The Actionable Futurist® Podcast

S5 Episode 25: The Future of Multicloud Technology: A Deep Dive with Steve Young of Dell Technologies

October 17, 2023 Chief Futurist - The Actionable Futurist® Andrew Grill Season 5 Episode 25
S5 Episode 25: The Future of Multicloud Technology: A Deep Dive with Steve Young of Dell Technologies
The Actionable Futurist® Podcast
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The Actionable Futurist® Podcast
S5 Episode 25: The Future of Multicloud Technology: A Deep Dive with Steve Young of Dell Technologies
Oct 17, 2023 Season 5 Episode 25
Chief Futurist - The Actionable Futurist® Andrew Grill

On this episode of the Actionable Futurist Podcast, I had an in-depth conversation with Steve Young, UK SVP & Managing Director for Dell Technologies, on why it is now critical that CEOs, CIOs, CFOs and CISOs play a role in driving a well-planned multicloud strategy for their businesses.

In recent years, cloud technology has proliferated. However, many are realising that not all workloads and applications are suited to a single public cloud environment. Or, in fact, a public cloud environment at all.. As such, going 'multi-cloud' has been implemented unintentionally rather than strategically.

The need for a multi-cloud approach is now more urgent as companies are deploying more complicated applications and services, so this Podcast is timely and important for business leaders in any organisation to hear.

The discussion made me realise that multi-cloud strategy is not just about the tech world – and as Steve highlights, it has significant implications for various industries, including financial services and FMCG

In the podcast, we discussed how a financial services organisation has efficiently utilised multi-cloud for cost and efficiency using ground-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground approaches.

We also explored Dell Technologies' vision and differentiation in the multi-cloud space and how they focus on enabling customers to consume public cloud-style services irrespective of where their data and applications sit.

Dell Technologies is helping to bridge the gap in the market for multi-cloud skilled talent. Artificial Intelligence also impacts the multi-cloud environment, and we talked about how AI will function in a multi-cloud world.

It’s fair to say that multi-cloud environments offer numerous benefits, from increased flexibility and agility to improved cyber resilience; however, the journey towards effective multi-cloud adoption is filled with challenges.

We examined in detail how each member of the C-suite can benefit from a multi-cloud approach.

More and more, CEOs understand the importance of technology in driving business innovation and growth. Embracing a multi-cloud strategy allows CEOs to get their organisations on the front foot of digital transformation.

Steve explained how organisations can successfully navigate the multi-cloud maze through strategic planning, business understanding, and the right technological support.

We also spoke about the Dell Technologies Forum on November 28th in London that I'm attending, the premier conference for technology enthusiasts and business leaders looking to drive innovation and growth. You can sign up for a free pass at futurist.click/dell-forum

Resources mentioned in this episode
Steve on LinkedIn
Sign up for the Dell Technologies Forum

This was a sponsored podcast in partnership with Dell Technologies.


Your Host: Actionable Futurist® & Chief Futurist Andrew Grill
For more on Andrew - what he speaks about and recent talks, please visit ActionableFuturist.com

Andrew's Social Channels
Andrew on LinkedIn
@AndrewGrill on Twitter
@Andrew.Grill on Instagram
Keynote speeches here
Pre-order Andrew's upcoming book - Digitally Curious

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

On this episode of the Actionable Futurist Podcast, I had an in-depth conversation with Steve Young, UK SVP & Managing Director for Dell Technologies, on why it is now critical that CEOs, CIOs, CFOs and CISOs play a role in driving a well-planned multicloud strategy for their businesses.

In recent years, cloud technology has proliferated. However, many are realising that not all workloads and applications are suited to a single public cloud environment. Or, in fact, a public cloud environment at all.. As such, going 'multi-cloud' has been implemented unintentionally rather than strategically.

The need for a multi-cloud approach is now more urgent as companies are deploying more complicated applications and services, so this Podcast is timely and important for business leaders in any organisation to hear.

The discussion made me realise that multi-cloud strategy is not just about the tech world – and as Steve highlights, it has significant implications for various industries, including financial services and FMCG

In the podcast, we discussed how a financial services organisation has efficiently utilised multi-cloud for cost and efficiency using ground-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground approaches.

We also explored Dell Technologies' vision and differentiation in the multi-cloud space and how they focus on enabling customers to consume public cloud-style services irrespective of where their data and applications sit.

Dell Technologies is helping to bridge the gap in the market for multi-cloud skilled talent. Artificial Intelligence also impacts the multi-cloud environment, and we talked about how AI will function in a multi-cloud world.

It’s fair to say that multi-cloud environments offer numerous benefits, from increased flexibility and agility to improved cyber resilience; however, the journey towards effective multi-cloud adoption is filled with challenges.

We examined in detail how each member of the C-suite can benefit from a multi-cloud approach.

More and more, CEOs understand the importance of technology in driving business innovation and growth. Embracing a multi-cloud strategy allows CEOs to get their organisations on the front foot of digital transformation.

