from different locations, while data integration focuses on centralizing data and reducing redundancy. There are many challenges and solutions that are related to both of these approaches that are outlined below.  Data Integration Challenges and Solutions Data integration is a concept that benefits businesses because it allows them to get a bigger picture of what is happening within the organization. Many key issues that companies face can be analyzed using data integration. For example, if your company is sending out a survey to its customers, but only half are completing the survey, you have data that will be able to pinpoint why this may be occurring through data integration. Data integration challenges are important to resolve because it allows organizations to improve the overall customer experience and journey while using the product or service. By combining data from multiple sources, businesses capture a real-time view of the overall performance of specific strategies.  Using Manual Data IntegrationTraditional manual data methods, such as spreadsheets and pivot tables can be useful for smaller businesses, but introduce various issues. This includes not being able to scale these methods as the organization grows, confusion about sharing data from different departments, and a large amount of time spent on data integration. The solution to this would be to use an automated data integration tool that collects data in real time and processes it when you need it.  Lack of Scalability As a business grows, it can be difficult for data integration tools to keep up in terms of scalability. This causes an issue for large businesses that want to keep up with large influxes of data efficiently. This can be solved by using a data integration tool that can be adaptable to changes within a business. Preparing for business expansion ahead of time can also be beneficial. For example, if you know your company will acquire another business, choose the strongest data points from those businesses and integrate them with your own ahead of time. Low quality dataIf the quality of data is low, integration tools will not be able to analyze it or put it to use when evaluating business strategies. A solution to this issue is implementing data quality management. Using data management tools helps to check that the data is free of errors. These tools can help businesses to understand the state of data, validate the data before it is loaded and also ensure that an organization is only using data that is usable and error free. Lack of PlanningBefore beginning data integration or using data integration tools, it is important for businesses to assess the current state of their goals. Organizations need to understand what exactly they are integrating and how this data can be useful. Many businesses do not understand the importance of data integration or the tools that are needed to help them to reach their specific goals. This challenge can be addressed by conducting research prior to integrating any tools and determining which ones are most beneficial to your industry.  Duplicated Data Duplicated data is an issue that 94% of businesses are suffering from and can result in an organization losing money and time. For instance, repetitive marketing campaigns or constantly contacting a customer when they already have been contacted are issues that many businesses face. Data duplication challenges the core purpose of data integration, which is to have a single customer view to help improve the overall buyer experience. A solution would be to use de-duplication tools and features that focus on the ability to merge data, perform quality checks, and recognize when information is either missing or has been duplicated.  Data Consolidation Challenges and SolutionsData consolidation is important because it helps to ensure that an organization uses high quality data to make informed decisions. This practice is rooted in transforming the data into a consistent format, allowing a business to have the opportunity to analyze the data and improve the quality of it prior to it being used. It also ensures that companies have an accurate data set from every source. Both data consolidation and integration are useful for any organization because they help to provide insight into multiple aspects of the business. Specifically, data consolidation allows companies to manipulate different points of data into insights that can help an organization improve its business. Limited ResourcesData consolidation can be lengthy and require an entire team to integrate the process. It can be difficult for organizations to dedicate a large amount of time or figure out how to best use resources. The best solution to this would be to create an extensive plan prior to data consolidation. This can include figuring out what individuals within a department or team are assigned to the task as well as determining constraints and strengths with regard to resources.  Data Security Data security can be a concern for businesses because of data centralization, meaning all the data is in one place. Though this provides many benefits in terms of organization and accessibility for an organization, it can present a security risk. Following up on the latest security measures and implementing firewalls can help to minimize these risks that are associated with security. Consulting with data security experts to address any potential threats prior to data consolidation can also minimize problems in the future. Data Latency When using a central source, data latency can be involved. An organization may not be viewing the most accurate representation of the data because it can take time to retrieve data from the original source and then transfer it to the central target. To solve any issues related to data latency, it is best to do frequent data transfers. This can be done by communicating a clear schedule to a designated team. Data Incompatibility Data that is generated from multiple sources is not often formatted correctly and can have issues when being used with ETL tools. Since all of this data is consolidated in a single location, it must be transformed all together to be used within analytics. A solution to this problem would be hand-coding the data in order to ensure that all data sets have consistent formatting. 

