C2C Monthly Recap: June 2022
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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
“I was at the hotel one morning working at a hospital in Missouri, noticed blood on my t-shirt, and said ‘What’s that about?’” Sitting at a high-top conference table outside the Boston Common auditorium on the fourth floor of Google’s Cambridge, MA office, Michael Preston (@Preston14) of Healthcare Triangle briskly recounted his struggle to find effective treatment for melanoma. Before he was able to eliminate the cancer with immunotherapy, he explained, he underwent chemotherapy and experienced near-fatal complications. “That medicine that I qualified for because of my gene mutation nearly killed me,” he said. “How do you get genomics to reflect how a patient will interact with a medicine, not just whether or not they qualify for that medicine based on their genomic profile?”Jonathan SheffiPreston had come to the office for a C2C Connect Live event for Healthcare and Life Sciences professionals in the Boston-Cambridge area. This last question is the same question Preston asked Jonathan Sheffi (@sheffi), a director of Product Strategy formerly of Google and Veeva Systems, who had taken the stage earlier for a presentation and panel. Sheffi’s presentation focused more broadly on use cases for cloud technology in genomics and clinical trial matching, but the content resonated with Preston enough that he was moved to share his personal experience with the rest of the group. This kind of personal connection to technical and business-related discussions is typical of the HCLS space, Preston said. “Something will resonate, whether it’s my grandmother, my grandfather, my neighbor down the street, or me. If you can’t bring your own perspective into a conversation with a client or a partner, then it’s too generic.”Sheffi agreed: “Working in healthcare and life sciences, no matter what industry you work in, everyone’s a patient, and everyone knows some patients.” Before he began working in technology, Sheffi was able to experience firsthand what it’s like to serve in a patient-facing role. “I was actually a pharmaceutical sales rep early in my career, and met patients who would come up to me and would say, ‘your drug saved my life,’” he recalled. “I feel weird taking the credit, because I didn’t develop it, I didn’t manufacture it, I was just making sure that they had access and had it available to them, but there is nothing quite like meeting a patient who’s actually been impacted by your work.” Although Sheffi has held executive-level positions at several major tech companies, he has organized his career around the opportunities he sees to serve patients and meet their needs. As he put it, “I’m here because I’m excited about what technology can do for patients.” Guests mingling before the eventThe program at the event, which included presentations from Sheffi, Google Head of Cloud Sales Engineering Yee-Chen Tjie, Taylor Lehman, Director of the Office of the CISO at Google, and Luke Ge, an AI Solutions specialist at Intel, and a panel discussion with Ge, Tjie, and Sheffi, was largely technically focused. However, patient experience dominated the conversations that followed, which Sheffi and Preston both cited as a unique value of a community space for HCLS professionals in the tech field. “Another gentlemen talked about his parent, who had cancer,” Sheffi recalled. “He had to push for a more medically appropriate treatment option that wasn’t initially recommended by the physician.” “Working in healthcare and life sciences, no matter what industry you work in, everyone’s a patient, and everyone knows some patients.” Sheffi was referring to Raj Tuliani (@tuliani), a customer engineer with Google Life Sciences who shared his experience caring for his sick parents during the panel discussion that closed the program. “I was trying to give my perspective as a patient advocate, as a patient caregiver,” he says. “There’s a good use case for a patient advocate to use the genetic data that’s being given as a way to guide treatment, not only from the provider perspective, but from the patient side as well.” Tuliani had wanted to be a doctor from a young age, and when he started at Google he had already worked as a senior director of technology at Anthem and at Johns Hopkins, and had also taken time off from work to be a full-time caregiver to his parents. As a patient advocate, Tuliani appreciates that Google’s life sciences products are “are all about helping everyone,” with “the emphasis on helping and everyone.”A focus on patient experience is that much more impactful at an event where technical and business professionals are convening to share ideas and make new connections. Once the guests started opening up in the room during the prepared program, they were primed to engage candidly during the networking reception that followed. Making himself vulnerable in front of the others in attendance only made Preston more eager to connect one-on-one with his colleagues and peers. In the middle of describing the security risks his clients in the small- to medium-sized community hospital space face when they don’t have resources like a CISO, he caught sight of Lehman walking past. “I’m going to go hunt him down and talk to him more,” he said. Extra Credit:
Two years ago, Netflix launched NetFX, its premiere desktop-as-service (DaaS) offering. Netflix describes NetFX as “a cloud-based platform that will make it easier for vendors, artists and creators to connect and collaborate on visual effects (VFX) for our titles.” The platform provides virtual workstations, integrated storage, and full access to secure rendering in a connected environment, which Netflix hopes will help it become a leading producer of visual effects (VFX) and original animated content.To create stunning animation, Netflix artists need access to specialized applications, petabytes of images and raw video files, and enough computing power to render completed files. Multiple artists work in teams, and each VFX frame can take up to 30 hours to produce. With more and more of these artists working remotely, Netflix needed to look for a solution that could deliver similar security, performance, and functional characteristics to the workstations available in its studio headquarters. To do so, the company turned to DaaS. What is DaaS? Desktop-as-service (DaaS) delivers a unified, centrally managed computing experience to users on almost any internet-connected device. DaaS doesn’t require buying any hardware and poses no worries about storage security or maintenance. DaaS also eliminates much of the expense usually associated with managing and maintaining mobile computer users. Users can run hard-powered applications, including video and graphic applications, on a relatively low-powered portable device with no freezing or buffering, allowing for secure encrypted access to apps and desktops from anywhere on any device. With DaaS, Netflix can deploy apps on virtual desktops to hundreds of artists around the world in minutes. Benefits of DaaS Netflix profits from DaaS in the following ways. Upfront investment: Managers shift from major long-term capital expenses (CAPEX) to