Steve explained how organisations can successfully navigate the multi-cloud maze through strategic planning, business understanding, and the right technological support.

We also spoke about the Dell Technologies Forum on November 28th in London that I'm attending, the premier conference for technology enthusiasts and business leaders looking to drive innovation and growth. You can sign up for a free pass at futurist.click/dell-forum

Resources mentioned in this episode
Steve on LinkedIn
Sign up for the Dell Technologies Forum

This was a sponsored podcast in partnership with Dell Technologies.


Your Host: Actionable Futurist® & Chief Futurist Andrew Grill
For more on Andrew - what he speaks about and recent talks, please visit ActionableFuturist.com

Andrew's Social Channels
Andrew on LinkedIn
@AndrewGrill on Twitter
@Andrew.Grill on Instagram
Keynote speeches here
Pre-order Andrew's upcoming book - Digitally Curious

Voiceover:

Welcome to the Actionable Futurist podcast brought to you by Dell Technologies, a show all about the near-term future, with practical and actionable advice from a range of global experts. Your host is international keynote speaker and Actionable Futurist, andrew Grill.

Andrew Grill:

Today on the podcast I have Steve Young, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Dell Technologies UK. A long time figure at the company. Steve has spent more than 20 years at Dell, starting as a Senior Sales Executive at EMC in 2001. He's responsible for Dell's UK business, client satisfaction and employee engagement. Welcome, Steve.

Steve Young:

Thank you very much, Andrew. Great to be here.

Andrew Grill:

Now we're here to talk about multi-cloud, so let's go back to basics. What is multi-cloud and what are the benefits of running a multi-cloud environment?

Steve Young:

Yeah, so multi-cloud is effectively where a company has their data and applications running in different locations. They may be in the public cloud, an AWS, an Azure, a GCP. They may be data and applications running in their own data center, in a co-location facility or potentially at the edge. So multi-cloud is when those data and applications are running in different locations.

Andrew Grill:

And you mentioned public cloud and I think everyone knows that AWS, Google, all those other clouds are very public. But what's the real difference between a public cloud and a private cloud?

Steve Young:

Yeah, so I think about public cloud is when your data and applications are running on shared infrastructure with other companies as well, and I think about a private cloud is where your data and applications are running on your own maybe owned by you, maybe owned by a provider, but running on your own infrastructure. Really simple way of thinking about it is if you think about using your iPhone when you're connected and you're maybe listening you're on Spotify, listening to your favorite song. It's streaming and it's streaming from the public cloud. If, for example, you've downloaded some of that music to your local device, then I would say that's similar to what I would call a private cloud. So say, if you're on the tube no signal you can still listen to your favorite tracks because it's on a private cloud, on your own personal iPhone.

Andrew Grill:

That's actually a really good way of describing. I haven't heard it described before, but we actually all have our own private clouds on our devices, so I really like that analogy. But how do you know if you're running multi-cloud?

Steve Young:

You don't really need to know, because you are. You will be consuming services from places you probably don't even know and, fundamentally, every organization has some of their applications and workloads in a cloud, a public cloud or a private cloud. So I think, rather than spend too much time worrying about it, I would just assume that you are.

Andrew Grill:

So a lot of challenges. So what are these common challenges that organizations are grappling with regarding their own multi-cloud adoption?

Steve Young:

Yeah. So it's an interesting one and it's one from I've seen from my, I guess, previous role within Dell Iran, our Dell technology select business, which is our business with our largest customers, and about six or seven years ago I saw customers making significant commitments to the public cloud and basically making statements like we're going to move 100%, 80%, 60% of our workloads to the public cloud by X date. And they made those significant commitments really because there was, there is value in the public cloud the access to public cloud style services, the developer experience, there are a number of benefits in moving workloads to the public cloud. But as time has passed, they've recognized that actually there are sometimes good reasons why it doesn't make sense to run the services in the public cloud. So, for example, data sovereignty challenges, potentially latency issues.

Steve Young:

But also many organizations have a large application landscape sitting in their existing investments, existing data centers, and some of them are not ready for the public cloud. So one of the major challenges we're seeing because this we're seeing customers almost adopt multi-cloud by default because they've kind of gone into this wanting to move everything to the public cloud, realizing they can't, and now they're looking for an answer and the answer is how do I run my data and applications wherever is the right place at the right time? And that's really the challenge how do companies go from multi-cloud by default to multi-cloud by design? So you alluded to it there.

Andrew Grill:

But when and how did public cloud become this de facto in a customer's environment?

