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Issue 3 | Apr ’19

EDGING IN FRONT HPE’s $4bn commitment to the ‘Intelligent Edge’


Why network automation is critical to your digital enterprise

SKILLING THE FUTURE WORKFORCE Frank Recruitment Group’s Zoe Morris on industry’s biggest challenge


The Bulletin


FIS moves for Worldpay in $35 billion deal

FIS has agreed a deal to buy payments processor Worldpay for $35 billion. It is the biggest deal in the sector to date, with financial services companies consolidating as payment channels online and on the high street grow rapidly. FIS will assume Worldpay’s debt, raising the enterprise value of the deal to $43 billion. Worldpay handles approximately $1 trillion worth of transactions every year. (18/03/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read.


A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals. DIGITAL BULLETIN

Skills shortage is the elephant in the room for enterprise technology. At Digital Bulletin, we exist to tell the stories of how computing, networking and machine advances are revolutionising business. Companies are embarking on exciting journeys of discovery and innovation, of change and radical improvement. But we also know that the workforce is struggling badly to keep pace. The cover feature for our April edition, Issue 3, offers a fresh perspective on a fast-growing concern. President of Frank Recruitment Group, Zoe Morris speaks with authority about the challenges and trends we face in the digital era - and offers insights into the strategic approach of a global IT recruiter operating right at the coalface. Not only does Morris highlight the dearth of expertise in established fields like data and cloud, but she also predicts ‘a war on supply’ as artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation come to the fore. “New skills are in demand every year and companies simply cannot upskill fast enough because changes come so quickly,” she explains inside. It’s certainly intriguing to learn of Frank Recruitment Group’s solutions to the problems, so make sure you head to page eight to read the article in full. This month we also hear the case for network automation from Apstra co-founder and CEO Mansour Karam, while our interview with Norbert Reil adds some meat to the bones of HPE’s $4 billion commitment to edge computing, or the ‘Intelligent Edge’. For all that and much more, read on. We hope you enjoy the issue.


BULLETIN MEDIA LTD, Norwich, UK Company No: 11454926 www.DigitalBullet.in


editorial@digitalbullet.in business@digitalbullet.in




Oregon, United States Google decks data centres out in its unmistakable set of brand colours. This site in The Dalles, Oregon became its first owned and operated data centre in 2006





08 People


26 Networks


Making the case for intent-based networking

50 Future


Is it time for enterprise to join the fray? 54

Frank Recruitment Group 

Tackling technology’s skills shortage

18 Services


34 AI


The acceleration of industrial automation

58 Events

The biggest and best technology events for your diary

Realising the power of edge computing

42 Data & Security


Ensuring business continuity in uncertain times

66 The Closing Bulletin 

Ultima CEO Scott Dodds on the building blocks for digital transformation


PLUGGING THE SKILLS GAP The skills gap in technology continues to grow, but Zoe Morris, President

of Frank Recruitment Group says there are a number of ways companies can make themselves more attractive to prospective employees

t is generally agreed that the pace of change in the enterprise technology world is on a different level to anything seen before, more rapid even than at the height of the dot com boom. Technologies that just five years ago barely warranted conversation are now changing the way the world’s leading companies are doing business. The upshot of this is that the skills gap – an age-old problem in the There are–myriad possibilities for businesses to leverage the power of technology space is becoming data analytics, but the industry is facing a familiar problem – a skills gap more pronounced. The 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study predicted that as many as 1.8 million IT jobs could go unfilled by 2022.




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Frank Recruitment Group is a company helping to plug that gap. For the last 13 years it has helped to connect businesses of all sizes with permanent and contract IT workers. Speaking to Digital Bulletin, Zoe Morris, the company’s President, says the number of available jobs is only trending one way.’ “As a business, we are seeing the number of job requisitions from clients increasing every month. The conversations we are having with them can be quite frightening in terms of the number of jobs they are speaking about creating. It can sometimes be difficult to see how we can fulfil all of those roles unless clients are prepared to be flexible about the types of candidates they are willing to consider.” A highly experienced recruitment professional, Morris agrees that the break-neck speed of progress in the technology arena is having an impact on businesses across the board. “It’s very well documented that there is a huge skills shortage, in large part driven by the speed at which tech is developing. New skills are in demand every year and companies simply cannot upskill fast enough because changes come so quickly. The pace of change is such that experienced technology professionals cannot pass new qualifications quickly enough. It’s something that is not going away, and we need to think about how we can address it,” she says.


Up front and centre is the proliferation and growth of cloud, an area in which Frank Recruitment has seen demand increase markedly. “With cloud – and I’m talking about AWS and Azure – that demand for skilled candidates hasn’t just appeared overnight, but it has exploded in the last year, it has sky-rocketed. In the last quarter Azure posted record growth, while AWS is worth more than the global CRM market, which is absolutely crazy. The scale of candidates just doesn’t exist at the moment,” Morris comments. “We launched a brand purely for AWS experts in May 2018 and we already have 200 consultants globally just servicing AWS requirements for our clients. What we’re seeing is that because it’s such a new technology, a lot of our clients want permanent candidates.” Against that backdrop, demand for skills in ‘future technology’ areas are also on the rise, and only likely to ascend further in 2019. “Companies are really beginning to understand the value and importance of data and the need to protect it, so skills in the big data space are in high demand. That is a driver for the job market and is creating enormous demand for security experts and analysts who can help companies get commercial value out of the data they hold and ultimately help the businesses be more efficient. “AI and machine learning skills are massively in demand, while


New skills are in demand every year and companies simply cannot upskill fast enough because changes come so quickly”

automation is one of the next big things in the industrial movement and there are not enough skilled workers at the bleeding edge who can facilitate this. I don’t think people are going to be completely replaced by AI and machine learning but an increasing number of companies have them on their agenda. They just hasn’t been around long enough to develop a big enough

pool of candidates. It is very much a candidate-driven market, which in turn pushes up salaries and competition. It’s a war on supply.” What is also crucial to progress is the relationship between academia and enterprise, although Morris adds the caveat that it is nigh-on impossible to train people for jobs that are either in their infancy or don’t actually yet exist.

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The Bulletin


JD.com’s CTO appointed to new role

Chen Zhang, Chief Technology Officer at JD.com, is to take up a new job as a senior advisor in the United States. Effective from June next year, Zhang will vacate his high-profile role at the Chinese e-commerce giant. “We appreciate Chen’s valuable contribution and leadership since he joined, and we are pleased to appoint Chen to his new role,” said CEO Richard Liu. (15/03/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.


With cloud – and I’m talking about AWS and Azure – that demand for skilled candidates hasn’t just appeared overnight, but it has exploded in the last year” “The education sector needs a complete overhaul; it is fair to say that a lot of the jobs the future generation will be asked to do don’t exist yet, but the way we are teaching students hasn’t changed in a long time. If you look at the science and maths subjects, you wouldn’t say there is a real focus on technology. That is going to take years to address and businesses and technology companies have to drive that by creating partnerships with colleges and universities, which is something that is actually happening more and more. “A lot of senior technology leaders are spending a lot of their own personal time on this, whether that’s lectures or having partnerships with academia. It is definitely on the agenda of a lot of the consultancies and banking clients. Work placements are also really important, particularly in the UK where a lot of the university courses have an industrial placement year. The more technology companies can offer them, the more capable people they are likely to get through the door when they leave university.” Frank Recruitment has itself

established an intake programme from universities, with around 25 industrial placement students joining its London and Newcastle offices in each of the last three years. “They work with us for a year and the aim is once they’ve finished their course a year later they will come back and work with us again. By doing that they are already engaged, they know the company and have a sense of purpose. If companies can do that they will beef up their skills and almost start a conveyor belt of talent,” says Morris. In addition, off the back of conversations with the likes of AWS and Salesforce, Frank Recruitment has set up technology academies in both the UK and the United States, with graduates or second jobbers put through an interview and a 12-week training course, at the end of which they can be placed with clients. Morris says the feedback from those clients has been hugely positive. But in such a competitive market attracting talent is only half the battle, with companies running the risk of losing their best staff to their competitors.