Categories:Data Analytics

A FAIR Approach to Generative AI: An Interview with Rackspace CTO Srini Koushik

Generative AI is taking the world by storm. Whether it sees it as an opportunity as a threat, every organization, in the tech world and beyond, is preparing in some way for the next phase of the generative AI boom. With speculation running wild, what most organizations need now is a clear-headed approach to using this technology effectively and sustainably. C2C partners Rackspace are providing just that. The Foundry for Generative AI by Rackspace is the company’s new suite of services that enables customers to implement AI with the right systems in place and the right values in mind. To learn more about this solution and what it can offer, C2C sat down with Rackspace CTO Srini Koushik for a long and wide-ranging discussion about the risks and the possibilities of “releasing AI into the wild.” Tell us about your background and your role at Rackspace. I’m Srini Koushik. I’ve been at Rackspace for about eighteen months. I’m the chief technology officer. I’ve got almost forty years in this industry. I got my start back in 1987 in India. When I did my master’s degree thesis, it was on artificial intelligence, and it was all in this area called “frames,” which was all about giving context to the AI you’re building. At that time, it was very rudimentary. ’87 was a long, long time ago, but when you fast-forward and see how these incremental developments have built on one another over the past 40 years, I feel as excited as a twenty-something entering this new age of AI. What is FAIR? Most people, if they’re in technology, have heard of Generative AI. One clear thing about generative AI is that it’s real and here to stay. If you go back and look at Rackspace’s 25-year history, we’ve been there whenever there’s been a technology shift where our customers needed help. At the start of the century, it was managed hosting when the web was taking off, and later the first public cloud with OpenStack when Cloud Computing emerged in 2009. We think Generative AI is such a massive opportunity that we must be here for our customers. We’ve been working with Generative AI for Rackspace’s internal applications since the start of 2023, and we feel we have compelling offerings that we are ready to bring to the market. FAIR is the global practice that we’ve set up to be able to co-create these solutions with our customers.A little bit about the name: we chose the word FAIR because it stands for Foundry for Generative AI by Rackspace, but what we liked about the name were a few things: number one, the word foundry. If you go back to the Industrial Revolution, the foundry was where you brought raw materials together with machinery and had skilled professionals create things that had value to customers. It’s precisely where we are right now. We have the materials, which is data; we have the machinery, the large language models, and skilled practitioners, our Rackers coming together to develop AI-powered solutions that are valuable to our customers.At this point, many Service companies in our industry have discussed the hundreds of use cases they’ve all identified. We have focused on converting those ideas into reality. So that’s what FAIR is. The other reason why we loved the name FAIR was that it’s a guiding principle for us to focus on the responsible and sustainable adoption of AI. This isn’t AI for AI’s sake, but it is about a responsible approach to AI that’s equitable to people, is secure, protects privacy and intellectual rights, and does so in a way that consumes the planet’s resources in such a way that we promote sustainability. What does it mean to use AI fairly and sustainably, and how does FAIR accomplish that? We decided to take many of our internal systems to Google Cloud three years ago. That was before my time, but when I got in, I was very pleased that that was the platform they picked. I’m certified as an architect on all three hyper scalers, but the first one I got certified on was Google Cloud. Google has been a leader with its stance on sustainability and its approach to open source, and these were the same core values that Rackspace was built on – so it was a great fit.The IT function within Rackspace reports to me, and so being on Google Cloud ourselves gave us an opportunity to be a pioneer with Generative AI. We’ve been a preview program for many of the products that Google has released, and it allows us to learn by doing and building solutions that help our business. We have had to learn how to build these solutions, select the appropriate large language model, tune the model, and secure and protect the privacy of data. As a mid-sized global organization, we also had to learn how to do these things frugally.People ask me about sustainability, and I don’t say it lightly, but I say, “The only green technology is the one you don’t use.” Anything that you use is going to consume electricity, consume resources. However, suppose you are very responsible about how you consume it and pay attention to that as a non-functional requirement of any solution you’re building. In that case, you’re going to end up reaping the benefits of that solution.Rackspace Intelligent Co-pilot for the Enterprise (ICE) is one of the first solutions we’re rolling out, and if we’re going to deploy Rackspace ICE, and we know what it looks like when we deploy it to twenty people, we know the best way for us to take it and deploy it to a thousand people across the globe. Where do you deploy the models, and in what Google Cloud regions? How do you tie it to clean energy? We’re not only producing the outcomes we’re looking for, but we’re also trying to make sustainability a business outcome, and that’s critical. What are some key use cases for FAIR? How can Google Cloud customers use it? How are Rackspace customers already using it? We started with these cross-domain use cases. We had two solutions that we started with. One is called RITA (Rackspace Intelligent Technology Assistant), and the other is Rackspace Intelligent Co-pilot for the