Q&A: Jan Mietle, partner technology strategist, Microsoft

uk cloud awards

Please can you provide a bit more detail for those not familiar with your company?

Microsoft is fairly well known to most people, but I think it’s worth starting with our mission, which is: to empower every organisation and person on the planet to do more and achieve more. To do that we build best in class platforms such as our hyper scale public cloud offering and we work with partners and customers to create solutions centred in, around and on private and public clouds. That could be either as resellers, service providers, independent software vendors.

Why have you decided to get involved with the UK Cloud Awards 2016?

It’s a great opportunity to recognise the impact that the cloud industry is having in the UK and to showcase the great work that our partners do with customers every day in driving transformation to the cloud.

What else do you think needs to be done to champion innovation in the UK cloud industry?

Education and getting students interested in developing coding skills is hugely important to Microsoft and the industry to create a pipeline of innovators. We’re investing in all age groups and see it as our duty to support the next generation of app creators, start-ups and technology professionals.

What key trends/challenges are you seeing with your customers around cloud?

We see many trends but the big three I see on my travels meeting hundreds of customers and partners are:

  • Security and data sovereignty: previously a challenge but I see that becoming more of an enabler and driver of interest, such as Microsoft’s announcement to open a UK data centre and large customers adopting it.
  • The rapid growth of cloud skills has led to a shortage of highly skilled technical people.
  • The disruption of cloud on customers and partner rethinking what the core of their business is.

How is your company helping customers address these challenges?

We’re investing heavily in training and certification programmes across all our cloud services, a great example being Azure University

How do you think the cloud landscape has evolved in the past five years?

We’ve always had private clouds, but we used to call it Outsourcing back then and as a business model it really only worked for the larger enterprises.

Over the last couple of years, the technology and connectivity has evolved to the point that public and private clouds have become accessible to all size of companies from the large enterprises to the smallest business. In addition to that the choices of SaaS and PaaS based solutions for businesses has grown exponentially thus allowing for great choices in solutions and thus a huge increase in cloud consumption.

What do you think has driven this shift?

The exponential growth in mobile devices, data and consumerisation of IT has pushed the industry to deliver services and applications that deliver seamless and rich experiences. This coupled with the economics of hyper scale cloud and new business models have driven massive innovation and better service for end customers.

Is there anything businesses can do to cater to these changes/prepare for the next wave?

The rate of change we are seeing is continuing to grow and the challenge will be to stay competitive and relevant in the midst of all this change. Key in this will be to leverage and consume services from technology and cloud partners that have cloud services as their core business, and thus allowing businesses to focus on their core offerings. Instead they should look to consume these through Managed Service Providers or through pure SaaS offerings.

What other trends and patterns do you see around cloud computing and related technologies?

I see massive growth in interest and adoption of the Internet of Things. The explosion of sensors and consequently data and the analysis of these huge datasets are creating really interesting use cases, from monitoring lifts to tracking the habits of cows.

What role do you see cloud playing in business life a year or five years from now?

Cloud will continue progress even further and move from giving a competitive edge and just becoming a mainstream utility for businesses. Price will continue to drop for the services and with that I think we will continue to see new business models similar to Uber and AirBnB emerge as well as new models that haven’t even been invented yet.

How can we prepare for such change?

The key to being prepared is to build agility into the culture of an organisation and increase the speed from decision making to action – one pattern I’ve seen in this area is agile businesses are good at delegating decision making and empowering their teams to take action (without losing governance).

Looking further along the line, how do you see cloud shaping the way we live and work in the future?

I think data will be the largest assets of businesses going forward. This will drive two different impacts in my opinion. Firstly, what we see in our digital environment will become even more personalised based on our life situation and interests.

Adverts and marketing will become even more relevant to us as individuals. Secondly with the huge amount of data being generated, we as humans will struggle even more to find relevant information. I think Machine Learning will play a huge part in understanding the situation we are in (e.g. Work, Home, Social, Sport, Leisure, Relax, etc.) and then make sure that whatever information we need, rather than searching for, is presented to us automatically.

For more information about the UK Cloud Awards 2016, visit our website


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