I recently had the good fortune to attend the GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit in Bellevue, Washington. Focused on Cloud Technology, this is the second year GeekWire has hosted the conference. Attended mainly by developers and techies, I found my way to the business track which was just as valuable. Topics discussed centered around Serverless Environments, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Blockchain Applications, Cloud Migration and one of my favorites, IoT & Intelligent Edge.

Apart from learning about kubernetes, blobs and the slow coming of age of Quantum computing, the CIO panel hosted by Nancy Gohring from 451 Research was very insightful. The two CIOs represented Alaska Airlines and Providence St Joseph Health. Here are some of my top takeaways from their discussion.

Cloud Technology:

The Cloud is Definitely a Journey

Right or wrong, one would expect enterprises to have their Cloud strategy all figured out, but moving to the Cloud as an enterprise is actually far more complex than it is for small organizations. With many legacy applications, the cost of moving is huge—in terms of both time and cost. Both organizations mentioned that, at most, they have moved 30% of their workloads to the Cloud. Any net new IT investments are native Cloud applications.

Embrace Multi-Cloud 

Both organizations have embraced a multi-cloud strategy for a few reasons, the main one being risk mitigation and avoiding vendor lock in. Applications are available on different clouds, and almost by default customers are forced into a multi-cloud scenario. With the business demanding agility, they have almost forced the hand of IT in this case. It seems in some instances IT has had to ‘deal with the mess’ of leaky SaaS applications. And what would they want most when it comes to Cloud? The ability to seamlessly move applications across it to take advantage of flexibility and elasticity.

Do Your Homework

I think most of us enjoy this new, vibrant app world that we live in. However, if you’ve been a victim of data loss, hacking and more – the luster fades really fast. One of the hard lessons learned is that you really need to do your due diligence. Visit the data center, understand what backup and redundancies are in place BEFORE committing to any application. You may find your most mission critical app is the one that takes your company down because the provider has opted for the cheap, fast and least secure route and, as a result, has been hacked. The SaaS provider needs to be absolutely squeaky clean and demonstrate water-tight processes.

There is probably a business service opportunity for delivering ‘SaaS Application Assessments’ for Cloud Solution Providers. Make sure your clients’ applications are not liabilities that can destroy them.

Flexible Licensing Allows for Innovation

With the new licensing models, organizations of all sizes have found a path to creativity and innovation. Without the huge cost of multi-year licensing agreements from 10 years ago, organizations have the capital, ability and opportunity to invest in innovation more than ever, allowing them to compete in areas that were difficult in the past.

A fun thing to try

GeekWire is famous for their Space Needle Elevator Pitches. It takes 42 seconds to ascend the Seattle Space Needle and their challenge to all event speakers was to provide their elevator pitch in 42 seconds. Try it and let us know – how did you do?

Written by: Cheryl Salazar, The Partner Marketing Group

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