daily operating expenses (OPEX) as they adopt the pay-as-you-go model, which cuts office expenses like electricity, cabling and maintenance. The virtual desktop also helps Netflix minimize the costs of office infrastructure, along with cabling and desktop maintenance on their premises. Physical and digital security: DaaS providers store data in high-security data centers that are under continuous surveillance. All information is stored under multiple safeguards like firewalls, multi-factor authentication, intrusion detection and prevention, and 256-bit data encryption. Updating patches are simplified and unified. No data is stored on the mobile devices. If a device is lost or stolen, data access can be revoked immediately. Business continuity: DaaS providers offer DRaaS service, whereby providers replicate the company’s data and apps in multiple data centers at different locations, to safeguard against natural disasters. NetFX and Google Cloud DRaaS Netflix piloted a beta version of its NetFX platform in Canada, and recently unveiled a working template of NetFX in Mumbai. The company said it plans to make the platform available in more countries “where infrastructure can be deployed.”Whether due to extreme weather or to cutting a critical cable, Netflix must be prepared for anything that disrupts operations. It will want to recover as much data as possible in the shortest time possible, without impacting operations. For that, Netflix regards the Google Cloud Platform as the best environment, because it offers time-tested disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). Netflix uses Google Cloud VPN as conduit for connecting NetFX to Google Cloud, where data can be copied to Cloud Storage for rapid and cost-effective data recovery. This helps Netflix return to full operations rapidly following disasters, avoid regulatory risks, avoid data losses, keep customers happy, and maintain its reputation.About its DaaS solution, Netflix says: ”NetFX is a cutting-edge platform which will provide collaborators frictionless access to infrastructure to meet Netflix’s demand for VFX services around the world as our library of original content continues to grow.” Extra Credit:
An API is an interface that allows other isolated interfaces to communicate with one another, by integrating all information into a single, shareable source. In the context of healthcare, such devices aggregate masses of patient, government, and research data from internal and external sources across one single pane of glass. The ramifications of this functionality are significant. Researchers that need data for detecting breast cancer or diabetes no longer need to travel from institutions to libraries for their sources. Instead, all they need to do is access one centralized hub. Hospital and healthcare managers can analyze live data for ML-programmed insights. They can also provide faster, more up-to-date patient information. Insurance providers can use these same analytics to analyze and adjust patient information in bulk. Stakeholders involved in patient care and billing can share medical records, reducing error and allowing hospital staff to focus on healing, rather than paperwork.This technology also makes a difference on the individual level. Patients can have safe and convenient access to their data for more informed health decisions, anytime, anywhere, mostly from their smartphones. Doctors and nurses can more easily access government and research data that might help them make smarter diagnoses. Application developers can work on one centralized platform, enabling them to implement institutional upgrades and updates with half the usual time and cost. Managers can adhere to changing HIPAA standards while driving innovation in healthcare. The Google Cloud Healthcare API The Google Cloud Healthcare API meets the latest HL7, DICOM, and FHIR standards, making it uncommonly secure. According to an IDC InfoBrief titled “The Role of Customer Experience Networks in Delivering Value-Based Digital Transformation,” one of the biggest issues healthcare APIs have is how they handle security and regulatory requirements. Healthcare APIs are more vulnerable to security issues and their ramifications than APIs from most other industries, since they deal with sensitive patient information, accessed by diverse stakeholders and integrated with third-party integrations.Google Cloud assures vendors that its API “protect[s] your healthcare data with security and privacy controls you can trust.” Its system uses REST-based APIs, making the system faster and more lightweight, with increased scalability, perfect for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, such as for patients (or providers) to access health records via their mobiles. McKesson Corporation and Google Cloud In 2019, McKesson selected Google Cloud as its preferred cloud provider. A Fortune 6 company, McKesson is a global leader in healthcare supply chain management solutions, retail pharmacy, community oncology and specialty care, and healthcare information technology. The company’s objectives were to “create and modernize next generation solutions to deliver better healthcare, one patient at a time.”To that end, McKesson adopted Google Cloud Platform’s managed services, along with healthcare-specific services that included the Google Cloud Healthcare API, to enhance its platforms and applications. The company transferred its on-premise resources to Google Cloud, using the Google Cloud Healthcare API to ingest, store, analyze, and integrate the company’s healthcare data across its cloud applications. It also used Google’s analytics function to make data-driven decisions for product manufacturing, specialty drug distribution, and pharmacy retail operations. “This partnership [with Google] will not only accelerate and expand our strategic objectives,” said Andrew Zitney, senior vice-president and CTO of McKesson Technology, “it will also help fuel next-generation innovation by driving new technologies, advancing new business models, and delivering insights.”Offerings like the Google Cloud Healthcare API will continue to impact the healthcare industry in various ways, but across potential industry use cases, data production overall will become more accurate and storage more secure and safe. In short, hospitals, healthcare systems, insurers, and life sciences companies have a better chance at increasing their productivity and efficacy with these API integrations. 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
