Our cover story this month investigates how Fleur Twohig, Executive Vice President, leading Personalisation & Experimentation across Consumer Data & Engagement Platforms, and her team are executing Wells Fargo’s strategy to promote personalised customer engagement across all consumer banking channels

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This month’s cover story follows Wells Fargo’s journey to deliver personalised customer engagement across all its consumer banking channels.

Welcome to the latest issue of Interface magazine!

Partnerships of all kinds are a key ingredient for organisations intent on achieving their goals… Whether that’s with customers, internal stakeholders or strategic allies across a crowded marketplace, Interface explores the route to success these relationships can help navigate.

Read the latest issue here!

Wells Fargo: customer-centric banking

Fleur Twohig, Wells Fargo

Our cover story this month investigates the strategy behind Wells Fargo’s ongoing drive to promote personalised customer engagement across all consumer banking channels.

Fleur Twohig, Executive Vice President, leading Personalisation & Experimentation across the bank’s Consumer Data & Engagement Platforms, explains her commitment to creating a holistic approach to engaging customers in personalised one-to-one conversations that support them on their financial journeys.

“We need to be there for everyone across the spectrum – for both the good and the challenging times. Reaching that goal is a key opportunity for Wells Fargo and I have the pleasure of partnering with our cross-functional teams to help determine the strategic path forward…”

IBM: consolidating growth to drive value

We hear from Kate Woolley, General Manager of IBM Ecosystem, who reveals how the tech leader is making it easier for partners and clients to do business with IBM and succeed. “Honing our corporate strategy around open hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) and connecting partners to the technical training resources they need to co-create and drive more wins, we are transforming the IBM Ecosystem to be a growth engine for the company and its partners.”

Kate Woolley, IBM
Kate Woolley, IBM

America Televisión: bringing audiences together across platforms

Jose Hernandez, Chief Digital Officer at America Televisión, explains how Peru’s leading TV network is aggregating services to bring audiences together for omni-channel opportunities across its platforms. “Time is the currency with which our audiences pay us, so we need to be constantly improving our offering both through content and user experiences.”

Portland Public Schools: levelling the playing field through technology

Derrick Brown and Don Wolf, tech leaders at Portland Public Schools, talk about modernising the classroom, dismantling systemic racism and the power of teamwork.

Also in this issue, we hear from Lenovo on how high-performance computing (HPC) is driving AI research and report again from London Tech Week where an expert panel examined how tech, fuelled by data, is playing a critical role in solving some of the world’s hardest hitting issues, ranging from supply chain disruptions through to cybersecurity fears.

Enjoy the issue!

Dan Brightmore, Editor

Our exclusive cover story this month, features global retail giant Carrefour, which is transforming its operations on a massive scale…

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Carrefour City Levallois Crise Sanitaire COVID 19 © Nicolas Gouhier

Welcome to a very special edition of Interface Magazine!

There are few enterprises with a heritage and scale enjoyed by Carrefour. The 63-year-old global grocery and retail giant is undergoing enormous change across its numerous territories and grocery formats, and not before time. Sitting, as it does, at a pivotal moment in its history, Carrefour is facing, and meeting, the challenges of size and legacy as it leverages tech and data to transform into a company ready for the challenges ahead. We caught up with Carrefour’s leadership team across its numerous territories and divisions to find out how it’s transforming its operations on a global scale…

Read the latest issue here!

Carrefour has embraced a widespread ongoing transformation, as the retail landscape experiences monumental shifts in behaviour. And the person Carrefour looked to, to deliver this incredible programme of change, was the then rather youthful 45-year-old Alexandre Bompard who joined the Group as Chairman and CEO in July 2017. Bompard has a proven track record in delivering change having been at the helm of French retail chain Fnac-Darty. Bompard’s “Carrefour 2022” transformation plan “embodies the goal of bringing eating well – healthy, fresh, organic, local food – to within everyone’s reach”, said Bompard upon its launch. “To become the world leader in the food transition for everyone”.

Elsewhere in this issue, we speak to Cesar Augusto Dos Santos, Director of IT and CIO of giant Brazilian Communication Service Provider Claro, regarding its digital transformation at scale, as the company enters an exciting new phase of its evolution. Plus, we have some fascinating and insightful content covering digital transformation, business goals versus business purpose and a guide to new working practices that could change your company overnight!

Enjoy the issue!

Andrew Woods (Editor)

We take a look at 5 apps that have underscored the new necessities of remote work: collaboration, security, employee engagement… and a well-equipped home office, as identified in Okta 2021 Business at Work report.

