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When organizations talk about the “cloud”, they aren’t referring to that white ball of fluff in the sky on a nice day. The term “cloud” refers to a network of servers made up of information, software, and applications. Cloud computing is defined as the delivery of all of these components over a network or internet connection. There are distinct cloud computing technology services and cloud deployment models, as well as many cloud computing benefits for businesses. Cloud Computing Services Internet as a Service (IaaS)IaaS, also known as “infrastructure as a service,” is where third-party cloud computing providers offer computing infrastructure, such as networks and storage hosted in a virtual environment, so that any user can have access to it. It is primarily owned by the service provider and is usually accessed on a pay-as-you-go basis, making it cost-efficient for organizations. Additionally, IaaS is an impactful approach for projects or work that is temporary and subject to drastic changes. An example would be a company testing a new product and wanting to stay within a flexible budget. Platform as a Service (PaaS)Platform as a service is defined as complete deployment of the cloud. This service relies on the cloud provider for tools and infrastructure, providing developers with an environment that is already highly supported when creating apps. This allows developers to better use their time as it reduces the amount of code that developers must write themselves. Overall, the cloud provider supplies the infrastructure, including the network, storage, and middleware, and the developers simply select the environments they want to build or test in. Software as a Service (SaaS)Software as a service is where users access application software through a web browser or desktop system. It is a licensed model, as the software is provided through a subscription basis and the cloud computing infrastructure is delivered to end users through an internet browser. Major advantages of this service include its affordability, due to the subscription process, and convenient maintenance, as the provider supports the environment. Cloud Computing Deployment Models Cloud computing deployment models define how a cloud platform is set up as well as which users have access to it. There are four main types. Public CloudThe public cloud model is the environment in which resources are owned by a cloud computing provider and can be accessed by multiple organizations. Users may differentiate in terms of data and applications that are being used. However, they are all accessing the infrastructure from the same provider. Public cloud offers users scalability, as the provider is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure and any updates associated with it. This allows companies to cut cloud computing costs, as they do not have to invest in an entire IT team to operate the cloud computing infrastructure. Private Cloud The private cloud is a deployment model whereby the infrastructure is dedicated to a specific user, making it a single tenant environment. Cloud computing is hosted privately within the organization’s individual data center and cannot be accessed by other users. This model provides an extra layer of cloud security by restricting access, and is created by virtualization technology. Cloud storage resources are combined from physical hardware into pools that can then be shared. A layer of hardware is then added that keeps it separate from any other user’s infrastructure, enhancing cloud computing security. Hybrid CloudA hybrid cloud model uses a combination of one private cloud and one public cloud by managing workloads through both environments. It is operated through hybrid cloud management tools, which assist in both environments, operating in sync depending on the needs of an organization. This is accomplished through a function called cloud bursting, where workloads that are normally hosted on site or within the private cloud are expanded by the public cloud to meet the dynamic needs of the user. Multicloud Multicloud environments allow an organization to use at least two providers for cloud computing. They can involve various combinations, such as two or more public and private clouds. Companies can then utilize multiple cloud computing providers based on business needs or their strategy with regard to cloud computing. A multicloud solution is rooted in being accessible across the cloud computing infrastructure. It combines multiple providers, including SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS to form the architecture. This cloud model provides high flexibility as users are not tied to one vendor and can select cloud-based services from various providers based on their goals. Advantages of Cloud Computing Solutions Flexibility Organizations can choose what type of cloud deployment model or approach works best for fluctuating needs and workloads, providing a strong sense of flexibility. Whether an organization requires extra bandwidth or cloud storage, they are able to scale their needs and work within their budget in regards to cloud computing. CostCompanies on the cloud do not have to invest in their own hardware or equipment, reducing their cloud computing costs and overall spending. The maintenance and upkeep are the responsibility of the provider, which saves an organization resources. In addition, businesses can use the pay-as-you-go model, allowing users to work with cloud computing within a budget. Data Security Cloud computing security features provide an extra layer of protection to stop breaches before they happen. There is often baseline protection for data, including authentication and encryption to secure information that is confidential within the cloud. This creates an environment where companies can work with confidential data and workloads. Scalability Scalability in cloud computing allows the user to increase or decrease their resources in order to adapt to shifting priorities. Certain needs, such as cloud data storage capacity, can be scaled through cloud computing infrastructure, which is beneficial when organizations experience sudden changes. Deployment SpeedCompanies are able to experience the benefits of cloud computing with just a few clicks. Fast cloud deployment reduces the time individuals and teams have to use to access resources, while simultaneously decreasing the amount of work that is required, such as maintaining or updating a database. Collaboration Cloud computing allows employees within a business to deliver and share corporate content at any time with any device, promoting a collaborative environment. For example, cloud computing tools support changes within data or documents. Users will automatically receive changes in real time, ensuring that employees have access to the most recently updated version. Cloud Computing In the Real World Workspot, an organization providing a SaaS platform that delivers Windows 10 Cloud PCs to devices, applies cloud computing technology to many of their daily operations. One cloud computing use case that delivers fast time-to-value and high ROI for the organization is end-user computing (EUC). Most enterprises are rethinking their end-user computing strategies and looking to the cloud to modernize. Key drivers for EUC modernization initiatives include:Hybrid and remote work is now mainstream. IT teams must be able to flexibly provide the right resources to end users, and then adapt quickly when requirements change. Persistent supply chain issues continue to limit access to new hardware, so reusing existing hardware and switching to low cost endpoints is important. Budget constraints in a tough economic environment require creative solutions and innovation. SaaS solutions are strong contenders for lowering IT costs. An ever-changing threat landscape is challenging IT and risk management teams to examine zero-trust security policy from every angle. What Does EUC Modernization Look Like In the Real World? Workspot CEO Amitabh Sinha says, “Leveraging Cloud PCs can provide organizations with the scalability and cost efficiencies they need to mitigate the major pain points their users face. Replacing a physical PC with a Cloud PC provides secure access from any device or browser while maintaining high performance, total security, and the best user experience. Cloud PCs also future-proof end-user computing, so organizations are ready for the next technology wave––and the next business upheaval. This is why we are seeing end-user computing modernization initiatives across industries.” Extra Credit:
C2C partner NetApp will be appearing at upcoming 2gather events in Sunnyvale, New York City, and Zurich in February of 2023, and also in Paris in March. Each event will feature a presentation focusing on a specific use case for Cloud Volumes, NetApp’s proprietary solution for data storage on Google Cloud. The events will offer unique opportunities to learn about the product and discuss its capabilities with peers onsite, but for those whose interest is already piqued who want to learn more about it, we sat down with Brian Wink, NetApp’s Director of Google Cloud Architects, to talk the basics of Cloud Volumes and what it can do for your business’s data. First, give us a little background on you, your role at NetApp, and what you do there. My name is Brian Wink. I’m currently the Director of our Google Cloud solution architects, which means anyone in the field that’s talking tech, designing systems, doing any of that type of work, those guys roll to me. I’ve been in data storage since 1997. I was employee number 302 with NetApp. I worked here for 13 years. I left for a decade, and I was doing another cloud-backed storage company, so always storage, but that was an entree into cloud and distribution, and then when NetApp really wanted to build our cloud business, a friend of mine said, “Hey you should look at this, consider coming back,” and I did, and I’m having a great time, a lot of fun. At our upcoming events in Sunnyvale, New York, and Zurich, representatives from NetApp will discuss specific use cases for NetApp’s Cloud Volumes. What is Cloud Volumes, and how does it work on Google Cloud? Cloud Volumes is simply a container that’s running in the cloud, and its job is to hold bits. NetApp is very famous for NAS, which stands for network-attached storage, and in that there’s two real ways to do storage. There’s what’s called file, and what’s called block. In order to store a file, you speak a protocol. Your workstation is saying to a network-attached device, “Here’s a file, it contains some bits, please store it for me.” When I want it back, I’m going to ask for that file by name. I now get to decide what’s the best way for me and my software, my hardware, and my environment to actually store it so that I can make sure it’s going to be there when you ask for it, you’re going to get it in the amount of time you want, and if god forbid some disaster happens, I can either mathematically recalculate it, or go fetch it from a secondary or third copy somewhere else.NetApp’s been doing that for thirty years on prem. Now we’re taking that thirty-year legacy and saying, “How do I present that to you in the cloud?” We have two ways of doing that. We can say, “Listen, I’ll give you the keys to the kingdom, you can run it as a software, you can turn all the knobs and dials.” This is what’s called our Cloud Volumes on tap, CVO (we love acronyms). You get to run our software in all of its glory. The other one is called Cloud Volume service, CVS. This is where NetApp and our SRE team is running it. We’re operationalizing it for you, we’re making sure it has the right security, we’re making sure all the settings are correct, and we’re offering it to you as a service, so it’s a quick and go. You say, “Hey, I want a volume, I want a container to store some files,” and in about three clicks, you get it. A lot of companies who are running cloud volumes are using it in conjunction with Google Cloud VMWare. How does VMware fit into that picture? Here’s the thing: Storage isn’t always the sexiest thing in the world, but if you think about it, everything we do is either producing or consuming data, and so you have to have good quick access to data. VMware is just an application. It’s going to produce or consume data. There are two key ways that VMs do that. One is called guest mode. You have your VMware, which looks like a machine to the operating system running on top of it, Linux or Windows, and then whatever you’re doing with that operating system, you’re mounting a volume. It looks just like any other volume that you would have if this wasn’t VMware. There’s nothing overly special that we have to do for that from a protocol or communications standpoint. It’s still very important to make sure that that data is quick and accessible and in the right region and durable and reconstructable, but we’re presenting it as a guest.The other way is to say, “How do we present it as a data store?” This is where we’re saying that VMware is using the operating system where it’s getting its actual brain from. It’s living on us. That’s called data store mode. We do both. VMware is a really critical use case for us. I think the big advantage there is we do have a tremendous amount of customers in a traditional sense that are running VMware on top of NetApp and on prem, and when those guys want to migrate to the cloud, because we’re also in the cloud, it is the true definition of a lift and shift. I’m going to take it from here and I’m going to run it from there, end of learning curve. Security is also not the sexiest topic in the world, but it’s still a topic everybody has to think about. What sets Cloud Volumes’ security capabilities apart from everyone else’s? There are multiple layers of security. First of all, there’s “How do I allow people into what they should see and keep them out from what they shouldn’t see.” That’s access control. We’re going to plug into all the major access control providers. AD is a big deal in Google these days. We’re going to make sure that all the