Enterprise (Rackspace ICE). RITA is precisely what it sounds like. It’s an intelligent chatbot that uses intent-driven automation to automate and simplify the provisioning IT Services within Rackspace. Rackspace IT doesn’t have anyone answering the phones anymore. All the level-one support is done through automation, and then the second-level support goes to our engineers. It’s been very helpful because RITA automates the toil, freeing up our engineers to step in and become problem solvers. This is a case where AI is not replacing people but giving them an opportunity to move up in their careers. As Google Cloud continues to enhance its products, it opens up many new possibilities for us – for example, we can leverage language translation to make RITA multi-lingual, so Rackers across the globe can converse with her in their native language.The other use case, Rackspace ICE, is essentially what Google Cloud calls enterprise search. It’s, “How do you take these islands of information that sit within an enterprise and start connecting and correlating them, and expand access to this wealth of context-rich information through a friendly natural language interface so that you start to unlock solutions you didn’t even know existed?” “The emergence of Generative AI is not unlike the invention of the Gutenberg press.” The minute we start showing those capabilities, you start unlocking the possibilities in other places. I spent time with our chief legal officer yesterday, and he asked, “Can we go search our contracts? I’ve got to be able to do the same thing. I want our lawyers to focus on being lawyers and not spend the majority of their time looking for information that is relevant to what they are working on.” You can imagine that within any enterprise, so many of these areas are underinvested over the years, and they’ve grown up as silos: HR, finance, legal, and marketing. We can see Rackspace ICE solving these problems in all of these domains.Those two use cases are essential for making us more effective, every one of those applies to every customer I go to, and it goes to any customer we have. As we work with our customers, we can address challenges from a position of experience as we have dealt with challenges that our customers are likely to encounter in their journey – cloud platform setup, securing AI, Security controls and privacy controls, policies, guardrails, and governance.While Google Cloud has made the technology much easier, implementing it within an enterprise is much more involved. We’ve been advising companies on how to do that. Three months ago, we created a generative AI policy that governs the responsible use of AI within Rackspace. Now we’re applying the policy as we create these solutions, and we’re finding out that it was a good start, but we probably must continue adding more things. This is the learning process, so our customers can benefit from all our work in each of these domains. A new technology emerges every year. Why a foundry for generative AI? There’s a technology every six months these days, not even every year, but we think the emergence of Generative AI is not unlike the invention of the Gutenberg press. The invention of the Gutenberg press revolutionized the world by transforming the way ideas were communicated and knowledge was disseminated. With the movable type and mechanized printing, the press made books more accessible, accelerating the spread of information. This breakthrough democratized knowledge, fueling the Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment, ultimately shaping the course of human history. Just as the Gutenberg press disrupted the dissemination of knowledge, Generative AI is redefining how we create and interact with information. Like the press, Generative AI will reshape industries, foster new ideas, and democratize artistic expression, opening doors to a future limited only by our imagination.With FAIR, we cut through all the complexities of AI and aim to make working with Generative AI easy for our customers. FAIR does three things: ideate, incubate, and industrialize. In the ideation phase, we’re trying to determine how desirable AI is to your organization. How ready are you as an organization for the advent of AI? Do you have the right policies, governance, and guardrails? We start with the database of use cases and work with customers to determine: which use cases apply to them? Which one is the first one you need to work on? And does the customer have access to the data they need to get started?In the incubation phase, we move from establishing the desirability of AI to determining whether it’s feasible to implement the use case in the organization. You may want to do this, but if you don’t have all the data or if you don’t have the skills, you’re going to run into different constraints. Feasibility is all about trying to identify those constraints and figure out how you would overcome those constraints. At the end of this incubate phase, you have something that you can take to the board. You can demonstrate based on your data and get the buy-in of the board and the leadership to be able to drive this forward.The last step in our approach is the Industrialize phase, I call this phase “releasing AI into the wild.” In the Incubate phase, the solution was available to a handful of people. Still, if you want to release it to your entire organization, you need to build new processes and techniques to manage and govern AI to ensure the desired outcomes.We’re working with our customers to co-create that journey for them and do that iteratively, and Google Cloud has allowed us to do this with the innovative products they are releasing at a breakneck pace. I’m excited about it; I go to bed, and when I wake up, they’ve released something new, and those products open up different solutions that we can co-create with our customers. We’re thrilled to be a Google Cloud partner with generative AI and data, and as we move forward and get our customers through the incubation phase, you’ll see a flurry of customer testimonials from FAIR. Extra Credit:  