Steve Young:

I think it happened for a number of reasons and we can probably rewind the clock about six or seven years, I think. There was a. All organizations were looking to accelerate their digital journey, digitally transform much, much faster. A lot of them were frustrated, to be honest, with their own internal IT departments and investments that already made and how quickly they were accelerating the pace of digital transformation. So they began looking elsewhere and if you think about where the public cloud came from, amazon have built an incredible online business which, andrew, you and I use everybody uses a daily basis and I think Amazon got smart and they thought well, actually, we've got capacity, spare capacity, and we run this business really efficiently. We'd like to offer this for business customers as well to run their applications on. So, and that started to gain momentum and I think companies looked at this way, listening. They said, look, amazon are doing a really good job. They run it efficiently. They're very digital native. If we can do similar and take advantage of the lessons that they've learned, then maybe it makes sense for our applications to move to the public cloud.

Steve Young:

So I think there was a logic there in that decision and I think let's face it, you know, especially when, when Covid came along, digital transformation not just became something as people would like to do. It became an imperative for doing business. So I mean, I think Satya Nadella talks about Covid the year, 18 months of Covid, he believes accelerated digital transformation by five years, because organizations had to transform to stay in business. No longer could they serve their customers via their retail outlets, they had to do everything online. So it became an imperative and I think that's that's what accelerated the journey to the public cloud and has left us with this point where customers are and the public cloud still makes a lot of sense there's no question about it for the right workloads and right applications. But I think people are recognizing it's no longer public cloud first. It's more public cloud smart. Let's get the right applications in the public cloud, but let's make use of a multi cloud process so we can run our data and applications wherever makes sense for our business.

Andrew Grill:

What does this mean? We really need to look at almost a multi cloud by default strategy.

Steve Young:

Most organizations right now are in multi cloud by default strategy, but there's an opportunity now to almost take a sense check. And we did this with a financial services customer who was saying look, you know, we've made our commitment to the public cloud. Most of our data and applications still sit on premise. We believe in the public cloud for some of our apps Increasingly. We want to move workloads to the edge. So at that point it was like let's stop, let's press pause, let's look at our application landscape and let's make a measured multi cloud by design approach to deciding where those workloads should sit. Let's build a program around that and let's begin rolling out that program app by app.

Steve Young:

And the other interesting thing in this journey with that customer, andrew, was they had the foresight to actually think ahead and say, just because that's the journey where we're going to, we may not want to stay there as our business changes, as new opportunities potentially around AI wants us to move more to the edge. We need the flexibility in our multi cloud by design approach to move workloads in future. So that was an amazing project. So, and whatever you are on that journey, there's always a point to take a pause and say let's take a breath, let's look where we are and let's try and create some planning so we can create more of a design rather than just a natural evolution into this.

Andrew Grill:

So we've talked a lot about the technology, but let's look at the business side. Do you think boards truly understand the benefits of the cloud and, in particular, multi-cloud?

Steve Young:

I think most of them do. To be honest, andrew, and I would say that the COVID has accelerated that We've gone. You know, we've worked in technology for many years, andrew. We'll both remember the days where IT was really a back office function. It was in the dark, typically the basement of most big organisations. Nobody really understood who they were and what they do. What they did and, let's face it, if the phone wasn't ringing down there, everybody was happy. But we've gone from being in the back house the back room of the company to being right at the front house, the front room of the company.

Steve Young:

Now, any board who doesn't recognise that technology and digital disruption will either create their future or bring competitors that will destroy their future. Every organisation thinks the same way and I'm finding increasingly in the boardroom more and more digital savvy executives who actually believe that technology is at the heart of the business and will be at the heart of the future of the business as well. Now, whether there's an opportunity for them to understand more about the next level in terms of you know it's and that's what I think we've seen a lot almost a gold rush towards the public cloud, because there's a belief in the boardroom that if we make an announcement with Azure, with GCP, with AWS, about a commitment we've made a multi-year commitment that it's almost like they've clicked their fingers and overnight we've become digitally mature. Now we all know it's not as simple as that, but yeah, I mean, I think in essence, boardrooms understand the importance that technology is bringing to their business.

Andrew Grill:

Sounds a bit like companies have put the word Bitcoin or they use the AI phrase. They think they've immediately transformed and they're more valuable, but that's, as you know, not the case. So what you said is quite important that the typical IT functions were back office and now the C-suite has a new set of C executives, so maybe you could talk in detail about the key business drivers of a multi-cloud by design approach, and why should the CISO, the CIO, the CFO and the CEO care about this?

Steve Young:

Well, let's start with with the chief exec of the organization, and you know we're talking about, in most cases, a digital savvy chief exec, and I think that's the new breed of leaders in our organizations, global and also local now, and I think you know they're recognizing that embracing multi-cloud isn't just a technology decision, it's a strategy for innovation and resilience. We've done a study recently at Dell called the Innovation Index, and we've looked at the number of organizations or number of people in an organization who would classify their company as digital leaders, digital innovators, and sadly in the UK it's not as many as we would like. And I think multi-cloud gives the CEO the opportunity for digital innovation to get the organization on the front foot.

Andrew Grill:

And then, of course, you. And what about those other roles? The CISO, the CFO, cio.