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“Money obviously talks but there is so much more choice and candidates are looking for a number of factors. Brand is certainly important, so companies with a good reputation have an advantage, and it is important they can really explain a clear vision to candidates. Salesforce does a great job of using its agenda to attract candidates, for example. It has a very well-known CSR agenda and candidates can really buy into that. Employees want to be at a company where they can feel they are really adding value to the wider goals of society. “We live in a society where it is so easy to judge because the flow of information is so easy to access. People want to be associated with good brands because it is all over LinkedIn, Glassdoor and other news outlets. Choices that people make


can affect future career choices because there is an expectation that candidates make informed decisions. “Remote working and flexibility is certainly an expectation, especially in the world of technology. People working in this industry don’t tend to want business as usual 9-5 environments and once companies get people into their business they have to then invest in them. IT candidates want to be trained, they want to make sure their skills are up to date, and they want to remain relevant.” Clearly, training is a hugely important piece of the retention puzzle, and companies need to think seriously about how they are presenting these opportunities to its employees. Today’s workers are unlikely to be satisfied by PowerPoint presentations or long, drawn out tutorials. Fun, engaging and


Employees want to be at a company where they can feel they are really adding value to the wider goals of society” genuinely value-adding programmes are expected. This is not just advice that Frank Recruitment is giving to its clients, but rather an approach it has adopted internally. “We employed a Global Head of Learning and Development (L&D) and he has revolutionised how we deliver our training and how we engage our workforce. What we are trying to do is create a proposition where candidates know if they come here they’re going to get world class training,” says Morris. “The industry needs to map out where the gaps are because there is no point trying to map out a training plan which is very much based internally around learning and development. One of the good things about our Global Head of L&D is that nothing was created until he’d gone out and sat with all of the leaders of

the business. The approach is that he will teach and train what is needed, not just put out a corporate training course. “So, it is important that companies get down to grass roots level and find out what the business actually needs. It also has to be digestible, people don’t have the time to go on week long training courses, and people learn in different ways so that has to be taken into account. These could be workshops, online modules, webinars – there has to be a selection.” Looking forward, Morris says companies will have to increase their spending on IT and technology recruitment over the next 12 months and beyond, which is ultimately good news for Frank Recruitment. “We are lucky that all of the markets we operate in have huge potential for growth. I see the biggest opportunity in the cloud space in the short and medium term. AWS and Azure are seeing unprecedented growth and an insatiable demand for skills,” she concludes. “Our Jefferson Frank brand is only nine months old but is going to become a really significant part of the business. I also think our European office expansion will continue and we have a big opportunity to continue to grow in the US. It is very exciting and all of the vendors are very positive around future projections.”

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EDGING IN FRONT F It’s nine months since HPE pledged $4 billion to grow the ‘Intelligent Edge’. Digital Bulletin speaks with Norbert Reil, Senior Director in Global IoT Services at HPE, about its ambitions and realising the power of edge computing


or every major enterprise worldwide, the topic of where it locates its computing power has evolved very quickly. Today, the explosion of data has seen the question become less about choosing a preferred core or cloud resolution and more related to managing hybrid environments. Modern infrastructures are likely to merge the best on-prem solutions with private and public cloud. But it doesn’t stop there. With companies industry-wide

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now eager to tap the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT), fog and edge computing use cases are emerging all the time. This is forcing service providers to pivot their offerings to meet customer demand. HPE, or Hewlett Packard Enterprise, is one such company. A prestigious products and solutions developer in the IT space, HPE also delivers end-to-end digital transformation services through its Pointnext business. Having grown in the traditional data centre and cloudcentric era, it is adapting again to realise the huge potential available at the edge. In June 2018, HPE revealed a fouryear, $4 billion investment in what it terms the ‘Intelligent Edge’. Sensing opportunity in a market where it already has significant presence with Aruba, the $2.5 billion leader in next-gen network access solutions, last year’s announcement promised R&D into products and services that HPE says will turn customer data ‘from any edge’ into intelligence. “We are expanding our great essence and great knowhow for enterprisegrade and production-grade IT at the edge, and this requires investment in our two business units,” Norbert Reil, Senior Director in Global IoT Services, explains to Digital Bulletin. “The Aruba business unit is taking care of the network specifics, and then the hybrid IT business unit is there with



a specific new portfolio around the Edgeline, or converged edge systems. I think that’s a category on its own that we’ve introduced into the market. Then there are the solutions around that, including generating offerings with Pointnext that go beyond the product portfolio. These are the three areas


We are expanding our great essence and great knowhow for enterprise -grade and production-grade IT at the edge”


where the investment is going, which is in line with our overall strategy. “What you are seeing in the market currently - and I think HPE partly created this - is that the pendulum has stopped swinging. If you look: is it edge computing? Is it cloud computing? Is it on-premise? It’s a hybrid world now. But the area where we see a lot of growth currently is with the edge-related use cases.” Edge computing - where data is processed by a device or local server rather in a data centre - is, hand-inhand with IoT, revolutionising business operations in the real world today.

Connected things on IoT networks are generating astonishing amounts of data, creating all kinds of possibilities for the involved organisation. But only with advanced edge computing can they extract true value from this information in real-time. Intelligence isn’t the only benefit to operating at the edge. It also minimises latency and bandwidth use, lowers costs and reduces security vulnerabilities, so it’s no wonder that HPE is committing resource and efforts in this area. Through HPE Edgeline, it is already able to offer convergence between

21 Issue 3

The Bulletin


Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance builds new ‘intelligent cloud’

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance has partnered with Microsoft to create a platform for connected services. The ‘Alliance Intelligent Cloud’ will run on cloud, AI and IoT tech from Azure. It will consolidate existing connected vehicle solutions with new features that support mobility services. New Renault Clio and Nissan Leaf models will be the first cars fitted with the platform. (20/03/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.