Categories:AI and Machine Learning

2023 C2C Member Pulse: Finding Connections and Value in Community

In March 2023, we fielded the C2C Member Pulse to observe trends, skill gaps, and challenges in Google Cloud and how our members use community to enrich their cloud experience. This infographic highlights a portion of the findings. Communities exist everywhere. Choosing the right one and getting value from participation can be confusing for members. For community professionals, keeping up engagement numbers is a struggle—every community experiences never-ending effects of the 90-9-1 rule of participation inequality. Overcoming the rule isn’t going to happen, but the inequality curve can be shaped by lowering the barrier to entry in ways members want to participate. The results from the 2023 Member Pulse help us better understand what else our members need and how we can prioritize the evolution of C2C’s online experience.We know our members' top priorities when it comes to Google Cloud, digital transformation efforts, and that respondents are gaining skills from a mixture of in-person events and online learning. Through our research findings, we also have gained valuable insights into the motivations and priorities of our members for participating in communities. To make members feel safe in their choice to spend their most precious resource—time—on us, we can look at all the factors in our control that impact community participation behavior. Which topics we feature and who we invite to the stage can all be adjusted accordingly. Joining Communities Networking emerges as the top driver for community engagement across all job roles. The desire to establish connections, build relationships, and expand professional networks is a common thread that unites our community members. The opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, share experiences, and foster collaborative endeavors holds immeasurable value.Almost equally important are training and educational opportunities. C2C members seek to enhance their skills, broaden their understanding, and stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field. By participating in third-party communities, they gain access to a wealth of knowledge, particularly from Google Cloud experts. These experts, known as Google Cloud Developer Experts, form a trusted and vetted global network. Their hands-on experience and working knowledge of Google Cloud products enable them to provide community members with invaluable best practices and insights.When it comes to choosing the platforms for community engagement, the landscape showcases diverse preferences. Platforms like LinkedIn foster active participation, providing a professional environment conducive to networking and knowledge sharing. In contrast, platforms such as Reddit and Facebook generate limited community building within our context. The inherent anonymity and casual nature of Reddit may not align with the professional networking objectives sought by our members. Education from the Stage Content and agenda topics, costs, and distance to event are the top three factors that impact respondents’ decision to attend events. Factors that impact decisions to attend events are consistent across event type attendance.Across various job roles, respondents express a strong desire to hear from product managers of the specific products they use, such as Google Cloud employees or technology implementation partners. This preference stems from the members' eagerness to gain firsthand insights and practical knowledge related to the technology they employ in their organizations' digital transformation endeavors. These product managers serve as a direct link to understanding and maximizing the potential of the tools and solutions driving their digital journeys. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) play a crucial role in the cloud technology industry. With the industry's growth and impact on our daily lives, it is vital to reflect the diversity of the communities it serves. DEI promotes equal opportunities, fosters innovation and creativity, and encourages diverse perspectives and ideas. Collaboration among people from different backgrounds and experiences leads to unique solutions, enhancing the quality of services and products. Inclusivity in the cloud technology industry fosters a productive and fulfilling work culture, where everyone feels valued and respected. Ultimately, DEI is critical to creating a more equitable and just society through the cloud technology industry.We asked respondents to rate their perception of DEI in the technology industry overall and within their own organizations. Every organization has their own DEI policies in place—or some not at all—but nothing spans the entire tech industry. Respondents rate DEI as much more favorable within their organizations than in the technology industry. Visualizing It All Take a look at how the community ranks the options they were given for participating in communities, who to connect with, and DEI perceptions. View image as a full-scale PDF here. Get the Most of Community As members of our community, your voices shape our initiatives. While we learned a lot about you collectively in this survey, we also want to meet your needs as an individual. Take a moment to update your profile today, and ensure you're receiving the most relevant and valuable content tailored specifically for your interests. Update Your Preferences

