Lights and Technology
NOESIS IN THE MEDIA
25 June 2021

2020 was a year that organizations went into survival mode and reinvention


Read José Gomes, IT Operations, Cloud & Security Associate Director at Noesis, interview to Link to Leaders, about the challenges cloud technology is putting to businesses and how they can make the most of digital transformation.

Installed in the market since 1995, Noesis assumes itself as a technological innovation consultant that offers IT services and cutting-edge technology to accelerate the digital transformation of business and support organizations to transform their processes and become more competitive. It bases its activity on a portfolio of end-to-end services, with nine business areas, and has a business vision that includes internationalization and the Netherlands, Ireland, the United States, Brazil, and Portugal.

Noesis is a reference player in implementing technological solutions that last year reinforced its international ambition with the integration in the Altia Group.

José Gomes, IT Operations, Cloud & Security Associate Director at Noesis, answered the questions posed by Link To Leaders about the challenges that cloud technology is presenting to companies and how they can make the best possible use of digital transformation:

Installed in the market since 1995, Noesis assumes itself as a technological innovation consultant that offers IT services and cutting-edge technology to accelerate the digital transformation of business and support organizations to transform their processes and become more competitive. It bases its activity on a portfolio of end-to-end services, with nine business areas, and has a business vision that includes internationalization and the Netherlands, Ireland, the United States, Brazil, and Portugal.


Noesis is a reference player in implementing technological solutions that last year reinforced its international ambition with the integration in the Altia Group.

José Gomes, IT Operations, Cloud & Security Associate Director at Noesis, answered the questions posed by Link To Leaders about the challenges that cloud technology is presenting to companies and how they can make the best possible use of digital transformation:


We witnessed a giant technological leap in just a few months based on incorporating new technical capabilities and developing cloud strategies. What are the unique challenges that the cloud poses to companies?


Due to the "Covid-19 effect", 2020 was a year in which most organizations entered a survival mode and reinvented the way they work, their offers, their business models, and the way they reach their end customers. This hyper-acceleration of the digitization of the economy also brought new challenges. The growing development of multi-cloud environments has expanded cyber exposure and high points of failure and vulnerabilities in networks and territories. Cyber-attackers have been quick to exploit in a variety of ways. Thus, organizations must refocus on the security architecture, which is perhaps the main challenge that companies currently face.


"(…) the window of opportunity (for attackers) created with the massive migration to telecommuting, and that gave rise to an unprecedented wave [of attacks]," said José Gomes.


Pressure on leaders is also increasing to invest in and adopt cloud technology. Are companies concerned about the security and compliance that the service imposes?


Yes, it is a fact that the rapid adoption of the cloud has significantly increased the complexity of infrastructures and that complexity and heterogeneity are here to stay. This is why it is essential to ensure that organizations have a holistic view of their entire IT architecture and infrastructure – automation, integration, and end-to-end observability are vital requirements to implement to ensure efficient management.


We are talking about new paradigms. The journey to the cloud, in its different configurations, is fraught with challenges, with security being one of the most worrying CIOs in our organizations. It's not just that environments are more complex in hybrid IT architectures with on-prem, private clouds, and public clouds. It's also what we see today in terms of threats. On the one hand, the window of opportunity (for attackers) created massive migration to telecommuting, which began an unprecedented wave. There have never been so many attacks as now. On the other hand, the sophistication of criminals with the emergence of attacks using artificial intelligence solutions and machine-to-machine attacks, for example.


What are the main motivations that lead companies to migrate to the cloud these days?


The cloud allows applications to be available more quickly. This is one of the main drivers of motivation in the journey to the cloud, as it allows for greater agility and the ability to reduce time-to-market. Currently, the cloud is no longer just a storage tool: it becomes a computing environment with enormous benefits for all stakeholders. Cloud Computing has revolutionized the market, enabling a new business model in which practically everything previously sold as a product is now offered as a service.


Currently, it's not just SaaS (Software as a Service) that has been gaining traction. The ideas of XaaS or EaaS (Everything as a Service) have also grown a lot in recent years. SaaS has been a powerful trend in the business market, where it intends to offer software as a service to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Applications are provided in a subscription model, and they operate on the cloud rather than installed on an internal server. Thus, the advantages relative to this solution are several, from the outset, in cost-efficiency. On the other hand, this is a much more practical and affordable model as it can operate the SaaS from any device with internet access.


How can SMEs and start-ups prepare for this Cloud boom?

The corporate world is changing rapidly, consumers are demanding more, and technology urgently needs to keep pace. In this sense, the "as a service" solutions, which I mentioned earlier, will gain more importance and transform, even more profoundly, the existing business models.


Currently, it is already possible to use software, infrastructure, and entire platforms in the cloud. All elements of a company can be virtual, thus eliminating the need for an on-premise physical infrastructure (on-prem). The growth of SaaS, as well as its evolution towards new business models, namely: EaaS or XaaS, summarize the worldwide trend of transforming products of any nature into services by subscription, which can be offered in a personalized and tailored way for each customer, valuing the relationship, technical support, and constant updates.

This model provides enormous advantages for any organization, but especially for SMEs and start-ups that, in this way, can access, for example, software that they otherwise would not be able to. This shared infrastructure, provided by the cloud, makes it possible to make processes more efficient and productive and allows for cost reduction by reducing the need to invest in expensive equipment, specialized labor, or even high-value licenses.


José Gomes stated, "The digital transformation is transversal, and the cloud is a fundamental foundation of this transformation.".


Which sectors are most dependent on the cloud today and in the future?

Nowadays, all sectors of activity expose to this technological hyper-acceleration and the need to transform their business models and reinvent themselves in developing their training. The digital transformation is transversal, and the cloud is a fundamental foundation of this transformation. If we think about the industrial sector, where IoT and automation are crucial to increase competitiveness, in the financial industry, where fintech came to revolutionize the way customers interact with banking institutions or financial products. 