permissions and properties––can you see it, can you view it, can you edit it, can you execute it––all that stuff is there. What’s important is, how are we actually storing that? Maybe I’m protecting everybody from coming in the front door, but what if I’ve got a back door or side door that people would just run through? This is where we do a couple of things. How are we storing the data? We’re not storing it in terms of files, we’re breaking it up and chunking it up and compressing it and deduplicating it and obfuscating it effectively in our format, but then when we actually lay it down to some kind of media that Google is hosting, we’re encrypting that as well.Everything’s encrypted both at rest and in flight, and this is part of the security model. We maintain that security posture from the moment we see the bits. We’ve been certified by every possible organization known to man. We’ve got plenty of federal customers that I’m sure somebody would come and kill me if I told you about. We’ve passed all those audits, and we’re applying that all the way to cloud. One thing we implemented for a large financial within the last year was what’s called CMAK: customer-managed encryption keys. They can have a separate repository just for the keys, so we don’t even see the key, and we’re querying that repository to get it. We support things like that as well. You just gave me a great one, but outside of security, what are some other ways that Cloud Volumes could be used for a FinServ organization? A lot of the FinServs are really big, and so you get a couple different things. They’re going to run some of their key apps on it, they’re going to do data mining and things like that, because we can now. We can expose it to their AI and ML engine of choice, whatever that might be. The other thing that we’ve seen them do a lot, and the example I use––I’m trying not to accidentally tell you the customer name––what they wanted to do is create their own internal marketplace, so their IT organization evaluated the product, and then they put it on their marketplace. Now anybody inside their organization who needs storage, they go to the portal and say, “I need storage. I need this much. It needs to be this fast.” Boom. It gets lit up, and they don’t have to go through that evaluation every single time, because they’ve already done it.Some of the other things that they value are our high availability options and the various things we offer there, again pulling on that thirty-year legacy. I bring that up often because it is very important. So many cloud companies just started last year, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve worked for startups before in the past, and I like that, but when you’re dealing with storage, there’s something to be said to say, “Listen, I know what I’m doing. We haven’t always been perfect, but we’ve had thirty years to figure out how to get to perfect, and we’re leveraging that every single day with our customers.” We’re a community of cloud users. NetApp is coming from this legacy history, but recently moved into the cloud space. What’s the value for you of getting in front of a room full of people who are all coming from cloud, not just to talk about Cloud Volumes, but to have an actual peer-to-peer conversation? It kind of goes back to what I said at the beginning: storage isn’t the most sexy thing. A lot of times it’s not thought of first, or even until the very end. Somebody goes out and designs a wonderful application that solves world peace, but if they haven’t considered how to properly use the storage, they could be compromised on any one of many things. It could be security like we’ve already talked about, it could be pricing, it could be performance, it could be efficiency. It’s like saying, “Hey I want to build the house, and then at the very end I want to pour the foundation.” No. You have to lay the foundation first, and know that the ground is compacted and you’ve got your sewer connections and all the various things that you need, and now you can build a really great house on top of it.How do I approach the problem? How do we allow you to identify what your data is, how you’re going to use it, to use it efficiently. I’ve had customers come to me and they’ve made decisions up front that don’t let us do certain things with the data, like maybe they want to encrypt their data in their application layer. They can do that, but maybe they’re making that decision because they want security of data at rest. If the application doesn’t encrypt it up front that allows us to do certain things with it. We can compress it, dedupe it, encrypt it, add that layer of efficiency to it, but also allow us to back it up and move it around efficiently. It’s all about that efficiency up front. Extra Credit: If you’d like to take part in a larger, in-person discussion about Cloud Volumes and its many capabilities, come to one of these upcoming 2Gather events:2Gather: Sunnyvale 2Gather: New York City 2Gather: Zurich 2Gather: Paris
Before Shalini Mayor (@smayor) brought her background in automation to leadership roles in the private sector, she “almost became an astronaut.” As a subcontractor to NASA’s Langley Research Center, Shalini worked on various coding and algorithm development projects. She may have moved on from NASA before experiencing space travel, but much of her work as a director of Enterprise Automation at Salesforce is not unlike observing Earth from a distance. “With the explosive growth that you’ve seen at Salesforce, it’s very easy to get disconnected,” she told the crowd at a C2C 2Gather event in Sunnyvale, California. “Everything runs as a little startup within itself…when I was brought in, my primary role was to bring some structure to this madness.”“Since then we’ve been scaling out,” she continued, “trying to figure out ‘where do we have the most repetitive processes?’” Finance, HR, and IT operations are the major sites of repetitive processes at Salesforce, according to Shalini. What does it take to automate processes in so many different areas at a company with over 77,000 employees? In Shalini’s opinion, it takes more than just robotic process automation (RPA). “What we’re looking at really is a business process end to end,” she told Sunnyvale. “RPA is a small part of it. What about the rest of it? How do we reduce manual intervention in any process? How do we actually take that away so that it will just run?”To answer these questions, Shalini is thinking beyond the scope of the automation currently adopted at most organizations, sometimes back to the math and science she studied in graduate school as the basis for her education in AI and ML. “Anything that you look at all the way back down to the rudiment, it’s still exactly the same,” she said in an interview after the Sunnyvale event. Even though the extent of what’s possible with automation today is “mind-boggling,” the automations themselves are still based on the same linear algebra as the first AI and ML models Shalini encountered as a student. For Shalini, thinking about the foundations of automation makes it possible to look beyond RPA bots and straightforward rule-based models, incorporating approaches like decisioning and illuminating new opportunities. “What we’re looking at really is a business process end to end.” At Salesforce, these new possibilities include Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technologies like Google Cloud’s Document AI and other solutions in high demand at the company’s contact centers, which Shalini sees as high-priority contexts for automation use cases. Despite her enthusiasm for automation, however, Shalini is careful not to forget the human factor of workplace processes. She is not interested in reducing or combining job roles, as some workers fear executives may plan to do with automation in place. “If I can take some of these mundane tasks off people’s lists,” she told Sunnyvale, “that’s where the growth comes in.”This human factor is also what Shalini recognizes as the value of a customer community and open spaces for peer-to-peer discussion like C2C’s events. At Sunnyvale, she particularly appreciated “the fact that I could speak with so many people and help them learn something” and “learning that people are facing similar issues.” on November 10, 2022, Shalini’s colleague at C2C Partner Automation Anywhere, Vice President of Commercial Sales Ben Wiley, will appear alongside a diverse panel of guests to elaborate on some of what Shalini discussed in Sunnyvale, face-to-face, with a fresh group of Google Cloud customers and partners looking to automation to solve their business problems. To join them, use this link to register today. Extra Credit:
Google Workspace Chat enables teams and organizations to connect easily and collaborate in real time. Going beyond “conversations in Chat,” however, developers can extend Chat with custom apps that can automate processes, integrate existing solutions, and deliver notifications in line with the way teams are already using Google Chat.@ChasMaxson, @rowanmanson, and Kim Sherrell joined C2C to look closely at Google Chat apps and common use cases, from how to get started using them to how to build your own. Watch a recording of the session here: Extra Credit:How to Build a Google Chat App with Apps Script Google Workspace Developers YouTube Channel
Did you hear the announcement at Google Cloud Next '22 about the new C3 machine series powered by the 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor and Google’s custom Intel Infrastructure Processing Unit (IPU)? In case you didn’t, we had Intel’s Nita Sharma, Harshad Sane, and Kshitij Doshi (@Kshitij_Doshi) and Equifax Fellow Vipul Mapara join us to chat more about the announcement and how you can reduce latency and improve workload efficiency on Google Cloud using Intel Instances.In this session, our guests discussed how Google Cloud and Intel are partnering to help their mutual customers optimize their most demanding workloads. The Intel Software Center of Excellence (CoE) for Google Cloud launched as a pilot in North America last year, and the results were dramatic, leading to a now global expansion of the program. Watch a full recording of the presentations and discussion here: Extra Credit:
The Google Cloud Next ‘22 Opening Keynote was the headline event across the tech universe on Tuesday, October 11, with watch parties hosted by Google itself, Google partners, and C2C taking place simultaneously in all different regions of the globe. In addition to standing up three watch parties in EMEA, C2C also participated in multiple partner-led events, including Pythian’s Next on the Road watch party in New York City, where C2C president Josh Berman (@josh.berman) appeared as a speaker alongside Pythian CTO Paul Lewis and Google Data Analytics Product Manager Sami Akbay. The three hosted a session called The Data Points: Key Take-aways from Google Cloud Next Keynote, which offered just that: a digestible breakdown of the deluge of information delivered during the keynote address.The keynote itself included announcements from every corner of the Google Cloud ecosystem: a smattering of customer success stories, numerous new product introductions, and some major new company partnerships. The news ranged from predictable (new out-of-the-box low- and no-code AI and ML models) to unexpected (a partnership with cryptocurrency trading app Coinbase). After an hour of new developments to process, guidance from leaders like Josh, Sami, and Paul came as a relief to the guests in the room.Some key points from the discussion included projections about the business value of new AI tech. Josh pointed out that C2C research indicates AI is still “look but don’t touch” for a lot of companies. Sami offered stats to support this point: 80% of Google developers have active AI projects, while 10% believe they’re getting their desired value from these projects. A deeper dive into the Coinbase partnership also ignited some debate in the room between crypto skeptics and partisans who would happily take advantage of the option to pay for cloud services in crypto. “I think Josh did great,” said Paul. “The way I moderate, they were ill-prepared with any of the content. I come out with content… It’s a little tougher to be on the stage because of that, but I think he caught everything and he answered in an amazing way.”Guests connecting between sessions atthe Pythian Next on the Road watch partyMoments of humor also helped the group take everything in. Calling out Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s recorded segment of the keynote, Paul tossed off a short bit about Sundar’s elusive persona. Is Sundar himself an AI Google developed to play the part of a CEO in public? One guest suggested he might be a hologram, like the 3D likeness of Tupac that made its stage debut at Coachella 2012. Josh joined in as well. After a quick review of a customer story from Ford, he threw out a fun fact: Jim Farley, the Ford CEO who appeared in the keynote, is late comedian Chris Farley’s cousin.Following the panel with Josh and Sami, Paul invited Amit Gupta, VP of Business Intelligence and Data Analytics at Sotheby’s, April Johnson, Global Head of Change at Thoughtworks, and Karl Havilland, CEO of Nearly Human, for a deep dive into wins and lessons learned. The conversation rehashed many of the points raised during the keynote, but from a broader perspective including April’s background in change management and Karl’s as the CEO of a younger startup. The guests offered some more candid comments during a comparison of cloud native and cloud agnostic business approaches, which Paul considered one of the moments that made the conversation real for the audience.“I think the conversation on cloud agnostic versus cloud native was an interesting conversation,” he said. “I honestly don’t think there is a conclusion. I think it is pretty situational. Will it ever be native, no, because there’s competition. All clouds are different.”April’s Thoughtworks colleague Andy Yates (@andy.yates), an early active C2C member who traveled from London to attend the event in a vintage C2C hoodie, also found the customer panel particularly valuable. “It’s about bringing different perspectives, bringing together people from different domains,” he said. “That last panel was a great example, actually, which brought three very different customers, three different views on things, who were able to––along with the audience––synthesize that into a real understanding that we can take home to our businesses and think about how we’re going to make the most of these announcements. That is much more useful to me than watching presentations at home, and then trying to connect with the online community afterwards to help make sense of it all.”Watch the full Google Cloud Next ‘22 keynote address below: Extra Credit:
On October 11, 2022, Google Cloud and C2C Global partner Pythian will be participating in the “Next on the Road” series of watch parties for the Google Cloud Next ‘22 keynote address and announcements. C2C President Josh Berman (@josh.berman) will co-host the event with Pythian CTO Paul Lewis, a regular participant in C2C events and content. The event will include a welcome lunch, a screening of the Next ‘22 keynote, a discussion of the takeaways from the keynote hosted by Josh, a session on Pythian’s 2022 wins and lessons hosted by Paul, and a closing networking reception. We caught up with Paul in advance of the event to discuss his hopes, expectations, and predictions for the event and the broader Next ‘22 program. Read our conversation below. There’s so much programming around Next: from Google, but also from the many partners hosting watch parties. What for you is really going to make this event experience unique? I think it’s the make-it-real aspect. It’s always interesting to hear the keynote and get a full appreciation for where the Google advancements are going to be, or their strategy potentially on acquisitions, or at least incorporating those acquisitions into the organization, into the framework, but the goodness comes from, well, what does all this mean for me? How do I take the announcement I just heard and apply it to my actual application infrastructure strategy? How do I look at my 2023 budget and say, “Should it be augmented based on what I heard, or does my architectural assumption differ because of what I just heard, and what’s the double-click? Not just what it means to me, but what’s the impact to my strategy going forward?” The reality is, the announcements create excitement, but the real work starts now. Looking forward to the keynote, obviously that’s going to be a big draw. What are you expecting as someone who’s been a Google partner for a long time and has a real stake in what’s going to be announced? What are you hoping to hear? What are you expecting to hear? Imagining? I think I’m looking forward to evolution on a few fronts. Front number one: security. They just completed their acquisition, and now they’re going to say, “Well, here’s my holistic security set of offerings.” In fact, we might even hear an evolution of the security pillar to, say, it’s not just either application- or data-centric security, but maybe it goes beyond that. Maybe it goes in networking, in infrastructure and PII, privacy. That would be an interesting foray. Data protection. How do I empower the Chief Information Security Officer? How do I make them my primary buyer? That would be an interesting evolution on the security side.I’d also like to see the evolution of the Google data foundation work. Let that be a primary architectural design, and then everything else they’re going to build on top of that, things like Cortex, things like specific industry solutions from core systems ERP all the way to visualization and Looker. Show me those assets I’ll be able to download from the marketplace, or secondary assets so that I can create out-of-the-box solutions that I can now augment to what makes sense for me personally. That’s number two.Number three I think is innovation. Innovation in AI, innovation in ML, innovation in cognitive, all of the new. Here’s what we spent time and energy on in 2022 that is now going to be available in 2023 for you to consume, so I don’t need you to be an expert in doc AI. I want an easy way for you to consume that and apply that to your actual business problem, and by the way, here’s 15 examples of it working effectively. Last time we spoke, we were promoting an event where you were speaking specifically about AI solutions. We just published a survey of our membership, and one of the big insights was that while AI and ML are not the technologies most users are working with right now, they’re number one in terms of the technologies they’re expecting or hoping to implement in five years, in three years, next year. How specifically do you think AI and ML is going to figure into that innovation forecast for the coming year? I think what won’t be true is more development platforms for creating ML algorithms. Because I think that is difficult to consume. What’s much more easy to consume is out-of-the-box, downloadable, industry specific algorithms that I can apply. So, how do I make it really easy to train? How do I make it really easy to infer? How do I make it really easy to implement within my application process? That’s where I think we’re going to see the value there. They’re going to say in your IEE, in your BigQuery configuration, even in your Looker dashboards, you should be able to apply out-of-the-box marketplace algorithms and make your modifications for it to suit your purpose. So a lot of low-code and no-code? Exactly. While I philosophically don’t believe no-code low-code will displace code––there’s always a reason why there’s code––I think it’ll be a much more dramatic use for things like data analytics going forward. We’re very excited that Josh is going to speak. I’m interested in why it was important for you to have Josh involved. What are you hoping that he’s going to bring to the conversation with the rest of the Pythian universe? It’s the making-it-real conversation. The value of C2C is to say, well, I want to have conversations with my peers. I want to network within the community, and Josh in effect is representing the community in that room. I want to be able to take what we just heard and say making it real means of the eight things we heard, four things are way more important than they might have suggested, and these four things are the ones that are going to contribute the most to changing the value of the CIO, changing the value of IT, shifting IT from being an order-taker to a value provider. That’s the real-time feedback we want to provide to the crowd, and then when we say, “Okay, here’s the four that we think will provide the most value,” let’s then take that conversation to the next step and say, “How does it feel for you, individual CIO?” There’s going to be a session with Josh, and then there’s also going to be a session that you’re leading, which is about your wins and lessons of the past year. It’s interesting to me that at a watch party for Next you’re making the point of taking time to look back and assess what’s really worked up to this point. Why that choice? Why last as well as Next? Because so much of what happened this year affects my strategy for next year. And the biggest, of course, is talent. I lost a decent amount of talent. I am trying to innovate, which requires new skill sets. What am I going to do to acquire or upscale or rescale the talent that I have in order to implement what we just heard? So give me a sense of what capabilities you have, or that you missed. Give me a sense of the value you produced within cloud that you didn’t think you achieved the goal on. Let me get a sense of the investment you want to do in analytics, where it might provide value to you in 2023. Because arguably 2022 was a growth year. It was not unlike in sports. It’s preparing for the championship in the following year. Nobody was winning awards in 2022, because of all those macroeconomic impacts, but now that you’ve prepared for that, where are the banners coming from in 2023? So the wins from last year were preparation for wins in the coming year. Exactly. Do you have any parting thoughts before we leave? I think it’s going to be a great event, personally. I think we’re going to have a lot of people, and the big thing we added to the end was “Birds of a feather” tables. What we really want to do is have people come together not necessarily on tech. While there might be a couple tech tables, industry I think is going to be way more interesting. Let’s get a couple retail together, a couple banking together, a couple manufacturing together. Let’s talk about what we heard and how it impacts us as an industry. And yes, if you want to know a little bit more about BigQuery, that conversation will also occur. It’s a good mix in the room. We’re going to see executives and practitioners and partners and middle ground. I think everybody’s going to be in there, which I think will make for a fun event. Extra Credit:
On August 30, 2022, C2C joined forces with our partners at DoiT to host a 2Gather event all about modernizing your organization on Google Cloud. Presented live at Google’s office in the repurposed Spruce Goose hangar in Playa Vista, California, Google Cloud Modernization with DoiT offered a deep exploration of the practices and technologies DoiT uses to help organizations modernize their resources and infrastructure on its Cloud Management Platform. DoiT’s Yuval Drori Retziver (@yuval) delivered the main program, comparing and contrasting the capabilities and advantages of Google Cloud Run and the Google Kubernetes Engine.Yuval prefers Cloud Run’s serverless, pay-per-use model, but he also made a point of mentioning numerous features and benefits of Kubernetes, including liveness, readiness, and startup probes and horizontal pod autoscaling. Even when Yuval offered to skip slides reviewing details familiar to most users, the crowd urged him to cover everything he had prepared. The various options for modernization Yuval described illustrated North America Head of Google Cloud Customer Community Dale Rossi (@Dale Rossi)’s comment that “As a Google Cloud customer, or any customer, it’s a journey.”Watch the full recording here: Extra Credit:
On August 11, 2022, C2C will host 2Gather: Chicago, the Google Cloud customer community’s first in-person event in the Chicago area. Moderated by Lilah Jones, Head of Corp Sales, Central US, Google Cloud, the event program will feature speakers Francisco Maturana, a data architect at Rockwell Automation, Vrinda Khurjekar, Senior Director of AMER Business at Searce, and Pythian CTO Paul Lewis. The panel will discuss the technical and business advantages of using AI and ML on Google Cloud. In advance of the event, we reached out to Paul Lewis, an engaged and active member of our community who joins us from our foundational platinum partner Pythian, to discuss AI and ML insights, connecting business and technical collaborators, and the value of a peer-to-peer Google Cloud community. Pythian has received significant industry recognition for its data solutions. To what extent today does a data solution necessarily require an AI or ML component? It is fair to say that most data solutions have a “why,” and that why is because I’m trying to create some sort of insight. Insight might be for the purpose of creating a new customer experience, or creating some insight for efficiency, or monetizing the value of a current set of offerings, and that insight requires a combination of three things: I need to find where the data is in my core systems from my third party, I need to create analytical value in a data platform, and I need to use AI and ML algorithms to source out that piece of insight which I’ll use to make a decision. So it has all three of those components. I’d argue that if you’re starting with the end, starting with the insight, all of that technology and process is required to deliver on it. You spoke with C2C earlier this year about cloud security and the shared roles of businesses and cloud providers. When working with systems and processes that are largely automated, what cloud security considerations arise? Cloud security requires the assumption that you are going to bring your algorithms to the data versus the data to the algorithms––a really big shift from exporting data out of a production system into your laptop, producing your algorithms in your API of choice, and then sending that algorithm back up to be both trained and tested. Now it’s about training and testing in the cloud, which has access directly to those data sets internally and externally. So that’s the big shift. Moving where you’re actually both developing your model, training your model, and creating inference or executing on that model. It is the best bet to do that in the cloud.A big problem in healthcare, as you can imagine, is sharing information across organizations. Since data sharing is required to make complex diagnostic decisions, I need to be able to package up that information from a diagnostics perspective, share it amongst a group of people, and then that prediction can come together. Multiple practitioners can participate in the model development, multiple practitioners can provide input into the model and the training, and then infer it for the purpose of new patients coming in. On August 11, at 2Gather: Chicago, you’ll be speaking alongside Francisco Maturana, a data architect at Rockwell Automation, and Vrinda Khurjekar, Senior Director of AMER Business at Searce. As a CTO, how does speaking alongside both technical and business professionals influence the kind of discussion you’re able to have? My conversations tend to be balancing the difference between why and how. On the business side, what are ultimately the business goals we’re trying to achieve? It tends to boil down to something like data monetization. Now, monetization could simply mean selling your data, it could mean creating a better insight on your customers, maybe as customer segmentation, maybe it’s wrapping a non-data related product with a data-related product. Like a checking account alongside an ability to predict spending behavior changes over time. Or it might be internal, making better MNA decisions or creating some sort of efficiency in a process, or just making general business decisions better or cleaner in a sense.So, you can take that why and say, ‘well, that why can be delivered on a variety of hows.’ A how can be as simple as a query and as complex as the entire data engineering chain. And that’s the bridge between the why and the how. Not only does the data engineer or data architect get a better appreciation for the type of business decisions I need to be able to make based on this work, but the business person gets to understand the potential difficulties of making that actually true. Do you think that most customers come to a peer-to-peer panel discussion with a why or a how in mind? Yes. Very rarely is it unanswered questions. Very rarely is it, ‘I know I have some nuggets of gold here, could you possibly look into my pot and see if there’s anything interesting?’ That might have been true five years ago, but people are much more well-read, definitely on the business and the technology side. There has to be a why, and if there has to be a why, there’s one too many potential hows. What’s our best bet to the how? Data engineers, data modelers, and data scientists are the go-to person to hire. In fact it’s so complex that I now need partnerships of talent, so I might now know that I need a junior, senior, or intermediate scientist, because I don’t have that background. I don’t have that expertise, so I’ve got to lean on partnerships in order to figure that out. Is being able to find the right why for the right how what makes a community of Google Cloud customers uniquely valuable? Exactly. It’s also sharing in our expertise. There’s this huge assumption that I just have to acquire the expertise to deliver on my particular why or how, that I just need to learn Python in twenty-one days, that I just need to get another data modeler to understand what a bill is, what a person is, what a patient is, what a checking account is, but the reality is you have to balance expertise with experience. You could hire a bunch of people or train up your existing staff, but if they’ve never done it before, that’s where you need partnerships. That’s why you need a community. That’s why you need to be able to talk to your peers. That’s why you need to have these kinds of conversations, to balance what I think I can do with what’s actually possible, or what’s been done before. Are there any particular conversations you’re hoping to have at the event in Chicago? Yeah, absolutely. The conversations I’m looking to have are unique or interesting whys that I think could be compelling across a variety of industries. What I find most interesting isn’t that two retail chains have the same customer segmentation problem, it’s that you can take a customer segmentation retail and apply that to manufacturing of cookies. So, something we can reuse across these industries, because in my opinion these industry solutions are going to be on the forefront of the whys. I’m going to be able to download cookie client segmentation and then augment it for my needs. I don’t have to invent it going forward. Do you have any final thoughts to share with the Google Cloud customer community? I’m really looking forward to this particular event. It’s rare that we get to have real peer-to-peer conversations, so I’m absolutely looking forward to it, and Google’s a nice space to do it in, so, that’s always a bonus. Are you based in Chicago? Do you need to find a how for your why, or vice versa? Join Paul, the C2C Team, and the rest of our distinguished speakers at 2Gather: Chicago on August 11! Register here:
On June 14, C2C hosted an event in Google’s Cambridge office. We believe in-person connections are invaluable to everyone in our community, especially when our members are able to immediately converse with amazing speakers who are sharing their journeys and business outcomes.The stories from this event—presented on stage from Google Cloud customers, partners, and employees—can all be reviewed below. Introduction from Google Yee-chen Tjie (@yeetjie), Google Cloud Life Sciences Head of Customer Engineering, kicked off the program at C2C Connect Live: Cambridge with a few words about how Google is using 10x thinking to make major unique and substantial investments in Healthcare and Life Sciences technology. Tjie made a point of mentioning Google’s record of solving problems using AI and ML, particularly with AlphaFold 2, the focus of the presentation Luke Ge of Intel gave later in the afternoon.After his opening remarks, Tjie hosted a round of Google trivia, inviting everyone in the audience to stand and then sit down every time they answered one of his true-or-false questions incorrectly. After guessing whether Google Suite was initially offered on CD in 2006 (false), the first Google Doodle was about Coachella because the founders were going (false––they were going to Burning Man), and the English translation of Kubernetes is “cargo ship” (false––it’s “pilot”), Tjie handed the lucky winner a free Google hub device. CISO Healthcare and Life Sciences Reflections Before beginning his presentation, Taylor Lehmann (@taylorlehmann1), Director of the Office of the CISO at Google Cloud, thanked the hosts for the opportunity to join and speak, noting that he had just had his “mind blown” talking to fellow presenter Jonathan Sheffi before the event. Lehmann went on to discuss some of the core principles of invisible security, and his office’s mission to “get to this vision where security is unavoidable.” A big part of this project, he explained, is eliminating the shared responsibility model in favor of what Google calls “shared fate.” Under this model, Google provides blueprints, solutions, and curated patterns to enable customers to manage their own security infrastructures. “If you have a bad day on Google Cloud, it’s a bad day for us too,” he summarized. “If you win on Google Cloud, you win too.” The History and Future of Human Genomics Jonathan Sheffi (@sheffi) formerly a Director of Product Strategy at Veeva Systems and Google Cloud, began his presentation by prodding the audience with an enthusiastic “How’s everyone doing?” and then added “First rule of public speaking, make sure the audience is awake.” The focus of Sheffi’s presentation, the history and future of human genomics, took the audience back to the year 1990, when, in Sheffi’s words, “Nirvana’s Nevermind is a year from coming out, it’s a very exciting time.”Sheffi went on to cover the advents of next-gen sequencing and of public cloud computing, government and pharmaceutical adoption of genomic sequencing, and recent cost-cutting advancements in genomics. When he opened things up to the audience for questions, Michael Preston of Healthcare Triangle shared his own experience seeking treatment for melanoma to ask how genomic sequencing can be used to predict patient reactions to prescribed medications. Sheffi took the question to heart, and acknowledged the need for sequencing and screening processes that take into account data on patient-reported side effects. End-to-End Optimization of AlphaFold2 on Intel Architecture Luke Ge (@Liangwei77ge) an AI Solution Specialist at Intel, opened his presentation by saying, “Yesterday I spent 6 hours on a plane to come to this beautiful city,” prompting a round of applause form the audience. Then he asked “How many of you are using Alphafold 2?” A few hands went up. He followed up with, “How many of you have heard of Alphafold 2?” Many more hands raised.Ge’s presentation explored how analyzing human tissue from DNA to protein structure requires using AI for processing huge sequence data. The Google product that handles this processing is AlphaFold 2. Ge explained how Intel’s computing hardware supports Alphafold 2, including by providing a deep Learning model inference and removing memory bottlenecks in AlphaFold 2’s attention and evoformer modules. At the end of his presentation, Ge demonstrated a model generated using non-optimized versus optimized Alphafold 2 code. The difference was clear. Panel Discussion Tjie moderated the panel discussion with Sheffi and Ge by asking each whether he is a Celtics fan or a Warriors fan. Immediately, the tension in the room rose: Sheffi and Ge are from opposite coasts, making Sheffi a Celtics fan and Ge a Warriors fan. The tension was short-lived, however. When Tjie asked Ge what he considers the best way to choose a compute instance, Sheffi followed up to ask Ge if it’s possible to run multiple sequences on a single instance and maintain performance. Ge said yes.When Tjie opened questions to the audience, several guests rose to ask Sheffi questions about genomic sequencing, more than one of them focusing on use cases for genomic research for patients and caregivers. After several of these questions in a row, Tjie turned to the crowd and said, “I warned Luke that if he picked the Warriors then he would get less questions from the audience.” After the laughs in the room died down, Tjie asked Ge where he sees HCLS problems being solved with AI. Ge did not have to think long before citing computer vision as a solution for detecting cancerous cells. Winding Down Following the presentations, all in attendance broke away to connect during a networking reception. To read more about it, check out the exclusive onsite report linked below in the Extra Credit section. Extra Credit
On May 12, C2C hosted its first east coast event at Google’s New York office. We believe in-person connections are invaluable to everyone in our community, especially when our members are able to immediately converse with amazing speakers who are sharing their journeys and business outcomes.The stories from this event—presented on stage from Google Cloud customers, partners, and employees—can all be reviewed below. A Warm Welcome from C2C and Google Cloud Opening the event was Marco ten Vaanholt (@artmarco), who leads C2C initiatives at Google Cloud. To kick things off, Marco prompted the audience to get to know each other, and all enthusiastically turned to their table neighbors. After Marco covered the history of C2C and our early adventures in hosting face to face events, Marcy Young (@Marcy.Young), Director of Partnerships at C2C, followed to reiterate our mission statement: we’re here to connect Google Cloud customers across the globe. Since March of 2021, when the C2C online community first launched, our community has grown in size to make valuable connections with people like Arsho Toubi (@Arsho Toubi), Customer Engineer, Google Cloud, who followed Young to introduce C2C’s partner speakers.All three introductory speakers emphasized the excitement of being able to make new connections in person again. As ten Vaanholt put it, peers introducing themselves and initiating new relationships is “the start of community building.” When Toubi announced “I received some business cards, and that was a fun experience I haven’t had in two years,” the room responded with a knowing laugh. Toubi also asked the Googlers in the room to stand up so others could identify them. “These are my colleagues,” she said. “We’re all here to help you navigate how to use GCP to your best advantage.” Getting to Know AMD and DoiT C2C partners and the sponsors for this event, DoiT and @AMD shared updates of the partnership between the two companies focused on cloud optimization.Michael Brzezinski (@mike.brzezinski), Global Sales Manager, AMD Spenser Paul (@spenserpaul), Head of Global Alliances, DoiTBrzezinski framed the two presentations as a response to a question he received from another attendee he met just before taking the stage, a question about how the two companies work together to enhance performance while reducing cost. One half of the answer is AMD’s compute processors, which Brzezinski introduced one by one. To complete the story of the partnership between the two companies, Spenser Paul of DoiT took the stage with his Labrador Milton. “I’m joining the stage with a dog, which means you won’t hear anything I’m saying from here on,” he said as he took the microphone. “And that’s totally okay.” The key to minimizing cost on AMD’s hardware, Paul explained, is DoiT’s Flexsave offering, which automates compute spend based on identified need within a workload. A Fireside Chat with DoiT and CurrentSpenser Paul, Head of Global Alliances, DoiT Trevor Marshall (@tmarshall), Chief Technology Officer, CurrentPaul invited Marshall to join him onstage, and both took a seat facing the audience, Milton resting down at Paul’s feet. After asking Marshall to give a brief introduction to Current, Paul asked him why Current chose Google Cloud. Marshall did not mince words: Current accepted a $100,000 credit allowance from Google after spending the same amount at AWS. Why did Current stay with Google Cloud? The Google Kubernetes Engine. “I like to say we came for the credits, but stayed for Kubernetes,” Marshall said. Paul wryly suggested the line be used for a marketing campaign. The conversation continued through Current’s journey to scale and its strategy around cost optimization along the way.When Paul opened questions to the audience, initially, none came up. Seeing an opportunity, Paul turned to Marshall and said, “Selfishly, I need to ask you: what’s going to happen with crypto?” Just in time, a guest asked what other functionalities Current will introduce in the future. After an optimistic but tight-lipped response from Marshall, another moment passed. Marshall offered Paul a comforting hand and said, “We’re all going to make it through,” before fielding a few more questions. Panel Discussion All our presenters, with the addition of Michael Beal (@MikeBeal), CEO, Data Capital Management reconvened on stage for a panel discussion. Toubi, who moderated the conversation, began by asking Michael Beal to introduce himself and his company, Data Capital Management, which uses AI to automate the investment process. Beal ran through Data Capital Management’s product development journey, and then, when he recalled the company’s initial approach from Google, playfully swatted Marshall and said, “The credits don’t hurt.” Toubi then guided Beal and Brzezinski through a discussion of different uses cases for High Performance Computing, particularly on AMD’s processors.When Toubi turned the panel’s attention to costs, Paul took the lead to explain in practical detail how DoiT’s offerings facilitate the optimization process. “I have an important question,” said Toubi. “Can DoiT do my taxes?” Then she put the guests on the spot to compare Google Cloud to AWS’s Graviton. Brzezinski was ready for the question. The initial cost savings Graviton provides, he explained, don’t translate to better price performance when taking into account the improved overall performance on Google Cloud. Other questions covered financial services use cases for security, additional strategies for optimizing workloads for price performance, and wish-list items for Google Cloud financing options.Marco ten Vaanholt kicked off the audience Q&A by asking what a Google Cloud customer community can do for the customers on the panel. Marshall said he’s interested in meeting talented developers, and Beal said he’s interested in meeting anyone who can give him ideas. As he put it, “Inspiration is always a very interesting value proposition.” After a couple more questions about estimating cost at peak performance and addressing customer pain points, Toubi asked each panelist to offer one piece of advice for someone considering using Google Cloud who isn’t already. Again, Paul saw a shot and took it. “If you’ve never been to Google before,” he said, “Come for the credits, stay for the Kubernetes.” Winding Down Following the presentations, all in attendance broke away to connect during a networking reception. To read more about it, check out the exclusive onsite report linked below in the Extra Credit section, and to get involved in the customer-to-customer connections happening in person in the C2C community, follow the link to our live event in Cambridge, MA to register and attend. We look forward to seeing you there! Extra Credit