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Many of us have adapted seamlessly to working from home over the last 12 months. Technology, and the way software organisations have stepped up to the plate to supply the tools we needed most, has been key to this. We take a look at 5 apps that have underscored the new necessities of remote work: collaboration, security, employee engagement… and a well-equipped home office, as identified in Okta 2021 Business at Work report.

While it now feels utterly normal to join a professional video chat and see the inside of people’s home offices, kitchens, or sheds, the fact is that it’s only been normal for less than a year. Many people thrive on home working, although some did struggle with the shift, and numerous reports have explored the clear benefits of a more flexible working situation than most of us had pre-pandemic. 

One of the main reasons why many of us have adapted so seamlessly is the role technology has played, and the way software organisations stepped up to the plate to supply the tools we needed most. ‘A shakeup in our top apps underscores the new necessities of remote work: collaboration, security, employee engagement… and a well-equipped home office’, states the Okta 2021 Business at Work report. 

As well as a rise in the use – and choice – of tools that enable us to better work with our colleagues, clients, and peers, remote workers have required additional protection that their employers would normally take responsibility for, hence the rise in security-related apps. Additionally, HR teams are busy investing in whatever will give them the best employee engagement, in order to ensure staff feel happy and supported at a time when they’re separated from their co-workers.

Interestingly, the Okta report shows that 90% of the fastest-growing apps are brand new to the top 10 – the first time in the report’s history. ‘Companies needed to enable remote work, which means supporting at-home workspaces and virtual collaboration, and these apps helped them do it. Also, for the first time, security tools claim four top spots in the fastest growing category, and an HR-centric tool appears for the first time since 2016’.

Microsoft 365

The real heavyweight app of 2020/21 was Microsoft 365, which is no surprise considering most office workers need to use at least one element of the app every day, and many of them haven’t invested in it for their personal computers. In the words of the Okta report, ‘Since our first report in 2015, Microsoft 265, Salesforce, and Google Workspace have held three of our top four spots. They may have rebranded once or twice, but they are embedded in our desktops and our work lives’.

AWS

Amazon Web Services is a cloud computing service that works on a pay-what-you-use basis – it’s not surprising, then, that it’s such a popular choice, particularly at a time when the way we work has changed so drastically. ‘We’ve seen some exciting changes in out top rank’, the report states. ‘Cloud platform AWS has risen steadily from sixth place five years ago to become this year’s second most popular app by number of customers’. 

‘The new second-place global rank for AWS is driven by its strong growth in EMEA and APAC, where it has seen over 25% growth since April 2020, compared to 16% growth in North America during the same time period’. 

Salesforce

A CRM platform and cloud computing service, Salesforce’s popularity has remained steadfastly near the top of the list. This is thanks, in part, to its usage in the US: ‘Salesforce and Zoom’s global ranks are underpinned by their popularity in North America’, the report states. In APAC and EMEA, Salesforce is several spots lower, but this hasn’t affected its appreciation elsewhere.

Google Workspace

Formerly known as G Suite, Google Workspace combines collaboration and productivity tools, and cloud computing. Its broad appeal has brought it to the top four spot, regardless of how it overlaps with other apps. ‘While companies may splurge on a few best-of-breed apps, we might expect they would tighten their belts where they see clear redundancy. However, 36% of Okta’s Microsoft 365 customers now also deploy Google Workspace, the largest jump in the past three years. Top collaboration tools have never been more important for productivity’.

Zoom

Zoom is no longer simply a name – it’s a verb. “Shall we Zoom later?” is the latest “Google it”, thanks to the video call app’s usability, stability, and business-friendly features like the ability to record meetings and set a photo of the Taj Mahal as your background. ‘Tools enabling collaboration, including Zoom, have jumped in the ranks’, the report states.

‘[It] had only joined the top apps by unique users for the first time in 2019, ended this current data period in sixth place. In our Businesses at Work (from Home) report in April, when we highlighted apps that had seen significant growth in numbers of corporate and personal users in March, Zoom was our fastest growing app by number of unique users. While unique users dipped a bit over summer, by the end of September they were reaching new highs, likely related to Zoom’s extensive efforts to support distance learning’.

Our exclusive cover story this month is an in-depth look behind the scenes at Cisco…

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Welcome to issue 20 of Interface Magazine!

Our exclusive cover story this month is an in-depth look behind the scenes at Cisco; the company that helps its clients adapt to an ever-changing world by providing the building blocks of a digital ecosystem that allows more agile and efficient communication alongside operational prowess. But what about Cisco itself?  What does transformation look like inside this Silicon Valley giant, and how does itsuccessfully harness data-driven, digital technologies to improve its own operations to boost growth and profitability?