Steve Young:

Absolutely. I'd forgotten you'd asked that as well. So, yes, you're right. So, from a CFO perspective, making the right multi-cloud choices helps you invest in what adds value. It's a way to optimize costs, leveraging your existing investments. So what I mean by that is, if you've made a commitment to the public cloud and you're behind on that commitment, adopting a multi-cloud approach can help you accelerate that commitment, help you move data and applications to the public cloud, but also leverage existing investments you've made in your people and your data centers.

Steve Young:

So, for me, the key thing for the CFO is not cloud-first but cloud-smart. And then, of course, you talk about the CIO. So the CIO needs multi-cloud solutions so that they can respond to the business requirements. When a business needs a cloud-native application, built in Azure, for example, then they will have an offering in the public cloud. But many of those applications that are built, maybe in development initially, ultimately will have a home back on premise in the data center or potentially at the edge.

Steve Young:

So if the CIO has a range of services, almost like a menu of services, do you want public cloud, do you want on premise, do you want co-location, do you want edge? And actually, andrew, as this evolves, I would like to get to a point where the CIO doesn't even offer a location. The CIO makes the decision, or through self-serve, depending on the application characteristics, it's automatically chosen. So, actually, as a user of that application and any organization, or as a customer, you don't know where it's sitting, nor should you care. You just want a level of service and a level of intimacy with your application that helps you engage better with the company, or engage better as an employee of the company, so it shouldn't matter. Right now it tends to matter a little bit too much. And then, finally, you talked about the CIO.

Steve Young:

So multi-cloud can help boost cyber recovery ability. So, for example, we're seeing a huge number of ransomware attacks in the UK at the moment. Right now, the UK is the second most hacked country and, given our GDP, something around six or seventh in the world, we're probably punching above our weight in an area that we don't necessarily want to. So what we're finding is companies are accepting the fact that they're going to get hacked, and it's more a case of how do we recover our data in the event of a ransomware attack. And your data will sit in the public cloud, it will sit on premise, it will sit at the edge. So having a coherent multi-cloud cybersecurity strategy will be critical to avoiding the risks of cyber attack in any business right now.

Andrew Grill:

So let's turn to what Dell are doing. What's Dell's role and ambition in the multi-cloud space?

Steve Young:

Yeah, it's a great question, Andrew, and it's something that, to be honest, we spent a long time thinking about, and we've now got to a point where we've got a very clear vision. We're about 18 months into, I would say, a three-year roadmap of delivering on that vision, and our vision is very simple we want our customers to consume public cloud style services, no matter where their data and application sit, so, whether that be in the public cloud, whether that be at the edge, or whether that be in your own data center, that's our vision.

Andrew Grill:

So I want to turn to the talent that you require, because finding a talent for one cloud is hard, so finding people with the skills to work across multiple clouds is even harder. Maybe you could give us a sense of how Dell can help here.

Steve Young:

Yeah, you're absolutely right. The war on talent is huge and we've been doing some stuff with the government recently around looking at digital skills and right now there are four times as many vacancies as we have people available with digital skills. And with AI and Gen AI, we know those skills requirements are going to explode, so we need to catch up. So I'm hopeful that the government will continue to invest in this area and we can really bridge the gap. But to your specific point, how do we help?

Steve Young:

So we clearly have a range of services that we deliver right now to our customers in their own data center. It's an area that they are comfortable in, they're trained in, they know how to use our technology and what we're doing with that technology is we're moving it into the public cloud at a virtual software layer. So the beauty of that is, as a user, it's the same look and feel, no matter where your data and applications sit, whether they be on-premise or in the public cloud, and that means that investment you've made in your people skills You're not throwing that out and starting over again to learn something new. You can leverage that existing investment to run your data and applications wherever is most appropriate for your business.

Andrew Grill:

So Gartner said that multi-cloud isn't necessary until it is I love that quote and that the downside is complexity. The upside, they argue, if you strategize properly, is specialist services and diversity. So how do you mitigate the downsides to enjoy the upside?

Steve Young:

Yes, I think we talked about that at the beginning and that's that pause button. And that's that moving from multi-cloud by default, which everybody has wandered into, press pause and move into a multi-cloud by design phase. Be deliberate, look at where you are, look at where you want to be, have an application assessment and we can help with that, adele and looking at what workloads are most appropriate for what area now and how do we build the flexibility and agility in our multi-cloud by design infrastructure to allow us to move those workloads where appropriate in future?

Andrew Grill:

Perhaps you could give me some examples of specific industries benefiting from your multi-cloud offering.