Operational Technology (OT) systems and traditional IT normally hosted in the data centre. This is powering a range of transformative use cases for clients, with Reil narrowing in on one particular example - video analytics at the edge. According to an HPE white paper on the topic, ‘rich-media video analytics techniques at the edge enable realtime analysis of video streams,

private sector. “These solutions are fully managed and are providing the power - the combined graphics and computing storage power - at the edge, to then do specific consolidations at the core, and then maybe to do global analytics centrally based on the results of video analytics. That’s a common theme. “At the other end of video analytics use cases, you can look at quality management and quality assurance in manufacturing at assembly. The camera The whole value comes needs to understand what the bit of material is at the from the analytics, from specific configuration of triggering specific events the part it is looking at. and actions - and yes, if you Only then can it understand look at the massive data if the configuration is growth, AI -based analytics right and the quality of the functions are in a lot of assembly is right.” cases mandatory” The surveillance and turning data manufacturing examples are very into something different use cases featuring the same actionable’. Cameras built with edge strand of edge computing technology. computing and sophisticated video Ultimately, every deployment serves software can find a home analysing the common purpose of gleaning surveillance and security, parking, toll insights previously unavailable to the management and retail footfall. user. So what is the secret ingredient to “The technology is enabling a lot creating the ‘Intelligent Edge’? of edge-centric propositions and The answer, unsurprisingly, is artificial bringing additional speed and value intelligence. Without AI, Reil says, to the customer business,” says Reil. such advanced analytics would be “The classic video analytics use case unattainable. is surveillance; surveillance in a public “The whole value comes from the area but also more and more in the analytics, from triggering specific

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events and actions - and yes, if you look at the massive data growth, AI-based analytics functions are in a lot of cases mandatory,” he adds. “With the amount of data and the pure complexity of the connection points, it requires AI-enabled analytics methodologies. In both of the examples I gave, the partnerships are driven by AI software. “Additionally, all of our own products deployed at the edge, but also centrally, are analysed and managed using AI. Self-healing infrastructure components, self-enabled security validations and measurements they’re all driven by AI, combining not only the classic data centre infrastructures but now spreading out to the edge. That’s a big part of our strategy; to use it not only for customer engagements but also for our own products.” Analysing the focus markets for HPE and its edge computing services, Reil first looks at the industrial sector on its own, breaking it down into two parts; the manufacturing area as a whole, and how plants are advancing with technology under the umbrella of Industry 4.0. Secondly, he points to the smart manufacturing products themselves as they become more and more intelligent. Other sectors fall under the helpful banner of ‘enterprise IoT’. “This is a huge



There is a different speed of adoption in different markets, and traditionally we have seen a lot of the consumer markets taking on a trial -and -error approach. Their digitalisation is quicker compared to the industrial markets, but I see those markets catching up”

area for us. It’s basically a wide range of industries with quite a lot of similarities. “Healthcare is a really big market for the intelligent edge. Retail, obviously, to have a counterpart against the large cloud-based players. There’s a lot of intelligence going into the shops of the future and that’s a key driving point. The whole sector of venues and public areas is another one, like stadiums and airports, and the third bucket in this


market is a horizontal use case around offices and facilities.” HPE Intelligent Spaces is an example solution in this area. Developed through Aruba with Microsoft, HPE says it meets the demands of the modern workforce by ‘bridging the gap between physical and digital’ in the workplace. Through integrating Microsoft’s productivity technologies with IoT and analytics, it aims to create an optimal environment for employees. Reil believes the smart office area represents an especially fertile segment for edge computing. “With Intelligent Spaces, we combine multiple data buckets to achieve a whole new level of analytics for power savings, energy savings, a better environment - it’s a really new area that we are seeing moving forward pretty rapidly, and we have a really nice value proposition through Aruba and our partnership with Microsoft.” By gathering its own solutions as part of its Pointnext capabilities, HPE is positioning itself to deliver wholesale customer transformations with the ‘Intelligent Edge’ as a core component. But Reil believes the success or failure of

a digital transformation project doesn’t always rest on the implementation of technology. “It’s really all about change management, at the end of the day,” he says. “Having the right people aligning who are used to working in silos for many, many years. That’s one of the big bridges we help customers cross as a service organisation. If you then make it simple to consume the infrastructure and make use cases work quickly, it’s all about accelerating time-to-value.” One subject Reil is emphatic on is the permanence of edge computing in the transformation landscape. “It’s very clear; there is no sign that this is only a trend. I think it’s very clear that this will become normal. “There is a different speed of adoption in different markets, and traditionally we have seen a lot of the consumer markets taking on a trial-and-error approach. Their digitalisation is quicker compared to the industrial markets, but I see those markets catching up. “As I’ve said, the pendulum has stopped. It’s a hybrid world now so we don’t need to change our strategy, we don’t need to adapt because we feel we are at the core of this. But then you always have to follow where the demand is.”

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Network automation is high on the agenda for digitally-ambitious organisations. Apstra co-founder and CEO Mansour Karam presents a compelling argument for self-operation and ‘intent-based networking’



igital transformation is complex. When businesses lay out their plans to upend established strategies, they have countless factors to consider. It is, after all, a transformation. For those serious about driving real change, there are no shortcuts. The


disruptive technologies of our time are best deployed from the bottom up and in unison. Only then will enterprises give themselves the opportunity to realise the huge operational advances promised by the headlines. The spine of any digitally-enabled organisation is its network. But as they become more and more complex thanks to distributed


data and the Internet of Things, network management now presents challenges. This has led to companies increasingly turning to automation solutions over manual techniques. Mansour Karam, CEO at Apstra, believes network automation is fast becoming a critical driver for digital transformation and expects it to follow a similar trajectory to cloud.

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“Organisations have digital transformation initiatives which reach into every aspect of their business. But you cannot digitally transform if, at the foundation of your infrastructure, your network is operated manually,” he tells Digital Bulletin. “Essentially, your infrastructure will not be able to keep up with the needs of your business. The comparison there is the public cloud. If you see the level of agility and flexibility that is available in public cloud, it sets the standard for infrastructure teams in terms of what capabilities they need to deliver and at what cost. “A fundamental component to make this happen is network automation; powerful network automation that enables agility, flexibility and cost-effectiveness.” Automation is possible for any type of network, from local and wide-area to those powered by the data centre. It also underpins software-defined and virtualised networks, helping to deliver user benefits that include improved efficiency, lower costs and a reduced likelihood of human error. Apstra, which Stanford alumnus Karam co-founded in 2014, exists in this space but approaches automation from a fresh angle. AOS, its flagship product for automating data centre networks, is software for ‘intent-based networking’, or IBN. Still a relatively new concept, with IBN the product reacts to the user’s intentions for its architecture,



You cannot digitally transform if, at the foundation of your infrastructure, your network is operated manually”


rather than defining it. “The user is no longer speaking in the language of the hardware devices that they are configuring; they’re managing their infrastructure through one system as opposed to a bunch of components. What they are describing is the service they would like this infrastructure to deliver on,” expands Karam. Apstra claims to be the pioneer of the IBN approach. In the last two years, big names like Cisco, Huawei and Wipro have put forward their own

propositions but Karam believes his company’s offering is unique in the data centre market. AOS distinguishes itself in two ways, according to its CEO. Firstly, its distributed data store gives visibility into telemetry, configuration and incident data throughout the network and in real-time, offering flexibility across the infrastructure. This creates what Karam calls a ‘continuous validation loop’, where operators can quickly conclude whether or not the network is delivering

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The Bulletin


Vodafone to bring 5G to 19 UK locations this year

Vodafone says it will activate 5G in 19 UK locations in 2019. It introduced its first 5G network in Salford last year and is now ramping up its plans. New areas for its network include Blackpool, Southampton and Stoke-on-Trent. “5G will usher in a new era where everyone and everything is better connected,” said Vodafone’s UK CTO Scott Petty. Vodafone is also looking into drone-tracking over 5G. (07/03/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.