Read the latest issue here!

We caught up with Dr. Christian Vogt, Cisco’s Chief Innovation Officer of Data & Analytics at his Silicon Valley office. Christian’s mission is to drive the adoption of digital, advanced analytics, and artificial intelligence at Cisco, and to incubate and scale the capabilities needed to accomplish this, both inside his organization and across the company. Some of these technologies are developed by Cisco’s own engineers, while others are the result of partnering. To achieve the latter, Christian has established an open-innovation arm that partners closely with world-class startups and venture capital firms in Silicon Valley and beyond. “My goal is to make us a more data-driven, digitally enabled, and AI-powered company,” Christian explains. 

Elsewhere, we also meet up with Aviva Italy to see how a cloud-native ecosystem will help the company address the new paradigma of insurance. Plus, we look at the past, present and future of Open Banking and examine how CTOs could learn so much from the GB Cycling Team!

Enjoy the issue!

Andrew Woods

Editorial Director

iland research reveals hidden pitfalls of hyperscale cloud and low confidence in key features of cloud services, while a lack of resources is holding back cloud migration projects for 83%

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ilanda leading VMware-based cloud services provider for application hosting, data protection and disaster recovery, today released the findings of its research into customer confidence in cloud services. It found that despite the increase in cloud adoption due to the pandemic, three quarters of organisations surveyed say hyperscaler IaaS instance types may not meet their cost and performance needs for mission-critical applications, while more than one in five are not satisfied with key features of cloud provision such as security, performance, availability and support. 

The research also found that a lack of migration resources is delaying or preventing cloud projects for more than 80% of organisations surveyed. 

The research: The Hidden Pitfalls of Working with Hyperscale Clouds was conducted among 501 senior IT executives, including CIOs, CISOs and CTOs, in the UK and US by independent research organisation, Opinion Matters, in June 2020. Participants were asked for their views on security, performance, compliance and their overall level of confidence in the cloud services they have invested in. 

Key research findings include:

  • 83% say lack of migration resources and/or time has delayed cloud migration. Among those, 12% say it has entirely prevented migration.
  • 75% say a T Shirt size or hyperscaler instance type does not meet all their performance and cost requirements.
  • 24% are not confident that hyperscale clouds can meet performance and availability requirements for specific applications.
  • 23% are not confident that production data is protected via backup or disaster recovery in the event of data loss with their cloud service provider.
  • 24% are not confident they can get the support they need from their cloud service provider.
  • 53% say security is the top factor in cloud supplier selection. 
  • 76% agree CSPs should assist or actively manage customer data compliance.

Commenting on the research findings, Researcher Charles Moore said: “While cloud adoption has seen a significant uptick due to the pandemic, the lack of migration resources for many customers has delayed or prevented deployment. Customers need to choose a cloud vendor that can fill the internal resource gaps that can hinder success.”

Justin Giardina, iland Chief Technology Officer, added: “The business benefits of moving to the cloud are indisputable, but with 83% of those surveyed saying that migration resources are necessary to achieve those benefits it’s clear that customers need to look beyond just the cloud platform and ensure their vendor can offer the supporting services that can reduce risk and improve time to value.”

“Hyperscale cloud services are missing the mark for a significant proportion of the organisations surveyed,” continues Giardina. “Having trust in critical cloud features is fundamental to realising its benefits, so with more than one in five respondents lacking confidence in aspects such as performance, availability, backup and support points to the hidden pitfalls of hyperscale clouds.” 

Security, management, visibility, and control are priority customer requirements for cloud solutions

The study also found that key requirements for cloud service provision include common or unified management across all services; this is a priority for 73% of those adopting multi-cloud solutions. Similarly, infrastructure visibility and control are must-have features for 71% of respondents. Many were looking to the future, with 89% saying it was important or critical that they can write to their CSP’s API for future software development and deployment.

Security is a primary criterion for cloud provider selection, with 53% saying it is the leading consideration and a further 43% saying it is a major factor. Three quarters of customers also want to see cloud service providers helping manage data compliance.

The survey found that the majority (74%) of respondents felt it was important that CSPs preserve their company’s existing networking environment when they move to the cloud. This reflects the current landscape, where many organisations are being forced to accelerate their cloud adoption programmes due to the pressures of supporting large-scale remote working. Giardina notes: “When organisations are being rapidly pushed out of their comfort zones and forced to shrink deployment schedules to the absolute minimum, being able to maintain the familiar networking environment in the cloud is an advantage that is appealing to under-pressure IT departments.” 