Categories:C2C NewsDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)InfographicResearch

2023 C2C Member Pulse: The Role of Google Cloud in Becoming Cloud-First

In March 2023, we fielded the C2C Member Pulse to observe trends, skill gaps, and challenges in Google Cloud and how our members use community to enrich their cloud experience. This infographic highlights a portion of the findings. As a valued member of the Google Cloud customer community, we understand that each of you is on a unique journey with Google Cloud. Some of you may be well-versed and advanced in your Google Cloud usage, some are exploring and building business cases, and others may be anywhere in the middle of that spectrum. We recognize that not all cloud investments are the same, considering the wide range of products and services offered by Google Cloud.We also understand that respondents’ overall level of investment in Google Cloud—whether their own choice or their company’s choice—changes to meet digital transformation needs. These findings shed light on the investments made, talent needs, and solution usage patterns within our community, which helps us prioritize how to grow our network, foster connections, and curate content in our community. Investments in Google Cloud The survey results indicate that the majority of respondents, regardless of organizational size, are making increased investments in Google Cloud. Overall, respondents are either maintaining or expanding their investments in Google Cloud. The primary reason for increased investments is the integration and consolidation of systems on the Google Cloud platform, closing in on a digital-native or cloud-first approach. On the other hand, some respondents have reported decreased investments due to transitioning to other cloud vendors, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure being the most commonly mentioned alternatives. It's worth noting that a percentage (21%) of respondents were unsure about the changes in their investment levels, possibly indicating limited involvement in the decision-making process. Google Cloud Talent As organizations increase their investments in Google Cloud, it becomes evident that there is a growing need for skilled Google Cloud talent. Interestingly, the most common way organizations find skilled talent is by having their permanent staff learn Google Cloud skills on the job. This was also consistent across all organization sizes—no matter how many people may be available to work on these products, they’ll all be learning as they go, emphasizing the ongoing learning and development required for effectively working with Google Cloud products. Solution Area Usage Among the technologies respondents use most, identity and security, as well as data cloud products, take the lead. This aligns with the challenges faced in data maintenance and integration, highlighting the significance of these solution areas.Although AI and ML are among the least currently used technologies, they are the top Google Cloud products that respondents are planning to use at their organizations. This reflects how AI will be increasingly sought-after in the future. AI-enabled software was also noted as a top technology that will be needed for future digital transformation efforts.Respondents are least aware of startup and SMB solutions from Google Cloud. More guidance may be needed to support this solution, as it is the solution most respondents have no plans to use (16%). That said, many more respondents who belong to organizations that have been active for less than one year are currently using Startup and SMB solutions (48%) with 87% awareness and 23% planning to use. Visualizing It All Take a look at how the community ranks the options they were given for Google Cloud investment levels, nurturing Google Cloud talent, and solution area usage. View image as a full-scale PDF here. Get the Most of Community As members of our community, your voices shape our initiatives. While we learned a lot about you collectively in this survey, we also want to meet your needs as an individual. Take a moment to update your profile today, and ensure you're receiving the most relevant and valuable content tailored specifically for your interests. Update Your Preferences

