As the pandemic eases and companies adopt a more hybrid work culture, cloud adoption is set to change too. Chief Information Officers (CIO) and Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) need to rethink their approach towards the cloud and form new strategies, while also working with other cloud vendors. In an interview, Subram Natarajan, Director of Customer Engineering at Google Cloud and former chief technology officer (CTO) at IBM India, discussed the path ahead. Edited excerpts-
1. What are the key areas CIOs and CISOs need to focus on in the post-Covid world?
While there is still growing demand for cloud technologies, it is also important to emphasise that we are still in the early days of cloud adoption. Gartner estimates that about 81% of organisations are still working with two or more public cloud providers. They also expect to see continued growth in cloud adoption across the board.
Let's not forget security postures in the new cloud environments either, along with hybrid workplaces becoming the norm. The question from enterprises is how cloud can help with the hybrid workplace to enable stronger connections and collaborations across the organisations, and the ecosystem partners as well.
2. How will the cloud enable the new hybrid-work culture?
This is an extremely important point, specifically what we now call the ‘collaboration cloud’. This is not just about technology, but equally as important are people and culture within the organisation. It hinges on how companies keep people engaged, productive and connected. If you were to peel the layer of audience a little bit and see what hybrid-work looks like, it supports a mix of in-person and remote workers, who are interspersed with immersive digital and mobile customer experiences along with flexible hardware solutions.
3. How does collaboration take place among large cloud players?
A vast majority of organisations are using combinations of cloud and open-source software rather than relying on a single source or a single-service provider or closed technology stack for their needs. The companies still make a very concerted effort to standardise their environments, and it is inevitable that they will need to support multiple clouds.
But, whether it is through corporate acquisitions, or an influx of multiple lines of businesses through organic growth, it is next to impossible to maintain a pure technology stack. An open architecture is therefore the right way to move forward.
There is also the point of how to embrace the partner community because they bring the breadth of solutions that Google alone cannot write. So, hybrid open cloud architecture, making sure that we adopt open source, and at the same time maintaining the flexibility for customers to adopt whatever suits their business needs and having partners included in the whole ecosystem while building the solution is the way to go.
4. What is the strategy to grow your customer base?
We are investing in local talent and the local developer community to help enterprises digitally transform and support the economy. And while we are recovering from wherever we were, we will continue to strengthen our presence in the country. So, as far as strategy is concerned, we are focused on six priority industries, financial services, telecommunications media and gaming, retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG), healthcare, life sciences, and lastly, manufacturing industrial and public sector.
We continue to expand the cloud regions by increasing our differentiation in our products through a lot of activity that happens in India and in that process adding new compliance certifications as well.