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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.
Read full article »
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.”
Read full article »
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.
Read full article »
Cloud computing is transitioning from industry buzzword to business-critical solution; recent technology forecasts name the migration to cloud as the biggest trend of 2011,
with Gartner anticipating that the spending on cloud computing applications will reach $150 billion by 2013. To date, the perceived business opportunity associated with cloud has
driven start-up and established technology and services providers to make bets and stake out territory throughout the emerging cloud landscape based on conjectures about how the space
might evolve. As customers begin to make substantial investments in cloud, it becomes critical for providers and investors to have an informed view of customer needs and buying criteria.
As follow up to our cloud primer, Cloud Computing: Fact versus Fog, Grail Research interviewed 20 cloud computing experts in order to offer cloud providers, investors and prospective customers a more detailed and consolidated understanding of who cloud customers are and what is driving them to move to cloud today. Experts interviewed for this study span a cross-section of the most progressive cloud thinkers, including industry analysts, senior executives at major cloud vendors, and founders of technology firms. This report summarizes the key themes about customers and adoption drivers that emerged from the research.
Read full report
By Seema Jethani
Even with all the hype surrounding Cloud Computing, a recent Forrester study shows that only 6% of enterprises have a successful private Cloud deployment. CloudNOW sat down with Vanessa Alvarez, named by Femmeonomics as one of the 50 women to watch in Tech, a well-respected industry analyst for data storage and cloud computing and a member of the CloudNOW advisory board, to talk about the trends and challenges in the cloud computing space and what is really holding enterprises back.
CloudNOW: What do you think the top 3-5 trends/challenges are in cloud that execs should have on their radar?
Ms. Alvarez: When we survey executives today, a large percentage of organizations are in the planning stage or already starting to deploy Cloud in their environments. And there are a number of different trends that are pushing them to move forward in their cloud journey. First, the easy access to IT resources from the likes of Amazon Web Services etc. I continue to see many business users leveraging outside resources without IT approval. A CIO and his IT organization should be a part of this process. The on-demand and flexible nature of Cloud environments help enterprises accelerate their time to market and so it’s not a matter of stopping business users from leveraging, but of IT going to their business customers and ensuring they are obtaining the most cost efficient internal/external resources for the task at hand. Thus CXOs and executives need to evaluate cloud computing in terms of the agility and flexibility that it brings to their operations.
Another trend that executives should have on their radar is the evolving role of IT. When cloud emerged, there was much hype around IT jobs going away. In fact there is so much more demand for jobs for those skill sets that are required for managing a Cloud environment. IT organizations today should move to focusing what is core to their overall business rather than building, maintaining and managing IT infrastructure. That means IT will become a services manager or services broker organization and will help the company determine whether it should be leveraging its own IT resources or it should be leveraging external IT resources.
Finally I think that a hybrid cloud-computing environment will prevail rather than a completely public cloud environment. Enabling a hybrid environment will maximize the efficiencies of resources, after all, not every workload and/or application is made to be in a public cloud. The cost and other challenges of rearchitecting legacy applications for example may not be worth it.
CloudNOW: What do you think the top trends/challenges in cloud are in the short term; let’s say from now until the next 12 months? …. And beyond that?
Ms. Alvarez: When we look at Cloud today, only 6% of enterprises have a successful private Cloud deployment. That’s really not a large number despite the hype around cloud computing. Thus, I think it’s going to be a while before we really start to see the hybrid model coming to fruition. The short-term trend is the evolution of IT organization from maintaining and managing infrastructure to becoming a business that understands where IT resources should be leveraged from. Over the next 12 to 18 months, we are going to see the evolution of that role. The trend is the role of server, network and storage roles evolving; the challenge is acquiring the right skill sets to manage a hybrid environment, where it’s not only about infrastructure anymore; but about how your IT environment enables the business. New functions and responsibilities emerge from cloud, and the difficult part will be finding the right talent to have not only the technical skills, but the business acumen as well. It’s not about speeds and feeds anymore; it’s about “how does my IT environment contribute to my bottom line?” We already see this happening; however, the roles of data base administrators and information architects are also changing, as they begin to depend a great deal on infrastructure technologies in order to make some of their processes run faster or perform better. We see this in the area of unstructured data, and the need for enterprises to analyze and leverage this data in the most efficient manner possible.
CloudNOW: Do you have any insights into areas of convergences (eg social, mobile, cloud)?
Ms. Alvarez: The convergence I see happening now is the one of consumer and enterprise. Cloud has really allowed consumers to become much more technology savvy and has enabled the convergence between consumer and enterprise services. What we have seen in the storage space is that employees leverage consumer services like Dropbox and Box.net to collaborate with their colleagues or store corporate data. While IT has no idea if employees are using these services for personal or work data, they don’t want really to be a bottleneck and are now enforcing policies around the usage of these service and putting SLAs in place with the service providers. And at the same time cloud consumer services understand that they have a place in business and are beginning to offer enterprise level solutions with added security, management etc.The convergence I see further out, is the one of cloud and mobility. How does mobile infrastructure enable/complement cloud? How can enterprises leverage it in disaster recovery cases for example.
