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November 27, 2014updated 21 Oct 2016 5:19pm

Within five years there will be only be six cloud providers..

Q+A Jared Wray at Centurylink Technology Services looks to the future

By Sam

Jared Wray, Cloud CTO, came to Centurylink Technology Services when it bought his cloud company Tier 3 in 2013 for an undisclosed sum. He thought he might be sitting on a beach by now but instead he planning for hyper growth and looks pretty happy about it.

Q: Why Centurylink?
JW: Our huge portfolio, network, data centre and services. That’s a big thing for our customers. They love the hybrid idea approach. We can single source and provide value add on top.
This is a big transformation for Centurylink – it started as a rural telecoms provider, now we are servicing the biggest firms in the world and we’re growing into new market segments.
Our existing customer base is doing managed services is already on our network and collocated in our data centres. Customers they are looking differently at us, but it does take some time.
Cloud is a great example. When we first started selling cloud to telecoms and enterprise the best thing we need was run a trial programme. Then they could see what they liked and what they didn’t like.

Q: What is your platform play?
JW: All the infrastructure for cloud computing is going to merge with the network infrastructure. That will be the base level for this. My job is to build the platform.

Q: Why trust CTS to deliver cloud?
JD: Let me give you an example. We have a fortune 50 company a healthcare and industrial who are working to transform how they handle workloads as they move to cloud. As they are looking at whether to go pure play cloud or look to go internal and are asking which way they should go they realised that they wanted to go hybrid. They realised they wanted to collocate with a provider. They wanted to start with servers for ERP, their SAP workloads but they wanted to take 25% of their workloads and augment it in the cloud. We are one of the few providers that could deliver that under one source.

Q: What are you seeing in the market?
JW: Most of our customers are looking for collocation and managed services. They want managed services on physical servers and stepping their toes into cloud. And it is a lot easier with us. We have the network, the data connections and its under one single bill and we’re big. That’s where we see a lot of our transactions coming from. Most of our customers use at least three plus products.
We’re a very mature product. We’ve been in the cloud since 2006. We’re competitive on price with AWS and all the other players out there. We honestly believe that in the next five years it will consolidate to about half a dozen providers and we believe Centurylink will be one of them.
As we combine our technologies, we’ll have different services from the ones our competitors are offering. And it is going to be about differentiation. That’s what building a platform is about. Taking the services you believe in and enabling them for your customers.

Q: What are you seeing in the UK market?
JW: In the UK market in cloud computing the problem was getting the right data centre footprint in place. We’re surprised by the developer talent in the UK. That’s something Centurylink wants to invest in. Developers in the enterprise want to launch apps to the cloud and want to work directly with the business and we’re seeing a lot of this in the UK. After a lot of discovery over the last couple of years the enterprises are getting ready to move to the cloud. A lot of people haven’t fully committed but over the next 3 years production workloads will be huge.

Q: Describe your go to market?
JW: We lead in reseller white label capabilities. Our base is a Centurylink $3bn business in wholesale, data centers and telecoms businesses selling lines. So we already have alliances and partners that do sales. And giving cloud ability to our partners is what we’re about.
A key go to market is to take all of our services and make it easy for resellers to hold. We are the best in the industry for white labelling. A lot of big partners are already selling our cloud services and in 2015 we’ll go even more for this. We’re already better at this than some of the big providers. It will be a huge growth space for us next year.
When building a channel you need to build a commercial programme and an education programme. And that’s something we’re putting a lot of work into.
It is even more difficult with cloud over traditional because the product doesn’t change every six months or year, it changes every month. And so they have to keep up to date to understand what’s going on to engage with their customer.

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Q: What’s next?
JW: Over the next quarters we’re going to continue to launch features on our platform. We really believe in expanding. In Singapore we’ll build cloud on our existing data centre. This year there were four major expansions and next we’ll double up on that.
We’re working on growth drivers. Organising and building programmes to drive customers onto our platforms. We’re talking a lot about DevOps. We have a very agile methodology. We’re a lot more agile than we were and the team is growing rapidly. Our release cadence is every 21 – 30 days. Centurylink is fully committed to a DevOps based future.

Q: How will you be measured?
JW: Customer satisfaction rating. We believe we can make telecoms customers become fans. We’re giving them a better experience.
Overall growth – the platform I run tripled in size and we want exponential growth next year.
Uptime is very important to us.
How many users are on our platform? You’ll see a lot of things around bringing in users and accounts and it is all about how many people can we get on to our platform.

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