Anna Frazzetto, Chief Digital Technology Officer and SVP, Harvey Nash Group
In the technological arena, one of the trends that have become prominent is the wide-scale adoption of the cloud. If we were having this conversation a few years ago, there would have been some skepticism around cloud adoption primarily because of its security aspect. Today, that is not the case anymore. Technology has improved over time and in the present scenario, a majority of the industries—be it the financial industry, the media sector, or the pharmaceutical realm—has engaged in the adoption of cloud technology in some form.
While Amazon is one of the largest players in the cloud market, Azure, too, is gaining eminence in this sphere. According to me, the reason behind the tremendous growth of cloud is its ability to provide unprecedented scalability to the user community. In case of small companies that deploy the cloud to enhance the services they provide, it might be expensive initially, but it will offer the flexibility whereby one can scale it up and down as necessary with the right processes in place.
What according to you are the trends surfacing in the cloud market and how do they impact your clients or users?
About three years ago with the influx of the digital transformation, companies were approaching the pinnacle of transformation across all industries. The challenge was primarily around incorporating the emerging technologies, viz. big data, networking, social media, IoT, mobile, and the cloud that are crucial to drive a business forward, keeping the security intact. Taking into account the clients that we serve, for instance in the financial services or the media domain, mobile and big data have had the greatest impact on them. We are constantly facing questions related to big data, such as, how to analyze and capture big data that comes in different formats. Subsequently, data analytics and data science have become indispensable in this regard. The next major trend is artificial intelligence (AI) owing to its capability of processing data and providing algorithms, which can be utilized as predictive tools that empower and drive businesses forward. What fits into all of these is the cloud; everything can run on the cloud, which can be scaled up and down as and when required. However, one major issue that persists is managing the big data that is rapidly growing in volume and to leverage its full potential, one has to sift through the cascades of information that it contains.
The reason behind the tremendous growth of cloud is its ability to provide unprecedented scalability to the user community
In light of your experience, how do you assist clients in choosing between on-premise storage and cloud?
The types of services that we provide at Harvey Nash perfectly align with helping clients choose between on-premise and cloud storage. Clients often seek our assistance when it comes to building roadmaps and IT, digital, and transformational strategy. One of the things that we recommend to our clients is not to just focus on the technology component, but also to take into consideration the processes that one needs to establish for managing the technology. The tricky part is that the processes must enable companies to stay on the curve and not ahead of it, which means they won’t necessarily be bleeding edge but will definitely be leading edge. This will allow them to build the right organizational structure with the talent required and the processes in place to manage the technology. That plays a crucial role in determining how to marry the right processes with technology so that one can determine the apt storage plan.
How do you think emerging players in the market should foolproof their IT? What is the right strategic approach that they need to take?
I believe this is not something that one can do in a vacuum. There are numerous ways to find out the information alongside doing personal research on the internet. For example, social media is an essential means to gain knowledge on these matters wherein one can post questions and get relevant answers. Harvey Nash provides related services to an organization, wherein depending on their size and acuity, it can assess their existing growth and predict evolution and growth from there. It is always advisable to gather information from the talent pool and access that business leaders have around them.
Do you think it’s imperative for cloud adopters to look out for a CSO for ensuring security?
Although a CSO is not an imperative for companies that are leveraging the cloud to seal the security gaps, there is merit in having a security specialist onboard. Our current observations imply that more companies are inclining toward outsourcing security services. In Harvey Nash, we have stringent guidelines should we be an outsourcing service provider. This, in turn, helps companies to focus on their core business as the security component is handled by the service provider.
How has your journey been in Harvey Nash as a Chief Digital Technology Officer and SVP over the last 13 years?
My journey has evolved and grown exponentially over the years. My role encompasses working with clients and designing new solution strategies that help small, mid-sized, and large companies alike. In my opinion, larger companies face a tougher time in shifting from one technology to another because of a particular technology that is entrenched in the organization, making it more difficult for them to evolve. Regardless of the size, all companies encounter similar challenges when it comes to identifying and deploying the right technology and processes that can offer them an extra competitive advantage in the market. Over the last 14 years, my journey at Harvey Nash has been incredibly interesting wherein I have helped such companies build their roadmaps and be successful.