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Data Consolidation and Integration: Challenges and Solutions

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

Categories:Data Analytics

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

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

Categories:AI and Machine Learning

2023 C2C Member Pulse: Finding Connections and Value in Community

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

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

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

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

Categories:AI and Machine LearningIdentity and SecurityC2C NewsInfographicResearch

The Different Models and Benefits of Cloud Storage

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

Categories:Storage and Data Transfer

2023 C2C Member Pulse: Transformation and Upskilling for New Tech

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

Categories:Google Cloud StrategyC2C NewsGoogle Cloud CertificationsInfographicResearch

2023 C2C Member Pulse: Priorities and Challenges with Cloud Technology

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

Categories:C2C NewsInfographicResearch

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

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

Categories:AI and Machine LearningData AnalyticsIdentity and SecurityDatabases

Admit One, On Us: Win Free Tickets to Google Cloud Next '23 from C2C

C2C is very excited to offer free tickets to Google Cloud Next '23 to five valued community members! These tickets will grant winners access to one of the most exclusive and sought-after experiences available to the Google Cloud ecosystem.Tell us what you’re looking forward to seeing at Next ‘23, and you’ll be entered into a raffle to receive one of five free tickets!Google Cloud will host Next ‘23 at the beautiful Moscone Center in San Francisco from August 29 to August 31, 2023. Get excited for an extraordinary conference that will empower you with knowledge, connect you with industry experts, and inspire your professional growth!We believe in providing you with a platform to learn, engage, and solve for the future of the cloud. To learn more about NEXT '23 and its agenda, speakers, and sessions, visit the official Next ‘23 website.Seize this incredible opportunity to be a part of NEXT '23 now. To enter the contest and be qualified to win, comment below to tell us why you’d like to attend NEXT ‘23.  Contest Information US-based entrants only Tickets are non-transferable Travel and lodging not included Contest opens: June 1, 2023 Contest closes: July 28, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. EST Winners: we will announce the 5 winners on July 31, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. EST   Contest Instructions Become a C2C member. Comment below this post and tell us what you’re looking forward to seeing at Google Cloud Next ’23. Pssst: Share our post on LinkedIn for an extra entry into the raffle! Please Note Please note that while the conference ticket is complimentary, it does not cover any hotel or airfare costs. We encourage you to make your own travel arrangements to ensure a seamless and enjoyable visit to San Francisco. *This promotion is exclusively available to US residents, no Visa (job, travel, student, etc.) will be provided. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 years or older to win. Tickets cannot be redeemed for cash. Travel and lodging not included. Drawings are at random. Terms and conditions may apply. 