Steve Young:

Yes, so I can give a really simple example that actually was involved in just last week. It's with a large FMCG company and they were looking for. They were being concerned recently about risk in their business, not just from cyber attack, but from systems going down or from actually rogue employees impacting their data. So they wanted to have a more fluid but also more robust data recovery strategy. And they had both data. As you would imagine, like any multi-cloud by default company, they had data sitting on premise, in edge locations, but also in the cloud. So they were looking for a coherent data protection strategy that could span every area of their business and fortunately, again because of the work we've done, we have a platform which allows you to protect your data, no matter where it sits, whether it's in the cloud or whether it's on premise. So that's a really good example of a, I guess, a more short-term and more tactical challenge. I want to also talk about financial services example, where they did that pause button. They had a commitment with the public cloud. They had data and applications on premise and at the edge. A lot of those were legacy applications. One of them were net new applications that made many acquisitions. So there was lack of standardization, there was some risks in that infrastructure estate as well, and they kind of came to the conclusion you know what, let's just put this all into the public cloud.

Steve Young:

But fortunately a new CIO came along and he pressed pause and he said hang on, I don't know if all of our data can or should run in the public cloud.

Steve Young:

I want to be a little bit more deliberate.

Steve Young:

I want to create a business case and an implementation plan for the next five years as to how I can deliver on my vision, and I'm going to work with the public cloud as a partner and I'm going to work with Dell technologies as a partner, and I'm not going to pre define what goes where, because I don't know, and if I don't know, they don't know.

Steve Young:

So what basically happened over a period of time was we worked in partnership in this case it was with Microsoft Azure to build a multi cloud environment which was ready to receive the applications and data when the organization was ready to move them, and the other benefit of that is we put it together from a financial perspective or an Azure service basis. So what that meant was they didn't start paying for any of the new infrastructure until they moved their data and applications there. And that was really important because, if you can imagine, a financial services organization still has the legacy infrastructure, has built the net new multi cloud by design and as a consequence is paying costs. In both areas cost go up. So the beauty of this solution was, as costs went down in the legacy infrastructure, the cost went up in the new multi cloud infrastructure, so that break even point we achieved after a couple of years.

Andrew Grill:

It's a really smart way of looking at the business model and something that the CFO is going to be really happy with. A phrase used a lot with multi cloud is ground to cloud. What does this mean in practice?

Steve Young:

Yeah. So ground to cloud and there's a number of organizations adopted this approach. We're not we're not the only technology company. Ground to cloud is where technology exists in a data center, if you like, and because the customers have made commitments about moving applications and data to the public cloud, then we've taken our technology and made it available in the public cloud. So, if you think about a really simple example, in the UK we do a lot of storage and backup infrastructure products in data centers and if you think about what that is, it's software tethered to hardware. It's a, it's an appliance, if you like.

Steve Young:

What we've done is we've taken the software away from the hardware and then move the software into the public cloud marketplace. So that means our customers, if they have a commitment with Azure, can consume that software on an as a service basis. But also, rather than consuming our hardware, they consume the Azure, the GCP, the AWS, back end cloud infrastructure. The great thing about that is it helps them accelerate their workloads where they want to to the cloud, but also helps them draw down on that commitment that they've made to the public cloud. And it's not just as a number of other technology vendors have adopted that approach and, in fact for the public cloud marketplace. I had always assumed that the bunch, the bulk, of the services sold there are their own services, but actually more than a third of the services sold are provided by third party vendors to the public cloud, like us and many other technology provides.

Andrew Grill:

So let's flip it around. What about cloud to ground?

Steve Young:

Yeah. So that's a that's a situation where and this is important because the public cloud companies and again it depends who it is I would say Microsoft are already there and I think AWS and GCP are certainly on the journey. But public cloud companies are starting to recognize that it is a multi cloud world. Customers want, don't, are never going to run everything in the public cloud. So they're smart and they thought well, how do I make available Azure services or AWS services out of the edge? And we all know how important the edge is going to become in retail, in manufacturing, in telco, in fact, in all industries.

Steve Young:

We believe 80% of the world's data will be created at the edge in the next five years. The edge will be a key area. So, and in a lot of those edge locations I mean, take as an example an oil company who maybe have a new oil services contract in Malaysia Malaysia access to public cloud services is not great, so they're going to have to have something local. But there's other challenges around data sovereignty as well. Some data cannot leave a country and in those situations, the public cloud of recognized they need to be able to deliver services at the data center in the edge.

Steve Young:

And what we've done and this is based on our legacy, because we've been doing this for five, six, seven years with VMware, we've built a hyperconverged, integrated engineered appliance, dell infrastructure with VMware software, which helps customers run those edge and data center cloud environments really, really efficiently. We've just released the exact same with Microsoft, we will do the same with Red Hat later this year, and GCP and AWS are doing that as well. Now, what I love about that, andrew and I would love to buy it because I work for Dell is I talked about a lot of companies are doing ground to cloud and there's a few companies doing cloud to ground, but there's no other now organization other than Dell technologies that are doing both. And when you're doing both, you have the ability to deliver multi cloud by design.

Andrew Grill:

So Edge is a really exciting technology. We've covered edge recently on the podcast. Maybe you could expand a bit more about where edge sits in a multi cloud environment.

