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The Hidden, Unsung Haven for Women in the Cloud
There’s a women-in-tech organization that has flown largely under the radar, despite counting multiple high profile VPs of major tech corporations in its ranks. CloudNOW, the industry association for women working in cloud computing, is celebrating its third year in 2014. Although it has garnered little media attention, CloudNOW is gaining acclaim in the industry and its member numbers grow week after week.
It was started by cloud computing consultant Jocelyn Graham, who has made her living in the cloud since 2008. As a consultant at Cloud Marcom, big telecommunications companies would come to her for advice. What should their cloud strategy be? Where did their products fit in? What were their competitors doing?
Graham would help them sort through their options, conducting research and compiling briefs on their behalf. As the word “cloud” grew buzzier and buzzier, she started wondering what role women would play in this industry.
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One of the concerns often cited by those migrating to or integrating with “the cloud” is that applications deployed in off-premise cloud environments will fail to meet expectations with respect to availability, performance and, of course, security. The enterprise market continues to adopt cloud, but more so on the SaaS front than on the IaaS precisely because there is a lack of parity in the cloud on the enterprise-class services front. Those services – high availability, load balancing, application acceleration and optimization – along with security are critical to enterprise applications. Cloud environments that cannot support these services are at a distinct and very real competitive disadvantage with those that can.
Applications that may very well benefit from cost savings and elasticity afforded by off-premise cloud computing may have to be passed over for those that may not yield the same cost benefits due to a lack of supporting services.
One of the cloud computing environments that can provide those services is IBM Cloud Managed Services, which takes advantage of F5 Software Defined Application Services (SDAS) to ensure applications have the same high availability, optimization and SSL offload in the IBM managed cloud as they receive in the data center from IBM and F5 architectures.
F5 Synthesis High Performance Services Fabric integrates into the IBM Managed Service Cloud providing their customers with an open, fully isolated, multi-tenant architecture. By laying its service foundation on F5 Synthesis, IBM Cloud Managed Services will be able to execute on a phased service strategy that gives it a competitive advantage. Combined with its existing, proven enterprise track record, IBM’s offering is well positioned to be a compelling choice for organizations who have thus far resisted the move to cloud – or those who’ve had to settle for lesser clouds.
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CloudNow recently had the opportunity to sit down with Eileen Boerger, the CEO of CorSource. CorSource is a firm that provides companies with a full range of technical staffing and software development resources on a per-project basis or for permanent placement. More specifically, CorSource helps its clients understand the benefits of certain technologies, such as cloud, mobile, and business intelligence, and helps them successfully integrate these technologies into their business.
Eileen is a rarity – a female, techie CEO. Like most women who experience success in traditionally male-dominated careers, she is not defined because of her gender. She reached this pinnacle by being the best at what she does. Eileen started out as a developer at Burroughs Corporation, and has spent her entire career in software development and managing software development projects and teams. After Burroughs, she went to Mentor Graphics based in Portland, which is where she is today. Following Mentor Graphics and a stint with a smaller firm, Eileen landed with CorSource. She’s been with CorSource for thirteen years and has risen up the ladder and now sits in “The Chair”, serving as their CEO.
CloudNOW: What advice would you give a senior executive looking to step into the role of CEO?
Ms. Boerger: It’s different. Really try to understand what the CEO role entails. The CEO role requires stepping away from the day to day, and into a strategic and visionary role. Start stepping into that role. Don’t assume someone is just going to give it to you. If you’re not already taking on the responsibilities, step into it, lean in.
CloudNOW: What are some challenges, as well as proud achievements, you have faced as CEO so far?
Ms. Boerger:The challenges, there are always challenges, but the constant challenge is alignment. Alignment on goals, strategy, objectives and expectations. If you can get excellent alignment, which is difficult to achieve, then everyone will be humming and moving and your company can perform well. It’s a challenge to keep all of that in line.
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Jocelyn DeGance Graham, Founder of CloudNOW sits down with Rita Scroggin, Practice Director, Triad Group, to discuss Talent Strategy for building a successful Cloud organization.
