Introducing the April 2022 Community C2Champions
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Dan Stuart, SVP of IT Services at Southwire Company, joined C2C on the virtual stage. Stuart shared how the 71-year-old manufacturing company set the bar in its industry by moving the mission-critical SAP ECC workload environment to Google Cloud.Key discussion points:What business problem were you trying to solve by moving to the cloud, and what aspects of cloud infrastructure are most important to you? How did you determine the right way to approach these challenges, and why was Google Cloud the solution to that? With the advent of cloud and Southwire’s move, how do you equip your team with cloud-related tools and skills? In what ways do you see Southwire Company taking advantage of other Google Cloud offerings in data, analytics, AI, ML, or industry-specific solutions for manufacturing? Having completed the project in July 2020 and now about a year post-migration, what has been the biggest payoff?Watch the entire conversation here: Want to learn more? Join us on May 26 for a technical overview with the Southwire team.
Transforming a global manufacturing powerhouse, like Southwire, to a cloud provider is a significant decision. But with 30 years of experience in IT and manufacturing to pull from, Dan Stuart knew the right questions to ask to drive the right decision for Southwire as it navigated a cyberattack, refreshed its hardware, and was in growth mode. As a result, in July 2020, Southwire migrated its SAP environment to Google Cloud Platform, setting a benchmark in the industry for successfully moving an entrenched manufacturing business to the cloud. “Southwire is building a foundation for growth and innovation with the cloud, beginning with the migration of its core SAP business systems and services to Google Cloud,” said Rob Enslin, President at Google Cloud. “We’re proud that Southwire has selected Google Cloud to power its digital transformation.”But how was that decision made? Weren’t there concerns about the business, and more importantly, how secure is it? C2C sat down with Stuart, the senior vice president of IT services at Southwire.“So, I was looking at security, scalability, and modernization of our whole industry, which needed to be fast, flexible, and agile,” Stuart recounted. “But I also wanted to replace our current data centers and move into a more standard Cloud Platform cloud environment, and Google was the right one for us.”A bright brick backyard offset Stuart’s tall frame and created a perfect yellow hue surrounding him, perhaps the light or his proud disposition; Stuart’s confidence in the decision beamed through the Google Meet window. After all, the decision was tough and occurred at an even more challenging time for Southwire, but it proved to be profoundly beneficial, especially when it came to security. “When it comes to security, and you look at the competition out there, Google surpasses,” Stuart said. “From the encryption piece of it, right up and down to their security monitoring, they know what they’re doing.” Google Cloud truly does take security seriously. Their data centers are built with custom-designed servers that run their own operating systems for security and performance. With more than 500 security engineers, Google also has the best minds focused on thwarting risks and is focused on continuous improvement. “As we all know, security just keeps getting more complicated and complicated, and having a partner like Google that you know will stay on top of their game is exactly what we needed,” Stuart said. Completing the Migration To complete the migration, Southwire ran through four major cycles of testing, which occurred over more than ten weeks and involved more than 4,000 scripts. Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they did the entire operation remotely via conference calls and Microsoft® Teams.The move to Google Cloud will ensure that Southwire remains up to date on the latest supported systems, improves security protocols, and provides a solid foundation for future upgrades, tools, and services to benefit both the organization and its customers.“By moving the SAP environment to Google Cloud, this creates a secure, flexible and scalable environment for Southwire to embark on new projects that move the company forward in areas of strategy important to the long-term growth of the company,” Stuart said. Making the Decision Beyond Google Cloud Platform’s reputation, there were a handful of critical decisions and lessons learned. Among them, which will be shared in more detail in the upcoming Navigator, Stuart said the ability to have a fast and seamless migration was the most important. As they prepared to migrate, the Google Cloud Platform move wasn’t the only major IT project happening. They updated the enhancement pack, the process orchestrator, updated to BW/4HANA. “We didn’t miss a production beat,” Stuart said with emphasis. “We kept on track of our outages at our manufacturing shops, and everything went seamless. Google brought the support; they put the people that needed to be there on this team from the beginning, middle, and at the end.” The 71-year-old manufacturing business just made history. Despite not having any Google experience, they were able to make it happen, and it’s been proven to be a wise decision. Google provided training, education, and a strong governance program, too. But, setting up a governance program earlier in the process is one lesson Stuart can offer others making a lift and shift like this, “Make sure you got the governance in place, make sure you got the right architects helping you build your bill of materials for your deployment of Google and get that training and education upfront for your associates,” Stuart said. “It'll make them more relaxed at knowing what Google's doing, why they're doing it, and what they can expect, and it's helped set the expectations.” Join Us! Stuart sits down with Chief Customer Officer Sean Chinkski for a C2C Navigators discussion on May 18. Register below and bring your questions; Stuart will be answering them live.