On Thursday, April 14, 2022, the C2C DACH region hosted a powerful and informative event with guest Joel Goodman, a staff cloud architect at DoiT International, focused on Cloud Workflows, a serverless offering from Google Cloud. Thomas Hug (@tom), one of our DACH Team Leaders, served as moderator of the session. Read on below to review the key takeaways from this in-depth introduction to this dynamic product. 30 Minutes in 30 seconds (3:47) Joel Goodman began his presentation by explaining why a Google Cloud user should consider Workflows. The more services a user has talking to each other at once, the harder they are to manage, and the more tedious the process of sending events to a pipeline becomes. (5:01) Goodman compared Workflow to an orchestrator: a central process that executes the workflow from start to finish. (5:26) Next, Goodman gave an overview of Workflows and its capabilities, and what writing a workflow looks like. (7:00) To provide some examples of use cases for Workflows, Goodman brought up microservice orchestration, continuous integration and deployment (although he admitted he wouldn’t use it for heavier things), transactional consistency, ETL and Data pipelines (although he acknowledges that Workflows would be a better way to start for light data pipelines, and that for more complex needs there are a number of other tools available that would be more suitable), and long-running workflows. (9:00) To give attendees a demo of Workflows, Goodman used the example of a mechanic who runs an application whose users send pictures of their vehicle. The microservice orchestration in this case is as follows: save the image to Google Cloud Storage, extract the license plate number from the image, look up the vehicle’s information, save the information to BigQuery, and finally email the vehicle image to the mechanic with the information he needs. (10:44) Next Goodman listed some workflow design requirements: It has to be cheap, it has to focus on business logic and not infrastructure, it has to scale up and down with customer demand, and it has to be reliable and allow for easy troubleshooting. (11:07) Goodman also expanded on his design decisions––Cloud Run for microservices and Cloud Workflows for orchestration––and analyzed the managed and external services and the microservices required. (11:58) To break everything down further, Goodman explained the specific uses for the web app, the license plate reader, and the notification service. (12:25) Goodman next provided an extensive analysis of the differences between orchestration and choreography. (16:40) Finally, Goodman gave attendees a demonstration of the application’s front end, the submission of the image, and the process in the background. (20:56) For the rest of the session, Goodman fielded questions from C2C members hoping to implement Cloud Workflows for their own services. Extra Credit: Looking to get more involved with our DACH community? Come to our in-person event in Munich on May 18, 2022. This session will cover how MediaMarktSaturn built its Data Mesh, and why this solution is such a game-changer. Attendees will also hear from our partner AMD about how they are making their industry leading AMD EPYC processors available on Google Cloud, and how UberCloud is helping organizations run their simulation tools using HPC application containers.Join us and these amazing speakers as they share their journeys and business outcomes, and how they have overcome their technical and business challenges: Fabian Seitz, Group Product Manager, MediaMarkt Saturn Pawel Walczysko, Cloud Solution Specialist Wolfgang Gentzsch, President, UberCloud Daniel Gruber, Director of Architecture, UberCloud Sign up below today!
Certifications are a Google Cloud user’s keys to success. Google Cloud’s many certifications provide the training and expertise practitioners need to identify and excel in their career paths, and certifications help employers and industry decision-makers find the talent that sets their teams apart from the competition.This C2C Connect was hosted by Devoteam, a foundational platinum partner of C2C and Google Cloud Premier Partner. Devoteam has an ambition to encourage consultants to become fully certified on Google Cloud, being well versed in multiple disciplines, and has four consultants who have done it, with two of them being Anthos fellows. The presenters shared reasons for why they think this is important and their methodology and support system they have built to roll this out to 400 consultants world wide.The recording from this session includes the topics listed below, plus nearly twenty minutes of open Q&A from community members present at the live event:(0:00) Introduction to the session from @Alfons, C2C (1:50) Introduction on Devoteam and our presenters, Jason Quek, Global CTO of Devoteam G Cloud, and Niels Buekers, CTO of Devoteam G Cloud Benelux & UKI (5:10) Session overview on the why, what, and how: continuous learning, business value, and leading by example by building the best talent on Google Cloud to serve customers (9:00) Why continuous learning is necessary for building trust (11:35) Testing your theoretical knowledge and preparing for certification exams (18:25) How Devoteam uses gamification (leaderboards) to award exam vouchers and why they celebrate newly certified exam-takers (27:40) Gaining hands-on experience and qualifying for cloud jobs (30:15) Mentorship programs and study sessions (32:15) Leading by example and the goal of becoming fully certified (33:45) Final thoughts and community Q&AWatch the full recording of the conversation below:
The centerpiece of C2C’s virtual Earth Day conference, Clean Clouds, Happy Earth, was a panel discussion on sustainability in EMEA featuring C2C and Google Cloud partners HCL and AMD and cosmetics superpower L’Oreal. Moderated by Ian Pattison, EMEA Head of Sustainability Practice at Google Cloud, the conversation lasted the better part of an hour and explored a range of strategies for enabling organizations to build and run sustainable technology on Google Cloud.According to Sanjay Singh, Executive VP of the Google Cloud Ecosystem Unit at HCL technologies, when advising customers across the value chain evaluating cloud services, Google Cloud becomes a natural choice because of its focus on sustainable goals. Connecting customers to Google Cloud is a key part of HCL’s broader program for maintaining sustainable business practices at every organizational level. “What you cannot measure, you cannot improve” says Singh, which is why HCL has created systems to measure every point of emission under their purview for carbon footprint impact. In alignment with Google Cloud’s commitment to run a carbon-free cloud platform by 2030, HCL plans to make its processes carbon neutral in the same timeframe.Suresh Andani, Senior Director of Cloud Vertical Marketing at AMD, serves on a task force focused on defining the company’s sustainability goals as an enterprise and as a vendor. As a vendor, AMD prioritizes helping customers migrate to the cloud itself as well as making its compute products (CPUS and GPUS) more energy efficient, which they plan to do by a factor of 30 by 2025. On the enterprise side, Andani says, AMD relies on partners and vendors, so making sure AMD as an organization is sustainable expands to its ecosystem of suppliers. One of the biggest challenges, he says, is to measure partners’ operations. This challenge falls to AMD’s corporate responsibility team.Health and beauty giant L’Oreal recently partnered with Google Cloud to run its beauty tech data engine. In the words of architect Antoine Castex, a C2C Team Lead in France, sustainability at L’Oreal is all about finding “the right solution for the right use case.” For Castex, this means prioritizing Software as a Service (SaaS) over Platform as a Service (PaaS), and only in the remotest cases using Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). He is also emphatic about the importance of using serverless architecture and products like AppEngine, which only run when in use, rather than running and consuming energy 24/7.For Hervé Dumas, L’Oreal’s Sustainability IT Director, these solutions are part of what he calls “a strategic ambition,” which must be common across IT staff. Having IT staff dedicated to sustainability, he says, creates additional knowledge and enables necessary transformation of the way the company works. As Castex puts it, this transformation will come about when companies like L’Oreal are able to “change the brain of the people.”As Castex told C2C in a follow-up conversation after the event, the most encouraging takeaway from the panel for L’Oreal was the confirmation that other companies and tech players have “the same dream and ambition as us.” Watch a full recording of the conversation below, and check back to the C2C website over the next two weeks for more content produced exclusively for this community event. Also, if you’re based in EMEA and want to connect with other Google Cloud customers and partners in the C2C community, join us at one of our upcoming face-to-face events: Extra Credit:
Sustainability is an inherent value of cloud computing and storage. According to Suresh Andani, Senior Director of Cloud Vertical Marketing at C2C Global Gold partner AMD, data center sustainability, which used to be an afterthought, has now become a key requirement. The first step to a more sustainable compute solution, he says, is migration to the cloud. This gives companies like AMD an immediate advantage: they are already offering a more sustainable solution. However, along with this advantage comes a challenge. All cloud partners provide the option to migrate. How can companies like AMD help further?AMD will appear alongside a full lineup of C2C and Google Cloud customers and partners this Thursday, April 21, 2022 at Clean Clouds, Happy Earth, a special C2C Earth Day event for companies and practitioners committed to sustainable cloud solutions. Participating companies include Deutsche Bank and Nordic Choice Hotels, and full sessions will explore topics such as supply chain resiliency, food waste, environmental, social, and governance analysis, and sustainable IT. Andani will join a panel of executives featuring Sanjay Singh of C2C platinum partner HCL, Antoine Castex––a C2C Team Lead in France––and Hervé Dumas of L’Oreal, and Ian Pattison, EMEA Head of Sustainability Practice at Google. “Energy efficiency is not just about power consumed and how efficiently you address or cool. It’s also about how you make your manufacturing process more sustainable.” Andani hopes the panel will be “a channel to get the word out” about how AMD differentiates in the cloud computing space. All of AMD’s customers need to be able to reduce the amount of power they’re consuming as they process their workloads. AMD’s solutions are designed to solve this problem at the root cause. “Energy efficiency is not just about power consumed and how efficiently you address or cool,” Andani says. “It’s also about how you make your manufacturing process more sustainable.” To this end, several years ago, AMD implemented a chiplet architecture specifically designed to improve their yields and minimize waste. Now, says Andani, many of AMD’s peers are choosing to go the same route.More providers in the cloud computing space adopting a more sustainable manufacturing process is all the more reason for companies like AMD to participate in live events hosted by customer communities like C2C. As Andani was happy to share, he and Pattison have appeared together at similar events in the past. These panels, Andani affirms, are of unique value to Google Cloud customers looking to improve energy efficiency. Representatives of Google Cloud appear at such events to discuss how Google Cloud’s products use technologies such as AI and ML to monitor energy consumption. When the same panel features an end customer adopting this technology, in Andani’s words, “that completes the story.” Join C2C Global and all of our distinguished sponsors and guests at 9:00 AM EDT on April 21, 2022 to witness the complete story of sustainable computing on Google Cloud. Use the link below to register:
Information Week recently invited C2C Global President Josh Berman (@josh.berman) to contribute an article about the shared roles of businesses and cloud service providers in ensuring cloud security. For broader perspective on this critical topic, Berman spoke with Paul Lewis, CTO of Pythian, a C2C Foundational Platinum Partner and Google Cloud Premier Partner, about the nuanced distinction between “Security of the Cloud” and “Security in the Cloud.”In the article, Berman identifies a series of emerging cybersecurity threats and enumerates a core set of best practices for preventing them—shared responsibility, identity and access management control, security by design, active monitoring, and data protection—ending with a reminder: “Do not stand still.” The considerations Berman offers are many, but all speak to one common essential value: accountability. In Berman’s words, “Cloud security is only effective if businesses and their cloud providers fundamentally agree and share responsibility. They must work in tandem.” Read the full text of the article at Information Week. Extra Credit:
“Cloud repatriation,” like “cloud migration” and “cloud native,” is a tech term borrowed from the language of social science: all of these terms describe a relationship to a place of origin. What each really describes, though, is where someone, or something, lives. In social science, that someone is a person, someone born a citizen of one country or returned there after displacement by conflict or other political circumstances. In tech, the something born in or returned to its place of origin is an asset or a resource an organization controls: it’s your organization’s data, its software, or whatever else you need to store to be able to run it.After years of cloud migration dominating the conversation about software and data hosting and storage, the term “cloud repatriation” is emerging as a new hypothetical for migrated and cloud native organizations. So many organizations are now hosted on the cloud that a greater number than ever have the option, feasible or not, to move off. Whether any cloud-native or recently migrated organization would actually want to move its resources back on-premises, to a data center, is another question. To discuss this question and its implications for the future of the cloud as a business solution, C2C recently convened a panel of representatives from three major cloud-hosted companies: Nick Tornow of Twitter, Keyur Govande of Etsy, and Rich Hoyer and Miles Ward of SADA. The conversation was charged from the beginning, and only grew more lively throughout. Sensing the energy around this issue, Ward, who hosted the event, started things off with some grounding exercises. First, he asked each host to define a relevant term. Tornow defined repatriation as “returning to your own data centers...or moving away from the public cloud more generally,” Govande defined TCO as “the purchase price of an asset and the cost of operating it,” and Hoyer defined OPEX and CAPEX as, respectively, real-time day-to-day expenses and up-front long-term expenses. Ward then stirred things up by asking the guests to pose some reasons why an organization might want to repatriate. After these level-setting exercises, the guests dove into the business implications of repatriation.The question of cost came up almost immediately, redirecting the discussion to the relationship between decisions around workloads and overall business goals: Govande’s comments about “problems that are critical to your business” particularly resonated with the others on the call. Govande briefly elaborated on these comments via email after the event. “In the context of repatriation, especially for a product company, it is very important to think through the ramifications of doing the heavy infrastructural lift yourself,” he said. “In my opinion, for most product companies, the answer would be to ‘keep moving up the stack,’ i.e. to be laser focused on your own customers' needs and demands, by leveraging the public cloud infrastructure.”These sentiments resurfaced later in the discussion, when the group took up the problem of weighing costs against potential opportunities for growth: The more the group explored these emerging themes of workload, cost, and scale, the more the guests offered insights based on their firsthand experiences as executives at major tech companies. Tornow used an anecdote about launching the game Farmville at Zynga to illustrate the unique challenges of launching products on the cloud: During the audience Q&A, a question about TCO analysis gave Hoyer the chance to go long on his relevant experiences at SADA: As soon as the conversation began to wind down, Ward put the guests on the spot again, to ask Tornow and Govande point-blank whether either of them would consider repatriation an option for their company that very day. Unsurprisingly, neither said they would: By the time Ward handed the microphone back to Dale Rossi of Google Cloud, who introduced and concluded the event, the conversation had lasted well over an hour, leaving very few angles on the subject of repatriation unexamined. Many hosts might have felt satisfied letting an event come to an end at this point, but not Ward. To leave the guests, and the audience, with a sense of urgency and resolve, he treated everyone on the call to a rendition of “Reveille,” the traditional military call to arms, arranged exclusively for this group for solo Tuba: Repatriation may not be a realistic option for many if not most businesses, but discussing the possibility hypothetically illuminates the considerations these same businesses will have to confront as they approach cloud strategy and workload balance. “Nobody on our panel had heard of anyone born in the cloud ever going ‘back’ to the data center,” Ward said in an email reflecting on the event. “Any infrastructure cost analysis is a ‘complex calculus,’ and there's no easy button.” For Ward, there is one way to make this complex calculus manageable: “To get maximum value from cloud, focus in on the differentiated managed services that allow you to refocus staff time on innovation.”When you hear the word “repatriation,” what comes to mind for you? What does it imply for your organization and the workloads your organization manages? Are there any relevant considerations you consider crucial that you want to talk through in more depth? Join the C2C Community and start the conversation! Extra Credit:
This session was led by Quantiphi, a foundational partner of C2C and a Google Partner that uses AI to solve the problems at the heart of businesses. Connect with them directly @Quantiphi in the C2C community.One of the best ways for enterprises across a broad range of business sectors to remain relevant is to use consumer behavior data in ways that will help their brands stand out from the competition. Using this data effectively and uniquely can help businesses improve the rate of customer acquisition, increase the ROI from marketing spends, and also ensure customer centricity and personalization. But what can we do to improve customer experiences by leveraging customer data, and how? To learn more, C2C sat down with Vijay Mannur, Customer and Marketing Analytics Practice Lead at Quantiphi, to discuss how to enhance consumer engagement and conversion using behavioral data. Questions answered will include:The recording from this Deep Dive includes:(1:55) Agenda overview and introduction to speakers (8:05) Marketing analytics How and why Quantiphi built a dedicated marketing and analytics team Options for marketing analytics from Google Cloud (14:50) Consumer data Third-party vs. first-party cookies and rich data quality Consumer Data Platform (CDP) vs. traditional Customer Relationship Management (CRM) How to build and upskill teams to use CDP effectively Using BigQuery and other Google Cloud analytics tools (32:25) Examples of customer stories using CDP How a French retailer centrally connected their consumer databases with custom pipelines from BigQuery How a bank optimized consumer segmentation and profiling using Vertex AI (39:00) Future of analytics The future of consumer data and trends nearing the end of their lifecycle Addressing privacy concerns using Google Cloud data warehousing and analytics solutions Ethical use of machine learning for consumer behavior Speakers featured in this Deep Dive Vijay Mannur Practice Head, Customer and Marketing Analytics, Quantiphi Vijay Mannur is a Practice Head at Quantiphi with 12+ years of experience in the field of Performance Marketing, Sales and Analytics. He leads the Customer and Marketing Analytics practice at Quantiphi, a leading Digital Transformation and AI solutions company. He has grown the practice at Quantiphi to encompass engineering teams building cutting edge solutions, delivery teams, and sales teams. He has delivered multiple large-scale digital transformation solutions to marketing teams of large Retail and FSI clients. Prior to Quantiphi, Vijay worked for companies like Media.net, Idea Cellular, and NEC Corporation. Daniel Lees Staff Partner Engineer, Google Cloud A Cloud Architect at Google, Daniel Lees was a Principal Architect in Financial Services Select helping Google’s most valued clients build in Google Cloud Platform before joining the Partner Engineering team in support of Google’s most important partners. He has extensive expertise in defined best practices, blueprints, security and compliance standards, and evangelism of reusable assets for cloud deployment in CICD pipelines with IoC working on both cloud native and hybrid application modernization. Before Google, he had 20 years of experience at HSBC Bank where he was the Chief Technical Architect for AWS Cloud globally, leading a small team of SME cloud architects. Other ResourcesRedefine customer and marketing analytics Google Cloud Marketing analytics & AI solutions Responsible AI practices
The full recording from this C2C Deep Dive includes panel discussion on:Defining terms for repatration, total cost of ownership (TCO), operational expenditures (OPEX), and capital expenditures (CAPEX) Understanding motivations, payoff, and pitfalls of repatriating workloads off of cloud Workload considerations from applied knowledge at Twitter and EtsyWho spoke at this event? Miles Ward CTO, SADA Rich Hoyer Director of Customer FinOps, SADA Keyur Govande VP Infrastructure and Chief Architect, Etsy Nick Tornow Platform Lead, Twitter
Throughout the past year, the question of whether, when, and how workplaces will reopen and work will resume onsite has guided decision-making and defined goals for organizations and individuals alike. As the year ends, answers to this question have begun to emerge, but most if not all of us will be defining these goals and making these decisions in and out of the workplace for years to come. As we at C2C look back at the year’s accomplishments and wins, we’re taking stock of the insights we’ve gathered from collaborators and guests regarding the future of work.C2C hosted a series of events this year exploring the future of work, and produced a wealth of on-demand content on the topic. The series began in the Spring, with The Future of Work from an Executive View, a C2C Navigator featuring Peter High, president of Metis Strategy, and Kelly Ducourty, Vice President of GTM strategy at Google Cloud. This high-level conversation covered far-reaching topics including customer needs and business use cases as drivers of innovation, optimizing technology to address challenges unique to remote work, and framing crisis as an opportunity to reset. For an overview of the topics covered, read our post recapping the discussion, or watch High’s keynote presentation below:High and Ducourty also returned for a second conversation on the future of work and company culture, this time joined by Brigette McInnis-Day, VP of HR at Google Cloud:Between events in this Navigator series, C2C sat down with Laurie Klasner of Quantiphi for a one-on-one conversation, also about company culture in the future of work. Klasner highlighted a number of efforts the company took to foster a healthy working culture, including “Zen days” without remote meetings and new programs around wellness and diversity. This conversation is available as an audio recording and as a written article:For the next event in this series, C2C invited Alphabet Global Chief Commercial officer Tom Galizia, MediaAgility CTO Swarraj Kulkarni, Quantiphi Co-founder Ritesh Patel, and SADA CEO Tom Safoian for a panel discussion on the topic of client empathy. Many of interviewer Sabina Bhasin’s questions recalled moments from her conversation with Klausner, particularly regarding Quantiphi’s largely India-based workforce.Patel described the help coming to India from around the world as “very humbling” but noted that the working environment in the country remained “extremely tough.” The four executives described empathy as both a challenge and a necessity of working remotely in a time of crisis, and identified time management, recalibration and resilience as skills they wanted to bring to their workplaces in the future. Watch the full conversation below:Many of the themes that emerged throughout the series came up again in the final event, a panel on employee experience featuring Patti Althen and Rujul Pathak of Workday and Greg Sly of Verizon. Empathy and diversity were raised as central concerns, as were findability, employee empowerment, and implementation of new workplace measures across industry lines. The full conversation is embedded below, and our post-event takeaway summarizes and provides clips of the key moments.These conversations generated valuable insights, but even though the future of work has arrived, many new developments are still to come. What concerns are most pressing for you as a new year approaches? What does the future of work hold for you? Join our community to tell us your story and let us know what kinds of conversations we should be starting next.
