In the last installment of our chat with Laurent Bride, CTO for Talend, we covered how the cloud market has evolved to become a mainstream technology and the questions customers should bear in mind as they evaluate cloud solutions. In this installment, we’ll look at how to bridge the gap between IT and the business when selecting a cloud solution that’s right for long-term business success, making sure cloud is part of a company’s overall business strategy instead of being part of shadow IT, and why open source is a critical component to an effective cloud solution.
Q4: Today there is a bit of a debate on which cloud initiatives should be led by the business, and which ones should be led by IT. What’s your opinion on who is better equipped to lead a cloud initiative?
LB: I don’t think it’s entirely up to one side or the other. In an ideal world, both business and IT would be involved and work together to find a mutually beneficial solution that meets both business and IT objectives.
For example, when you look at cloud analytics tools, you don’t really need much IT involvement as long as the data stays within a business silo. Very quickly, however, you will find that you are going to need data from other areas of the business to make the tool viable. That’s where you run into integration and governance issues; and you cannot solve integration and governance challenges without the involvement of IT.
Collaboration is definitely important to success in the cloud. It’s widely understood that our world is becoming digital—consumers, business workers and leaders alike want information and services to be delivered ‘as they like, when and wherever they want.’ In order to meet this demand, companies need to become more data-driven—using enterprise information to make educated decisions—in order to increase customer service and overall competitive advantage. However, research from McKinsey estimates that The US economy as a whole is realizing only 18 percent of its digital potential. IT doesn’t become more relevant to the business in assisting with this digital transformation, they risk becoming simply a cost center. Today, more IT departments are shifting to be closer to the business so that they can help their companies become more data-driven and remain competitive.
Q4: Where does cloud integration play a role in adding value to an overall cloud strategy?
LB: Going back to some of the early examples of SaaS deployments I can recall, often the businesses wanted a best-of-breed for each application. For example, Salesforce.com is seen as the best CRM solution, while Marketo is seen as the best for marketing automation. As different lines of business moved forward with these tools, they eventually reached a point where they required some type of integration in order to get more insights out of the solution. This could be pushing marketing campaign data into a cloud-based CRM system or moving employee feedback data into a financial tool to link it with a budget.
Since the data from these applications is already in the cloud, a hybrid cloud integration solution will allow you to achieve faster processing times with cloud data and to make it more cost-effective to manage as the business only pays for the compute power needed.
Q4: Finally, we want to ask you a topic that's near and dear to your heart. That, of course, is open source. Do you believe that open source changes the way in which the cloud operates today?
LB: Absolutely. I think that open source is one of the primary accelerators for cloud technology. When you look at the big technology players that have invested heavily in cloud infrastructure (Uber, Google, Facebook, Netflix, for example), all of them contributed to open source projects. When you look at the internal technical architecture of these services, most of them are based on open source. There are of course some proprietary layers but really the backbone is open source. Open source is really fueling the cloud and companies in the cloud are adding key differentiators on top of it in order to generate business value.
Open source and the cloud are accelerators of innovation. Today a startup can get up and running in minutes using cloud and open-source software while 10-15 years ago, a business had to make large upfront investments in technology. It is really helping lead the way to major technology shifts.