Going from concept and ideas to solutions that you can industrialize is the most significant challenge with AI on Google Cloud. It’s not the prototypes and test ideas; it’s getting it through the door, ensuring it's reliable, and it doesn’t put lives or livelihoods at risk or damage any equipment. Tackling the common-but-considerable challenge is Arnaud Hubaux, senior technical program manager at ASML, an equipment manufacturer and service provider headquartered in the Netherlands. An AI trailblazer that is self-proclaimed to be “customer-obsessed” blends physics with ML to create decision-making models that predict anomalies during microchip production. Being that he is only satisfied when trained models help customers reduce their spending and increase their yield, Hubaux sat down with the community for a C2C Talks* on AI and ML and shared his journey while answering questions live. What was the primary challenge? There are a few. ASML is global with 25,000 employees working in 118 countries, so there is a lot of management involved. But if that weren’t complex enough, its products also require working at the nanometer level, being precise but industrial and produced at scale with efficiency.For a little more context into the ASML world, the new A14 microchip, used in the new iPhone 12, is made by TSMC on ASML machines. In terms of that production, ASML owns 85% of the market share and with customers all over the world.So, ASML makes the machines that create the chips and uses AI to optimize the behavior of those machines. Each chip is composed of layers and pipes—think of Lego building blocks. Different machines create each layer, so they need to ensure accurate communication and synchronization for precise layering, and it needs to occur at scale. If any layer is amiss, the entire structure can collapse, resulting in a nonfunctioning chip. Additionally, Hubaux explained that ASML products are deployed in environments where there is no internet connectivity. Hence, there is no monitoring access on the system, meaning the AI will need to deploy and learn independently and adapt to any variation in the context.In a nutshell, they need to get their physics right, have their predictive economics precise, and ensure the ML model can learn efficiently and effectively.Hear the full explanation of the challenges below. How did you use Google Cloud Products as a solution? Hubaux explains how his team uses a collection of Docker containers to run atop Kubernetes, allowing for easy deployment on a customer premise with no internet connection. But to get there, they start from their on-premise data store, which will contain data samples from their customer sites, for example. The data goes into Google Cloud, where they’ve implemented a storage buffer, and it triggers a notification and a data pipeline, a Kubernetes cluster. The necessary data is extracted from the data packages and loaded into BigQuery, where domain experts can start working in their AI notebooks.Hear how the stack comes together in more detail below:And how's it going? Trusting your business on this technology and wanting to share your story is a powerful enough statement for how well it's going. Since so much of ASML’s product development depends entirely on this flow, Hubaux explained why they went with Google Cloud and chose this technology.“The reason why we went for a Kubernetes cluster for the data pipeline and the data flow or any Google-specific technology is because we want to have a pipeline that is easy to transfer from one environment to the next, being on-prem or in Google Cloud, or even running at another cloud vendor because that data pipeline has a lot of domain knowledge in it,” he said. Community Questions What did you face in building and training this? And how did you overcome them?“The biggest roadblock for us is that we don't know at all what data or what quantity or quality of data we'll see when we are at customer sites. It forces us upfront to think about all kinds of weird combinations of kinds of effects that can occur and then test for them and make sure we are robust,” Hubaux said. Hear his full answer below: How do your yields compare to other traditional semiconductor processes? “That's a difficult issue because how semiconductor manufacturers apply those techniques is extremely IP sensitive, and there is hardly any information out there,” Hubaux explained. “But what you see is that there is a general mistrust towards ML. If you cannot explain exactly how it works, for me, it's still black box that people don’t trust. This is why explainability is so important—is it's not about which techniques we use.” Hear his full answer below: Extra CreditThe Google AI-focused blog released its research recap for 2020 and looks ahead to 2021. It’s rich with detail, insights, and ideas. Need a crash course on ML? This training is geared toward developers and for those looking to get started. Looking to accelerate transformation with analytics, AI, and ML? C2C spoke with Google’s Andrew Moore in September, and it’s a discussion worth revisiting. Curious about ASML or to learn more about Arnaud Hubaux and how he works with Google Cloud products? You can hear him on the GCP Podcast!We want to hear from you! To learn with your peers in our C2C Connect groups, you can sign up here. We have a room for each of our primary topic areas. Explore to find what’s right for you. *C2C Talks are an opportunity for C2C members to engage through shared experiences and lessons learned. Often there is a short presentation followed by an open discussion to determine best practices and key takeaways.If you’d like to participate in a C2C event or have a topic idea, please join our community and contact Sabina Bhasin, content manager, with your ideas.