The Google Partner ecosystem is a global network of experts using Google’s resources to support and augment their cloud skills and bring those skills and resources directly to customers. In this live event with our UK and Ireland Connect group, Simon Aldous, Google Cloud’s UK and Ireland Director of Channel Sales, and Richard Regan, Google Cloud’s UK and Ireland Head of Partner Engineering, join our team leaders for an in-depth session exploring the process and the benefits of becoming a Google Cloud partner.Topics covered during this session include:(5:20) - Channel and Partner Team (6:40) - Partner Engineering Team (10:00) - Why use Google Cloud partners? (11:45) - Partner Advantage Program (14:25) - Google Cloud Certifications (17:50) - Discovery (19:15) - Delivery (20:20) - Management (22:55) - Partner investment in market segment (23:55) - Question and Answer session with Russell Warman of Auto Trader UKIf you enjoyed this session, don’t miss our C2C Connect UK&I Holiday Special! Follow the link below to register:
Michael Pytel (@mpytel), co-founder and CTO at Fulfilld, shares stories from the team’s wins and losses in building out this intelligent managed warehouse solution.The recording from this Deep Dive includes:(2:00) Introduction to Fulfilld (10:15) Natural Language Processing use case for warehouse guidance (11:40) Generating directions using Dijkstra’s algorithm (commonly used in mapping applications) to connect the shortest route between two points (13:10) Generating audio guidance for a custom map using Google Cloud Run and Text-to-Speech API (14:15) Using WaveNet to create natural-sounding, multi-language voices for text-to-speech scenarios (16:45) Building a digital assistant with Google Dialogflow Intent matching and other features Other use case examples of Google Dialogflow (21:30) Integrating voice while building applications on Flutter (22:35) Natural language alerts for warehouse operations (23:50) Big ideas: looking to the future of Fulfilld Other ResourcesWaveNet: A generative model for raw audio Google Cloud hands-on labs Google documentation: Creating voice audio files Build voice bots for mobile with Dialogflow and Flutter | Workshop The Definitive Guide to Conversational AI with Dialogflow and Google Cloud Find the rest of the series from Fulfilld below:
This C2C Deep Dive was led by Sindhu Adini (@Sindhu Adini) , director of Google Cloud for HLS at SpringML, a C2C foundational platinum partner. Joining Sindhu from the Peerlogic team were CEO Ryan Miller (@ramill401) and Alex Maskovyak, engineering and product development executive.Peerlogic is an innovative provider of cloud communications, building better conversations and high production through the power of AI. Their products allow individuals to work more productively, teams to collaborate more freely, and organizations to better understand their data.The full recording from this session includes:(2:05) Speaker introductions (4:20) SpringML’s specializations and industry reach (6:50) An introduction to Peerlogic and how they are empowering dental practices with improved communications between staff and patients (12:05) Analyzing patient sentiment with AI and ML Adopting call center best practices and front desk assistance Identifying revenue leakage Benchmarking and understanding conversion opportunities (17:10) Overview of Peerlogic’s application (21:15) Google Cloud services and components used Choosing Google Cloud Spectrum of AI in the Google Cloud ecosystem Google Cloud Vertex AI for pre-trained APIs and end-to-end integration for data and AI (31:25) Architectural overview of the solution and model Data pipeline to ingest audio scripts and Google Cloud Speech-to-Text Enhanced augmentation of the solution using custom ML algorithms FireStore to authenticate AppEngine access only to Service Accounts (38:50) Key considerations for Machine Learning Identifying the business problem that needs to be solved How predictions are made Supervised learning (44:55) Custom patient call analysis modelWatch the full recording below: Connect with SpringML here in the C2C Community.
The C2C Navigators: Future of Work series gives you access to some of the top minds at Google Cloud, innovative customers, and industry leaders. For the third in this series, we invited four experts from Google Cloud Partner companies to the stage:Tom Galizia – Global Chief Commercial Officer, Alphabet Google, Deloitte Swarraj Kulkarni – CTO, MediaAgility Ritesh Patel – Co-Founder, Quantiphi Tony Safoian – CEO, SADAKey Discussion Points:How have Google Cloud partners responded to the pandemic’s impact on relationships with clients? Given what’s changed on a macro level, what changes have partners observed in everyday working life? Looking forward, how can leadership demonstrate resilience while increasing empathy and compassion toward users’ fundamental needs? How are partners working in virtual settings through challenging projects without being able to read body language or pick up on peripheral clues about their interest and engagement? What’s one superpower or super skill everyone should have to learn to stay relevant with the major shifts toward more virtual communications?Watch the entire conversation here: We will continue the conversation with special guest speakers from Verizon and Workday on Thursday, June 24.
As companies start putting pen-to-paper for a return-to-work model, companies like Quantiphi are committing to a “flexible future.” But what does that mean for company culture? On May 25, C2C will discuss corporate culture in the future of work with Kelly Ducourty, VP, GTM strategy and operations with Google, Brigette McInnis-Day, VP people operations at Google Cloud, and Peter High of Metis Strategy. They’ll cover questions like: What does the future hold for work-life integration as we return to the office? How are businesses reconsidering approaches to talent planning, learning, and innovation? What lessons learned over the past year can be used to address wellness and employee burnout? To tap into this more in advance of the Navigator, C2C sat down with Laurie Klausner, global head of marketing at Quantiphi, to discuss what culture means to Quantiphi, a global business with most of its workforce in India. Given the dire situation, and a need to ensure cohesion as a company, Klausner shared how they view culture now, supporting their multicultural team and what the future holds for work-life balance. Listen to the conversation below. Full transcript of the conversation below Sabina Bhasin, C2C Hi, everyone. I'm here with Laurie Klausner from Quantiphi, and we're talking about the future of work culture and how this changed our world. We're going to kick it off by just trying to understand a baseline of what company culture means and what success looks like? Laurie? Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi So I think company culture is so imperative in an organization that's growing. So at Quantiphi, one of the first things you'll hear when you join our team is that we refer to ourselves as the Quantiphi family. I think you don't necessarily know how to take that until you're here for a little while, and you realize that despite geographies, despite timezones, despite people from all different kinds of backgrounds, everybody really cares about each other, much like you hope is happening in a normal family. But it's really a phenomenal part of Quantiphi, and I have actually yet to meet anyone in person. But I still feel like I've really gotten to know people and I think that company culture comes from the four founders all the way down through everyone in the organization. Sabina Bhasin, C2CHow do you think, you know, enabling all these different tools and using Workspace and other ways that have helped you all come together as an organization? How has that sort of behavior in that pivot improved outcomes? And what do you think you guys will continue doing past this phase? Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi That was a lot that you just asked there, and I'll try and break it down a little bit. But so in the first part of your question, the tools, so we're a company that's based entirely on all of the G-Suite tools. So I think it was expanding the way we were using them already. So I think Google meet, like you and I are talking right now from two different states, two different places, it makes it very seamless, of course, it's not the same as if we were sitting together over lunch. But I think it's pretty good. It’s pretty easy to understand when someone's talking and you know when there are multiple people on a call, how to make sure you're communicating right or using the raise a hand. So I think as far as getting together, it's a very powerful toolset that we have in front of us. I think we have used it extensively throughout our organization prior to COVID. But I think as far as meetings, I think so many meetings that were in-person have now obviously shifted to being remote and online. I think, initially, people were wary, it's different, right? And I think you always naturally have people who talk more than others who have more confidence. But I think we have found ways to really try and draw people into the conversation, as you would do in person, we're finding ways to do that using the tools. But as far as we use Google Chat, you know, so I mean, you're constantly hearing from people regardless of where they are, and I think that's really been very powerful and allowed our organization that is global, still feel very connected. Sabina Bhasin, C2CYeah, so it sounds like some of those behaviors and those tools will be things that will be used, even if we start moving into more of a hybrid environment. Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi Yeah, Quantiphi is firmly committed to a flexible future. So our HR team and talent team are putting together what that looks like. But I don't think there will ever be a mandate for most positions at Quantiphi to be five days a week in the office. I think there will be a lot more flexibility. I think what we've learned, and as many organizations have is, you can have people be incredibly productive and work on their own schedules around the sort of parameters that you have dogs, kids conflicts, you know, laundry machines breaking, you know, whatever is going on, people can still do some incredible bodies of work. Sabina Bhasin, C2CMm-hmm. Yeah, definitely. I think that's one of the biggest lessons that some of these bigger companies have learned. You know, there's been a little bit of a movement from some of the smaller startup companies to say, you know, there is a better way that we can all work together, we can shift things to people's work, preferential work styles, and make we've learned that people can still be credibly productive despite the environments that they're in. Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi Yeah, I would just add one. I do think that it's, it's paramount to have flexibility. But I do think there is, there is something missing, and I'm just speaking from my personal experience from having, you know, for over 25 years of typically being in an office and often the headquarters of an organization. I think there are small things that just can't be replicated, and I think, as I said, Quantiphi is doing a great job. We have Zen days to allow people to step back from meetings; you know, we have all kinds of connection points that we've tried to make. But it's still not the same, and in fact, you know, there are a few of us who are past our second shot and past the two-week point, and for the first time, since I've been working, we'll be physically getting together and one of the offices here in Massachusetts. I’m really excited, even if it's just a handful of people to have that synergy that happens when you're in person that is important. So my hope, my personal hope, you know, for my team, and the way I think that Quantiphi works, and the way we will work with our partners and customers going forward, is that it is a hybrid. A blend of, you have flexibility, and you can accomplish your job, whatever that looks like, but that there is still some mechanism for people to physically get together because I do think other things come out of that that is really valuable. Sabina Bhasin, C2COh, absolutely. I couldn't agree more. I mean, so many of those hallway conversations at times is where the best ideas come up, or, you know, the morning coffee, and you can talk about your days, and you get to know your colleagues as humans. That gives you a little bit more appreciation for the impact they're bringing to the organization, which ultimately leads to better productivity and outcomes. Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiOur team here in North America, most of our team is based in India, but a fair number of us, a few 100 people are here in North America, and every other Friday we have a T.G.I F. The first part of it is always just dedicated to who's new who joined and, you know, they have to say a fun fact about themselves with their favorite foods are but, then it gets conversations going about, Oh, you like this? Or you want to bungee jump? Oh, I bungee jump, you know. And so then it starts the sidebar conversations that you're right, that normally would just happen in person. So, you know, it's, you know, a mechanism to get there, but not quite the same. Sabina Bhasin, C2CYeah, yeah. You touched on something really interesting there. So a lot of your teams are in India, too, right now, right? How are you guys dealing with, you know, the upheaval that your teammates are facing over there and ensuring a strong culture and instill trying to maintain and thrive? From a business perspective? Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi Yeah, we spend a lot of time trying to ensure right that it's true; I think 80 or 85% of our team is based in India. So there are separate peer groups that have been established, really to help with support, specifically around COVID, how to find resources, if people know where oxygen is and what hospitals have room, how to find certain drugs that are needed at this point, and even just support for somebody else to talk to during this time. Then the company they're really trying to ensure those team members, whether it's themselves who are sick, or somebody directly in their family has support to step away from their roles for a short period of time, with no worry about their roles. Quantiphi consistently makes it clear that taking care of yourself, taking care of your family, that's the most important thing. They’re really trying to ensure that people understand they can take that time and not worry about if I need to take two weeks off because I'm sick, or I'm caring for a parent that my job will be threatened that none of those things are worries at this point. I think that’s really shown compassion as an organization. It's hard to read some of the things going on, and here are some of the numbers of people just on our team who are out sick; it can be very overwhelming. Sabina Bhasin, C2CYeah, absolutely. I mean, how do you then, you know, as a receiver of some of that trauma and like hearing those experiences of your colleagues, like how do you also maintain and continue to thrive and ensure that you're, you know, able to pause and digest that? Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiYeah, and I think that's some of what we try and take these monthly Zen days. The goal here is really to have no meetings on a certain day and really be able to step back and think about what kind of work can I accomplish because I'm not on a call? And also, are there things I can do to help someone else or learn something else? I think that can be really valuable, where we're trying to ensure that even within my marketing team, within our sales team, and within the service delivery, the greater team, that there is an overlap of skills so that somebody can take that time away so we can ensure as best we can, at this time, that we are still having the output that Quantiphi is looking to deliver. So it's tricky, and I think you just, you know, certainly as a team leader myself, you know, we always just have to be cognizant of what somebody is going through. I'm sitting here in Massachusetts, but you know, someone in my team and Bangalore, Mumbai, or Trivandrum, they're experiencing something wholly different. You know, they haven't left their house in 19 days, and food is being delivered. But, you know, it's just you have to think about that, you know, if I'm out walking my dog, I have to realize, you know, I'm lucky, but they haven't had that chance to clear their head. So maybe they need to not join one extra meeting today, you know, to find ways to make sure that they can have some control, and still, you know, be able to focus because it can be hard, it's hard if you really don't have, you know, some outlets that you normally would. Sabina Bhasin, C2COh, my gosh, absolutely. I love that Quantiphi does the Zen days; that’s a really smart way to handle a hybrid environment during a really, you know, bizarre time that has caused a lot of upheavals and in many people's lives. Do you think that that has improved productivity or business outcomes overall, though, having the different tools and different ways to sort of manage all of these other parts that were once thought of as “this is your home life, you leave this here, and you come to work, and you're you are 100% plugged in?” Now there seems to be a shift in mindset to coming to work as your whole self and will support you in whatever way that looks? Can you talk to us a little bit about how that has improved outcomes in terms of just people feeling like they are valued, so they want to be more productive? Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiI do think so. I do think there have been so many positive things that have resulted here. We are in the process of adopting Google's #Iamremarkable programming, which is the empowerment of women or underserved voices within an organization. In fact, we have a kickoff session for that starting next week, and we have our first batch of people who are going to go through that training, you know, so I think there are ways to be heard. We also have implemented physical programs. So it's a five or six o'clock on a number of different afternoons, there's sort of stretching, or Pilates, or some dance moves that are all done virtually. One of the women on our team, it was something she had studied in college, and she just sort of raised her hand and said, it could be good, everybody sitting so much, how about if we try these programs? And you know, so it's small things. Last Friday, we had everybody just making these dance moves together. It's good. No one was recording like this because it wasn't necessarily pretty, but it was really human, and I think you touched on that word a minute ago, right? Everybody was also laughing at the end, too, right? It was it didn't matter if you had the right moves, there were dogs involved in kids, and everybody was just jumping around in their kitchens. It was really great. It was a really terrific program to have some levity, too. I think as far as tools and productivity; I think we have absolutely found that people can be productive anywhere and in any way, right? I think the one thing that makes me so encouraged about Quantiphi, and the way we are working with our partners, the way we're going to market, the future, is that I see here is that all of the good things will remain everything good that we have gained from you know, this remote time, this time working in a very different environment. Then we'll be able to layer on the things that we're missing, like traveling to see people when it's safe again, being in person; I think all of that will just complement the work structure that we've been able to have for the last year. Sabina Bhasin, C2CIn terms of the future of work and the conversation that we're going to be having with Quantiphi and other partners in June, what do you think some of the topics are going to center around? Can you share with our community anything they should be aware of going into that conversation? Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi Yeah, I mean, I think the conversation with Ritesh and the other leaders that you're going to be able to speak with, I think they're going to hit on so many really important themes.I think the main one is that we will really embrace everything that's worked, right, we everybody's become flexible. Everybody had to go through these pivots, you know, everyone, whether it's from shifting events to shifting the way we meet and communicate. Travel was a very big part of Quantiphi, obviously, as I've mentioned, we're a global company, and both are in person, our customer meetings, our partner meetings, everything was, you know, traveling so you gain some of the ability of not having to necessarily take a trip for one meeting where you would have, and I think people will have more things come together when they do get on a plane. Then when they do, you know, go to a new office, they'll have a number of things set up to make that valuable. I think people will really carve out that time for the connections, where you might travel and then right away hop to get back home. Then, because people have been home, maybe they'll spend a little bit longer. I think some of the other themes are just the way we have learned to embrace these tools. We'll continue to use those. I think the way companies have really set out targets for what's reasonable, it's just it's a little bit different, right? I think we will have to find a way to ensure that people do sort of shut-down at the end of the day, too. I find that as most of my direct reports are in India, and well, it's fantastic. They're responding to me when I ask a question, a lot of times, I say, “Okay, now, now stop talking to me till tomorrow, because, you know, it's 11 o'clock at night, your time.”It’s great that the technology is there, but I do think we're going to have to find ways to have boundaries so that people don't feel the burden to respond immediately to everything. Maybe it's ways that we'll flag information, you know, messages can come in different ways, if something is truly urgent, versus, “Hey, this was on my mind, so I want to put it in your window, or your email, but you don't have to think about this right away.” I think we'll have to find a way to be sensitive that people don't feel wrong for walking away from work for some, you know, for periods of time, because that's really important. Sabina Bhasin, C2CI couldn't agree more, and I'm hoping that some of these habits and some of these learnings actually continue, post-pandemic, right, then we don't start defaulting back to what we've always known. That's sort of the concern; I think that many people who are kind of on the execution side of work are thinking about like we've developed different boundaries and habits now. But how long will that last? And will that change? With consulting and traveling coming back, is that pace going to also return, or some of those learnings going to also filter into that? If we've seen that business can still be productive and successful as Quantiphi has been, then is that something that we can ensure for the long term? What do you think? Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiI do think so. I think that's something that Ritesh will probably cover, but I do think we will see, travel again, but I do think as you said, I think it's going to be different. I think it won't necessarily be Monday to Friday, every week, right? It's interesting, when I first joined, Aasif, one of the founders, and I were talking, and I said it was really weird for me to have, you know, it had been four months since I had been on a plane when I first joined Quantiphi, and I said: “it felt really weird.” It was just a very weird feeling for somebody who traveled very regularly. In the three months before the pandemic, he had made four trips to India, and three other trips, you know, massive travel time, and he said, “for right now, it's a really nice change, right, you're home, and you're grounded, and you know, have time with your family in a very different way and, of course, you're still able to work.”So I think it will look different. I think we will always travel. I think people benefit from being physically together. I think there's a connection that can happen. One thing Ritesh mentioned was, if in a normal sales cycle, or working with a prospect on a normal time we would have four in-person meetings to lead up to a sale. He anticipates it would be more like one or two now that it will be that hybrid we keep talking about. There'll be some meetings just like this, where you and I are talking like this, and then maybe beginning or end of the connection we would meet in person, you know, so I think that's a great thing. I think like we said earlier, I think leveraging all of what's good, and bringing back the things that have really been missed, that just where there's just something missing from the way we connect as people, I think that'll be great if we can get to that balance. As you said, find ways to keep some parameters around it. Sabina Bhasin, C2CYeah, that that sounds good. I'm really looking forward to that conversation with Ritesh and all the other partners that are going to be joining. Well, this has been a really great conversation. Thank you so much, Laurie. Before we wrap up, I am just curious, is there anything else that you wanted to add that we didn't get to yet? Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiSo you just use the perfect word in your wrap-up there use the word curious. So that makes me think about we started a program back in February called the curious writer’s contest.What we realized is we have some brilliant thought leaders here at Quantiphi, but there were other voices that we didn’t really hear from. We really wanted them to have a place that they could be heard, whether it was their experience with a customer, whether it's some kind of new programming that they were learning or doing, or just how they were handling COVID, or how they were where they were living and how it was going for them, so, we started this content. We had some simple parameters, but basically, write a blog post for us, it could be about myriad topics, and we would help them wordsmith it; we really just wanted to hear their thoughts. And we have had incredible responses. Of course, we made it a little competitive, we have a leaderboard, and we give out prizes, and we got all kinds of submissions. From really incredibly heartfelt poems about how this was going to some brilliant really in-depth programming skills that someone's learned, and some of these are now public on our blog. The overwhelming response makes me realize, I think many times people just need to know where they can share, so o I think Quantiphi’s done a good job really trying to hear from everyone, even while we're all remote. I hope that the program will continue running, even if we're seeing each other five days a week; I think it's still nice to have a place that people can go and write and share thoughts in a different way. Sabina Bhasin, C2CDefinitely, I feel like we could talk all day, and I'm hoping that we get a chance to talk again. Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiI hope so too. Yeah. Sabina Bhasin, C2CSo everybody, be sure to come back and check out our future work is all about the partner perspective; until then, take care. On June 10, Ritesh Patel, Co-Founder of Quantiphi, will join Tony Safoian, CEO of SADA; Swaraj Kulkarni, CTO of MediaAgility and Tom Galizia, Global Chief Commercial Officer Alphabet Google at Deloitte, to discuss client empathy during digital exhaustion. Register here: https://community.c2cglobal.com/events/the-future-of-work-and-client-empathy-51
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