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Digital Transformation via the Cloud – An Interview with Dave Sasson

We sat down with Dave Sasson, the Chief Strategy Officer here at Hanu in conjunction with The Record Magazine to ask him a few questions about digital transformation and the cloud. You can view the story as seen in the record here, or keep reading to find the full interview. We’ve just hit the beginning when it comes to transformation and the cloud according to Dave, check out his insights below:

How important is it for a company to embrace digital?

Companies that truly want to embrace digital or embark on a digital transformation journey should have an organization-wide plan and not just perceived as an add-on for specific business units, departments, or processes.  Going digital is more than just automating paper and manual workflows, although this a part of the transformation. It’s about an organization’s ability to adapt rapidly to ever-changing business environments, to new technologies, and to increasing competitive threats to name a few.

For example, an enterprise can have multiple marketing initiatives, including mobile marketing, social marketing, ad marketing, etc., all perhaps going on simultaneously, in which these groups are using different software tools, reporting, tracking metrics, vendors, and so on. So, in this example each marketing group may have embraced digital, but the organization has clearly not.  The digital vision is not organization wide and is not realizing the true benefits.  So it is digital transformation with the cloud graphicclearing important for a company to embrace digital, but with a company-wide strategy.  This does not mean that an organization’s digital transformation cannot evolve one workflow or department at a time, but it is critical that the digital vision is laid out for organization-wide with executive buy-in.

What role does the cloud play in the digital transformation journey?

Digital transformation and the utilization cloud platforms and technologies go hand-in-hand. Systems and workflows that are cloud based are in their nature more open and designed with collaboration between systems in mind.  Without a cloud strategy as part of the digital transformation will only result in less than optimal expectations and performance.   The amount of data that companies will be collected from a wide array of sources is overwhelming with no slow-down in sight.

For example, a retailer or even a brand will be having to sift and analyze incredible amount of information to stay more competitive and innovative to maintain consumer loyalty and improve the consumer’s overall experience. The sources of data are endless, from targeted mobile ads, social media loyalty programs, location based updates, surveys, in-store vision systems and sensors to gauge consumer happiness and foot traffic, digital signage, customer service calls and responses, customer purchases and returns metrics, consumer feedback and reviews on multiple forums, and on and on…

All this data at its most basic has to be stored somewhere.  So either companies will have to build out their own data centers  to store all this growing information which needs to be designed for peak volumes or leverage the cloud.  The cloud is no longer a question of if, but when, as it comes to companies migrating to the cloud.  The cloud is such a logical and natural choice, it’s a no-brainer.

How are you working with Microsoft to enable businesses to transition to the cloud and embrace digital?

At Hanu, we live and breathe cloud, specifically Microsoft cloud, known as Azure. As Microsoft’s top partner for driving Azure consumption, we work together with many organizations of all sizes with their cloud transformation journey. The cloud can be confusing and complex, but since we have been involved with Azure since its beginnings, we have a unique proven step-by-step approach on how we take companies on their cloud journeys. We are a full-service cloud services company, which means we are involved throughout the entire cloud journey and beyond, which also includes managed services.

So, in the previous retail example with the overwhelming accumulation of data, it is critical that cloud is part of the digital strategy.  Storage is just one aspect of the data, but where Azure really shines are with built-in tools for big data analytics, machine learning, IoT (Internet of Things). A true cloud strategy is way more than just storage. If the data collected is not analyzed properly and timely and quickly acted upon, then the both the cloud and digital transformations are not complete.  A vision and strategy needs to be in place for data usage, and executing on the strategy with the right technologies and the right people.  Microsoft’s cloud is the right technology and the Hanu expert Azure team, which we call Rockstars are the right people.

How do you believe that the role of the cloud will evolve in the years to come?

The cloud is still in its infancy.  Most cloud initiatives today revolve around storage, backup and disaster recovery (DR).  The future is so promising when it comes to how the cloud will evolve.  There will be a time when the initiatives evolve from storage and DR and the true embrace of the cloud take shape. This is where modern applications are written specifically for the cloud taking advantage of all the features and benefits the cloud has to offer. Scalability, flexibility, interoperability, security will all need to be work together seamlessly and we are confident that Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology will meet this challenge, and that Hanu will continue to be the go to partner for Azure services. Cloud and digital go together, just like when it comes to providing companies’ cloud transformations, Microsoft and Hanu go together. Think Azure. Think Hanu.

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