Categories:Google Cloud NewsC2C News

2023 C2C Member Pulse: Key Takeaways from the Google Cloud Customer Community Survey

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, cloud technology has become an indispensable tool for organizations seeking to streamline operations, scale efficiently, and drive innovation. Our recent study—the C2C Member Pulse—collected 461 responses in March 2023, from which we examined trends in the role of Google Cloud for our community members. Our analysis sheds light on the prevalent skill gaps within organizations and their priorities and challenges concerning cloud technology adoption.We also recognized the significance of the role of community in supporting and enriching the overall cloud experience. A vibrant and supportive community is pivotal for knowledge sharing, problem-solving, and collaboration. The perspectives we collected—from customer and partner members across various roles—will be instrumental to how C2C addresses member concerns, improves community programs, and empowers individuals.Whether you are an IT professional, a business leader, or simply curious about the future of cloud technology, the key takeaways in this article offer an excellent insight into what’s most relevant to a community full of Google Cloud users. By exploring what others are doing with Google Cloud, C2C members can gain a competitive edge, make informed decisions, and drive successful cloud initiatives within their organizations. Key Takeaways Based on the feedback and insights we gathered from community members like you, we have identified key areas where we can enhance your experience and foster a stronger sense of connection within the community.  One of the top priorities highlighted in the report is the need for more guidance on cloud management and integration support. For 2023, respondents identified their top area of focus as cloud management, including cloud costs, optimization, and governance. We also recognize that navigating cloud integration can be challenging, though we believe the community will benefit from more members sharing success stories that include integration best practices such as data consolidation and dealing with incompatibility between products.  Upskilling to meet digital transformation goals is crucial, and respondents rely heavily on Google Cloud training and certifications for this purpose. This is true for organizations filling skill gaps and for individuals seeking professional development. C2C has an opportunity to support members with more skills-based content, mainly because almost all respondents' organizations are relying on permanent staff learning Google Cloud skills on the job for projects. Key areas where skills are missing include cloud security and data protection, ML model training and deployment, and cloud architecture design and scalability.  ​​AI is on respondents' radar—it’s the top Google Cloud product area members are considering for future exploration. With generative AI making waves across the industry at all organizational levels, we can expect that members will continue to show interest in these topics. However, in-house development of AI tools is a low priority, and training ML models isn’t a skill every organization has. When it comes to AI, most organizations will benefit from preparing to begin the discovery phase.Identity and security, however, are at the top of the list of respondents' current needs as the most used solution area. Within Google Cloud, products for access management, security operations and automation, and monitoring will be more immediately important.  When it comes to events, we want to emphasize the invaluable opportunities we provide in all the areas members identified as reasons they attend: networking, training, and direct access to other customers, partners, and product managers. By participating in C2C events, you can connect with fellow community members and gain insights directly from the experts behind the solutions you use. Most members will be attending a mixture of both virtual and in-person events in 2023. Join us in making the most of these incredible experiences. Who Participated in the Survey We saw a fairly even split between respondents coming from customer and partner organizations located in key geographic regions for C2C: North America, EMEA, Latin America, and JAPAC. Historically, our largest active member bases have been in the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, corresponding with the representation of responses we saw in this survey. Job role was one of the most impactful factors in the choices respondents made to behavioral questions about community and events. Understanding our members’ job roles and each of their requirements is crucial to identifying the professional development opportunities and networking events that most align with their career goals. View image full-scale here. Get the Most of Community As members of our community, your voices shape our initiatives. While we learned a lot about you collectively in this survey, we also want to meet your needs as an individual. Take a moment to update your profile today, and ensure you're receiving the most relevant and valuable content tailored specifically for your interests.   Update Your Preferences 

Categories:Google Cloud StrategyC2C NewsResearch

Cloud Adoption Summit Sunnyvale: Cloud Journey Story Series

Palo Alto Networks, AMD, High Radius, Automation Anywhere, Rackspace, Michaels Stores, Lytics, Ancestry INC, Workspot Cloud Adoption Summit Sunnyvale, CA April 27th 2023 For organizations far along in their cloud journey or just at the beginning, this full day summit offered insightful perspectives on all stages of interaction with the cloud. The Cloud Adoption Summit in Sunnyvale featured a variety of Google Cloud customers that shared their stories surrounding securing cloud adoption, cloud cost optimization, and how to leverage AI when migrating to the cloud. The program at this 2Gather also featured an interactive partner panel led by Jim Anderson, the Vice President of North America Partners at Google, focused breakout sessions that featured shared experiences and challenges from key leaders, and a panel led by Olga Lykova @OlgaLykovaMBA , Head of Go To Market at Workspot, featuring speakers from Intel, Salesforce, Google and LinkedIn. Dwyane Mann, CISO & VP Of AI, Fraud and Data at Michaels Stores shared a cloud journey story that focused on the different options an organization is presented with when migrating to the cloud. The session discussed the distinction between creating a new infrastructure and a conventional cloud migration. These differences include cost structure, design frameworks, and team dynamics. Key takeaways and lessons shared with the audience include:Conduct MVP’s, which is the method whereby only core features that solve specific issues are deployed. Identify core features and cost management strategies with leadership early in the process to reduce friction points in the future. Effectively label each stage within a cloud migration and its functionality. Involve more teams in the cost project to increase transparency.   