Data revealed as Tech Nation and Dealroom launch the Impact & Innovation database…

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New research from Tech Nation and Dealroom reveals that investment into UK impact startups increased 9.5x between 2014 and 2019. UK impact startups have raised €1.4B so far in 2020 with Cleantech and Climate tech companies raising the most capital of all UK impact startups. 

The biggest rounds for UK impact startups in 2020 include Octopus Energy, Arrival, Connexin (Hull), Tokamak Energy (Abingdon), Compass Pathways, Cera, Highview Power, FiveAI (Cambridge), The Meatless Farm Company (Leeds).

It comes as Tech Nation and Dealroom launch the  Impact and Innovation database, that catalogues 4,939 startups and scaleups, 7,472 funding rounds, and 232 exits of innovative companies addressing the world’s most pressing challenges. 

George Windsor, Head of Insights at Tech Nation, commented: “UK impact tech firms have come on leaps and bounds over the last six years – with nearly 10x more investment made into groundbreaking companies in 2020 than 2014. UK tech must continue to play a key part in tackling some of the world’s toughest challenges, including  climate change. This revolution is happening right across the country. Tech Nation is pleased to work with some of the leading companies in this space through our world-first Net Zero programme – ensuring that companies working in this sector can scale to have the greatest impact.”

The data also reveals that European startups are more impact-focussed than their global peers. €6B was invested into European impact startups in 2019, making up over 15% of all VC investment in the region. This research shows that what was once fringe investment and innovation activity is finding traction and proven success in Europe, becoming a core part of European innovation ecosystems.

Climate tech startups, which includes electric vehicles, have attracted the most investment within the Impact sub-sector, with European players emerging as global market leaders. European companies working to tackle climate change and its impacts have attracted €9.8B in VC investment in the last five years. 

Impact innovation startups are also fueling growth and job creation. Crucially, these startups are actively hiring, the Impact & Innovation database lists over 2,100 jobs in impact startups that are currently hiring in Europe – over 390 of these are in the UK. 

The Impact and Innovation platform will bring together startups, investors, non-profits, governments, and corporates in one open-access data-driven platform. The new mapping of the global impact and innovation ecosystem will facilitate data-driven policy and decision making, the sharing of cross-industry knowledge, and will foster the partnerships required to help next generation innovators succeed on the global stage.

Sarah Doherty, Product Marketing Manager at iland discusses how a cloud-based infrastructure can accelerate IT initiatives.

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There’s no doubt about it, we are living in a cloud enhanced world. No matter what is happening in life, whether it’s uploading pictures of the family, keeping track of friends on social media, or working remotely, the fact remains that the cloud is a part of our everyday lives in one way or another.

So why are organisations so hesitant to adopt a cloud infrastructure? From speaking with customers, the reason extends across infrastructure, business as well as, let’s face it, an overall new way of thinking about what is the best way to mitigate risk.

When we talk to business leaders, the idea of moving from a CAPEX model to an OPEX model is appealing for pretty much everything but IT. They still look at IT assets and think about budget cycles and performance/capacity per the pound or dollar. This can put them into situations where they are purchasing hardware on three to five-year cycles, subsequently discovering after two years that the hardware they have invested in isn’t doing what it needs to do. However, at that point, the business is committed.

They may be locked into a certain vendor or platform and the pain of moving seems overwhelming or they may have concerns about moving to the cloud in general. In a nutshell, this approach is not compatible with the flexibility and scalability that many businesses need in their toolkit.

The tangible business benefits of using a cloud-based infrastructure have been heavily publicised of late, with the onset of COVID-19 necessitating a quick and efficient move to the cloud, in order to keep businesses moving. However, implementing a cloud strategy to future-proof an organisation can, not only have top-line operational benefits such as data security, business continuity, resilience, scalability, and accessibility – it can facilitate wider digital transformation strategies.

This will prove crucial to maximising business efficiency and time-to-market of these initiatives, in the event of another worldwide event where physical access to a building is not possible. After all, an organisation’s end users have become accustomed to receiving a faultless service – even during a global pandemic – and would have expected businesses to have learnt their lessons from COVID-19.

Organisations wanting to implement a range of IT initiatives have unarguably accelerated cloud adoption. However, when choosing a cloud partner, they normally express the following concerns around adaptability to the cloud, which cloud providers need to tackle head-on.