This article was originally published on September 3, 2020.She’s the new voice in the room at Google Cloud, having been brought on board not even four months ago, but Lori Mitchell-Keller is already amplifying the call for transformation in Google Cloud’s five commercial industries. These include: financial services; health care and life sciences; industrial and manufacturing; retail; and media and entertainment, telecommunications, and gaming. Mitchell-Keller has spent more than 30 years as a strategic global leader committed to helping transform organizations with innovative technology. In her new role at Google Cloud—VP of industry solutions—she’s responsible for leading a team charged with not only understanding customer requirements across various industries, but also predicting where the market is going over the next few years. Lori Mitchell-KellerWe all heard Mitchell-Keller at Google Cloud Next '20: OnAir talk about her goals of helping drive business transformation for organizations across key industries. (If you didn’t, check it out here). But C2C wanted to dig a little deeper into how she sees her role evolving and what that really means for you, Google Cloud customers."We need to know both customer and industry trends, so we can better design and execute a solution portfolio that will meet current and future needs,” she said. “We want to meet the challenges our customers are faced with whether it’s today, tomorrow, or years down the road.”Rallying Cry for Solutions that Cross IndustriesAs organizations large and small are tackling several different challenges, what’s consistent—across industries and across the globe—are those challenges associated with COVID-19. “These range from providing virtual care in health care, delivering better omnichannel experiences in retail, adapting to new ways of working in manufacturing, and more,” Mitchell-Keller noted. “Technology is a huge enabler to driving business continuity, and we’re focused on developing industry-specific solutions that help customers in new ways.”C2C recently shared “4 Industries’ Takeaways for Google Cloud Customers.” During our conversation, Mitchell-Keller added some more color to the initiatives her team are working on now. “We believe that a partner ecosystem makes our solutions stronger,” she said. Google Cloud has announced several strategic partnerships that will expand the company’s impact across industries—including a recent one with Amwell that will transform access to virtual care with Google Cloud artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and collaboration tools, as well as one with Tenemos that will accelerate banks’ digital transformations with new financial services offerings.The current pandemic has brought to the forefront pressing issues that span all industries—supply chain management is one, and delivering better customer experiences is another. “As we emerge from this pandemic,” she explained, “companies are thinking about how to build more resilient supply chains for the future. We recently formed a new global supply chain, logistics, and transportation team that will support each industry with a dedicated go-to-market strategy and solution road map.” A couple of early focus areas she mentioned include a demand-forecasting solution for retailers and a last-mile optimization solution for manufacturers. As for delivering better customer experiences, Mitchell-Keller said that Google is a data company at its core, and it has invested in accelerating innovation through the smarter use of data at scale. However, she pointed out, “the underpinning of our Google Cloud industry solutions road map is our AI platform, where we’re focused on embedding easy-to-use AI and machine learning in solutions that deliver new value to customers across industries.”Your Voice Is Your MoonshotAlthough relatively new to the Google Cloud team, Mitchell-Keller is not new to working on complex issues or developing comprehensive solutions. She has held numerous leadership positions and worked on everything from product and solution development, to management, to building and nurturing partnerships. “My grandmother taught me true empathy,” she said. “But she also taught me to trust myself enough to take risks in order to achieve more. I think we all need to take risks to innovate.” As she looked inward and then forward, Mitchell-Keller said this: “I’m most passionate about solving difficult, complex problems with the simplest of solutions.” It’s that same mindset that has allowed her to use her voice and platform to not only help business leaders transform and succeed, but also to help others do the same on a personal level. She tweeted not too long ago, “I’m a strong believer in the value of volunteering. Aside from the good it can do for others, it can make a difference in your productivity at work, too.” We talked about how her own volunteer work has shaped her professional narrative, and in turn, her contributions.Mitchell-Keller spends her time volunteering at two organizations that are near and dear to her heart: Retail Orphan Initiative and Autism After 21 with the Madison House Autism Foundation. She recalled a trip she took to Honduras with her then-two-year-old son on behalf of the Retail Orphan Initiative. The goal of the organization is to help build schools to provide education, as well as provide food, clothes, and other necessities to underprivileged and orphaned children all over the world. “For our first trip, my son and I gathered hundreds of stuffed animals that we carried in our luggage. The experience that followed struck me so profoundly,” she said. “As we handed out stuffed animals, it became clear that we would not have enough to give to every child. As we walked off, we were approached by a mother asking if we had just one more so that her child did not feel left out. Being a mother myself, I understood that ask from her more than anything else. I knew what it meant to be a mother and to want only the best for your child. I handed her a stuffed animal intended for the next stop. I realized in that moment the power in asking for what you want.”Mitchell-Keller continued, “We all have things we want to accomplish professionally, but we sometimes hesitate to ask for what we want or need to make it happen. We have to ask for help from others to attain those goals that seem so out of reach sometimes. I have applied that mindset to the way I work, as well as to the way I lead. Your voice—our voices—are the stepping stones to launching technology moonshots.”Lori-Mitchell-Keller: The Quiet Drum that Beats I asked Mitchell-Keller what she would write if she had to leave for a year and the only communication she could have with her team was a message sent via email. She paused for a minute and said: “I would say trust yourself, trust your instincts, and trust your experiences. We all have it in us to be better than we sometimes think we can be, and often we just need a reminder of that.”She wanted to make sure to remind all of you that, although 2020 has been an unpredictable year, she hopes that you lean into C2C, ask for what you want, and feel empowered to stand on each other’s shoulders to share experiences, learn from each other, and enable more informed business decisions with cloud technology. She reflected, “As Issac Newton said, ‘If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.’ That’s what I want for C2C members—to see further and to do it together.”
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