Emerging technologies are always disruptive of the way in which companies manage their technology practice, Cloud however takes it a step farther and expands that disruption impacting traditional enterprise sales and delivery models. Cloud’s disruption cuts across business and operational lines, making it difficult for organizations to find the right talent. Demand is far outstripping supply and as cloud computing continues to mature that demand is unlikely to decrease. How then can companies attract and retain the talent necessary to take advantage of cloud computing across these diverse concerns?
Rita Scroggin, Practice Director for the Triad Group, agrees that attracting and retaining top talent in the cloud will continue to be one of the key challenges for enterprise organizations and startups in 2013. Based on the cloud organizations that she’s built over the past few months, that shifts from a technology vision to a focus on monetization is translating into increased demand for talent who can disrupt and redefine a variety of roles that reach far beyond IT. Scroggin notes Business Development, Demand Generation, Product Marketing, Product Management and other functions within enterprise and startup organizations will be impacted by these shifts caused by cloud computing.
Scroggin offers additional insight on trends and advice on recruiting for the cloud in 2013 that may help find and attract the talent necessary to weather the changes required to succeed in an increasingly cloudy market:
JDG: What are the major organizational trends you are seeing as companies build out their cloud capabilities and strategy for 2013?
RS: Major trends emerging for 2013 are the maturing of cloud technologies, the shift from the technology vision to the business implications and monetization, and the disruption of the traditional enterprise sales model.
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Last week I had the opportunity to judge a startup competition in the Silicon Valley. The event was held at the Plug and Play Tech Center, a thriving Silicon Valley community of over 300 startups from all over the world. According to its founder, Saeed Amidi, the mission of the center is to help startups grow. He says they accomplish this mission through a number of strategic partnerships, including 170 investors who participate in regular screening sessions exclusive to Plug and Play members. So far his experiment has been a huge success with the accelerator helping over 300 companies, with names like PayPal, Dropbox and Zoosk, which collectively have raised an excess of $750 million.
The event I was in town for was called CLOUD SCALE 2012 and is billed as the industry’s premier cloud event featuring aspiring start-ups, top-tier VCs, investors and industry luminaries as well as the first annual Cloud startup competition. The startup competition was a cross between American Idol meets dancing with the stars, or possibly dancing with geeks. Where 10 cloud startups are given 3 minutes to pitch a group of VC and industry experts. My job as usual was to provoke the startups.
Read the full article on Forbes.com
CloudNOW, a non-profit world-wide consortium of cloud computing thought leaders has released it’s annual predictions for cloud computing. For those unfamiliar with CloudNOW, the consortium was founded by Jocelyn DeGance Graham with a focus on using technology for the overall professional development of women from around the world by providing a forum for networking, knowledge sharing, mentoring, and economic growth. (Membership is open irrespective of gender.)
The predictions were authored by CloudNOW members and advisors Lori MacVittie, Jocelyn DeGance Graham, Bernard Golden, and Margaret Dawson. The 2013 predictions include a particular focus on cloud federation, an accelerated adoption of cloud stacks, and greater control over cloud resources through what they describe as enterprise-class features.
According to report’s authors “a core focus of cloud in 2013 will be around such topics as big data and integration of cloud computing infrastructure and applications to realize federation of clouds.”
Read the full article on Forbes.com
Jan Uhrich serves as Vice President of the Services & Solutions Group for Dell Services. She is responsible for defining, engineering and launching service offerings and solutions that enable customer success.
Prior to Dell, Jan held management and engineering positions in research and development and application consulting at Hewlett-Packard, Apollo Computer, Digital Equipment and Bell Labs. Jan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Penn State University and a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
1. What do you think the top 3-5 trends are in cloud technologies that execs should have on their radar?
The top trends in cloud technologies focus on providing customers with greater agility and connectivity through their IT and providing a virtual environment so they can run applications, access their data and collaborate anywhere in the world. Customers are looking for solutions that fit into their existing architecture; they want open, capable, scalable and affordable solutions. They want hybrid solutions in order to get the full benefit of cloud by leveraging the different cloud types where needed.
As a result, cloud service management will become a requirement as customers seek flexibility in adopting new models. Organizations will be looking for Software-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service or some combination of the three. Providers need awareness of customer needs to provide the right cloud solutions at the right time.