We build and deliver a solution that is vendor agnostic; it supports hardware from various vendors. As their needs arise, with different vendors suited to different needs, they can also slot in whatever hardware they need underneath”

on the ‘intent’ across its different dimensions. Secondly, Apstra’s product overlay is vendor agnostic. “We are pure software,” explains Karam. “We build and deliver a solution that is vendor agnostic; it supports hardware from various vendors. As their needs arise, with different vendors suited to different needs, they can also slot in whatever hardware they need underneath. “There’s a massive opportunity there once you adopt this approach to becoming agnostic, but the technology behind it needs to enable it. There are layers of abstraction in our product that do this; there are lots of details that we had to sort through early on to make this happen.” It’s been a steady journey for Apstra

since its inception five years ago, with the organisation focussing heavily on building deep value in its product. Founded by Karam alongside Sasha Ratkovic, a former engineer at Juniper Networks, and renowned Canadian computer scientist David Cheriton, it currently employs close to 100 people but the majority of its staff are still developers. “We’ve seen some organisations who think that they can just have a couple of engineers that have scripting abilities and essentially they will build automation for their infrastructures. That is usually not a good place to be in,” adds Karam. “We’re going to continue to grow the team and make investments.” Apstra has seen a surge of Fortune 500 clients in recent months but one case study to have garnered a particular amount of attention is an AOS deployment by Bloomberg, the $10 billion conglomerate operating in the finance and media sectors. Bloomberg opened its new Europe headquarters in London last year, and located in this state-of-the-art facility are the media production systems critical to its combined 12 hours of live television and radio broadcasts every day. AOS is being used to meet three key requirements for the systems’ supporting network fabric. “One was the ability for Bloomberg to operate its network at scale,” begins Karam. “Secondly, they wanted the

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highest levels of availability; they wanted software to ensure that their intent was always being delivered on, whether that’s in performance, connectivity, traffic or compliance. The third is that they wanted to essentially operate the network in the most efficient way. They wanted, again through automation, to optimise how the network was being run. “We initially engaged two years ago when, essentially, they were looking for the right solution and they couldn’t find it. Apstra had the right ingredients, but two years ago we didn’t have the full solution. But then what Bloomberg did is bet on Apstra, and we worked very closely with them to essentially build the solution.” With AOS now fully up-and-running, Apstra prides itself on its speed of adoption in the enterprise. For larger clients, it partners with consultancy services to integrate AOS into specific tools or workflows within bigger environments, but in simpler cases it can be installed ‘out-of-the-box’ in less than half a day. “From our perspective, while customers require the flexibility and the vendor support, most of them require a turnkey solution. At Apstra, we’ve understood this from day zero,” says Karam. “Essentially, what we do is that we come in and we start by automating individual parts, one at a time. Assuming it’s a part that fits the characteristics that the Apstra



software expects, then it’s something that can be done very, very quickly. “For me, it’s been really fascinating to see how we’ve improved that over the years. It used to be harder, but today it’s just a matter of half a day before the software is operational and running.” As automation in networks becomes more commonplace, customers of companies like Apstra are requiring a simplified view of what services are on offer. Apstra uses a four-point ranking to categorise different levels of network automation, from Level 0 - basic automation - to Level 3, a wholly selfoperating architecture. Karam likens this to an approach used in the automotive industry. Carmakers measure driverless vehicle technology against five different scales, with the fifth level pointing to completely autonomous machines. As the industry buzz continues to surround IBN, Karam insists that this segregation helps to cut through the noise. “In networking infrastructure, Level 0 means basic automation, Level 1 means that you manage to have a single source of truth but that you’re still just automating at a basic level, and Level

2 means that you have the continuous validation loop. Level 3 is then complete self-operation. With Apstra, we see ourselves at Level 2 going to Level 3.” A fully self-organising network environment is the raison d’être for Apstra and its peers. As artificial intelligence and cloud technologies grow in sophistication, complete automation is edging ever nearer. But Karam is of the view that software development isn’t to be rushed. “I like to compare software developers to child developers,” he laughs. “You can work a lot on optimising it, but ultimately it can only go at certain speed. You can’t make a two-year old behave like a ten-year old. “We’re expanding as quickly as we can and our customers have really appreciated our velocity. We’ve been delivering features very quickly and the reason for that is the architecture we’ve built and the investments we have made. Looking ahead, I’m very excited about the capabilities that we plan to bring to market. We have a very exciting roadmap to deliver on our customer requirements. “For full self-operation, I would expect it to happen in 2020. Maybe in some specific use cases it will happen this year, but I believe it will be mainstream in 2020.”

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TAKING MEETINGS A MADE E THE L MAGNIFICENT Digital Bulletin caught up with Novotek’s George Walker to talk over the benefits and challenges of adopting industrial automation technologies Digital Bulletin: Hi George. First of all, can you give us some background on your career and your position at Novotek?

develop the business over the next few years as we embarked upon creating the digital solutions that are becoming more readily available.

George Walker: I’m the MD of Novotek in the UK & Ireland and I have over 20 years of experience within process automation control and administration. I am from a technical background and have worked in several roles in the industry in years gone by. In September 2017, I joined Novotek following an acquisition. They acquired a company called Kercco Automation, where I was one of the owners. I was retained in my role to progress and

DB: When it comes to Novotek’s customers, what are their main drivers for wanting to adopt automation?


GW: It varies. One thing that we see is that the businesses are often a little reticent to make the leap. If something has worked for 25 years, they are not so open in many cases to change that. We’re having to make the approach to the customers to try and educate them as to why they should implement


G AP the technology and some of the gains that can be driven by implementation. They’re not coming to us so much, we’re having to go and sell the story. For example, we’re talking to a steel company and we’re looking at different strands of technology that they could implement. We’re using some examples that us and GE have from past experiences, and those use cases have value propositions attached to them. We can confidently make claims that if they implement this type of technology, it will lead to a certain amount of gain. We’re showing that with our technology and domain expertise, we have the ability to drive top-line growth, savings

and bottom-line growth. DB: What do you feel are the main barriers that put companies off adopting automation strategies? GW: We hear consistently from the economic institutions, think tanks and the government that we have a productivity issue in the UK. We still see businesses being a little slow to adoption, whether it’s hyperautomation technologies, industrial IoT or other Industry 4.0 technologies - whatever it is, we’re seeing that customers don’t want to be the first. They want to be version 2.0 rather than version 1.0.

35 Issue 3



There are a number of answers back to them. We’re able to boldly make claims from previous deployments, that’s the first one. The second point is that we can present back to the customer that if they don’t change, if they don’t modify their business processes, they could be left behind. If the UK & Ireland wants to retain its position of being a key technology player in this space, we need


companies to start adopting and adapting very quickly. DB: Employees may worry that automation technology could impact jobs. For those companies adopting, how should they go about communicating their plans? GW: A key aspect of any digital transformation is to get a consensus of


We’re having to make the approach to the customers to try and educate them as to why they should implement the technology”

buy-in from the employees. It has to be that way. The first question that customers are asking is ‘Where do we start?’. They might have invested in automation for 20 years or more, they might have modernised PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers), they might have SCADA systems, they might have large data repositories sitting on a big, expensive data server - but what do

they actually do with that? How do they uncover the opportunities for growth? At that point, that’s when the executives should be bringing in the middle managers and the employees because those people understand the processes and how the business actually operates. They will then quickly become a part of the team implementing the technology to make improvements. In many successful cases, we’re seeing that that type of leadership approach starts to build a little bit of competition among employees. Within their part of the business, they want to identify how they can make things a little better. For companies communicating that message to its employers, it becomes much simpler. They say that the company will grow, it will make more money, it will expand operations into new territories through this technology - and that the workers are going to be

37 Issue 3

The Bulletin


Ericsson and UNESCO launch AI skills push for young people

Ericsson and UNESCO have launched a major project to scale up AI skill development for young people. They will create a digital skill learning programme, a repository of AI and other key digital skill training courses that will be available globally. Youngsters will then be involved with AI hub centres and hackathons. This was announced at UNESCO’s Mobile Learning Week 2019. (08/03/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.