CloudNOW: Which areas do you think are the most realistic and have the largest commercial benefit? Which will be the largest moneymakers?
Ms. Alvarez: If enterprises can leverage infrastructure services such that that they will accelerate the time to market for a product or a service offering, that in itself is value from Cloud. The agility that cloud computing offers is priceless. Service providers hold the key to cloud because they enable enterprises to focus on their core capabilities and value proposition and not worry about managing and maintaining infrastructure. A lot of service providers today are making the necessary acquisitions to be able to offer the right services to enterprises. If they are able to demonstrate and capitalize on the value that cloud brings to enterprises, then it will be a win/win for both.
CloudNOW: Are there any major differences across markets or regions that you see with respect to any Cloud trend?
Ms. Alvarez: I see a slight difference between the U.S. and Europe markets in terms of the mentality and how forward thinking they are. The U.S. doesn’t face as much regulation and compliance (for better or for worse) than Europe does. From a vertical perspective, I see a similar trend. Some verticals are much more heavily regulated than others. The heavily regulated industries may start to hit a wall because they can’t leverage Cloud due to compliance issues such as data location restrictions etc.
But progress depends on the different kinds of data, workloads, and regulations & compliances issues that organizations must deal with, for e.g. for some enterprises, it is important to control where mission critical data and workloads are housed, what kind of latency they can tolerate and what performance is acceptable. Some workloads and data require more, some less. These issues must be dealt with before certain organizations can make progress. Others may have fewer restrictions and are more tolerant to certain standards, so it doesn’t matter. These organizations can progress faster on the cloud journey.
CloudNOW: The speed of innovation in cloud continues to accelerate at such a rapid pace – how will companies deal with the challenges of more interdependencies and complexities (often security related)? How can they prepare for these challenges in advance?
Ms. Alvarez: Most organizations today are going into Cloud not as well prepared, as they should be. There are a number of reasons for that, including the lack of standardization (pricing, SLAs etc) . There is still a great deal of ambiguity and gray area that needs to be cleared up. However, being able to understand why you are looking to leverage an external public Cloud, or why you are looking to change your own IT environment from a traditional IT environment to a private Cloud model is really key. A lot of private cloud initiatives are started by C-level management without really understanding WHY they need to change. What are the business initiatives/challenges/requirements that are pushing you to enable a private cloud environment, or leverage public cloud services? We also see a lack of communication between CXOs, IT and business staff. This leads to roadblocks along the cloud journey because not everyone was on board and all of a sudden you have challenges that emerge. Thus organizations should really be prepared from a people, process and technology perspective and understand why they are looking to leverage Cloud, whether a private cloud or public cloud.
If organizations are looking to leverage public cloud services, it is necessary to establish their requirements and criteria ahead of time, then sit down with service providers and establish what’s possible. Often times, this is not done, and when there is an outage, or disruption, then miscommunication of expectations emerge. In order to avoid this, it’s best to have an upfront discussion on requirements.
CloudNOW: Going along the lines of the speed of innovation, why do you think that we’re having this rapid pace of innovation in Cloud? And do you feel that customers’ needs are leading or that technology is actually charting the direction?
Ms. Alvarez: The evolution of technology today is amazing. Every day we start to see different features and functionality. While technology moves at a much faster pace than enterprises do, enterprises are really starting to understand what role technology plays in helping their business evolve. However changing technology is not the challenge because at the end of the day you just deploy it. Changing people and process is a bigger challenge and what needs to happen in sync with technology changes in order to have a successful cloud environment.
CloudNOW: Has there been an increase or any change in the number of women professionals in the Cloud Computing arena right now?
Ms. Alvarez: Unfortunately I think that IT in general has fewer women and I don’t know if Cloud is really changing that. What I think we should start seeing is, because cloud computing really entails bringing business and IT together, a lot more women from the business side try to bridge that gap between the business and IT and start to help IT understand what the business value of technology is to the company. But today we haven’t really seen an increase, which is very disappointing. I do hope that once we do start to see much more of a tie-in of business and IT, we will see more women professionals in the area of Cloud Computing and IT in general.
CloudNOW: How did you get started in technology?
Ms. Alvarez: I came from the manufacturing, consumer goods industry with a supply-chain management background. When I moved to Boston there were no real opportunities in the consumer goods space. So I joined Yankee Group’s Research Associate program, where I sat in the Enterprise Infrastructure team. 7-1/2 years later, I still love being an analyst in technology. There’s always a need for infrastructure, commodity or not, and today, as the infrastructure space evolves, my analyst perspective on infrastructure evolves as well.
CloudNOW: What is the best piece of advice you have received in your career?
Ms. Alvarez: The best piece of advice I have received in my career is to always make the call. It could be right or wrong but as long as you can make an informed argument and back up your opinion, that’s all that matters.
Thus I pass on the same advice: Make the call and never back down. When you have the right idea and the right argument based on informed research, then there’s no reason why you should back down. I’m also a firm believer in Vision, Plan and Focus. You must have a vision, and focus on making it a reality with a plan. When all three happen, successful execution is inevitable.