Security and Compliance

While it may not be the first thing that springs to mind for IT professionals looking to quickly enact digital transformation strategies, such as building applications that will streamline internal business processes, security practices must adapt as data moves to the cloud. While assets are normally well-locked down, it is easy to accidentally create vulnerabilities in the cloud since customers are responsible for setting many security controls around their apps and data.

All clouds have a different set of best practices and design principles. Therefore, knowing those practices up-front will help cloud admins avoid headaches later. Working with the right cloud partner to plan and then execute a cloud strategy will not only eliminate headaches now and later but will also help to grow the business for the future.

It goes without saying that vulnerabilities must also be addressed as soon as possible. Cybercriminals are currently stepping up their attacks to take advantage of remote employees. Phishing attacks are at an all-time high on small and large businesses, as well as public resources like hospitals and healthcare providers. Therefore, businesses must assign responsibility to an individual or group of individuals to look after the organisation’s data from the onset, especially during the migration period.

There is no time like the present to reinforce an organisation’s IT security and compliance guidelines, many of which include the relevance of when employees travel or occasionally work from home. This includes a refresher on password policies and how to identify and report phishing attempts. It’s important to help employees with securing their home networks, and all the other policies and guidelines they would typically follow at work to protect the company and customer data. This might also be an excellent time to train employees on document and data retention best practices. 

Cloud Expertise and Management

Most IT teams are running at full throttle as it is, and the idea of learning entirely new jobs, alongside current tasks, can be daunting. Furthermore, IT managers may be wondering how to firstly move their teams to the cloud, and subsequently get them up to speed quickly and manage projects in the long run, minimising business disruption as much as possible.

A good first step is to implement a robust cloud migration strategy. This will help communicate a clear vision and change management plans to all employees within the organisation, including IT teams at the coalface, demonstrating how the move to the cloud will really help the business, and prove ultimately beneficial in the long-run. For example, key drivers are the need for greater availability, the desire to move from CAPEX to OPEX and the need for greater scalability as the company grows.

Furthermore, the progression from traditional server-based infrastructure to virtualisation and then to cloud involves several mental leaps. The cloud requires an adjustment of mindset and an ability to accept ways of doing things differently. However, this is the only efficient way to take wider business and IT strategies forward. Organisations should start their move with non-mission-critical applications, which are typically the easiest to migrate. The transition of refactoring some applications to function as cloud-native or distributed applications can take more time.

It goes without saying that organisations choosing a managed service provider to manage their cloud migration and ongoing support should lean on their partner as much as possible, especially in the first few months, to help teams get up to speed with new processes and workflows.

It’s all about short term pain for long-term gain.

Cost Control

Understanding all the factors that contribute to billing before an organisation makes the move to the cloud is a must, since cost management changes can lead to problems if they are not understood. 

Cloud services are generally billed once a month or follow a pay-as-you-go pricing model. However, users must factor in hidden fees, such as data transfer costs, and additional support and training. These budget surprises can pose a challenge if not addressed proactively.

Organisations should choose the cloud partner that doesn’t spring any surprising extra fees; the best providers should have simple, easy-to-understand invoicing portals and support, where businesses have complete visibility of all costs in one place. This is increasingly crucial as businesses scale their cloud offering up and down – sometimes on a month-by-month basis – with differing costs to reflect this. When scaling in such a way, organisations need to be made aware of how these changes will be billed – i.e. immediately or on monthly terms. Not addressing the finer points of billing can unnerve an organisation who are not familiar with cloud models, or a SaaS approach.

It is important to look past the challenges and focus on the true advantages. The cloud provides a great opportunity to modernise IT infrastructure and gain operational efficiency through cloud-native design practices.

All clouds have a different set of best practices and design principles. Therefore, knowing those practices up-front will help cloud admins avoid headaches later. Working with the right cloud partner to plan and then execute cloud strategies will not only eliminate headaches now and later but will also help businesses to grow in the future through planned digital transformation initiatives that can be executed without the constraints of legacy hardware.

“There’s an increasing challenge for organisations to orchestrate the digital experience across multiple third-party and owned platforms,” says Laurence Parkes, CEO of Rufus Leonard.

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Differentiate with digital: Designing your digital experience ecosystem with Laurence Parkes, CEO of Rufus Leonard

Organisations that use technology to make a meaningful difference to people’s lives grow four times faster than their competitors [Forrester]. To tap into this potential, brands need to overcome digital sameness to deliver an experience that drives sustained competitive advantage, resilience and growth. Increasingly an organisation’s mission (expressed in its brand strategy) is delivered through its digital activities. It’s therefore essential to have the digital ecosystem (platforms, people and processes) that can deliver your brand promise.