Categories:AI and Machine LearningIdentity and SecurityC2C NewsInfographicResearch

The Different Models and Benefits of Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is an environment where digital data is stored in logical pools. It allows users to save data in an off-site location that is accessed through the internet or a private connection. Cloud storage approaches help businesses to securely save data, and can be accessed through multiple locations to creates on-demand access through any device. Cloud storage can be used to archive data that requires access but is not always used frequently; an example of this could be financial records. A cloud storage system can also specialize in storing specific types of data, including photos, audio files, and text documents. The cloud storage environment has multiple models and benefits, which are described below.  Types of Cloud Storage  Public Cloud Storage A public cloud can be a popular option for businesses looking to store their data efficiently and quickly, because it can be accessed online by the user they provide access to. It is hosted by different providers, and is similar to tenants living in a big apartment building––the apartment building being the company, and the landlord being the service provider. Public cloud storage options are typically used for non-critical tasks, such as file sharing or application testing. This approach meets the collaborative needs of many organizations today, offering scalability and flexibility by helping businesses with management efforts. The cloud provider is responsible for managing the system. Public cloud storage offers scalable RAM, which creates flexible bandwidth and makes it easier for businesses to scale their storage needs. Public clouds also offer a pay-per-use model and can be used by different customers simultaneously, as this is a cost effective approach for many organizations. Private Cloud Storage This model operates by installing a data center and is privately hosted within a company’s own infrastructure. The approach offers an added layer of security and protection since all the services are only accessible to those in the organization. Private cloud storage is also scalable, with more customization and dedicated resources than public cloud storage, because it is single-tenant based. Through company firewalls and internal hosting, private cloud storage options ensure that data cannot be accessed by any third parties. Private cloud environments are especially helpful to industries that have strict compliance policies: companies in healthcare or within the government can feel more secure that their data is stored in a secure environment. Hybrid Cloud StorageA hybrid cloud option uses both cloud and on-premise resources, combining the qualities of a private and a public cloud. It is an integrated storage architecture and offers options that benefit businesses of all sizes and budgets. Businesses are offered the choice of how much data to store in which cloud setting. For example, they may need to use elements of a private cloud to store data that is confidential, while operating and still working within a public cloud for needs related to branding or marketing. The hybrid cloud storage model offers an organization the best of both worlds, and still has the scalable qualities that are described in both cloud storage options mentioned above.   Community Cloud Storage Community cloud infrastructure allows multiple organizations to share resources based on common operational requirements. The purpose of the community cloud storage option is to offer organizations a modified form of a private cloud, where the needs of different organizations are taken into consideration when constructing the architecture and solutions offered are specific to an industry. It is a shared platform of resources for different businesses to work on their own shared personal goals. This model can also be described as an integrated setup that combines the benefits of multiple clouds to address the needs of a particular industry. Each user of the cloud is allocated a fixed amount of data storage and bandwidth. The community cloud environment is a great solution for growing organizations in the healthcare, education, and legal sectors.  Benefits Security Cloud storage saves data on redundant servers. Meaning, if the data collapses or gets lost in one cloud, it will be managed by the other servers. The data is protected by firewalls and through password access or authorization. Many cloud storage platforms also implement multifactor identification upon login. These programs verify a user more than once prior to giving them access to any data that may be confidential. An example of this would be verifying the user through multiple devices and syncing their phone number to their email address to confirm their identity. Additionally, there are also many customization options for added layers of security when working with cloud storage depending on the goals of a business. Scalability With cloud storage, users are able to scale their storage based on the needs of the organization. If users are no longer accessing certain pieces of data, but a business has a large amount of storage, the amount of storage can be scaled down. In contrast, if more storage is required, there can also be updates made to accommodate this requirement. Additional space that is provided in the environment will have the same capabilities, so there is no need to migrate any data from one place to another. Accessibility Files are accessible from any device with an internet connection. For those in a remote work environment, there is no need to be on a work laptop to gain access to a specific file as it can all be accessed through the cloud. Cloud storage also offers the option of remote workers to share files with one another in real time. Cost- Effective Cloud storage is an affordable approach for organizations, because providers can distribute the costs of their infrastructure and services across many businesses. There is no requirement to purchase separate servers or any other associated network technology. The cost is also dependent on business needs. Therefore, organizations do not need to pay for storage that they aren’t using. Cloud storage approaches also take away the requirement of purchasing hard disks, electricity, and hardware warranty services. Cloud storage environments are equipped with monitoring options and reduce the need for extensive capacity approaches. Data Redundancy Cloud storage provides in-built capabilities that handle data repetition or redundancy. Cloud storage environments have multiple copies of data, which will allow organizations to prevent concerns of data loss. Users can also utilize geographic replication options, which help to make multiple copies of data across regions. This also helps with disaster recovery when data is lost as various copies are stored within the cloud.