Steve Young:

So Edge is just an extension. It's a, it's a mini data center which is closer to your customers or your source of data. Think about a manufacturing environment. You know right now, if you're running a line to, say, manufacture car parts in, let's say, argentina, you can collect data from the line in Argentina. You can then upload it to the headquarters of the company and you can look at it and you can analyze it and then maybe after a week you'll come up some ideas and you'll send them back and you'll ask them to make some changes to the line, to optimize, to make it more efficient.

Steve Young:

It's very slow and while it's slow and you're losing out on those efficiencies, you're not getting the opportunity to improve. That's why edge is becoming important. People want to make real-time data decisions where the data exists. That's why we believe 80 percent of the world's data will be created at the edge. These are often also complex environments. We're not talking about beautiful data centers cooled on concrete floors, with the right airflow, security controlled. We might be talking about a cage on an oil rig somewhere. We might be talking about a laptop on a manufacturing line getting covered in dust. They need to be rugged and protected devices, but they also need the ability to be close to the source of data and leverage that data to make improvements at the edge.

Andrew Grill:

Having the data at the source as close as possible, I think will be critical as we see more in my applications roll out. We've talked about public-private on-premise edge. Who should decide what goes in a public cloud versus private on-premise or edge?

Steve Young:

It's a good question. I think ideally it shouldn't be down to humans. You really want to build a rule set into your portal. This is maybe utopia, but let's dream big. A user puts in the characteristics, the requirements, what they need. As an outcome. Behind the scenes, the portal can automatically decide should we deploy that on-premise, should we deploy that on the edge, or should we deploy that in our own data centre? That is where everybody would like to get to Self-service and automation. The reality is, although many companies are getting there, we still have a long way to go on that journey. Right now, I think it's going to be a collective decision between the business owners and IT, but I would err more on the side of the business owners. If IT have built that menu that we talked about that allows them to move, basically deliver their application landscape wherever they want, then I would like to get to a point where the business can decide what makes sense for them.

Andrew Grill:

This could be a world record in season five of the podcast. We've gone 30 minutes without mentioning AI. We have to mention AI because everyone's talking about it. Here's the question where does AI fit in a multi-cloud environment?

Steve Young:

If data is the oil, then the engine is GPU and CPU. That data that feeds the engine in reality is never in one boxed-off place with a bull around it. It's in data silos all over your organisation, in co-locators, in the public cloud. By its very nature, if you're going to take advantage of AI and generate AI, then you need not just the large language models that are being developed by all the public cloud, but you then need to train those large language models on your own data that then becomes your unique value. If you're going to do that, you're going to need to build a data set that takes advantage of multi-cloud. So multi-cloud and data and gen AI go hand in hand.

Andrew Grill:

I'm sure many people are listening so far have thought okay, there's some real benefits at looking at a multi-cloud strategy. What would you say would be the tipping point where multi-cloud benefits overtake the implementation challenges?

Steve Young:

I think it will depend on case to case, but the reality is because everybody is in a multi-cloud by default stage. Most customers I speak to are behind on moving their data and applications to the public cloud and, as a consequence, I have a commitment in the public cloud and are paying for infrastructure on premise, so there's already an element of double paying. So I would recommend that it's time to press pause, take a look at where you are on that journey and we can help with that and then make some more strategic multi-cloud by design decisions that maybe help bring that financial equilibrium into better favor.

Andrew Grill:

So something I've been thinking about as you've been talking. Good example if a company goes through a merger and both entities are using different clouds, would it force a multi-cloud approach?

Steve Young:

Yes, it would, but the reality is, even prior to those companies merging, they would have already had multiple clouds running their services. So I would argue that a merger only exacerbates the problem. It doesn't bring a new problem.

Andrew Grill:

So there are a number of things that Dell can do in this multi-cloud world. So if you're running multiple services with a familiar front end provided by Dell and a single dashboard for data, that's part of a USP, correct?

Steve Young:

It is. Yeah, we talked about how we're really the only company that has a vision and is delivered on most of that vision for ground to cloud and cloud to ground. But something we're really excited about developing in future to further our USP is a storage control layer, and this placed the earlier question about AI and leveraging data to make sure that we're driving new outcomes using AI. And what we're building is a storage control layer, and our vision for that storage control layer is to allow a single organization to manage their data, whether it's file, object or block data, whether it's in the public cloud at the edge, or whether it's on-premise.

Andrew Grill:

So, steve, it's time for the lift pitch. Why is Dell Technologies the right partner to help with a multi-cloud vision, and what differentiates you from the other cloud offerings in the market?

Steve Young:

I think we are unique in our vision and we've delivered a significant part of that vision today, and that vision is to take all of the software that our companies use, our customers use, in their data centers and co-locations at the edge and make that available in the public cloud to enable them to use workloads in the public cloud, and that's called our ground-to-cloud strategy.

Steve Young:

We also have the reverse, which is our cloud-to-ground strategy, which is enabling the public cloud to move to the data center, to the edge, to enable customers to run their workloads, their data and their applications wherever is appropriate for their business.

