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May 21, 2015

Q&A: Juggling innovation & control in a cloud world

Philippe Llorens, CEO of Canopy and Yan Noblot, COO of Olympics & Major Events discussed their private cloud relationship and the challenges of innovation.

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CBR recently met with Philippe Llorens, CEO, Canopy and Yan Noblot, COO of Olympics & Major Events.

During the meeting we discussed the challenges facing companies with digital transformation and how the Olympics are innovating with cloud.

Llorens highlighted the issues that big businesses face, stating that they tend to be a little conservative when it comes to digital innovation: "When you deliver IT services through customers, you want to innovate but at the same time you want to keep things under control."

One of the issues that companies’ face is that they do not have a body that is focused on innovation, he said that you cannot expect a traditional organisation to innovate by itself.

Another area that Llorens wanted to raise awareness of was the process of digital transformation.

"Everything is about digital transformation, but it is a journey and not just something you do over night. It is very complex and every transition is challenging. You need to have a lot of competencies to do it, you need a plan of competencies, technology and solutions to go through with it."

For its part, Canopy is working to deliver cloud solutions and works by engineering, operating and orchestrating cloud services.

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Although much has been said about the importance of digital transformation, the numbers regarding who is doing it and not just talking about it vary.

With regards to cloud adoption, Llorens states that all the CIO’s that he meets are convinced that they have to move to the cloud.

While a move to the cloud is likely to be good for the business, Llorens knows that there are consequences but he is confident that the demand for innovation will drive his business forward.

"If you have 100 people running your operations and you transfer most of your IT operations to the cloud, then this won’t be without consequences."

"No one is just carrying on with what they are doing, they want innovation and they are all asking for innovation."

He is not blind to the challenges that still face cloud adoption, particularly with security.

"Security is a big deal with cloud, no one can ignore it and say it isn’t, it is something that customers take into account."

Llorens spoke of the difficult that one large French bank faced, as it was keen to adopt AWS, only for the regulator to say that it wasn’t possible due to the location of data storage.

Despite this ongoing issue, many are keen to adopt cloud services and one big name that Canopy has added is the Olympics. Yan Noblot, spoke about why it has adopted cloud and the challenges that they faced.

The Olympics has been gradually implementing cloud services in order to find a way to manage costs, Noblot, said: "We are building an enterprise private cloud with Canopy for the IOC. We are doing that because it’s important to manage the costs."

"The budget of the Olympics is under a lot of public scrutiny and you need to be able to apply solutions to that."

The organisation had been re-building its infrastructure for every games at great expense and now that it has a 10 year contract with Canopy, it has clearly set its stall for the future.

Noblot spoke about the benefits for his organisation with using cloud and how times have changed to make his life a lot easier: "Cloud really helps us to react faster and to anticipate new needs of our clients."

"Before if someone said a few months before the games that they needed a new application, then the process was long and drawn out and would take a long time. But with cloud you just need to provision X amounts of virtual machines and how much storage and you can be done in a couple of days or hours."

One of the main issues that needed to be addressed was the need for flexibility. As the Olympics doesn’t need to operate at full capacity all the time, but has to deal with huge peak loads, the organisation had been building infrastructure to deal with that, now with cloud it can scale for a short period of time and reduce costs.

Llorens, said: "Cloud makes absolute sense for the Olympics. Before, they were moving the front office, which may be understandable, but they were also moving the back office as well."

"You cannot size your infrastructure for the peaks, otherwise you are oversized for the majority of time."

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