Categories:Google Cloud StrategyHybrid and MulticloudCloud MigrationCloud Operations

2Gather Core Concepts: Let’s Talk Tech Atlanta

In April, C2C hosted its first 2Gather event in the Atlanta, Georgia area, a unique installment of the Let’s Talk Tech series, cohosted with Google Cloud and featuring Google Principal Developer Advocate Kelsey Hightower. Kelsey joined a roster of distinguished speakers including Alex Barnes, Head of Infrastructure at Calendly, Russ Ayres, Senior Vice President of Security Architecture and Engineering at Equifax, and Rae Williams, Director of Customer Engineering at Google, for a full program of conversations tackling some of the biggest issues facing the cloud technology space today. Read on below for a roundup of some of the terms, products, and themes the conversations covered.  Open source: Any software whose source code is freely available to all users for collaborative review. Russ and Alex are both sympathizers with open source philosophy, and Kelsey is a veteran of the open source community. In his words, “When you go out into the open-source world, you get to define technology for the world.”Serverless: A cloud computing model allowing customers to access resources allocated by providers on demand without having to interact with a server, which Kelsey called “The final chapter of a mature compute pattern.”Platform engineering: Streamlining infrastructure to make tools and services immediately available to teams for operation and use. According to Alex, platform engineering allows an organization to “present all capabilities as things you can consume programmatically to unlock velocity.”Configuration management: The process for ensuring that products and systems maintain the same design and perform the same way. Russ contrasted configuration management from policy with the mantra, “If it was appropriately written it would be following the policy.”   KubernetesGoogle’s open-source containerization solution for software deployment and scaling has been setting standards and unlocking potential in the cloud space for nearly a decade. Kelsey’s history with Kubernetes is well known, and Rae made sure to capitalize on the opportunity to press him for his comments in front of a live audience. For context, Kelsey compared Kubernetes to contemporary projects in DevOps, insisting that DevOps engineers too often miss the forest for the trees. “What Kubernetes represents is a ten-year-old pattern for assigning software to servers,” he said. “It’s the system you would build if you had the big picture.” CalendlyCalendly is a business communication platform offering unique scheduling solutions for organizations looking to maximize efficiency. Head of Infrastructure Alex Barnes joined Aiven Vice President of Product Marketing Amy Krishnamohan (@amy.km) for a fireside chat about the company’s journey on Google Cloud. Calendly was initially built on Ruby on Rails, but later wanted to invest in Kubernetes. Google was an obvious choice for a hosting solution, especially since calendar management is so essential to the company’s offerings. “Google Calendar is a massive part of what we interact with,” Alex explained. “How better to build on that relationship than to build on their platform?”Alex expanded on these comments via email after event. “The partnership with Aiven and Google Cloud has allowed us to build a robust cloud data infrastructure that can handle the demands of our users,” he told C2C. “And it has given us the flexibility to scale up quickly, without having to worry about managing the underlying infrastructure.”  AIPredictably, many members of the audience were excited to ask questions about recent developments in AI. Kelsey was quick to dispel any notions that AI is going to make tech professionals irrelevant or push them out of the market. Instead, he said, AI is providing a new baseline for innovation. When looking at generative AI solutions like ChatGPT, Kelsey said, users and developers should ask, “What is the dataset, and where is that dataset created?” Tech practitioners can still develop new solutions beyond the limits of the datasets used to train these products. “If ChatGPT can generate the code,” Kelsey told the audience, “It means we need a different interface.” SecuritySecurity was the main focus of Russ’s comments during the customer panel with Alex and Kelsey. As Senior Vice President of Security Architecture and Engineering at Equifax, Russ is responsible for securing highly sensitive personal data at one of the leading financial services organizations. However, Russ originally came to security as a developer. Coming from that background, Russ believes that “Good security is good engineering,” and vice versa. “Most security solutions try to be everything to everyone,” he added. From his point of view, though, teams should aim to build with purpose on the front end so that solutions are designed to run efficiently and at scale with minimal risk. Hear from more industry leaders on these topics and join the conversation in person at our upcoming 2Gather event in Los Angeles: 2Gather Los Angeles: The Future is Now, Security and AI