With our systems, you get data and analytics to

show you how you’re using your meeting space”


We can present back to the customer that if they don’t change, if they don’t modify their business processes, they could be left behind” a part of it rather than being separated from it by losing their jobs. Maybe the roles will change and adapt, but it doesn’t mean the roles will disappear. DB: In this area in particular, is there a discernible skills gap? Is your business struggling to find the right people? GW: Yes, certainly. We need to make sure that industry links with academia, and that students are leaving university properly educated and armed with the skills to take into industry. Industry can’t take them in at 21 and 22 and have to mould them to the way they work. We need academia and industry to work better together.

Businesses like ours can play an integral part in helping to do that. We also don’t see enough students partaking in the types of courses that we’re looking for. A big driver for me personally is that I’m trying to attract more women into these roles. That can help cure this problem. DB: How do you think emerging technologies like artificial intelligence are changing the market that you’re working in? GW: To be honest, quite slowly. We’re probably seeing more AR (augmented reality) opportunities at the moment, for obvious reasons. It can be

39 Issue 3



integrated simply into automation systems like SCADA. For example, if an alert or alarm is created, you can implement augmented reality and show the operator what the procedure should be to recover and bring the plant back to a normal state. AR is undoubtedly the most welcome and easily received of the new technologies. Artificial intelligence is growing and machine learning is growing. Machine learning is going to be the biggest disruptor in my mind, going forward. However, we’re still seeing challenges in this area. Plants don’t have everything connected and they don’t have the data stored in a manner where they can extract maximum value using AI and machine learning. That will come once customers figure


Machine learning is going to be the biggest disruptor in my mind, going forward. However, we’re still seeing challenges in this area” out how they will structure and model their data. Virtual reality is also going to grow. You see large OEM (original equipment manufacturing) companies with quite an open mind to implementing this technology and it’s working well, but


we don’t see it being huge in the next few years. I think that will have the slowest adoption. DB: Could you tell us about the GE and PTC partnerships that you have? GW: In the UK & Ireland, our primary partner is GE. At Kercco Automation, we pretty much had 95% or more of our business routed via GE. In my mind, I wanted Kercco to be an extension of GE. Customers shouldn’t be able to notice the difference between speaking with a GE representative or us. That was very successful for us for 14 years. We then sold the business to Novotek, which has now established relationships with people like PTC and others. At this point in time, however, the GE partnership delivers 90% of our revenues. It is our number one partner. The PTC partnership is new to us in the UK & Ireland but it’s not so new to the group as a whole. Novotek Group has quite an established relationship with PTC and several different layers. PTC acquired a company called Kepware, and Kepware provides the industrial connectivity layer and drivers that allow you to connect your islands of automation into a single repository. Novotek has had a relationship with the Kepware part of the business for many, many years. The group then evolved that relationship into becoming a PTC partner, particularly around Thingworx

components. We are promoting Thingworx solutions in many instances, and like I described, we are seeing many opportunities in the pipeline involving augmented reality that we’re starting to develop and collaborate with PTC on. DB: In terms of automation, do you think there are any challenges that are unique to the UK & Ireland territory? GW: It’s a very interesting question. Look at the different regions in the UK and Ireland; in Scotland for example, the main industries are food & beverage and oil & gas. Then you look at the north of England and it’s very much food & beverage, then in the Midlands there’s an automotive and engineering presence, and then in the south of England they have OEM. Ireland also has a strong life sciences business. We are quite unique in that sense, by having such a breadth of different industries. That makes it very interesting for us as a business. There are peaks and troughs in different industries, particularly in oil and gas, but we can adapt the business strategy as those challenges present. That would be the unique part for the UK and Ireland, the vast array of different vertical markets available to us.

41 Issue 3




SECURING DATA IN UNCERTAIN TIMES Enterprise is turning to the cloud and hybrid setups to ensure effective disaster recovery and business continuity


43 Issue 3


hen it comes to data security, the conversation is almost completely dominated by cyber crime and cyber security. With attacks and cyber criminals becoming ever more sophisticated and widespread - more than half of European businesses (54%) have faced at least one cyber attack in the last 24 months, according to Kaspersky – the emphasis on security matters is understandable. But it is important that businesses are not solely focussed on cyber security and their efforts to keep their data out of harm’s reach. There are a number of other crucial factors to consider, according to Mick Bradley, VP EMEA at Arcserve, a provider of data protection, replication and recovery technologies. Bradley, who has been with the company for 12 months, says: “I think there’s clearly the risks of security and cyber security that every company is having to consider, but I don’t believe it is the biggest risk but rather one of the most publicised risks. I think perhaps the biggest risk is not having a true business continuity plan and a disaster recovery plan.” Specifically, disaster recovery involves a set of policies, tools and procedures to enable the recovery or continuation of vital technology infrastructure and systems following a natural or humaninduced disaster. Disaster recovery


focuses on the IT or technology systems supporting critical business functions, which involves keeping all essential aspects of a business functioning despite significant disruptive events. As with wider industry, clients want to leverage the flexibility of the cloud as part of their disaster recovery strategy, and are looking to move away from storage solutions such as magnetic tape and disc. But that process does not come without its challenges, especially at a time where there is no appetite for significant downtime, and where IT


Business is globalised, so when you’re looking at data protection and dis zaster recovery you have to consider business continuity”

systems and procedures have been changed and adapted over a number of years. “There are very few businesses that, on their core production systems and their core revenue generating systems, can take any outages. Business is globalised, so when you’re looking at data protection and disaster recovery you have to consider business continuity,” says Bradley. “Where’s the time you get to failover a server or to migrate an application into the cloud? How do you migrate in? How

do you transition from the old premise to the cloud? Those are questions that have to be considered and challenges that are facing everybody. These are some of the biggest inhibitors to cloud adoption at application level.” As Bradley points out, only a few elite companies have the resources to afford replication for everything they do across multiple data centres. As a result, businesses are increasingly looking to adopt a hybrid approach, with their systems and data running on a combination of on-prem and cloud.

45 Issue 3

The Bulletin


NATO chooses Blackberry for cyber-defence contract

NATO is to use Blackberry’s encrypted voice technology to secure calls. NCI, Nato’s communication and information arm, will deploy Blackberry’s ‘SecuSUITE for Government’ platform in a move that it says will ‘strengthen its elite cyber-defence strategy’. SecuSUITE encrypts conference conversations and mobile devices. “We are extremely proud,” said a Blackberry spokesperson. (13/03/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.


