The hybrid workplace requires the ability to adapt and operate seamlessly via cloud innovations

Tech Data, a TD SYNNEX company, announced in August 2022 a new milestone in its longstanding partnership with Cloudera in the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region.

The partnership seeks to foster a deeper collaboration to equip business partners in the region to be Cloudera-ready with Tech Data’s Center of Excellence (CoE), in support of Tech Data’s strategy of driving hybrid cloud motion through the capabilities of the hybrid data platform on the Cloudera Data Platform (CDP).

DigiconAsia gained some insights into cloud innovations and strategies in a joint interview with Bennett Wong, Vice President, Advanced Solutions – Modern Data Centre & Analytics, Tech Data Asia Pacific & Japan and Remus Lim, Vice President, Asia Pacific and Japan, Cloudera:

In the fast-evolving enterprise cloud landscape, what have you observed are the greatest needs/demands of organizations in the Asia Pacific region?

Bennett Wong (BW): With hybrid workplace models becoming the new normal for many organizations, the ability to adapt and operate seamlessly is the key and it has become imperative for organizations to invest in the right technologies and tools to remain competitive. Adopting cloud computing as a core solution to scale and accelerate digital initiatives has become a necessity for organizations to maintain business continuity and to consistently unlock organizational growth.

Today, a major trend which we have noticed across industries is that hybrid cloud is the new norm allowing customers to leverage both on premise and public cloud offerings. However, organizations need to adopt technologies and platforms which can be complementary to this ecosystem. An end-to-end framework of cloud adoption that is aligned with the organization’s skill set and maturity and empowers them to achieve business objectives is a necessity.

What are some of the latest innovations in cloud strategy, adoption and provisioning to meet business challenges today?

BW: There is little doubt that organizations today are keen on incorporating a hybrid or a multi-cloud model. The latest innovations within the cloud landscape calls for a structure that is open, scalable, provides more ease in data management while also ensuring security and governance, and finally, is less heterogeneous and more unified in managing the environment.

Ideally, the main objective while adopting a hybrid or a multi-cloud system is to create a distributed model, which allows customers to have a bi-directional flow of data – the ability to leverage and manage data and data services from on-prem private to public cloud and vice versa. 

A major question for any business adopting cloud is ‘How do I automate and orchestrate things?’. When a customer moves into a cloud environment, they expect the cloud-like features that comes with it: the simplicity in spinning up new services, having access to on-demand resources, and a more centrally managed and controlled environment. Companies like Cloudera provide organizations with a platform that not only allows for the seamless transition and management of data, but also provides them with a common interface enabling them to navigate the whole space.

Another key area businesses are looking into would be cross-platform security and governance: to provide continuous optimal delivery across the hybrid cloud while maintaining the highest level of security.

Lastly, when businesses move between environments, one of the biggest tasks is refactoring workload, which can be quite a complex task. New innovations provide solutions that enable businesses to have an optimized workload placement on the cloud without refactoring, easing the transition and encouraging cloud adoption.

Remus Lim (RL): Today’s business landscape is fluid and customer-driven, where the most agile businesses succeed. According to Zendesk and Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), Asia Pacific businesses with mature customer experience strategies are 4.7 times more likely than those with less mature strategies to have grown their customer base over the past six months. 

One of the ways a business can drive value is through effective and efficient use of its data. By deriving valuable insights from its data and adopting a customer-centric approach, a business can prosper in an uncertain and volatile environment.

However, as IT architectures get more complex, so does the organization’s ability to efficiently access its data. For most organizations, data is stored across different business units, on various platforms, across geographical regions, in different formats. This inadvertently creates data silos.

It is common for businesses to consider migrating to the cloud to offer faster data analytics and quicker access to insights. However, not having a data strategy will diminish the benefits of embracing a hybrid cloud model. It is thus critical for organizations to adopt a holistic approach to digital transformation where cloud and data strategies complement each other and are aligned to business objectives. Adopting a hybrid data strategy will enable businesses to take full advantage of all their data everywhere. Accessing and analyzing their data no matter where it resides empowers businesses to make smarter, data-driven decisions.

An effective hybrid data strategy simplifies data processes and eliminates silos, helping these organizations avoid fragmented insights, reduce inefficiencies, and build a 360 view of their customers. More organizations are also demanding self-service analytics, where non-technical employees can analyze data for insights without requiring assistance from IT or partners. This is also demonstrated by the industry’s move towards a data mesh architecture, which treats data as a product that other teams and business units can use.

How does Tech Data’s Cloudera-ready Centre of Excellence help meet such demands and challenges?

BW: With the Center of Excellence, Tech Data’s aim is to build an adaptive virtual lab environment that caters to the emerging trends for next-generation solutions across various sectors. We have a guided approach, the objective of which is, to empower our customers and drive an outcome that accelerates their sales opportunities:

    • Practice Builder is all about enabling our partners with the right set of skills to understand technologies, as well as to better comprehend vendor agnostic views on emerging trends and how partners can leverage Tech Data’s platform to accelerate their businesses. Apart from insightful sales and technical training, our customers also have access to customized curriculum that focuses on specific vendor solutions and core fundamentals.
    • Starting at the concept level, Solutions Factory is a comprehensive solution readiness methodology aimed at designing and building solutions capabilities with pre-built assets and materials that allow business partners to jump-start their journey. With deliverables such as Click to RunTM Solutions and Solutions Play, not only are complex solutions made easy for partners to configure, customize, and deploy, but playbooks are made centric to a brand/solution or to a multi-vendor solution.
    • Equipped with features such as demonstrations, proof of concepts, and workshops, our Sales Acceleration strategies revolve around supplying our clients with end-to-end solutions that would accelerate their sales opportunities and increase their speed to market

RL: We established our Center of Excellence (CoE) facility as an end-to-end guided approach that business partners can turn to drive growth through enablement, technology innovation, and market ready solutions. With the ongoing concerns of the pandemic and movement restrictions, we opted to design and establish the CoE in the cloud instead of a traditional physical facility. This makes our CoE easily accessible anytime, anywhere, and readily available for all our customers and partners across markets.

Thus far, our CoE has enabled Tech Data’s customers and business partners to test Cloudera’s Data Platform (CDP) solution concepts within a sandbox environment. Running and integrating projects within the sandbox lets our customers and business partners speed up the development process by ensuring that their projects are compatible with existing systems, and easily identifying and fixing potential issues.

The CoE provides businesses with an environment where they can govern their data through Universal Data Distribution, allowing them greater control of their data flow. Companies can take control of their data flows from origination through all points of consumption both on-premise and in the cloud in a simple, secure, universal, scalable, and cost-effective way.