Industry & Business

Interview: “Cloud architecture is where the industry is heading in the coming years”

Interview: “Cloud architecture is where the industry is heading in the coming years”

Interview: “Cloud architecture is where the industry is heading in the coming years”
November 03
08:43 2016 sat down with Alexander Janssens, head of group cloud propositions at Damovo, to talk about how they’re bringing their IT solutions together in the cloud.

You’ve recently announced that all or some of your most important solutions will all be integrated into the cloud. Why have you chosen to do this?

Damovo is a very customer-centric company; we’re always thinking about what our customers want and how we can develop to better service their needs. We noticed that there were very few flexible multivendor cloud offerings available to organisations looking to adopt cloud services and thereby identified a gap in the market that we have filled with Aquila.

Being customer-centric, our first step was to approach some of our established customers and ask them if this service would be something that they would be interested in. The overwhelming answer that we received was yes, and so we set to work on developing a modular and tailored solution that leverages Damovo’s expertise in this area.

Tell me a bit about the solutions that you provide, and how it will all fit into the cloud?

Damovo provides a range of solutions and services, across the Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC), Enterprise Networks (EN) and Contact Centre (CC) areas. We design and deliver industry-leading communication solutions and services and hold the highest levels of accreditation with the main UCC technology vendors.

With Aquila we wanted to enable our customers to pick and choose the applications that will most benefit their business. For that reason we designed Aquila as a cloud aggregation platform, bringing together best-of-breed solutions available in a modular way. This allows organisations to choose the solutions that they need across the different areas (UCC, EN, CC), choose the architecture that they require, whether that’s a public, private or hybrid cloud solution, and work with Damovo to integrate this tailored solution into their existing environment.

How do you feel about concerns that have been expressed about cloud technology in terms of security?

Security is always a foremost point of concern for Damovo and we are constantly developing our solutions and services to ensure peace of mind for our customers. Damovo is ISO 27001 accredited, which goes to show that we adhere to the highest standards for information security practices.

Aquila allows organisations that require added security to opt for a private cloud architecture which provides them with complete data-ownership. Coupled with a private network this system provides a level of security equivalent to that of an on-premise network, but with all the benefits that a cloud solution offers.

How do you feel Irish businesses would compare to their European/Global counterparts in terms of embracing new technologies such as the cloud?

We have seen a greater uptake of cloud solutions across our global customer base than among our Irish customers. However, we are beginning to see more Irish companies becoming more comfortable with cloud and beginning to put a “toe in the water” – that is to say deploying cloud applications for branch offices or smaller divisions.

The industry is undergoing sharp growth in recent times. Do you feel you’re getting into cloud technology at the right time?

The market has now matured sufficiently that customers recognise the advantages of cloud solutions and understand the value that these solutions can bring to their business. As well as this, cloud solutions have now matured to the point that they truly deliver on the benefits that were touted when the technology first came to the fore.

Employees now expect to be able to work on the go, to check emails as they walk to the café for lunch and to get that last piece of work done on the train before they get home. As a result of these changing workstyles companies are increasingly adopting cloud platforms, making this exactly the right time to develop a customer-centric portfolio.

New research from LinkedIn says that cloud and data science skills are the most important to Irish employers in 2016. How have you found the process of acquiring the right talent?

Damovo operates a global support team which means that we recruit talent across Europe to support our customers. In Ireland we have introduced an apprentice programme in conjunction with IT Blanchardstown to help us develop and recruit appropriate talent.

We have been lucky enough to attract a really great mix of people; those who have been with Damovo for over twenty years and others who have only recently joined the company. The accumulated experience brought to bear by our more established staff is one of Damovo’s greatest assets. As well as this, many of those who have joined the team more recently have brought innovative new ways of working to the company. It’s this mix of experience and innovation that really defines us as a company.

When it comes to retaining talent, one thing that HR departments all around the world are noticing is the fact that young people want to work with cutting-edge tools such as those that are provided via cloud solutions. Using the latest technologies can really help companies to improve their employer branding. Aside from this, it’s important not to overlook the business benefits of employing a cloud-based solution that makes it easy for companies to set up and scale up or down according to their needs and circumstances.

All of the tech giants such as Microsoft are betting big time on the cloud. Do you think that’s a safe bet?

Developing for the cloud is definitely a safe bet; cloud architecture is where the industry is heading in the coming years. However, when developing cloud platforms and solutions it’s essential to have a strategy, rather than simply moving to the cloud because that’s the current trend. When companies move their services to the cloud without a discernible plan this can end in failure as they don’t really believe in their approach.

We knew that we wanted Damovo’s cloud offering to be a customer-centric cloud aggregation platform, and the planning and development that went into making Aquila conform to that initial vision is what makes it such a powerful solution. It combines Damovo’s expertise with the most innovative services and will be a real value-add to companies that adopt it.

What are your hopes/plans for the company over the next few years?

Damovo will continue to grow in the coming years, developing solutions to match evolving customer needs. That’s what it means to us to be a customer-centric company; to discover what our customers’ needs are and develop solutions to fit those needs. With Aquila that means tailoring the right solution to the right customer and being there to guide those customers through their cloud journey.

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