End user computing devices account for 1% of greenhouse gas emissions. This may not sound like a lot, but it’s far too much if we want to change the course of our planet’s future. Fortunately, sustainability is a top-ranking trend across the business landscape, and Michael Wyatt, Head of Google’s Chrome Enterprise in EMEA, was happy to join C2C Global’s Clean Clouds Happy Earth event to tell our members about using Chrome OS to practice Sustainable IT.Chrome has committed to more sustainable manufacturing, consumption, and downstream practices for managing its products, integrating sustainability into the entire device lifecycle. Chrome’s manufacturing partners are producing more sustainable devices, including the first made entirely from ocean-bound plastics. Chromebooks also use up to 46% less energy than competitors. If other vendors adopt these practices, and customers make it a priority to invest in these resources, the goal of a sustainable future will be that much easier to achieve.After reviewing Chrome’s commitments, Wyatt introduced two case studies submitted by Chrome customers. Kingston & Sutton Council partnered with Citrix, Chrome, and Acer to update its systems and reduce their energy consumption by one third. Nordic Choice Hotels converted 2,000 windows PCs to chrome using OS Flex in one weekend after suffering a ransomware attack to adopt more secure software without investing in any new machines. The company distributed one-pagers to all of its hotels and each location’s staff migrated their machines onsite. As these stories demonstrate, sustainability is achievable for any organization willing to work proactively with Chrome.Watch a full video of Wyatt’s presentation below: Extra Credit:
Trevor Marshall (@tmarshall) had just left the stage after over an hour of nonstop conversation, but he was ready for another interview. The CTO of Current, an aptly-named disruptor in the developing fintech space, had come to the event to participate in a panel discussion with Spenser Paul of DoiT (@spenserpaul), Michael Brzezinski of AMD (@mike.brzezinski), and Michael Beal of Data Capital Management (@MikeBeal), immediately following a one-on-one fireside chat with Paul, who also brought his labrador Milton onstage with him for both sessions. Now Marshall was sitting at a wooden dining table in an open workspace overlooking Manhattan’s Little Island floating park, enthusiastically describing a proof-of-concept his company is running with Google Cloud’s C2D compute instances, an offering powered by AMD’s EPYC processors.“It’s cool to actually be able to put a face to some of this technology,” he said. “We have a lot of compute-bound instances, and for me, I was like, ‘Oh, it’s the C2D guy!’” Brzezinski had discussed AMD’s role in bringing C2D instances to Google Cloud customers, but Marshall hadn’t known until the two were seated onstage together that his fellow panelist is directly involved in selling the same technology he hopes to adopt. “I’m going to be reaching out to that guy,” he said. “I do have some questions. That will actually unlock some progress in our stack, and I think that’s pretty sweet.” Trevor Marshall of Current, Spenser Paulof Doit, and Paul’s Labrador, MiltonMarshall’s positivity and excitement to collaborate reflected the prevailing atmosphere at C2C Connect Live, New York City, the most recent of C2C Global’s regional face-to-face events for Google Cloud customers and partners, this one hosted at Google’s 8510 building in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The scheduled program put Marshall in conversation with Brzezinski, AMD’s Global Sales Manager, Paul, DoiT’s head of Global Alliances, and Beal, Data Capital Management’s CEO, on the topic of innovation and cost optimization on Google Cloud. These sessions were designed as a starting point for the reception that followed, where the panelists and guests shared their stories and explored the topics discussed in more depth.“You get an opportunity to say the things you feel like people are interested in, and then you get to talk with them afterward,” said Brzezinski. “They’ll come and ask you more about what you said, or say, ‘you mentioned this one thing, but I want to know more about something different.’” “You collide two atoms together, you create something new. You collide two people together and have an open discussion, you learn something new, get new insight.” Thomson Nguy (@thomson_nguy), Vice President of Sales in the Americas at Aiven, was grateful to be able to meet both Brzezinski and Beal in person, having worked with both companies, AMD as a vendor and Data Capital Management as a customer, but only remotely. “We’re an AMD customer, we’re a Google customer, but also we’ve got one of our customers [at the event] that can actually use the price performance that AMD can drive, and so it’s actually being able to connect relationships along the whole value chain,” he said. “Working together as partners, we can actually create real value for the customers.” Customer conversations outside Google’sGoblin King AuditoriumNguy particularly appreciated being able to make these connections in an informal setting, where sales was not top of mind for him or his team. When he and Beal met, before talking shop, the two reminisced about Harvard Business School, where both earned their MBAs. “This event was very natural,” said Nguy. “It wasn’t like going to an AWS summit, where you get lost in 10,000 people at the Javitz center. It’s a very intimate place that lets you connect and talk with people, and it has that really cool vibe, a community vibe that I really appreciate.” Faris Alrabi (@faris.alrabi), one of Aiven’s Sales Team Leads in the Americas, wholeheartedly agreed. At most events, he said, he feels obligated to pitch, whereas, at C2C Connect Live, he went out of his way not to.Attendees repeatedly echoed these sentiments. In conversation with Nguy in front of a spread of refreshments that depleted rapidly over the course of the reception, Geoff MacNeil of Crowdbotics, another company that brought multiple team members out to the event, attributed the unique value of this intimate setting to the possibility of chance encounters. “Collisions create innovation,” he said. “You collide two atoms together, you create something new. You collide two people together and have an open discussion, you learn something new, get new insight.” Nguy and MacNeil also exchanged information to discuss opportunities to partner in the future.New business deals aside, however, the ability to meet and share ideas and impressions in person, guests agreed, was reason enough to attend already. “Even if we left this event without getting a single lead,” said Nguy, “the experience of being here and understanding our customers and the way they think and the way they talk in a lot fuller context, I thought that was super valuable.” C2C Will be hosting many more face-to-face events in the coming months. To connect with Google Cloud customers in your area and spark more innovation for your company, register for these upcoming events 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:
Early last year, Marriott International, Inc. introduced various smart kiosks at several Marriott venues to eliminate the need for in-person interactions. These grab-and-go kiosks have everything from snacks, beverages, and sundries to piping hot coffee, fresh sandwiches, sweet indulgences, yogurt, cereal, and fruit. Other Marriott smart kiosks provide keys to your hotel rooms and help you map out your itinerary. Don’t have cash or credit for your purchases? Don’t worry. Marriott kiosks also accept contactless Bluetooth connection for mobile pay. According to Chard the Tech Guy “These contactless kiosks are the wave of the future.” Use case: Marriott International Hotel, Hangzhou, China Visitors to China use Marriott’s smart kiosks to check in for reservations and pick up their room keys. The machines are powered by facial-recognition technology and work in tandem with Marriott Bonvoy apps, where guests have previously paid for rooms. Before departure, guests use those same machines for contactless check-out. The whole process displaces traditional long lines with less than a minute. Smart Kiosk Technology Smart kiosks are everywhere. They serve hot pies and pizza in Ottawa, Canada and jars of fresh salad in six U.S. states. They’re also used in the education sector buying school meals, printing class schedules, renting or purchasing books, registering for classes, and checking exam grades. In healthcare institutions, post-offices, (or other organizations across industries), these kiosks are used to schedule appointments. Airports use passport kiosks to slash average wait time by half, according to Global Gateway Alliance. In retail, these kiosks provide consumers with brand information, directions, self-checkout, and price lookup, leading to shorter lines, boosted revenue, lower labor costs, and increased customer satisfaction.Naturally, smart kiosks have their issues too. They break down, stall, and sometimes return inaccurate responses. Mostly, though, they’re controversial because they displace certain human jobs. In 2018, employees at Marriott International went on strike across the U.S. to demand a say in decisions related to the adoption of new technologies. For kiosks to maximally benefit Marriott International, the hotel will have to successfully integrate its workers with its robots.Marriott International uses Google Cloud to create experiential memories for its customers across 19 brands in 81 countries. Objectives include monitoring news and popular events; real-time analytics on Marriott’s hotel bookings worldwide and where they’re coming from; a calendar of cultural events; and YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds.Have you ever used a smart kiosk? Can you think of any other Google Cloud retail or travel industry use cases? Reply below or write a post to our community to let us know. Extra Credit:
Our team always says that the “C”’s in C2C are up for interpretation. Whether we’re connecting to customers, connecting customers to communities, connecting companies to the cloud, or enabling communities to connect, C2C exists to facilitate these connections and foster community and growth. All Google Cloud customers have valuable experiences and insights to share within and among one another, no matter their location, their demographic, or even their species. With all of the above in mind, C2C is proud to announce that April 1, 2022 marks the official launch of C2C’s newest Google Cloud Customer Community: Cat2Cat. JellyCommunity Manager, C2CAs we open up this new section of our community, please give a big welcome and a healthy amount of head scratches to C2C’s newest community manager, Jelly. He is a good boy, having previously provided support and socialization training to stray fosters for housecat readiness. Like some of the other community managers you can expect to meet in C2C, Jelly fuses his connection-minded spirit with his significant experience using Google Cloud products. Jelly joins us from happn, where he worked as a product architect to upgrade the app’s infrastructure to Google Cloud Platform. Happn’s app uses geolocation information to notify users—whether people or outdoor cats roaming the neighborhood—when they’ve crossed paths, allowing them to connect afterward. To fully scale the application, terabytes of data were transferred to servers hosted in GCP data centers, using Google Compute Engine for additional functionality. Read happn’s full case study here. Throughout history, cats have been recognized variously as exalted souls protected from harm by law, familiars to witches and other beings blessed with magical powers, and immortal creatures possessed of multiple lives. Today, we recognize these early mythological depictions of cats as attempts to recognize their facility with the extraordinary technologies that govern the world we live in. Cats may not be able to do magic or live forever, but in recent years they have proven especially adept at harnessing the power of the cloud to host their software and data, build their own cloud-native applications, and adopt digital architecture to transform their businesses. Read on below for some detailed examples of how cats representing some of Google Cloud’s biggest customer companies are incorporating Google Cloud Products into transformative technical and business initiatives. CheddarCloud Data Architect, Mondelez InternationalWith a name like hers, Cheddar was destined to become a subject matter expert in the field of snacking. She has been collecting data on snack brands and their products her entire life, and she is grateful to have the opportunity to put this expertise to use at Mondelez International, the largest snacking company in the world. Thanks in large part to Cheddar’s efforts, Mondelez recently adopted the Google Cloud tech stack to transform its data collection and analysis to allow for personalized insights on cat customer experiences. As a lifelong snacker, Cheddar understands the Mondelez customer experience as well as anyone. Now, with Google Cloud, she is developing data solutions that will model this customer experience for every cat in search of the perfect snack. Read Mondelez International’s full case study here. LunaMachine Learning and Data Engineer, Johnson & JohnsonLike many cats, Luna has very little patience for bathtime. However, she does believe that grooming is essential to the leisurely life of a cat, which is why she wanted to bring her expertise building machine learning models to healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson, known most widely for its hair care products. J&J recently started working with Google’s Cloud Talent Solution to rebuild its careers portal. Luna, knowing that cat baths are projects not to be mismanaged, was eager to take the lead on this project. Read Johnson & Johnson’s full case study here. LeiaLead Engineer, Stores and Supply Chain, TargetAs a busy consumer looking for the best products to support her many hobbies—eating fish, drinking milk, and finding the most opportune spots for a nap—Leia is inspired by the ways Google Cloud technology can improve customer experience. Target has employed products like Google Kubernetes Engine and Compute Engine to deliver enhanced convenience for inventory management and online commerce. Leia’s work is also impacted by cross-team collaboration, working with her canine colleague, Chewi, whose work focuses on serverless technology for mobile app development to empower store associates. Read Target’s full case study here. Cats are proud and particular animals. We don’t always think of them as natural community builders. However, their characteristic skill and grace makes Google Cloud’s adaptable and dynamic platform a perfect fit for their technology needs. Our continuing mission at C2C is to connect cloud users, no matter how cuddly or sassy they may be. As long as cats are using cloud technology to solve their business problems, C2C will be here to remind them that every cat is welcome on Google Cloud.
