September 21, 2021

15 CTOs Explains Why and How They’re Using the Cloud

Cloud computing has enjoyed its buzz that has continued to increase over the past ten years. But for many technology leaders, however exciting that sounds, they’re still undecided on whether the cloud is the best fit for their needs. 

Just before the 2000s, Salesforce introduced what would go on to become a disruptive force in software engineering – cloud computing. Amazon followed suit a couple years later with AWS, and then Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and many others that now make up a market set to hit $482 billion in 2022.

So, while you’re still considering the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of cloud computing, and how your on-prem infrastructure might be affected, we’ve curated statements from fifteen chief technology officers, chief information officers, and other technology leaders, on why they adopted the cloud and how exactly they’re using it now.

Immense Capacity, On-Demand

Gregory Vladimer, the Chief Scientific Officer of Austria-based biotech startup, Allcyte, quipped that,  “Without up-front investment, we can access immense capacity on demand, for short periods. This flexibility remains central to our translational research.” 

For a company like Allcyte, who work with tech collaborators across different fields, there is a need for the platform’s scalability, without the burden of unending hardware procurement and installations. In this case, Google Cloud-based solutions enable them to match whatever the job requires, with the ability to scale infrastructure provisioning within minutes.

Data Processing & Machine Learning

Westlake Financial, an auto loan provider in California, wanted high-performance computing, networking solutions, and enterprise-grade security. It also wanted to use machine learning to better understand the risk of default for customers. There’s also the question of, “How do they analyze their extremely large datasets?”

Explaining their decision to choose Google Cloud to address these complex needs, Michael Want, Westlake’s VP of IT, said, “By building our real-time loan scoring engine on Google Cloud Platform and using Google BigQuery to analyze our largest datasets, we’re providing faster service and making smarter lending decisions.”

In comparison, Michael said running big data queries on their on-premises database takes six hours or more, affecting other processes as well. But now, Westlake does this in minutes, and without interrupting anything else. 

Managed Services & APIs

For Janak Joshi, the Chief Technology Officer at Life Image, an image exchange and medical evidence network, managed services were his main attraction to the cloud.

On Life Image’s adoption of Google Cloud to host its Mammosphere, he said, “It’s highly secure, cost effective, and offers a variety of managed services and APIs.” He also confirmed that it’s fast and easy to deploy new applications and analytics services on GCP, which, according to him, is required for his team’s work

API Management Tools

BrightInsight is a medical intelligence platform, based in San Jose. Typically, its customers send over 20 million API calls per day, with an ideal response time of less than 0.5 seconds.

Ferry Tamtoro, BrightInsight’s Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, said they could only have achieved this with Google Cloud’s Apigee. 

In his words, “APIs are simple but powerful tools that enable BrightInsight to manage the business of delivering digital health for better patient outcomes. Having Apigee as the simple interface to customers substantially reduces the complexity of this, and this enhances transparency.”

Managed Services, Plus Security

Andreas Pettersson, the CEO of security modernization company, Arcules, didn’t mince words to say that using cloud was “the best strategic technology choice” the company made.

“For a company like Arcules, through our startup phase and our preparations to scale massively, very quickly, the managed services, and the up-to-date security provided by GCP fit the bill perfectly.” says Andreas, speaking on how Google Cloud is helping his company grow.

High Computational Power

For a few years now, global pharma giant Moderna has been building databases and information-based activities to support all its programs, and the cloud has been a pivotal part of that. 

Now, instead of scientists going to the lab to pipette their messenger RNA and proteins, they go to Moderna’s web portal, the Drug Design Studio that’s hosted on Amazon Web Services. 

Speaking of how much role cloud plays in Moderna’s digital transformation, Marcelo Damiani, the Chief Digital and Operation Excellence Officer, explained, “All our algorithms rely on computational power from AWS to further our science. On the manufacturing side, everything is fully digitized, paperless, and sits on AWS—including our manufacturing execution system.

“In fact, we were among the first in the industry to build our manufacturing execution systems on AWS. Then for clinical trials, most of our clinical trial data resides on AWS and we use Amazon Redshift for analytics, including those that supported our COVID-19 vaccine development.”

Instant Provisioning of Infrastructure

Capital One is also on the cloud, even admitting that AWS has been instrumental in enabling it to take full advantage of the benefits of cloud computing.

Chris Nims, the SVP of Cloud and Productivity Engineering, explained that, “Going all in on the cloud has enabled both instant provisioning of infrastructure and rapid innovation. We are able to manage data at a much larger scale and unlock the power of machine learning to deliver enhanced customer experiences.”