Categories:Storage and Data Transfer

2023 C2C Member Pulse: Transformation and Upskilling for New Tech

In March 2023, we fielded the C2C Member Pulse to observe trends, skill gaps, and challenges in Google Cloud and how our members use community to enrich their cloud experience. This infographic highlights a portion of the findings. Whether someone’s role is in business or IT, there’s no denying the organizational impact of constantly evolving and emerging technologies in the cloud and beyond. As the Google Cloud customer community, we want to ensure we’re matching our members’ needs in upskilling and staying on top of the latest in cloud.Organizations are feeling the pressure to either cultivate internal skills to manage new products or risk falling behind their competitors. At the same time, employees are running their own skills-boost race against the demands of their employers for incredibly complicated areas of study. That's why we conducted a comprehensive survey to uncover invaluable insights about the tools driving transformation, the skill gaps organizations encounter, and the avenues individuals and companies pursue to expand their knowledge. Digital Transformation with New Tech Consistent with top focus areas, cloud infrastructure, data analytics and dashboards, and AI-embedded software are the top technologies respondents expect to impact their digital transformation efforts in the next two years. This mix of technologies appeal to cloud practitioners as well as those in roles with less technical acumen and are fairly consistent across industries. More emerging forms of technology, like IoT, blockchain, and AR and VR are all noted as a potential impact by less than 30% of respondents.Interestingly, preparing for AI and ML is currently perceived as the lowest digital priority, with only 37% of organizations currently utilizing AI and ML tools from Google Cloud. However, it's worth noting that these tools are projected to become the number one choice for future adoption. As these technologies are relatively new, bridging the skill gap in training and deploying models is a crucial area of focus, with 41% of companies lacking in-house talent.On the other hand, AI-enabled software is incredibly popular, being used at 56% of organizations. Organizations clearly see the benefits of AI, infusing their workforce with smart tools like virtual assistants or other line-of-business tools. Rather than immediately venturing into building their own AI and ML products and services, they’re opting for empowering their employees with readily available solutions. Skills Organizations are Missing Among the internal skill sets that organizations find lacking, cloud security and data protection take the top spot, closely followed by the training and deployment of machine learning models and cloud architecture design and scalability. Because respondents expect cloud infrastructure to be the top technology to impact their digital transformation efforts in the next two years, we can expect these skills will be in even higher demand in the future. How Organizations and Individuals Acquire Skills When it comes to skill acquisition, Google Cloud training emerges as the preferred choice for organizations to enhance their expertise. That said, hiring—whether for permanent or temporary staff and either virtual or in-person consultants—is still a popular approach overall.How and where individuals acquire or improve skill sets aligns with organizations’ methods—Google Cloud training and certifications top the list. Notably, an equal number of respondents selected educational conferences and events, as well as massive open online courses (MOOCs), signaling that our community values both in-person events and online learning resources as valuable avenues for skill development. Visualizing It All Take a look at how the community ranks the options they were given for areas of focus, challenges, and who is responsible for making technology purchase decisions. View image as a full-scale PDF here. Get the Most of Community As members of our community, your voices shape our initiatives. While we learned a lot about you collectively in this survey, we also want to meet your needs as an individual. Take a moment to update your profile today, and ensure you're receiving the most relevant and valuable content tailored specifically for your interests.   Update Your Preferences 

Categories:Google Cloud StrategyC2C NewsGoogle Cloud CertificationsInfographicResearch