On Saturday, March 12, 2022, C2C hosted a fireside chat featuring Todd Walters, Enterprise Architect at Eli Lilly, in conversation with Google Customer Engineer Cori Peele. This live, interactive session was jointly organized by C2C Global and BDPA for decision-makers weighing considerations and pursuing use cases specific to the healthcare and life sciences industry. In the course of well over an hour, Peele and Walters discussed this topic in significant depth, in the contexts of Walters’ personal career and cloud journeys and the healthcare and life sciences industry at large. Topics covered in this fireside chat include: (8:45) Todd Walters background and current role (14:00) Todd Walters cloud journey (18:00) Changes in networking and core compute infrastructure over time (34:30) Modern Application Development and CI/CD (41:10) Architectural perspectives for hybrid cloud and multi-cloud (49:00) Environmental costs of cloud computing (56:00) Example of a solution on the cloud addressing a business problem (e.g. Translate - public story) Watch the full recording of this conversation below:
People with COVID-19 are typically advised to self-isolate for two weeks, with some patients needing comprehensive home care. Mayo Clinic's Center for Connected Care originally designed its Remote Patient Monitoring Program to be used for patients with chronic conditions. Now it has adapted the model for patients with COVID-19.Quarantined Mayo Clinic patients participating in the Remote Patient Monitoring Program receive medical devices they use to screen and electronically transmit their vital signs. A team of remote nurses regularly monitors the patients’ health assessment data and contacts the patients if their conditions worsen, or if they may require support. How the Remote Patient Monitoring Program Works Mayo’s Remote Patient Monitoring Program serves two categories of patients: Patients who are at moderate to high risk for complications are given remote patient monitoring kits with blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, pulse oximeters, and a scale. Two to four times a day, patients use these devices to screen and process their vital signs to Mayo Clinic through the tablets they receive with their kits. Mayo’s Patient Monitoring nurses monitor these vital signs and call patients to ask if if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea. Patients who are at low risk for complications monitor their conditions each day through the Mayo Clinic app. They receive a daily alert reminding them to provide their health assessments to their Mayo Patient Monitoring team. What Is Remote Monitoring? Remote patient monitoring allows physicians and healthcare facilities to track outpatient progress in real time. Caregivers also use this technology for geriatric wellness monitoring. Devices used for remote patient monitoring include wearable fitness trackers, smart watches, ECG monitors, blood pressure monitors, and glucose monitors for diabetes. Collected data is electronically transmitted to the patient’s doctors for assessment and recommendations. Benefits of this technology include: Remote care reduces burden for healthcare practitioners and healthcare organizations. Hospitals and clinics save on operational costs by reducing readmissions, staff engagement, and in-person visits. Remote patient devices enable early detection of deterioration and comorbidities, thereby reducing emergency visits, hospitalizations, and the duration of hospital stays. According to the Financial Times, remote patient technology could save the U.S. a total of $6 billion per year. A more recent scientific report calculated $361 in savings per patient per day, or around $13,713 in total savings per patient per year. Results Mayo Clinic’s Remote Patient Monitoring Program has reduced its caseload from 800 Covid patients to 350 patients with intensive needs. These patients were connected to 1-2 physicians per shift who monitored their symptoms and escalated care as needed.One such patient reported: “[This program] was our lifeline…. It just took some of that fear away, because we knew that there was somebody still there taking care of us with our vital signs. It motivated us to do better on getting well.” The Impact of Google Cloud Mayo Clinic uses Google Cloud and Google Health to positively transform patient and clinician experiences, improve diagnostics and patient outcomes, and conduct innovative clinical research. In addition to building its data platform on Google Cloud, Mayo uses Google Health to create machine-learning models for assessing symptoms of serious and complex diseases.
Reducing Scope 2 and Scope 3 carbon emissions can be complicated for global organizations; the process can be long and expensive, and it can be difficult to prove the return on investment. Hearing from leading experts in this field can make an immense impact on your plans. During this event C2C’s Uk and Ireland community heard from Trinity Lloyd, Energy Transition and Sustainability Specialist at Google Cloud, and Eric Jen, CEO and Founder of Ren Energy. The two discussed how technology can transform the decarbonization process, reduce time to value, and activate an ecosystem of shared cost. As always, there was plenty of time for audience questions.Here are some of the key takeaways from this session:Google’s energy consumption is the equivalent of that of a small country. Google hit 100% renewable in 2017, and in 2020 they limited their carbon legacy impact to 1998. Getting to 100% renewable energy is a process. It took 10 years for Google to get from carbon neutral to 100% renewable energy. Google has partnered with Ren Energy to get GCP customers carbon neutral and renewable. In 2018, Eric Jen, founder and CEO of Ren Energy, built a corporate renewable energy program at Nike that was co-ranked #1 in the world with Apple, Inc. These accolades highlighted his forward-looking approach to Scope 3 emissions in the supply chain in addition to traditional Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Ren is a Google supported sustainability fulfillment platform that transitions corporations to carbon neutral by aggregating energy demand and sourcing the most renewable solutions. To address the climate crisis, businesses need to start looking at each other and working together. If they don’t, then we will all be working independently, going about our business in uncoordinated chaos, individually trying to accomplish our carbon reduction goals. This doesn’t work, and it’s not getting us where we need to be.Watch the full recording of the session below: Looking for more events like this? Join C2C Connect: UK & Ireland again on March 17, 2022 for this event with Cloud Developer Advocate Alexis Moussine-Pouchkine:
Between electronic payments emerging as a default option for digital native and traditional businesses alike and blockchain technology going mainstream in the private and public sectors, FinTech is quickly becoming a solution no startup can afford to undervalue. As Simon Taylor of 11:FS put it in the C2C Deep Dive he hosted on Feb. 10, 2022, “Every company is becoming a FinTech company.”For any who weren’t able to make this live session, the full recording is worth a watch. In a concise but rapid half-hour session, Taylor offers a complete functional overview of the Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) model, covering every operational consideration from customer experience to go-to-market strategy.The real benefit of connecting live with a guest like Taylor, however, is the opportunity to ask him direct questions and get an immediate response. For those who want to dive straight into the issues this presentation brought up for discussion, below are some of Taylor’s answers to questions from C2C community members.First, a question about consolidation of the BaaS space in a post-integration market prompted Taylor to walk through a series of real and hypothetical acquisitions at major FinTech companies, including FiServ, Synapse, and Unit: Later, a question about cryptocurrency in the digital payment space prodded Taylor to amend his previous statement about FinTech to “Every company is becoming a crypto company.” He also introduced the concept of the “DeFi” mullet, a “business up front, party at the back” model for FinServ companies which puts “FinTech at the front, Decentralized finance or crypto at the back”: Taylor was also more than willing to point attendees to a host of resources 11:FS has made available for specialists looking to dive even deeper into BaaS: Is your company a FinTech or crypto company, or becoming one? What do Taylor’s points imply for your company’s financial future? Post on one of our community pages and let us know what you think! Extra Credit11:FS Pulse Report 2022 Banking as a Service: the future of financial services 11:FS podcast Decoding: Banking as a Service - Episode 1 11:FS YouTube Plus, don’t miss the next event hosted by our startups community:
On Jan. 13, 2022, The C2C Connect: DACH group invited Michel Lovis of TX Group to their community gathering to give a presentation about TX Group’s migration from Microsoft Suite to Google Workspace. After an introduction from co-host and DACH team lead Chanel Greco (@chanelgreco), Michel analyzed the digitization process, the challenges TX Group faced, and the measures they took to ensure that the effort would succeed. Below are summaries of some of the key points covered during the session: 1. TX group has evolved from being a newspaper-only company in 1893 to becoming an internationally recognized network of media and platforms. 2. TX Group has become the largest private digital network platform in Switzerland, reaching over 80% of the population, with 3,700 employees, around 500 technology experts, and 800 journalists from over 50 nations, and their digital revenue share is 53%. 3. TX Group today consists of Tamedia (paid media), 20 Minuten (free media), Goldbach (advertising), and TX Markets AG (market places), all of which are using scalable technology architecture in a federated organizational setup (cloud first/only, with strong push for agility & speed). 4. In 2015, the company shifted workspace operations from Microsoft to Google. The goal of the project was to get all users to adopt most of the Google Workspace applications, including Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Meet, thus making a big change toward the digital environment they have today. 5. Vision vs. reality: close customer care is key! The challenge of migrations is that it takes time for people to lose their original workspace and get used to change. Today TX Group retains many Microsoft installations, and will retain them long-term in some areas, departments, and Teams. 6. TX Group introduced the following measures and resources after launching Workspace: An internal Google CC with Google Experts Business proximity concept implementation Welcome info for new employees Knowledge-sharing and other help offerings Roadshow coffees Inviting people to express questions via management care and a satisfaction survey Specific courses including transformation lab 7. The second bigger change was the implementation of Goldbach. The bigger challenges here included the employees integrating a new company, which required a complete change of their working environment. 8. TX Group identifies six main different measures that were taken in order to make the process easier. 9. At the end of the session, the guests shared the benefits from their Google journey and the areas that would need a closer look. 10. Key takeaways from the session included: act faster, become more open, try something new, and "Pull faster than your shadow IT". Watch a full recording of the event below:
Challengers in the financial services industry—existing firms looking to innovate, start-ups looking to scale, and everyone in between—will gain an in-depth understanding of the banking and payments system from this Deep Dive. The recording from this Deep Dive includes:(1:15) Introduction to Simon Taylor and 11:FS (4:00) Introduction to banking as a service (BaaS) and its role across brands (7:20) Understanding the depth of service from BaaS API providers (13:10) How API providers enable focus on building user experience and expediting time to market (15:15) Embedding financial services into various customer experiences (17:25) Go-to-market requirements for launching FinTech products (20:10) Overcoming challenges between FinTech vendors and BaaS providers (21:20) Building finance operating systems (22:00) The four core issues and challenges: provider lock-in, geographic limits, flexibility vs. speed, and product configuration gaps (24:35) Open audience questionsFeatured in this session: Simon TaylorCo-Founder and Chief Product Officer, 11FS Simon Taylor is the Co-Founder and Blockchain Practice Lead at 11:FS. Simon has been immersed in the technology of financial services for as long as he’s been working. He is consistently voted one of the most influential people in Banking, Insurance, and Fintech by banks, his peers, and industry bodies. Simon led Blockchain Research and Development at Barclays. In his time there, Barclays became the first bank in the world to perform a live trade finance transaction over a Blockchain / DLT with a real customer attached. Today Simon advises governments, regulators, and some of the worlds largest banks, financial institutions, and corporations on how Blockchain and DLT will impact their business in the short, medium, and long term. Previously, Simon helped build the Barclays www.thinkrise.com program and held a number of roles in payments, banking, and the telco sector. Extra Credit11:FS Pulse Report 2022 Banking as a Service: the future of financial services 11:FS podcast Decoding: Banking as a Service - Episode 1 11:FS YouTube
The Bank of England (BoE), the world’s oldest central bank, is one of the most visible and high-profile investors in innovation. Over the last decade, it has developed its own innovation lab, with projects including The Bank of England Accelerator, Her Majesty’s Regulatory Innovation Plan and The Regulatory Sandbox. It introduced a RegTech cognitive search engine and uses artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for chatbots and predictive real-time insights. More recently, the Bank made headlines with its plans for a “digital pound” on the blockchain, called Britcoin, which will use AI in its executable smart contracts. Cognitive search engine The BoE employs a Switzerland-produced cognitive search engine as their company search solution. The tool uses AI and ML to gather data from multiple sources and deliver real-time relevant responses to users’ questions. The Bank also embeds it in its CRM to improve client conversations and reduce meeting preparation times. Users find answers to their questions up to 90% faster than they would with a manual search. This tool not only boosts productivity and improves client trust but also makes it easier and simpler for the Bank to comply with ever-changing regulations. Chatbots Chatbots the BoE uses for various services include: Functional chatbots that help customers with routine questions, such as directing callers to the closest ATMs to their locations. More sophisticated AI conversational assistants that feed customers investment recommendations and real-time market-related news, among other industry-related data. Chatbots using a combination of predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics to give decision-makers at the BoE real-time insights. Examples include helping BoE executives gauge their biggest competitors in the micro-lending space and helping them determine which customer segment they should target for their advertising for a new mobile app. Britcoin Bitcoin is the Bank of England's plan for a digital currency acceptable by retailers and other companies in lieu of debit and credit cards. Owners would have limits on how much Britcoin they could hold initially, but conversion to sterling and its transactions would take minutes. Unlike most cryptocurrencies, Britcoin will be a stablecoin, meaning it will tether itself to UK currency to avoid the problems of crypto fluctuations. Supporters appreciate that Britcoin would use AI-enabled smart contracts to execute DeFi transactions that are cheaper, faster, and more transparent than online payments and money transfers. Critics fear the innovation could lead to financial instability, along with higher loans and mortgage rates, among other problems. To resolve these issues, a task force has been assembled to report on the merits of the CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) by the end of this year. Why the Bank is interested in AI In her 2021 keynote address at the FinTech and InsurTech Live event on how the Bank of England uses AI, Tangy Morgan, an independent BoE advisor, described how the Bank conducted a survey assessing how banks headquartered or operated in Britain have used machine learning and data science during Covid-19, and how the BoE can profit from that report. The BoE found that the use of AI was growing at an exponential pace and could benefit the Bank in various ways. Possible applications of AI in this context include: Money laundering prevention AI to identify patterns of suspicious behavior and curb AML. Underwriting and pricing applications, where big data analytics scrutinizes customers’ risk profiles, tailoring premiums to match individual risks. Credit card fraud detection, whereby AI analyzes large numbers of transactions to detect fraud in real-time The Bank of England asservates that “developments in fintech … support our mission to promote the good of the people of the UK by maintaining monetary and financial stability.” Are you based in the UK? What do these uses of AI bring to mind for you? Write us on our platform and let us know.