It is a trend that looks set to continue, with Gartner predicting that 90% of organisations will adopt multi and hybrid cloud as part of their infrastructure management capabilities by 2020. “We’re seeing a lot of the customers adopting hybrid cloud and a combination of cloud direct. What they want to have is the ability to restart systems and applications on site and in the cloud and we’re working with them to determine which is the best approach for them, depending on their needs. What we see is typically a

standby type solutions for immediacy of protection of their data and their applications and then they’re either having a second copy on another one of their sites that replicates it and then taking their copy to the cloud, or they’re just taking that second copy to the cloud.” In what is a competitive and rapidly growing market, Arcserve has recently launched a number of products, including its third generation Appliance Series, the first purposebuilt appliances designed for disaster recovery and application availability

We’re seeing a lot of the customers adopting hybrid cloud and a combination of cloud direct” combination of cloud and on-prem,” says Bradley. “So, companies that choose this approach will have systems that are hyper-critical, which means they’re actually covered on site and they’ll have virtual standby; virtual machines running on another environment ready to kick in should the main one fail. Then they’ll have that copied and replicated to the cloud, again with virtual machines running, ready to kick in should there be downtime or a failure. “In data protection, you tend to have this 3-2-1 rule. You basically want to keep three copies of your data over at least two sites. A lot of customers are still doing their own backup or virtual

to provide organizations with an all-inone option for on-appliance and offsite backup and disaster recovery that can be deployed in under 15 minutes. The series bundles flash-accelerated deduplicated storage, robust server processing, and high-speed networking with highly-redundant hardware and cloud services that enable companies to spin up copies of physical and virtual systems directly on the appliance, and in private or public clouds. Bradley says that level of immediacy for restart or always on is becoming more and more of a core requirement for customers, and that customers are challenging Arcserve to come up with even speedier solutions.

47 Issue 3


In data protection, you tend to have this 3-2-1 rule. You basically want to keep three copies of your data over at least two sites”

Late last year, it also unveiled the Arcserve Business Continuity Cloud, which is a cloud-born solution to prevent the impacts of unplanned downtime by immediately restoring access to critical data, systems and applications across complex, multigenerational IT infrastructures ranging from non-x86 and x86, to softwareas-a-service and infrastructure-as-aservice. Arcserve says the technology solves the challenges of protecting modern IT caused by the time, skill, expense and multiple tools needed to protect new workloads. Bradley says that its portfolio of


products is “gold dust” to its client base. “I love talking to senior customers and asking them to show me the last time they tested disaster recovery, I want to see documented evidence that it is working. That can be difficult to do, but one of the reasons I joined this company is that our technology allows our clients to take these copies, send them somewhere else, fire them up, do a full disaster recovery test, automate a report and spit it out to the IT guy. That is absolute gold dust for them. “And you can do that when you send it to the cloud. Businesses can fire it off to the cloud, do a fully-automated


disaster recovery test and instantly have a report. That type of thing is proving invaluable for customers to give them the confidence that they have business continuity in place and it will work in their time of need. Businesses are having to become more compliant and auditable on their disaster recovery, they are having to demonstrate it. Being able to do so is becoming more and more important to our customers.” Looking forward, Bradley is bullish about Arcserve’s future, saying that “everywhere has potential for us to grow into”.

“The markets that we work in have huge growth potential; the standard data protection market is growing five to seven percentage points a year and DRaaS (Disaster Recovery-asa-Service) is growing by 15-17 points. There’s a huge growth. I think it’s more about adoption than growth because if you look at some of the legacy vendors that are struggling today, their market shares are dropping significantly. And why is that? It’s because I think they didn’t innovate and customers today want immediate restarts, always on, and audibility, and they don’t offer that.”

49 Issue 3


IS CRYPTOCU PRIMED FOR T The value of Bitcoin may have nose-dived, but the cryptocurrency market is buoyant, and big business is taking notice


AUTHOR: JAMES HENDERSON ighteen months ago,

cryptocurrency hit the

mainstream, dominating headlines off the back of

the sky-rocketing value of

Bitcoin, which topped out at

almost $20,000. At its height, there were

fanciful predictions that the value of the decentralised digital currency could hit $100,000.

Everyone knows what happened next:

rather than continuing its ascent, Bitcoin plateaued before falling sharply, and at

time of press sits at a shade over $3,950. Current Harvard University Professor of Economics and Public Policy Kenneth

Rogoff has said that in the long-term, the value of Bitcoin is more likely to be $100

than $100,000. Against that backdrop, you might think that cryptocurrency has had

its day, destined for the very fringes of the payments industry.




51 Issue 3


But you’d be wrong; in fact, the

sector is set to expand rapidly, with the cryptocurrency market predicted to

really starting to realise its use case as a cost-reducing remittance mechanism. “Payments will also be a driver, as

grow from $574.3 million in 2017 to just

many have pointed to. Innovations of

31.3%, according to Transparency Market

of cryptocurrencies are heading

over $6.7 billion in 2025, at a CAGR of

Research, 2019. And some of the world’s biggest enterprises are taking notice.

But what is likely to drive such growth

in the crypto market? “As confidence in the crypto asset market grows, we can expect to see more institutional

investors enter the space. Crypto assets are now seen more as a store of value

scaling the transaction capabilities

mainstream. The lightning network for Bitcoin is highly anticipated to enable payment processing of Bitcoin at low

cost, which is geared for making small or microtransactions. This, in turn, will

normalise the use of cryptocurrency in day-to-day payments.”

What is also likely to normalise

than a payment method, which has had

cryptocurrency is the introduction of

Wilgenhof Plante, CCO at cryptocurrency

While unconfirmed, there have been

a great impact on their value,” says Erik exchange BeQuant.

“The key driver for further expansion

and growth of the market will be in its regulation, which is starting to make some headway but is yet to achieve widespread adoption. Once larger

jurisdictions such as the US, UK and

Asia start to take cryptocurrency more seriously, we will see the market move

closer to a regulated state, and further

leading enterprises into the sector.

a number of reports that Facebook is

developing its own cryptocurrency for payments, although the social media giant has said that it is taking a strong interest in blockchain and is currently advertising for a Lead Commercial

Counsel to “support its new initiative in the development of blockchain applications”.

Addressing the possibility of Facebook

industry growth will follow.”

and other powerful enterprises moving

Howitt, MD and founder of Recap, which

parallels with the initial development of

Speaking to Digital Bulletin, Dan

develops accountancy software for

cryptocurrency platforms, comments: “We believe that remittance will be

a key driver. At the moment, you can

send ‘value’ to anyone globally almost

instantly. Bitcoin, by its very nature, is not constrained by borders and people are


into the crypto space, Plante draws

the internet, saying: “This is very similar to the early days of the internet, when rivals like America Online tried to get involved in a burgeoning sector. Facebook’s

investment and development of its

own cryptocurrency demonstrates an

interest in the transactional capabilities


The large user base of Facebook will probably cause those that are crypto -curious to start engaging with the asset� Erik Wilgenhof Plante

53 Issue 3

The Bulletin


IBM launches blockchain-based global payments network

IBM has made a significant announcement to impact the financial sector. It has launched IBM Blockchain World Wire, a real-time global payments network for regulated financial institutions. Six international banks look set to issue stablecoins on the network, which is powered by the Stellar public blockchain. Its launch has enabled payment locations in 72 countries. (18/03/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.


It is clear that the leading social networks could play a pivotal role in launching cryptocurrency that is adapted for use in a mass market” Gert Sylvest of the asset. Unless Facebook

tokenisation as a concept is here to

payment method, this could fracture

underlying cryptocurrency lies.”

approaches crypto as a universal the market.

“The main selling point of Bitcoin,

for instance, is the fact that it is user agnostic and not dependent on an

issuer. The large user base of Facebook will probably cause those that are

stay, and this is where the real value Howitt says he has doubts over

whether a Facebook crypto would be a

“true cryptocurrency”, questioning what it would have to gain from releasing a decentralised currency to the world. “If they have centralised features

crypto-curious to start engaging with

and controls, this would not be a

more generic coins.”

and Ethereum, which are decentralised.

the asset and eventually transition onto He adds that companies and

individuals thinking about breaking into the cryptocurrency market should look

cryptocurrency in the sense of Bitcoin If they do indeed have centralised

features, I’d imagine this would make

the currency fall under the regulatory

to take advantage of the current interest spotlight of most jurisdictions. By getting in the sector.