Categories:AI and Machine LearningIdentity and Security

2Gather Core Concepts: Sunnyvale Developer's Event

C2C’s first event for developers took place on April 26th, 2023 in Sunnyvale, CA. The event focused on data analytics and how organization can optimize their data. Below are some data buzzwords and their definitions, an overview of Dataplex, a product that was demonstrated at the event, and a summary of the key topics discussed.  Data warehouse: A system that is used for reporting and data analysis. A data warehouse is a large storage of data that has been accumulated from a range of sources and helps businesses with decision-making processes.Data lake: A centralized infrastructure that is designed to store and process large amounts of data. A data lake can store data in its original form and process it in any variety. Data lakes are scalable platforms that allow organizations to ingest data from any source at multiple speeds. Data Lakehouse: A modern data platform that is a combination of a data warehouse and a data lake. BigQuery: Serverless architecture built as a data warehouse that works across clouds while scaling with your data. BigQuery allows users to pick the right feature set for workload demands and can match these needs in real time. It can also analyze data across multiple clouds and securely exchange data sets internally or across businesses, making it a platform with scalable analytics. BigLake: A storage engine that unifies data warehouses and lakes through BigQuery to gain access to data.   DataplexDataplex is a lake administration and data governance tool. It enables organizations to discover, manage and evaluate their data across data lakes and data warehouses. Dataplex also has a variety of features that allow organizations to choose specific items to easily manage data. For example, the tag management feature ensures that specific users have access to the right data by setting policy templates and tags with different sets of data. Dataplex also has automated data quality management features. For example, if a report quotes incorrect numbers, the data can be corrected with automated data tools rather than manually.   Data and and Real Time Analytics A major point raised at the developer’s event was that data is rooted in an event-driven architecture. For instance, customers who work in finance get highly interested in data in real time during specific periods. This interest is event-based, as it usually occurs when the industry reaches a quarter close. Moving data around can be a difficult task; however, there are certain cloud features that can solve this issue, such as Dataplex. The main concern surrounding organizing data is access control and governance. Customers want to know that steps have been taken to ensure that unauthorized users do not gain access to private data. Visibility and transparency are also core tenets when discussing access to data and its governance tools.

Categories:Data AnalyticsStorage and Data TransferGoogle Cloud Product UpdatesDatabases

