Jon on Tech – BCX Launches Enterprise Game Changer

Virtustream, the enterprise-class cloud company and a Dell Technologies Business, today announced its first customer and partner in Africa. BCX, Africa’s premier end-to-end digital solutions partner, providing advanced information and communications technology, will implement Virtustream® xStream® and Virtustream Viewtrust™ software to further orchestrate, automate and secure BCX’s cloud capabilities.

Virtustream xStream is an integrated cloud management platform that enables service providers such as BCX to deliver enterprise-class, IT-as-a-Service to their customers. BCX’s cloud capabilities are strengthened by the addition of Virtustream Viewtrust enterprise risk management and continuous compliance monitoring solution.

“We are pleased to support BCX’s extension of their cloud solutions into mission-critical applications to serve the market needs across South Africa,” said Steve Midgely, vice president, Virtustream. “Our relationship with BCX is further evidence that Virtustream’s platform is the preferred solution for enterprise cloud services delivering mission-critical applications for customers throughout the world.”

BCX, a fully owned Telkom Group subsidiary, serves Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) -listed enterprises, public sector organisations, state-owned entities and medium-sized businesses in Africa, Dubai and the UK. Virtustream’s cloud capabilities will be deployed in two BCX Tier IV datacenters, one in Johannesburg and the other in Cape Town, for the coverage BCX requires to meet their growing business needs supported by Telkom Group’s reliable Metro Ethernet connectivity.

“Enterprise cloud is a high priority for businesses in South Africa, and we undertook a rigorous selection process to find the right solution to offer business-critical workloads in the cloud for our customers and enhance our existing cloud capabilities,” said Jacques Loubser, chief of infrastructure solutions, BCX Group. “In the end, Virtustream was a good fit for us, because we already manage many major private company and government workloads. These organisations deeply value the agility and performance of the Virtustream cloud solution. The additional benefits accrued from Virtustream Viewtrust for security and compliance make the new service a compelling and unique offering within South Africa.”

Virtustream cloud solutions are expected to go into service within the BCX datacenters in July 2017.

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Jon on Tech – How to survive the Digital Revolution

In the early 1800s, William James Chaplin did something daring. Chaplin was called the ‘Napoleon of Coaching,’ due to his overwhelming market share in the UK’s horse-drawn coach services. Yet he sold it all and reinvested in what was then a controversial new industry: the railways.

It made Chaplin even richer. Yet a few decades later, the bubble burst on railway stocks and sent many to the poorhouse. Chaplin wasn’t among them, but it does illustrate that a business revolution can cut both ways.

 This is the conundrum facing business leaders today. The world is again tipping into a new age, this time a digital technology revolution that is already changing the rules. Not getting onboard is certainly the worst strategy. Yet a ticket to ride is not only expensive but also complicated. How can companies determine what is necessary for them to become part of the digital world?

 Speaking on the sidelines of the Dell EMC Forum, held recently in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nigel Moulton offered some advice. As the EMEA CTO of CPSD – The Converged Platform and Solutions Division of Dell EMC, he has a front row experience of the advantages these new technologies are delivering, as well as the difficulties that companies encounter when trying to understand and adopt them.

 If success in the digital age could be distilled to one key rule, Moulton has a straightforward answer: it’s about separating signals from noise:

 “Where I’m starting to see examples of the digital revolution is where job roles, roles that didn’t exist prior to us doing things with data and analytics, are starting to appear. It’s the growth of data science, the growth of Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and programming and language skills where what you’re trying to do is not so much write lines of code, but interpret data. People who can interpret the data, separating the signal from the noise: there’s a massive amount of value in that. I’m not sure it, as a function, existed broadly prior to this sort of conversation.”

 The demand is evident in overseas job markets: Across Europe and the UK, data science vacancies have grown by double digits. In countries such as France, there is nearly a 60 percent increase in these type of roles.

 But finding the right signal also requires the right technology environment. Traditionally IT has been kept at arm’s length from the rest of the business. This, says Moulton, needs to stop. Technology leaders must be at the top of the company in order to bring technology and business objectives together:

 “When you put a CIO on the board, what you saying is: ‘I trust that individual to guide me from a technology standpoint.’ So I need that individual to be aware of what’s happening in the market, both from what’s possible and what’s practical, because sometimes what’s possible is absolutely not practical. Sometimes there are external governance rules that dictate that to be the case.”

 This can encourage knowledge sharing among other leaders in the business. The barriers need to come down on both sides, Moulton added:

 “Executives of all cloths need to be curious. They have to figure out that they want to understand this and want to get engaged in it. Yet there is an element of some of this technology having these ‘magical’ qualities to people that don’t understand it. So you put a CIO on the board who can guide the board about the best decisions they need to make.”

 These two areas create the fundamentals of the digital transition. The goal is to gain better insight from business data for efficiency, deeper customer understanding or predicting where your sector may be going. The catalyst is a leadership that is willing to grasp technology, with the help of other leaders sitting at the decision-making level.

 The possibilities are astounding. Just as the horse coach made way for what would become a better and more dominant mode of transport, data-driven businesses are creating a new landscape. This is not the time to take a wait-and-see attitude:

 “Don’t miss the opportunity. You’re not going to find these things out unless you go exploring. Frankly, if your competitors are out there exploring, you should be out there exploring too.”

Jon on Tech – Dell EMC Merger

On September 7th, Dell and EMC officially combined to become the world’s largest privately-controlled technology company.

Jon Gericke caught up with Jonas Bogoshi, General Manager for Dell EMC Enterprise Business and Douglas Woolley, General Manager for Dell EMC Commercial Business. They provide additional insights on how the new company will benefit customers and partners, the new areas of opportunity, and how they will drive success for the combined business based on the latest new global research done by Dell EMC.

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