“There is a great opportunity. The

crypto market has a very low entrance

decentralised, they might get around the more restrictive regulations.

“Overall, this would be interesting

cost but with huge potential. Again,

in terms of a ripple effect of

when thousands of entrepreneurs saw

cryptocurrencies out there. It could well

this is very similar to the dot.com era the successes made by others and

followed suit by starting a website. My

advice to entrepreneurs wishing to take

awareness and trust for the rest of the

act as an onboarding for billions of users into the cryptocurrency market.”

Gert Sylvest, co-founder Tradeshift

advantage of the current landscape

and GM Tradeshift Frontiers, agrees that

investment interest fades. That said,

catalyst for large-scale adoption,

would be to get a coin to market before

an entrant such as Facebook could be a

55 Issue 3


The one thing messaging enterprises have is users and fantastic user experience - if there is a mechanism to exchange value, users will take to it” Dan Howitt

but warns that the company would have

have is users and fantastic user


exchange value, users will take to it,”

a number of potential roadblocks to

“We are still very far from mass adoption

of cryptocurrencies, both for businesses

experience - if there is a mechanism to says Howitt.

“There will definitely by appetite,” adds

and consumers. It is clear that the leading Plante, “even if the tokens are limited to social networks could play a pivotal

those companies, they have a huge user

is adapted for use in a mass market,

more interesting if media companies like

role in launching cryptocurrency that although exactly which form it would take is harder to predict,” he says.

“Cryptocurrencies are mostly not

accepted as legal tender anywhere. That means it will be the programmability of the coin - e.g. the ability to make

programmable transfers or remittances

base to draw from. It will become even

YouTube and Spotify start using tokens

to reward content creators. This will take away a lot of friction and lower the cost

of entry for starting musicians and vlog

creators and will make the crypto market even more accessible.”

As well as the potential for enterprise

- that could make this something else

offerings, Sylvest says observers can

Facebook will have its work cut out here to

developing over the reminder of the year

than ‘yet another payment option’.

balance privacy, openness, compliance and business models.”

A move by a company such as

Facebook or other messaging services into the cryptocurrency market would

likely be met enthusiastically by investors. Telegram recently raised $1.7 billion for its new cryptocurrency/token.

“The one thing messaging enterprises


expect to see a number of trends in the cryptocurrency market.

“I see the growth trajectory continuing

to accelerate across algorithmic and

commodity-backed stablecoin formats, and we’ll also see more high-volume

stories start to emerge in the B2B world. Most likely these projects will centre

around financial protection and supply chain finance.


“In addition, I think the incumbents

will push more forcefully for

regulation of the crypto space. Meanwhile businesses

interested in the space will be on the lookout

for ‘complete players’ who can deal with all the various different

aspects - applications,

standards, integrations, network, operations

- required to take B2B

pilots from ‘kitchen sink’ stage to scale.”

Plante believes that

we will see more robust

regulation over the next 12 months, as well as an

increase in public trust and

a further influx of institutional

and professional investors into the

market. But he warns that traditional

organisations must change their position on cryptocurrencies and accept their place in the modern world of finance. “Banks and regulated payment

institutions need to get over their fear of


crypto companies,” he says.

circle of negativity surrounding

critical for the development of the crypto

the innovation in Regtech and crypto

crypto and stop rejecting professional

“Traditional banking offerings are still

industry, but at this moment it is almost

impossible to get even a simple current

account at a major bank. This drives even the large crypto companies to second

and third tier banks, often in less desirable

“What we see as a result is a vicious

crypto. Banks could learn a lot from

compliance, and, just like they once

feared the internet and now embrace it,

then feared the cloud (and now embrace it), they should realise that crypto is here to stay.”

57 Issue 3



01-05 APR HANNOVER MESSE 2019 01-05 APRIL, 2019 HANNOVER EXHIBITION GROUND, GERMANY Hannover Messe focuses on the key technologies and core areas of industry – from research and development, industrial automation, IT, industrial supply, production technologies and services to energy and mobility technologies. Some of the trends expected to dominate this year include artificial intelligence, cobotics, digital twinning, 5G and other dominant Industry 4.0 themes. Industry’s global hotspot for a week, Hannover Messe will attract close to 250,000 visitors. In 2018, the event played host to 6,500 exhibitors alone.




09-11 APR GOOGLE CLOUD NEXT ‘19 09-11 APRIL, 2019 MOSCONE CONVENTION CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA Google Cloud Next is where customers, partners, developers, influencers and the greater global cloud community come to get inspired and learn about Google Cloud Platform, G Suite, Maps, Devices and more great technology and solutions from across Google. Learn from customers and partners, and dive deep through hundreds of breakout sessions, code labs, demos and hands-on training. Next ‘19 will offer more than 500 breakout sessions, led by more than 1,000 Google, customer, and partner speakers. CLOUD.WITHGOOGLE.COM/NEXT/SF

59 Issue 3


25-26 APR 10-11 APR DUBLIN TECH SUMMIT 10-11 APRIL, 2019 DUBLIN, IRELAND In two short years the Dublin Tech Summit has emerged as one of Europe’s largest tech conferences, having been labelled Europe’s fastest growing tech conference. The event will showcase some of the world’s most influential tech leaders and brands to Dublin for two days of growth and development, knowledge sharing, and networking. Attending companies and participants will include Airbnb, Google, Cisco, Google, SAP and Dropbox.


IOT TECH EXPO GLOBAL 2019 25-26 APRIL, 2019 OLYMPIA, LONDON The World’s Largest IoT Conference Series; the IoT Tech Expo Global event in London will bring together key industries from across the globe for two days of top level content and discussion. Exploring the latest innovations within the Internet of Things and covering the impact it has on many industries including Manufacturing, Transport, Supply Chain, Insurance, Logistics, Government, Energy and Automotive, this conference is not to be missed. Key topics examined include: smart building & facilities management, building the connected supply chain, intelligent city and transport management, smart grid data management and analytics, asset monitoring and management, delivering smart connected new products, and more. WWW.IOTTECHEXPO.COM/GLOBAL



07-09 MAY .NEXT CONFERENCE 2019 07-09 MAY, 2019 ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA The only conference dedicated to the latest in data centre and enterprise cloud technologies heads to Anaheim, California in May. With 60+ unique sessions to inspire and inform you, there is no better place to get educated on hyperconverged infrastructure, hybrid cloud, cloud automation, IoT and more. Hosted by Nutanix, some new sessions include a focus on data centre modernisation that explores deploying scalable petabyte-scale storage solutions for unstructured data and how machine learning will transform IT Ops. Guest speakers at this year’s event include actor and The Honest Co founder Jessica Alba, The Simpsons writer Mike Reiss and renowned explorer, fundraiser and author Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE.