How Cloud Computing Technology Contributes to Sustainable Computing Practices

Cloud computing has provided organizations in the tech industry with many benefits. Whether by helping to create a remote work environment or saving companies substantial costs, the cloud has transformed the ways businesses operate in the modern world. One of the major benefits of cloud computing technology is how it contributes to sustainability. The cloud reduces onsite activity associated with hardware and computing power consumption. Companies on the cloud do not need to maintain physical hardware or worry about disposing or recycling it. Cloud computing also eliminates the need to house and power an infrastructure. Not investing in physical IT equipment and consuming it as a service has environmental benefits because it helps to reduce the carbon footprint of major corporations. Below are some of the ways the cloud has helped contribute to sustainability efforts.  Reduces Energy Consumption The National Renewable Laboratory confirmed that data centers consume 1.8% of the overall energy consumption in the US each year because onsite servers need to be powered by large amounts of electricity. Data centers require significant upkeep and maintenance and power supplies and cooling fans are also needed, which use a lot of electricity. Not only does the electricity provide power for servers, but it is also used for cooling fans when servers overheat. Research funded by Google and conducted at the Berkeley lab found that cloud computing software can provide up to an 87% decrease in electricity usage. The energy savedx is so great that it could be used to power Los Angeles for an entire year, and can help businesses save 60-85% in energy costs.  Decreases Greenhouse Gas Emissions Sustainable computing decreases the amount of GHG emitted from data centers. GHG are created in data centers through the life cycling that occurs. This includes: producing materials for the equipment, assembling it, using it within the data center, and then disposing of it once the life cycle is complete. A survey conducted by Accenture revealed that cloud computing has a large environmental impact on carbon emissions. By using green computing approaches, large companies can decrease their carbon footprint from up to 30% and smaller organizations can decrease it to 90%. A CDP report also came to the conclusion that offsite services can reduce annual carbon emissions by 85.7 million metric tons. Dematerialization Dematerialization refers to the replacement of physical products that create greenhouse gas emissions to a virtual equivalent or replacement. Cloud services reduce energy consumption as well as e-waste, and encourage organizations to conduct their businesses virtually. Examples include video conferencing and sharing documents rather than printing multiple copies to distribute to a large number of employees. Using green computing architectures results in fewer physical machines and hardware, which means having a lower environmental impact. The cloud allows businesses to focus on their daily tasks without having to worry about IT and maintaining infrastructure that they would have onsite. By reducing physical products, such as equipment and hardware, cloud computing reduces the amount of e-waste that occurs when disposing of these products. As mentioned, it also helps organizations to go paperless with cloud storage options, such as Google Drive. Utilization RatesOn-prem companies use their own private data centers, which means the equipment is purchased and then set up to deal with high usage spikes, which results in lower utilization rates. When the hardware isn’t being used, energy is still being used which negatively impacts the environment. The cloud decreases the amount of machine use that an organization would require, translating to higher utilization. Since cloud servers do not require physical equipment, they tend to be 2 to 4 times more efficient because of a strong infrastructure.  Hardware SpeedData center hardware is used for long amounts of time before an upgrade or a replacement due to high costs. Because of their higher utilization rates, public cloud servers have a smaller lifecycle, which creates a quicker refresh time. It is more cost efficient for public cloud servers to upgrade on a regular basis, because new technology has higher efficiency rates. The more efficient hardware is, the less energy it will use in the long run. In conclusion, cloud computing services operate with higher resource (or energy) efficiency compared to traditional data centers. Sustainable computing is rooted in the concept of sharing services and hence maximizing the effectiveness of resources.  Creates a Shift to Renewable Energy SourcesCloud data centers have also shifted to renewable sources of energy to power their operations, reducing their carbon footprint. By using solar, hydropower, and wind, companies are attempting to  generate more eco-friendly electricity. Cloud providers are currently working towards creating more renewable energy options.  Helps with Remote WorkingEmployees of an organization no longer need to be in an office, they can work from anywhere, at any time, at any place.The cloud allows employees to share and distribute documentation through its server. Working collaboratively is now possible because of cloud computing as employees can now share company information in a secure and safe environment. Secure data storage and management allows for a smooth work environment for both employees and the business. Workers no longer need to go on long commutes, decreasing the amount of pollution and e-waste that is occurring within the environment.  Rackspace Technology and Green Computing Rackspace Technology is a cloud computing services pioneer with multi cloud solutions across apps, data, and security. The platform recognizes that it is time for enterprises to prioritize sustainability, and IT leaders must take the lead in driving sustainability efforts.  Rackspace’s Chief Architect, Nirmal Ranganathan, states that “Cloud computing, green computing architectures, design principles, and understanding the data around energy consumption are all critical components to modernize an IT industrial complex skills, infrastructure, and applications. For a more sustainable IT future, the key to sustainability efforts is in the data. Differing perspectives about business pledges versus their actual performance is ongoing and constant. Often, the former is more ambitious than the latter. Data will play a vital role in the drive toward net zero to verify claims made by business partners and to accurately measure a business’ own carbon footprint.” Rackspace focuses on empowering companies to grow using technology. Through the delivery of cloud services, building efficient serverless architectures and embodying design principles focused on driving long term value creation, Rackspace Technology is contributing to an overall reduction of energy consumption and building Sustainable IT. Migrating and modernizing companies to Cloud environments helps to reduce the number of over-provisioned, energy-hungry data centers across an enterprise.