2023 C2C Member Pulse: Priorities and Challenges with Cloud Technology

In March 2023, we fielded the C2C Member Pulse to observe trends, skill gaps, and challenges in Google Cloud and how our members use community to enrich their cloud experience. This infographic highlights a portion of the findings. Understanding priorities and challenges faced by organizations using cloud technology is vital for optimizing C2C’s efforts in content programming. Hearing directly from our members helps us tackle the now and the here—it’s all specific to our community, not generalized based on tech hype in various news outlets.Plus, cloud topics are big. It's crucial that we cover topics that truly meet your needs. While we may already cover data and analytics, for example, if we overlook challenges related to master data and governance that you've highlighted, we miss a valuable opportunity to support you effectively. Areas of Focus Based on the survey results, it's clear that cloud management, data and business analytics, automation, security, and optimizing business processes are top priorities for members this year. The overall digitization and adoption of cloud solutions are significant areas of focus, while less technical and more topical or people-oriented areas like sustainability, training, and supporting remote workforces are of lesser priority but still on the radar for some respondents.Respondents not focused on sustainability expect to be in the next 2 to 5 years. Unless sustainability is embedded in the organization respondents work for, this focus is being pushed further down the road. For example, sustainability is important for certain industries, most often as noted by respondents in the energy and travel industries. Organizational Challenges When welcoming new priorities, challenges are a given. Data-related issues—such as integration, master data maintenance, and governance—are the top challenges respondents’ organizations are currently experiencing. We can observe challenges aligning with focus on cloud management, data analytics, and automation. More than 30% also cite challenges with budget, internal skills to manage new products, gaining actionable insights from data analytics, and cybersecurity and data protection.  Influence Over Technology Purchases The survey also looked into the decision-making process for technology purchases. C-level executives most often hold the responsibility for these decisions, but in other cases, IT staff and buying committees play a significant role. It's worth noting that the size of the organization influences the decision-making approach, with smaller organizations relying more on C-level roles and larger organizations involving buying committees. Visualizing It All Take a look at how the community ranks the options they were given for areas of focus, challenges, and who is responsible for making technology purchase decisions. View image as a full-scale PDF here. Get the Most of Community As members of our community, your voices shape our initiatives. While we learned a lot about you collectively in this survey, we also want to meet your needs as an individual. Take a moment to update your profile today, and ensure you're receiving the most relevant and valuable content tailored specifically for your interests.   Update Your Preferences 

Categories:C2C NewsInfographicResearch

Key Takeaways from 2Gather Los Angeles: The Future is Now, Security and AI

Lytics, Wpromote, Google Cloud. 2Gather Los Angeles  June 6th 2023  Buzz Hays, Global Lead Entertainment Industry Solutions and Iman Ghanizada @iman, Global Head of Autonomic Security at Google Cloud opened the event by discussing that the purpose of AI is to improve what people are already doing. Whether they are writers or animators in a designated industry, AI aims to enhance the paintbrush for an artist. With trying to provide businesses with better tools, many questions surrounding security and data arose. One major question was regarding how to collect effective data that would result in projects using AI. A primary example that was discussed during the event was the entertainment industry. Many applications of AI within this industry need a sufficient amount of customer data to be developed. For the entertainment industry, identifying ad breaks and suggested content for streaming platforms are examples of AI use cases. Jascha Kaykas-Wolff from Lytics stated that mature organizations can adapt to data pipelines. Working across different departments makes the decision making process a lot easier, because it demonstrates how data is useful to certain parts of the organization. Paul Dumois , the CTO of Wpromote, also stated that businesses need to focus on specific problems to solve and retrieve data that will be helpful in providing solutions to these issues. Overall, the discussions between the panel and the audience highlighted that AI has many moving parts and trends. An organization should focus on a specific area and start with a singular project to learn about the challenges and dynamics of working with AI in real time. Additionally, analyzing the core metrics of a business and receiving top-down support can help to utilize resources when setting up projects or tasks associated with AI.   

Categories:AI and Machine LearningData AnalyticsIdentity and SecurityDatabases