“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
Use cases for artificial intelligence (AI) are so many and varied that the meaning of the term itself can be hard to pinpoint. The Google Cloud Platform supports a host of products that make specific AI functions easy to apply to the problems they’re designed to solve. Vision AI is a cloud-based application designed to make computer vision applicable in a wide variety of cases. But what is computer vision, exactly?On December 8, 2021, C2C invited Eric Clark of foundational C2C partner and 2020 Google Cloud Partner of the Year SpringML to answer this question. Clark’s presentation, a C2C Deep Dive, offered an enriching explication of the concept of computer vision, as well as projections for its impact on the future of AI. Most notably, Clark used Vision AI to present multiple demonstrations of computer vision in action.To set the stage for these real-world applications, Clark offered a breakdown of the essential functions of computer vision:Next, Clark used real footage of traffic at a busy intersection to demonstrate how computer vision monitors this footage for incidents and accidents to calculate travel times:To showcase Vision AI’s video intelligence capabilities, Clark uploaded a video and applied different tags to demonstrate how computer vision recognizes and identifies individual elements of different images.Clark’s final demonstration was an in-depth look at several infrastructure maintenance use cases, starting with a look at how computer vision can be used to detect potholes and other impediments to safe road conditions:Clark’s demonstrations made clear that Vision AI is as user-friendly as it is powerful, and Clark made sure at the end of his presentation to invite attendees to make a trial account on the Google Cloud Platform and try out the API themselves. Alfons Muñoz (@Alfons), C2C’s North American Community Manager, echoed his encouragement. “It’s really easy to try it out,” he said.If you haven’t already, set up an account on the Google Cloud Platform and try using Vision AI for help with a current project, or even just for fun. Write us back in the community to let us know how it goes!
With migration to the cloud continuing across the public and private sectors at an accelerating rate, stories of successful migration projects are becoming especially timely and valuable. Organizations considering migration want to hear from organizations that have executed the process successfully. As these stories emerge with increasing frequency, sharing them within and among communities like C2C becomes not only natural but necessary.As we initially reported this October, NextGen Healthcare recently partnered with Managecore to simultaneously migrate their SAP applications from a private to a public cloud infrastructure and upgrade to the SAP HANA database. This was an ambitious migration project, and given the regulations around NextGen’s personally identifiable data, failure was not an option. Despite these unique considerations, the team completed the project in under six months. On October 28, 2021, C2C’s David Wascom connected with Karen Bollinger of NextGen Healthcare and Frank Powell of Managecore for a virtual C2C Navigator event exploring the background and the details of this successful project.The conversation began the way a migration process itself begins: the team established customer goals. When Wascom asked what customers typically want from a migration, Powell offered three main goals common to organizations considering migration: greater stability, lower fees and personnel costs, and “time to innovate and do new things for their organization.”After wrapping up this high-level overview, Wascom asked Bollinger and Powell for a more detailed description of the migration process. Bollinger outlined the main phases of the migration period, from moving the infrastructure from cloud to cloud, to updating the landscape to the latest service pack, to moving everything into the HANA database. Powell stressed the importance of the preliminary phase of the migration, including testing and defining SAP strategy.The discussion became most lively when Wascom asked Powell and Bollinger about their data security strategy. As a healthcare provider, NextGen is beholden to HIPAA and attendant ethical and legal considerations concerning data security. “Security is on everyone’s mind, even on-prem,” said Powell. Bollinger was equally unequivocal, if not more so. “I have no choice,” she said. “I’m in healthcare.”What does it take to migrate a massive quantity of sensitive data successfully and securely? According to Bollinger, it takes a trusted partner. “What I was looking for was a partner,” she said. “A third-party partner that we could have these conversations with.” The sentiment resonated with Wascom, who added, “The fact that you were able to work towards a common goal is a hugely powerful story.” Powell agreed wholeheartedly. For him, partnership is not just a goal, it’s a requirement. “As a service provider, our goals have to align with our customers,” he said. “If they don’t, then right from the get-go, we have failed.”When Wascom asked Bollinger and Powell for final reflections and advice for other executives considering migrating their own organizations, both responded positively and succinctly. The biggest takeaway for Bollinger? “It can be done.” Powell was similarly encouraging. “Talk to someone who’s been successful at it,” he said. “Use those as your reference points.” The reason for this, in his words, was just as simple: “We’re dealing with some pretty amazing technology.”C2C brings people like Bollinger and Powell together to demonstrate the potential of cloud technology for organizations seeking solutions and success. How is your organization hosting its software and data? Have you considered a migration to the cloud, or to a different cloud infrastructure? Would you like to hear from other organizations where similar projects have been successful? Reach out and let us know what you’re thinking, and we’ll incorporate your thoughts as we plan future discussions and events. Extra Credit:
Migrating SAP applications to the cloud can be a complicated, time-consuming undertaking. The road to a successful cloud migration project and a stable cloud environment is often filled with twists, turns, and hurdles. Yet, there are steps your organization can take to ensure success. Earlier this year, NextGen Healthcare migrated from a private cloud landscape to a public cloud landscape with Google Cloud while also upgrading to the SAP HANA database in the same project. “This project is not as simple as moving to a different location,” said Karen Bollinger, Vice President of Business Applications at NextGen Healthcare.To ensure a successful migration project, the healthcare technology organization partnered with Managecore, a technical managed services company focused on SAP. Bollinger emphasized that collaboration was one of the keys to the project’s success and set NextGen Healthcare up with a stable cloud landscape and laid a foundation for future growth on Google Cloud.“If done properly, the promise of the cloud can truly be achieved,” he said. “You just need the right team.” The Need for a Change Before beginning this project, NextGen Healthcare had been leveraging SAP for about a decade. The company was running several SAP solutions, including SAP ECC, SAP Business Warehouse, SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, SAP Financial Accounting, and SAP Controlling. NextGen Healthcare already had an existing partnership with Managecore when Bollinger approached the organization to assist with doing some security-focused work on NextGen Healthcare’s SAP landscape.The conversations between the two organizations evolved into how NextGen Healthcare would transition to Google Cloud. NextGen Healthcare had been thinking about moving its SAP landscapes from another hyperscaler. Bollinger noted that NextGen Healthcare hoped to work with a managed service provider that offered increased transparency and more flexibility with their cloud environments. Making the Transition In addition to migrating to Google Cloud, Managecore also updated NextGen Healthcare’s SAP database, implementing SAP HANA in under six months.“When we are moving organizations to the cloud, we are always trying to get the biggest bang for our buck,” Powell said.This led NextGen Healthcare to see a significant improvement in the stability of its SAP landscape, better up times, and overall improved performance. Managecore also helped NextGen Healthcare decrease its monthly hosting costs and gave the organization a foundation to improve its SAP landscape in the future.“The world is their oyster,” Powell said. “NextGen Healthcare is in a perfect position, from a technology standpoint, to take advantage of the Google Cloud Platform.”Bollinger noted that this transition has NextGen Healthcare in a position to migrate from SAP ECC 6 to SAP S/4HANA, giving them both the ability and the agility to tackle that project in the future. Keys to Success According to Bollinger, one of the keys to this project’s success was having Managecore as a partner.“You need a great partner,” she said, emphasizing that organizations need to collaborate with partners that have both expertise and experience. Powell highlighted the caliber of the team working on this migration, noting that successful teams need to know how to “tune” SAP applications to run in Google Cloud efficiently. Both Bollinger and Powell emphasized that this was a collaborative effort and that the project’s success is due to the expertise and partnership among the project’s team. Learn More About Success in Google Cloud While many organizations are migrating their SAP workloads to Google Cloud, some are still showing trepidation about tackling such an expansive and complex project.“If you haven’t thought about moving to the cloud or you aren’t convinced, talk to someone who has been successful with one of these projects,” Powell said.Both Bollinger and Powell will be sitting down on Oct. 28 at 11 a.m. CT for a C2C Navigators webcast focused on this project. They will be going into further depth about the ins and outs of their success, and they’ll be able to help attendees figure out how to complete a successful and fast migration. They’ll also discuss how the two organizations have worked together to ensure this success continues after the go-live—interested in digging deeper into this story? Register here and save your spot! Extra Credit: Looking to connect with your peers or expand your network? Join the SAP on GCP Community here on C2C.
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:
Don’t worry if you haven’t had the chance to join us yet for one of Fulfilld CTO and co-founder Michael Pytel’s Deep Dives. We record all of these sessions, including Pytel’s most recent Deep Dive, about Fulfilld’s Automated Monitoring and Microservices. Pytel told us in his first Fulfilld Deep Dive that “every modern application today is built on a microservices architecture.” This session explores how Fulfilld uses automated monitoring to ensure that its microservices are reliable and with all the functionality they promise. In Pytel’s own words, “the most important feature of any system is reliability.” Fulfilld monitors application performance, application errors, cloud connectivity, and customer connectivity, looking for “four golden signals”: latency, traffic, saturation, and errors. All metrics and insights collected via monitoring are logged and tracked to allow for profiling and debugging. All of this is accomplished on the Google Cloud Platform, in a multi-project environment comprising Cloud Functions, Cloud SQL, Cloud Run, and other Google Cloud products. The presentation also includes a slide detailing how Fulfilld uses Flutter Fire for mobile monitoring. Pytel will be joining us on October 12 for another Deep Dive, all about using Natural Language to build a digital assistant. However, his insights in the first sessions in this series are crucial to understanding how Fulfilld is disrupting the warehouse management space with a robust microservices architecture, intuitive UI, and a next-generation digital assistant. Watch the most recent session below, and check out the links in the Extra Credit section. We recommend getting caught up before the next event. Register here for Scaling an Enterprise Software: Digital Assistants and Natural Language Extra Credit: Microservices: The Journey So Far and Challenges AheadC2C Deep Dive Series: User Experience Design to Build with FulfilldC2C Deep Dive Series: Scaling an Enterprise Software with Fulfilld
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