Steve Young:

We believe we're unique. We're the only organization that's doing both ground-to-cloud easy to say and cloud-to-ground. But on top of that, we're also doing something unique as well we're building out something called a storage control layer. Now, this will be like a data broker and will be a single dashboard to allow a company to manage their data whether it's file, block or object, unstructured data, any sort of data source and whether it's sitting on-premise at the edge in the cloud any of the public clouds and manage that in a single dashboard. And, when you think about the opportunities coming with AI and GenAI, the ability to manage that single dashboard. As we know, if the GPUs are the engine, data is the oil, and that allows the company to access as much of the data as they can to deliver new insights, new outcomes and deliver on the promise of AI in the future.

Andrew Grill:

This podcast is all about the future. What excites you most about the future of MultiCloud?

Steve Young:

The really exciting thing I can see us getting to is a point where almost MultiCloud becomes irrelevant. And it becomes irrelevant because people don't know and they don't care. Everything is seamless, our data and applications are managed no matter where they sit, with exceptional level of services and with the data delivering exceptional insights. And, I think, with the promise of AI and MultiCloud combined together, I think organisations who are at the leading edge, the front edge of innovation, will take advantage of this and it will propel their success for the future.

Andrew Grill:

So the message there is you need to really be thinking about MultiCloud right now, and hopefully podcasts like this and organisations like yours can bring all that together. So we're almost out of time. We're up to my favourite part of the show, the quickfire round, where we learn more about our guests. So let's do it iPhone or Android, iphone all day, window or aisle, definitely a window preference.

Steve Young:

However, when I travel with my wife, there's always a fight and I usually lose, so I'm usually the middle seat then.

Andrew Grill:

In the room or in the men averse? Always in the room, your biggest hope for this year and next.

Steve Young:

I guess right now my biggest hope is that Scotland get win the Rugby World Cup. By the time this podcast goes out, I'm sure we've probably already not made it past the first round. Oh you little faith. Yeah, it's a typical Scott lots of hope but very little faith. If I think about my hope for future, I think I'm really optimistic, but I need to see the delivery of some of the move that government are making around building our supercomputer capability in the UK. I think Rishi and a lot of the government see the UK as the opportunity to be a real leader in AI and I think in order to do that we talked about the engine being computing power we're going to need to establish a strategic supercomputer program in the UK University of Cambridge. I think are doing great things to be in a strong position to take advantage of that, but I would like to see the investment come from the government to really drive us up in terms of league tables of where we stand, because right now we're a little bit behind.

Andrew Grill:

I wish that AI could do all of my tax return.

Steve Young:

Actually, having said that it probably already can do my tax return, I maybe just haven't given it the chance to, so I'll stick with tax return, but I should maybe go and see if it can.

Andrew Grill:

The app you use most on your phone.

Steve Young:

I'm afraid it is the traditional email and text WhatsApp. I do enjoy playing with chat GPT. I have to say, though, we were once in a in a forum where we met with a customer and a partner, and it was a four or five or planning session. We were really looking to put a strategic plan together, and it was a very productive meeting. We were very, very happy with the output. And then, as a bit of a laugh, I thought I'm going to ask chat GPT if this company, this partner, this technology organization got together and came up with a strategic plan, what would it look like? The good news is it was very similar to ours. The bad news is we spent five hours doing it, and chat GPT did it in 20 seconds.

Andrew Grill:

It's becoming the future. I think what's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

Steve Young:

I've always kind of had this from my parents and leaders I've worked for as well, and it comes in lots of different forms, but in essence it's about keep moving forward. You know, I think it's very easy to look back and to have regrets. You know, either personally or professionally, but my philosophy in life has always been to they're behind. There's nothing I can do other than learn from them. Keep moving forward. So keep moving forward is the best bit of advice I've ever had.

Andrew Grill:

What are you reading at the moment?

Steve Young:

Well, actually it's related to that theme. So I'm reading the Midnight Library. I cannot remember who wrote it. I think it's an English writer. He's had a few novels.

Steve Young:

I haven't got to the end of it, so I'm making an assumption as to what it's about, and it's basically about someone who had a tough life and decided they didn't want to carry on anymore, so took their own life, but then ended up in the Midnight Library. And the Midnight Library is a little bit like a sliding doors. It has a book full of every single different decision you could have made and, as a consequence, what journey you would have gone on in your life. So she drops into these different parts of her life in this like holding zone between whatever she was going to next. But I think and I haven't got to the end of it yet and maybe this is a spoiler alert, but for me again it's about regret. I assume what she's going to conclude is the reason I wasn't happy with my life was I've regretted previous decisions and actually, if I focus on moving forward, life is worth living. So that's kind of the essence of what I think it's about, but I'm really enjoying it so far.

Andrew Grill:

Who should I invite next onto the podcast?