Categories:Cloud OperationsSustainability

Women in Cloud: Meet Olga Lykova

Please introduce yourself.My name is Olga Lykova. Actually, it’s Olga Ivanou. I’m newly married and getting used to using the new last name.I currently go by three titles. I work at Workspot and I have recently been promoted to run all of the go-to-market. I’m responsible for cloud partnerships with companies like Google, AWS, Microsoft, Intel, and NetApp. I also run our business development team and partner marketing, so a lot of the initiatives with C2C are under my realm.I’m also a founder of Women in Industries, which is a 10-year-old network. The network is known for their annual panels featuring executive women leaders who share their experiences in an open forum to help professionals discover how to build their dream career, overcome obstacles, build their support bench, find mentorship and sponsorship, and navigate specialization change in pursuit of a "dream job." It is rare that we can have open discussions about what an ideal career looks like. In the last 10 years we had multiple C-level executives from Google, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Adobe, and even the NBA join our panels, sharing their diverse experience with our network.My third title is Thought Leader for Forbes Business Council, I write articles on business trends and leadership insights.  What is your secret to managing a team of people?I think this is a twofold concept. First is managing the partners, and second is managing the team. Managing partners is about determining what drives them and what their key motivators are, which has helped me a lot. Working with C2C, I view you as a partner, and it’s about bringing the right customers that will share an exciting story or thought-provoking content. I think about what a partner needs and then build a go-to-market strategy surrounding that. For companies who have a great product that fills a gap for a well-known brand, the best way to generate revenue is to attach themselves to the partner. It is a very different way of marketing because you have to become an extension of a different sales team, speak their language, and ensure ongoing transparency with customers and partners. When it comes to building my team, I don’t usually state a salary range when interviewing. My favorite question to ask is, “what would make you happy?” We define ourselves in a title role as well as the monetary component, and I don’t want to limit people to a certain number. I want to figure out what makes them happy in that role. That’s been my winning formula to get the right people who also feel appreciated by the company. I also always want to recognize the work of people who go above and beyond. When people get creative and push for new ideas, I try to recognize them in front of the executives on a weekly basis.  How has your journey been becoming an official member of the Forbes Business Development Council?Every time I went to events, I would bring my notepad. At my first company, Apttus, I suggested the idea of turning my notes into a blog post about post-event content. When I joined Copper and was working with their marketing team, I thought we could elevate content further by discussing the journeys of start-ups, since we were working with many of them at the time. One of the CMOs suggested that I should write for Forbes, since I was already writing about webinars and doing a lot of content output. I applied, did the interview process and now I’ve been writing for them for 4 years.It’s all about different topics, and I love how it’s open. It’s similar to what C2C advocates for about sharing insights and best practices and staying away from a sales pitch. It’s easy to start making content look like a sales pitch, so I have to take a step back and remember to talk about what customers are asking for. My favorite article was writing about top tips I’ve heard over the years from leaders. A tip that has still stuck with me is anytime you have an issue, don’t hide behind an email. Pick up the phone and talk to the other person, no matter how uncomfortable it is. Works every time! What is the best advice you have ever received? One of my biggest motivators is Corinne Sklar, Vice President of Marketing at IBM Consulting. We worked together on multiple panels, and she has really inspired me. She once said, “do you have that crazy feeling of being excited and nervous in your stomach when you are doing something?” I said, always. She goes “keep that feeling, because that’s your motivator, and that’s how you know that you’re learning”. When I feel nervous about not knowing how to do something, I realize I'm actually in the process of learning and figuring it out.  Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I think the industry that Workspot is in is at a pivotal point. The industry is on a peak of change, and I never worked for a company that had a product that was so ahead of the game until I worked at Workspot. I think the biggest opportunity for us is to amplify that message. The challenge I want to figure out is, while the industry is changing, I want to see how customers react to it and how we tackle industry changes. On a personal level, I’ve always wanted to create a one-stop shop where people can come and thrive. I started writing a book called “Rules to Thrive.” I was looking at the definition of thrive, and the word itself means “to grow vigorously, flourish, gain wealth or possession, and prosper”. I think that definition incorporates learning, growing and achieving success. I don’t believe it’s an end destination, because we’re always trying to grow. Once you achieve one dream, you start dreaming again. I want to unite young professionals and small businesses together to become that one-stop shop for successful career growth. The end goal after 5 years is to be that one place where people can network about a variety of subjects and topics through referrals as well as advocating for things that work.  What is your favorite aspect of being a keynote speaker at our events? In that room, you have people who want to be there. It’s a gathering of people who are curious and want to do better for their company. You are in a place where the mindset is amazing, because they are not required to be there, they want to be there. My favorite part is not only do we get to talk about the lessons we have learned, but we also get to share things to avoid. We get a chance to be transparent about what’s possible and what’s not possible. I always encourage our customers to share what didn’t work and what could have been done differently. In the audience, I’d say one out of 5 people may have been considering a similar project, and as speakers we are giving them the tools to learn. I think when you share what didn’t work, they walk away with something tangible, where they can re-evaluate how to tackle something. Also, it’s just really fun! You feel like you’re a part of a community, not just an event.  How does Workspot empower female employees? I think it’s about who wants to step in and help. I don’t think we differentiate who it is and who wants to do it. We know what the issues and gaps are within the company, and it’s about people who raise their hands to get stuff done. I think there’s room to grow, but for many people, it has to do with the ability to ask for it. I think many of us think, if I don’t fill two out of five requirements for a job, I’m not going to apply for it.Just recently, my mother was applying for a job and then didn't want to apply because she didn’t fit all the requirements. I told her that you can learn on the job and the company can teach you. This is the mindset that needs to change, because you don’t have to fit all the requirements for the job description, you just have to have the willingness to learn and to be able to ask questions. Workspot enables employees to do that, you just have to ask for the opportunity.  What inspired you to become a founder of the Women in Industries Network? Apttus, now Conga, was the first tech company I ever worked for, and I didn’t really understand how to evolve in my role. Partnerships and go-to-market was a new concept for me, and these are newer roles in the industry all together. For me, I wanted to learn from my partners and start creating a community. We started doing events, and the first one was at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, with around 50 people in attendance. After the event was done, I felt super motivated and received the insights that I wanted. A few months later, people were asking if we were going to do this again. It then evolved into more sessions, and just last year we hosted a female panel that talked about making six figures. Another topic that was covered was how we can help people to land their dream interview and prep them on how to stand out. It started from my own natural curiosity and then turned into a few thousand members10 years later.  Check out our other Women in Cloud articles here:Women in Cloud: Meet Shobana ShankarWomen in Cloud: Meet Clair Hur 