Big data analytics covering both structured and unstructured data will also become a major issue and opportunity for customers and their cloud providers. Issues include security, data management and the huge volume of data from different sources. It’s not enough for providers to simply store data—that would be like a library that doesn’t organize and categorize its books. Providers need to make sense of data through analytics, organize data for ready accessibility and manage scalability to handle data volume growth.
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Perhaps not yet, but considering the statistics and research with respect to how companies with diversity in the boardroom outperform their peers, there should be.
A recent TechCrunch article authored by VC Aileen Lee (@AileenLee) from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers makes a compelling case as to why your next board member should be a woman. While Ms. Lee focused on the financial benefits associated with a more gender-diverse board, the same studies cited a correlation between diversity of gender on boards with a variety of less quantifiable measures such as innovation, reputation, and a healthier mix of women at all levels of corporate leadership.
Higher success rates. More innovation. Higher profits. Better reputations. What’s not to like?
For cloud-focused companies, what’s not to like is the dearth of skilled professionals at all levels necessary to maintain the evolutionary rate at which it is moving. A January 2012 CRN article noted, “The cloud computing market is evolving at such a pace that while the number of job postings is skyrocketing, the talent isn’t there to fill the positions.”
So if it’s difficult to attract talent because of overwhelming demand, how might one attract the admittedly fewer women in technology to your organization?
Poornima Vijayashanker, the first female engineer at Mint and now CEO of BizeeBee, stated it plainly in a New York Times article last year, “If we want more women to be in tech, then we have to have a set of role models.” That sentiment is echoed by entrepreneur turned venture capitalist Cindy Padnos, who suggests more companies, “demonstrate, by bringing women into senior roles, that they have an opportunity to succeed here.”
And if such a strategy is applicable to start-ups, it’s likely applicable within the cloud computing industry as well.
The problem then becomes finding the right person – one who is a woman in technology may be difficult enough, but one who is also a leader in cloud computing? That’s a more daunting task. So we’d like to follow Ms. Lee’s lead in offering up a list of top female talent for consideration in the board room with a list focusing on top female talent specifically in cloud computing, each of whom was recently recognized by CloudNOW as one of the Top Women in Cloud:
• Padmasree Warrior, CTO, Cisco
• Lauren States, CTO of Cloud Computing, IBM
• Vanessa Alvarez, Analyst, Infrastructure and Operations, Forrester Research
• Jamie Dos Santos, President of Terremark, a Verizon company
• Jill T. Singer, CIO of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
• Becky Swain, Founder of the Cloud Security Alliance
• Lori MacVittie, Senior Technical Analyst, F5 Networks
• Ellen Rubin, Founder of CloudSwitch, Terremark, a Verizon company
• Dawn Leaf, Senior Executive for Cloud Computing, NIST
• Jamie Erbes, Cloud Labs Director, HP Fellow, HP
CloudNOW chose to honor these specific women, but this is just a sample of the great female talent available to the industry. Whom else would you recommend?
CloudNOW Selects the Top Ten Women in 1st Annual Award
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 14, 2012 — CloudNOW, a nonprofit executive consortium of the leading women in cloud computing, announced during Cloud Connect Santa Clara today, the first annual CloudNOW Awards presented to 10 outstanding women in cloud computing for their contributions, accomplishments and thought leadership.
“It was amazing and gratifying to have the caliber of candidates participate in our first annual awards,” said Jocelyn DeGance Graham, founder of CloudNOW. “As we continue to fulfill on our mission, we plan to expand the awards next year to recognize the outstanding contributions of more women in the cloud and further the reach of women in technology.”
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The concept of “separate but equal” is not an unknown one, particularly not in the United States.
The belief that any group can be segregated from the whole based on specific physical characteristics and yet remain equal to other groups is one that has been firmly rejected for many years.
Yet while we laud the significance of movements and court cases throughout recent history that have successfully argued that such isolationist doctrine is ipso facto unequal in many industries, we continue to create just such “separate but equal” organizations.
Then we wonder why they are not successful in creating leaders and generating opportunity for their members.
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