The 2019 Digital Transformation Conference will be tackling the challenges of successful transformation head on and will feature a diverse set of tracks and streams to cover the entire digital ecosystem. The agenda for the two-day event will be built around the defining topics of the digital era: people and culture and how people come first in transformation projects; the digital workplace; customer experience; emerging technology and trends; digital product innovation and digital delivery. Attendees at last year’s conferences included the likes of Ocado, ASOS and Unilever, as well as tech behemoth IBM. Historically it has attracted delegates from across Europe, even stretching to the EMEA and APAC regions. WWW.DIGITALTRANSFORMATIONCONF.CO.UK

61 Issue 3


16-18 MAY VIVA TECHNOLOGY 16-18 MAY, 2019 PARIS, FRANCE Viva Technology stands out for its ability to bring together startups and established companies, providing a one-of-a-kind platform where professionals can do business and where the general public can preview new products and see how technology will impact the future. Viva Technology returns with its fourth edition and it’s bigger and better than ever: more space, more startups, more innovations, and more opportunities to grow your business and accelerate your digital transformation. Over 100,000 people will attend in the French capital, with guest speakers set to include Samsung’s Chief Strategy Officer Young Sohn, Tencent’s SY Lau and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov.



20-23 MAY INTEROP19 20-23 MAY, 2019 LAS VEGAS, NEVADA Interop’s goal is to provide a vendor-neutral educational environment that provides real insight into the best IT practices and strategies for your enterprise. It has no products to pitch and no forced agenda to push - except to help you uncover the best solutions possible, regardless of platform or ecosystem. You’ll hear from industry thought leaders as well as peers experiencing the same challenges you are, making your takeaways practical and actionable. Hosted at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Interop will have summits, workshops and sessions covering every topic imaginable. It counts the likes of Apple, Dell EMC and Microsoft among the list of previous attendees.


63 Issue 3


04-06 JUN DATACLOUD GLOBAL CONGRESS 2019 04-06 JUNE, 2019 MONACO Datacloud Global Congress is now entering its 16th year as the premier leadership summit for critical IT infrastructure. Over the past 15 years, this event has evolved as a recognised beacon of high quality content offering thought leadership across the entire IT infrastructure ecosystem. Datacloud has performed a critical role as an international networking and deal making opportunity for key players across the sector. With a powerful agenda covering cloud challenges, edge evolution and data centre infrastructure, it attracts investors, financiers, business leaders and their customers who use this annual meeting in the stunning backdrop of Monte Carlo to do deals that influence outcomes for the next 12 months and beyond.



10-14 JUN LONDON TECH WEEK 10-14 JUNE, 2019 LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM A series of mini-events covering every angle of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, London Tech Week unites tech and talent in a world-class hub of innovation. The UK continues to innovate as a worldwide cutting-edge technology centre. As one of the world’s most open & welcoming markets, it is positioned to lead the global conversation in designing and scaling technology, with talent at its heart. The week-long bonanza connects international communities from across the spectrum to address how access to technology for all can have a profoundly positive impact in society and business. Leading the speaker list this year is ASOS CTO Bob Strudwick, Twitter’s Bruce Daisley and Hyperoptic CEO Dana Tobak.


65 Issue 3



In a column exclusive to Digital Bulletin, Ultima CEO Scott Dodds outlines why an incremental technology transformation will pay off in the long-term


igital transformation is a hot topic – and no longer the preserve of big multinational enterprises. Businesses everywhere stand to make significant gains by moving from legacy technology systems to automated alternatives, both in terms of productivity and competitive advantage. The cloud means all businesses


can scale as and when they like and the Internet of Things will bring hyper-connectivity that will accelerate the speed of change further. However, for many companies, the prospect of embarking on the digital transformation journey can be daunting. What technologies should they be embracing? Where do they start? The best approach is to take incremental steps in building your


‘Intelligent Automation’. RPA (robotic process automation) is a good place to start. The process of using software robots to automate mundane, repetitive tasks, RPA is being increasingly embraced by UK businesses on the back of recent industry successes. Ultima has been using RPA technology to automate our own back-end operations and we’ve seen productivity rise by a factor of two since implementing the technology across five processes. We’re using RPA to aggregate sales pipeline data from 32 individual spreadsheets and systems and presenting the data in PowerBI. This has saved 8 hours of people-hours per day, saving one full-time admin head at £20k per year. Not only that, but the information can be run at 100% accuracy multiple times per day. By taking care of mundane tasks, RPA frees companies to explore more complex AI-based automation. But before enterprises can consider advanced automation, they need to look practically at their infrastructure, workforce and security, and consider what might need to change to enable

their businesses to be set on a positive path to digital transformation. Ideally, your employees will have secure access and data sharing regardless of where they are located to maximise performance and productivity. Technology from companies such as Microsoft, VMWare and Citrix allows secure and easy access to your business applications and data irrespective of location and device. Working with a managed services partner to ensure you have the right combination of technology to allow you to create a successful modern workspace will allow you to operate on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model. Here you pay, per user, per month and can scale up as appropriate and take advantage of software upgrades without spending vast amounts of capital. Part of your digital transformation is likely to involve moving your data from on-premise servers to the cloud. By engaging with a cloud services provider you remove the burden on IT and improve business agility by allowing you to provision apps and desktops faster. And, you will benefit

The cloud means all businesses can scale as and when they like and the Internet of Things will bring hyper-connectivity” 67 Issue 3


Automation and AI in business will become all pervasive, as companies embrace the potential to gain a level of insight and knowledge about their businesses that humans alone couldn’t provide”


from the latest security features and management functionality of a modern operating system that won’t go out of support. Once your infrastructure and security is sorted, the real fun can begin. When combined with RPA, the use of intelligent automation technologies can provide impressive returns. One training provider which takes up to 400,000 first line calls annually is using speechbots to answer calls and leverage RPA to verify the caller. This has resulted in reduced operational expenditure in the call centre by 50% and increased efficiency. A large car dealership is automating new and used car ordering from the manufacturer PoV in seven dealerships to improve operational productivity


and customer experience, saving £210k per year for that one process alone. Organising legal documents around correspondence, evidence, witness statements, case precedent and indexing using RPA has resulted in a monthly savings of £16,500 for one law firm. Their payback on the initial investment was achieved in just over 6 months. Another example of how we’ve embraced such technology at Ultima is by automating our firstline helpdesk for our managed services clients. They can now selfserve using chatbots and RPA which means our costs are reduced so we can serve more customers with the same headcount. It’s also improved customer satisfaction as they like to solve their own problems in a short space of time which automation allows.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE The next level of digital transformation will be to move from intelligent automation to artificial intelligence. Automation and AI in business will become all pervasive, as companies embrace the potential to gain a level of insight and knowledge about their businesses that humans alone couldn’t provide. Automated machines will collate vast amounts of data and AI systems will understand it. By coupling two different systems – one capable of automatically collecting incredible amounts of data, the other that can intelligently make sense of that information – individuals and businesses will become more powerful. Put simply, digital transformation will help your business achieve more. We’re just at the start of the intelligent transformation journey, so join in and make your future bright.

Scott Dodds has been in the European IT industry for 33 years and has held senior positions in EMEA and the UK with VMware, Microsoft, Acer and Compaq, before joining Ultima Business Solutions in October 2015. He has had full P&L responsibility for multi-billion dollar sales and marketing teams as well as running business operations and planning functions. His breadth of experience spans all customer segments from the largest global enterprises to mid-market and SMBs

69 Issue 3




Profile for Digital Bulletin

Digital Bulletin - Issue 3 | April 2019  

Skills shortage is the elephant in the room for enterprise technology. At Digital Bulletin, we exist to tell the stories of how computing,...

Digital Bulletin - Issue 3 | April 2019  

Skills shortage is the elephant in the room for enterprise technology. At Digital Bulletin, we exist to tell the stories of how computing,...