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightGoogle Cloud StrategyGoogle Cloud PartnersMarketing

Practical Tips for Corporate and Individual Sustainability (full recording)

At this virtual event, speakers from Google, Intel, and Workspot presented practical tips for corporate and individual sustainability. Corporate culture is essential to the success of any organization. Leaders should strive to embed sustainability practices in their organization’s core culture by continuously incentivizing and educating employees about the importance of sustainability. At this 2Chat event, panelists shared insights about how their respective organizations are adopting sustainable practices to reduce their carbon footprint, conserve resources, and promote social responsibility. They also addressed the challenges and opportunities that come with implementing sustainable strategies and the benefits these strategies offer the environment and the corporate bottom line.Our speakers focused on the changes they have made to reach these outcomes. Attendees learned more about each organization’s efforts, such as: How every single product operated on Google Cloud is carbon neutral, from at-home Google Search to a large business running on Google Cloud Intel’s success in lowering its carbon footprint by 80% Workspot’s advanced power management on Google Cloud, which increases carbon reduction for compute resources by up to 72% compared to legacy VDI on-premise data centers running 24/7  Watch the full recording here:  

Categories:Sustainability

Google Cloud Certifications

Google Cloud certifications will allow you and your teams to strengthen your knowledge of Google Cloud products and help to transform your business. Certifications help employees grow into leadership positions in the workplace and offer other professional development opportunities that relate to the cloud. Both single classes and full learning paths that enhance your cloud skills are available, and there are specific Google Cloud certifications depending on the level of knowledge you wish to obtain. These classes and courses will cover the infrastructure of the cloud, and will also equip you with the skill set for a desired position. This article will cover the different certifications, certification levels, and possible positions and titles that you can work toward upon receiving your certification.  Foundational CertificationThe foundational certification does not require a technological background and provides you with a foundation for understanding Google cloud products, services, tools, and benefits. Recommended roles involve high collaboration with other team members who have a highly technical background. Cloud Digital Leader This certification provides you with the ability to articulate the main functionalities of Google products and services as well as how they fit into an organization. Overall, the Cloud Digital Leader role is rooted in explaining how Google can help to support the goals of a business and covers cloud computing basics. This certification tackles digital transformation with Google Cloud, infrastructure and application modernization, innovating with data, and Google Cloud security.  Associate CertificationAssociate certifications will provide you with the skill set to manage Google Cloud projects. This certification is ideal for a candidate who has prior experience with managing cloud enterprise solutions and monitoring cloud operations.Associate Cloud EngineersAssociate Cloud Engineers monitor and deploy applications. The Google Cloud Console is used to perform common tasks that are associated with managing enterprise solutions. Projects within the role leverage Google-managed or self-managed services within the cloud. This certification will help you prepare to set up a cloud environment, deploy a cloud solution, and configure security plans that are effective for cloud solutions.  Professional Cloud CertificationThis level of certification strengthens technical skills related to the design and implementation of the Cloud. Prior experience in deploying cloud solutions and setting up cloud environments is critical for the Professional Cloud Certification.Cloud Architect Professional Cloud Architects assist with organizations applying core Google Cloud products and services. Cloud architects design and implement cloud solutions that help a business to fulfill their goals and reach their objectives. Many of their responsibilities are rooted in designing and managing the cloud infrastructure. Other cloud skills you may obtain include optimizing technical business processes as well as configuring access and security.Cloud Database Engineer The Cloud Database Engineer manages Google Cloud solutions used by organizations to both retrieve and store data. The core responsibility of this role entails translating business objectives into scalable solutions that enhance a database. Other responsibilities a Cloud Database Engineer include migrating data solutions and deploying databases within the cloud. Cloud DeveloperA Cloud Developer creates applications using Google-recommended tools and approaches. The candidate for this role has prior experience with developer tools, managing services, and cloud-native applications. The applications are highly scalable and flexible. This certificate will enhance your understanding of managing deployed applications as well as building and testing applications to ensure their effectiveness. Data Engineer This role enables decision-making that is related to data. Data Engineers build and monitor data systems while also focusing on the security and compliance aspect of them. They also ensure that data systems are scalable to meet the needs of a business. Data Engineers also deploy and work with pre-existing machine learning models to strengthen solution quality. Building and designing data systems is the primary responsibility of this role. Cloud DevOps Engineer Cloud DevOps Engineers implement processes within the systems development life cycle using tools and methods that are recommended by Google. They build software delivery pipelines and maintain production systems while also balancing service reliability. Building pipelines for services, creating service monitoring strategies and optimizing service performance are also involved when being a Cloud DevOps Engineer.Cloud Security EngineerA Cloud Security Engineer designs secure workloads within the cloud. By examining best practices and using Google Cloud Technology, a Cloud Security Engineer develops a scalable as well as flexible infrastructure. The candidate for this certification should be knowledgeable in all aspects regarding cloud security, including organizational policies, access management, data protection, network security defenses, collecting Google Cloud logs, and dealing with incident responses. Managing cloud operations and ensuring security within the cloud environment is the primary responsibility of this role. Cloud Network Engineer A Cloud Network Engineer manages network architectures within the cloud. They may also work closely with architects who design the cloud infrastructure. Cloud Network Engineers use the Google Cloud Console to leverage experiences with network services, application neworks, and hybrid and multi-cloud connectivity. They also manage the security for the network architecture in order for successful cloud implementations to occur.Google Workspace Administrator This role transforms business objectives to policies and best practices that are accessed by users within the Cloud. By thoroughly understanding the infrastructure, the Google Workspace Administrator creates a collaborative environment where team members are working together and are able to efficiently access the data that they need. Through the use of programming languages and APIs, they develop workflows to ensure smooth communication within the cloud. Educating users, managing Workspace operations, and implementing Google Workspace access are daily tasks associated with the role. Other roles that are related to this certification include Cloud Solutions Engineer, IT System Administrator, and Collaboration Engineer. Machine Learning EngineerA Machine Learning Engineer builds machine learning models to solve business challenges using Google Cloud Technologies. An ML Engineer works with AI throughout the AI and ML development process and should be knowledgeable in the fields of data pipeline interaction, metrics interpretation, and model architecture. The candidate for this certification should also be familiar with other foundational concepts, including application development, data engineering, and infrastructure management. A Machine Learning Engineer creates scalable solutions that optimize performance by developing ML models, designing processing systems, and operating ML pipelines.

Categories:Careers in CloudGoogle Cloud Product UpdatesGoogle Cloud Certifications