Steve Young:

So I've got two really good potential guests for you and I can even probably speak to them about getting on, but assuming they will meet with what you're looking for. So I would recommend Professor Paul Kilesia I mentioned earlier on at University of Cambridge are really making great strides in terms of AI, incredible projects, and also want to be at the forefront of the next big super and computer in the UK. So I think getting Professor Paul Kilesia talking about and he's a fascinating guy as well I know you'll spend a lot of good time with him, so I would recommend him as one. The other person is somebody called Chester King. Chester is the chief exec of British eSports.

Steve Young:

Now, I'll be honest, I didn't know this, andrew, but eSports is huge. It's an Olympic sport next year in Paris. Children are playing eSports, they're watching eSports, they're engaging in eSports and I fundamentally believe and Dell Technologies have partnership with British eSports I fundamentally believe this will help bridge digital skills for future Children working together on game type strategies, analysing data, working in teamwork. Gaming is an interactive way of doing things. It's not like consuming from Netflix or YouTube, etc. And that's why I believe eSports, and gaming specifically, could hold the keys to unlocking the castle, to bridge our digital skills gap in the UK, so I would definitely spend some time with Chester, another fascinating individual.

Andrew Grill:

You've totally re-oriented my thinking on eSports. I thought it was just frivolous gaming. But you're actually right linking the skills together. They're not looking at mind-numbering things. I think that's brilliant.

Steve Young:

As a parent, I thought the same. You know. You know how gaming used to be something your kids did in a dark room. You'd put their food underneath the door. They'd not come out for days. I want to get that in the open. I want to shine a light on it. British eSports are setting up a campus for the British team in Sunderland. They're about to launch that next month and they're going to bring the best gamers together so we have the best team to go to the Olympics in Paris next year.

Andrew Grill:

I would love to speak to both of those guests, so if you could connect us, that would be fantastic and be a really great addition to the podcast. So yeah, thank you. Final quickfire question how do you want to be remembered?

Steve Young:

For me and again, this is probably uniquely me and I know this isn't everybody's journey but for me the most important thing that I can do in my life is create a stable foundation for my children to do whatever they want to do in their life. So I'd like to be remembered for that and, I guess, maybe more selfishly, I'd like, when I'm not here, those children, and maybe their children's children, to have fond memories of me If I achieve those two things in life.

Andrew Grill:

I will die very happy. Back to business now, as this is the actionable Futures podcast. What three actionable things should our listeners do today to prepare for a multi-cloud world?

Steve Young:

So the first thing is a shameless plug, but actually it's an incredible event. It's our Dell Technology Forum, which is our annual flagship event Over 2,000 people last year. We have some amazing guest speakers as well, which we're going to trail, so I'm not going to talk about right now, but it's our annual flagship event. We welcome customers, partners, enthusiasts, business leaders who are looking to drive, ultimately, innovation and growth, and we have a range of content and speakers, including technology focus, breakouts around multi-cloud security, sustainability, of course, ai, modern data center and also hybrid work, and I think there will be a link with this podcast to allow people to register. We would love to have you along. There's an executive track, there's a generalist track and we're also having an executive dinner in London in the evening, so I would encourage you. If you want to know more about Dell Tech, or even more about our partners or technology in general, then please sign up for Dell Tech Forum.

Andrew Grill:

It's a fantastic event. I'm already signed up for it. There'll be a link on the video and in the podcast show notes, and I encourage people to sign up as well. So how can people find out more about the Dell Technologies multi-cloud solution?

Steve Young:

I would recommend that, and we're in a very fortunate position. I'm in my office in London, just next to the Gherkin right now, and upstairs from me is our executive briefing center. It's the center for Amia and we were really proud of it. We only finished it I think it was in September September of last year and already we've had six or 700 different sets of customers through the doors for a conversation, and the key is it's a conversation. This isn't a sales pitch. This is us listening and understanding some of our customer challenges, bringing our subject matter experts together, having conversations and debates about those challenges and how collectively we've seen others overcome those challenges, and then working together on a strategic plan to help drive progress. And so I would recommend contact me. We can work with my team and organize an executive briefing in our flagship center upstairs.

Andrew Grill:

Steve, a very timely topic. Thank you so much for your time today.

Steve Young:

You're very welcome. It was a pleasure to be here. Thanks.

Voiceover:

Andrew, thank you for listening to the Actionable Futurist podcast brought to you by Dell Technologies. You can find all of our previous shows at actionablefuturistcom and if you like what you've heard on the show, please consider subscribing via your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode. You can find out more about Andrew and how he helps corporates navigate a disruptive digital world, with keynote speeches and C-suite workshops delivered in person or virtually at actionablefuturistcom. Until next time, this has been the Actionable Futurist podcast.

Benefits and Challenges of Multi-Cloud Adoption
The Importance of Multi-Cloud Strategy
Multi-Cloud in Financial Services
Dell Technologies' MultiCloud Vision and Differentiation