In the retail sector, where analytics is increasingly important, with more and more data captured from the consumer, there is a growing need to work with this data in real-time, transforming them into relevant information for decision-making in organizations. 

In healthcare, where technological advances in artificial intelligence are increasingly crucial for the early detection of diseases, we can easily see that the cloud is decisive in all these processes.

 

According to a study published by Deloitte Global, the cloud market's growth will exceed 30% between 2021 and 2025. Will Portuguese companies be able to explore new ways to create value in the cloud? How do you see the sector?

No doubt. Organizations, including those that operated in more traditional models, have shown resilience and can adapt to new competitive paradigms, under penalty of not prevailing in an increasingly global, competitive, and digital market. Portuguese companies are no exception. I think everyone has realized that the digitization of the business and incorporating innovative technologies into value chains represent a unique opportunity for organizations (of all sizes and sectors of activity) to gain a competitive advantage in a market in constant disruption.


In this context of more significant heterogeneity and complexity in the cohabitation of On-prem environments, private Clouds, and public Clouds as a means of optimized value creation, IT's role is fundamental. It is up to it to ensure that the entire technological ecosystem responds adequately in dimensions of availability, performance, resilience, agility, and security. Thus, it is to be expected that the sector will not only be capable of increasingly innovative and disruptive cloud solutions (in their most varied configurations) but also that it will invest in providing advanced security solutions, advanced monitoring, observability, and automation that help managers of IT to incorporate, in a sustained and integrated manner, the most sophisticated management solutions for its technological park.


"(…) there is still much work to be done to help companies to proceed with the implementation of their technological roadmap (…)" stated José Gomes.


With the pandemic driving more companies to the cloud, did cloud providers have the opportunity to capitalize on their increased usage?

We have already seen that in the struggle for survival, the reinvention of the business, the rapid transition to remote work, and the focus on serving customers through digital channels, resulted in the incorporation of multiple cloud solutions as a way to accelerate the incorporation of innovation, accelerate the team -to-market. This first movement, more or less disordered, helped break down some barriers and doubts that might still exist about adopting cloud models. So I would say the most challenging part is done.


In the first phase, it is necessary to prove that the increase in the use of the cloud should be not seen as a conjectural measure due to the pandemic but rather as part of a structural and sustained long-term strategy. But the cloud can bring even more value, such as flexibility and scalability, improved operational efficiency, and optimized investment strategies. Therefore, there is still much work to help companies continue implementing their technology roadmap based on the available cloud offers, demonstrating the value they can bring to the business.


Noesis' strategy is focused on the cloud. Was this path already being followed before the pandemic, or has the current context forced you to rethink this strategy?

The theme of the cloud and the so-called journey to the cloud has been a theme addressed by the market for some years now, and at Noesis, we have been providing services in this area for a long time and supporting our customers on this journey. In recent years, we have addressed the theme of Hybrid Cloud as a vision and adoption proposal for our customers. Creating a hybrid systems architecture in organizations allows them to manage and extend their infrastructure, platforms dynamically, and applications, using all available resources - Private, Public Cloud, and even Edge Computing. This is the Hybrid Cloud Mindset, which has been Noesis' value proposition for the past few years, supporting customers to create a scalable infrastructure so that they can quickly respond to what is inevitably unpredictable. 


Nowadays, without collaborative platforms, without continuous access to data, and without the elastic and dynamic resource allocation capacity, organizations are no longer jeopardizing only their efficiency but their own business.

 

What advice do you give so that providers can make the most of the advancement of the cloud in the market?

The cloud, like any other developed technology, exists with a purpose: to solve organizations' business problems. The best advice I can give is that they put the customer first. They should focus on understanding which cloud solutions and services best respond to organizations' concrete problems. Cloud providers should seek to develop partnership strategies based on long-lasting and trustworthy relationships with their customers, providing services that aim to help IT find the best method for adopting cloud capabilities, whether based on the analysis of the environment (market, competitors, regulators, and others) or depending on the specificities and requirements intrinsic to each organization and which condition the development of the business.


Do you consider those cloud-based technologies can become the dominant solution in all types of businesses soon?

No doubt. In large part, the digital transformation movement has been witnessed in recent years due to the cloud. The new business models, the emergence of new players in different sectors of activity that are natively digital and that came to cause this disruption in the market, have their business models based on the cloud. Just think of fintech, or even other examples in distribution, transport, retail, catering, streaming platforms, among many others.


We are evolving more and more towards XaaS business models – Everything as a service – and this logic, service, and subscription, is only possible thanks to the cloud. Also, in the analytics component, AI or Machine Learning, among many other areas, cloud computing enables this innovation and the agility and scalability of these models.


What are the cloud trends in 2021?

There is a set of trends that reveal exponential growth in the adoption of cloud technologies and the challenges inherent to this fact. I want to highlight three: starting with the development of hybrid strategies, due to optimized investment strategies, access to technological innovation, speed-to-market, and operational efficiency lead to a growing number of companies that bet on dividing their workloads between online environments -prem, private clouds, and public cloud.

Then the focus on security. By digitizing the business and incorporating solutions from multiple providers, the last few years marked the exponential growth of cyber attacks due to increased cyber exposure. 


2021 is a year in which organizations must take a step back to assess their IT ecosystem and seek to build their capacity in a structured way with cutting-edge technologies and services that will allow them to safeguard against further cyber-exposure and internal threats.


Finally, observability, monitoring, and automation. Cloud platforms will continue to develop sophisticated automated cloud management solutions as managing complex ecosystems increases, both in the quantity and quality of services interconnected between applications.

Originally published (in Portuguese) in Link to Leaders

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