Always Online

For Sri Ramachandran, the SVP and chief technology officer of Somos, one of the most exciting parts of being on the cloud is how downtime can become almost non-existent. 

The California-based IT solutions provider decided to modernize its SMS/800 Toll-Free Number Registry by migrating from its data centers to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and deploying its app on Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS). 

This resulted in more automation, reduced downtime, accelerated innovation, and enhanced developer productivity. 

Every Resources Required in a Single Place

For the IT team at Shopline, the fact that AWS has managed services means they could “work at full speed without worrying about cost, workforce, and security, or constantly acquiring knowledge about emerging technologies.”

That’s in the words of Ronald Li, Shopline’s Engineering Director. He highlighted Amazon’s Elasticsearch Service, ElastiCache, CloudFront, and AWS Shield Advanced as the technology architecture behind the commerce solutions provider.

Easy Stack Management

For Airbnb, the move to cloud was informed by a need for managed infrastructure that is both reliable and scalable. 

Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb’s Co-founder & CTO, explained that “the appeal of AWS was the ease of managing and customizing the stack. It was great to be able to ramp up more servers without having to contact anyone and without having minimum usage commitments. As our company continued to grow, so did our reliance on the AWS cloud and now, we’ve adopted almost all of the features AWS provides.”

Flexible Development Environments

City National Rochdale needed to simplify scenario analysis for its prospective clients, and to achieve that with the least hassle, the engineering team built an application for this, on Microsoft Azure. It practically reduced the time required to create a proposal by 80%.

Describing the role Azure played in this successful rollout, Dron Regmi, the SVP/Senior Manager of Wealth Technology at Rochdale, said, “One great thing about Azure App Service is the flexibility it provides for developers. For example, we can use different languages in different App Service Environments, knowing that we can still easily scale and monitor them in the exact same ways.”

Preferred for IoT

Curtis Charling, the Director of Software Development at Lindsay Corporation, wanted the company to move IT operations to the cloud – all for flexibility, scalability, and security. He chose Azure for its IoT Hub and IoT Edge, which he believed could process data more efficiently, and expand Lindsay’s product suite.

In his words, Charling explained that their products “are heavily focused on IoT” and that “Azure IoT capabilities and focus” covers their computing needs.

High-Performance Gaming Infrastructure

Hi-Rez Studios, the owners of Smite, an online battle arena game, engages more than 35 million players worldwide. The company’s on-premises infrastructure just couldn’t sustain that for long. 

Joey Smith, Hi-Rez’s SQL Server Database Administrator, explained that their “previous on-premises model confined us to the CPUs, memory, and drive space that we had. We scaled them as best we could, doing a lot of performance tuning within the code.” 

“But with Azure infrastructure, we don’t have to worry about that anymore. We scale up or down with the click of a button, especially on the Hyperscale side,” Joey added.

Data Warehousing, Integration & Analytics

AmerisourceBergen’s supply chain is as complex as it can possibly get.  Its system connects drug manufacturers with people and practitioners in need of medication, and that includes analysis and processing of large datasets – as high as 16 billion records per day.

These large and fast data streams are processed through AmerisourceBergen’s Enterprise Analytics Platform (EAP).  But then, as Bogdan Rosca, the Senior Director of Data and Analytics would explain, the company “wanted a centralized place where business users could access data to apply their own analytics and get insights with limited or no IT intervention.”

Using Azure Synapse, Rosca said they got their data silos into a single box, and went live a year ahead of schedule.

Efficient Digital Transformation

Javier Polit is the Chief Information Officer at the Mondelēz International, and he drove their digital transformation agenda, back  in 2018. It was an “all-cloud” strategy, which led to them moving all systems from on-premises data centers to the cloud.

Javier explained that they considered this the most efficient path to digital transformation.  He said, “This journey is important and foundational to ensure state-of-the-art agility, security, and recoverability of our enterprise while reducing costs and upgrading our infrastructure.”

In his words also, Rob Fickling the Program Director – Cloud Transformation at Mondelēz, “With Azure, we can introduce additional layers of security, including Azure Active Directory, in a very flexible and agile way, which isn’t possible in a static, on-premises environment.”

Now, what next?

Cloud adoption has come a long way, and it won’t stop growing. There is no doubt that the value is clear. But then, many tech leaders might still be concerned about safely moving from on-prem, or keeping the control of their data.

However, public cloud providers, from the three in these articles to every other one out there, make it possible to enjoy the efficiency of cloud, without losing the control you have, or being at risk of breach.

If you’re wondering how best your organization can adopt the cloud, or have any lingering questions, our team would be happy to clarify, and recommend an efficient cloud adoption strategy, specifically tailored to your company’s needs.

Send us a note here, and we’ll be in touch.