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Business Consultant. Works in Digital Legal Management (since 2007), Knowledge Management (KM, since 1999), Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM, since 2006), Digital Contract Management (since 2009), SaaS B2B (since 1998), Signer of the Agile Manifesto (2006). Founder of EuroCloud Italy (2010) and GM of Cloud for Europe (2016). Publishes Internet contents in different subjects since 1996. Owner and founder of the brand B|KM for SaaS B2B production. Co-founder of AltonaSpain (2021), and Noticias Altona (2022), in the audit/compliance sector for the Spanish market. Works in Spain, Italy, The Netherlands. In his private life he’s a writer, art curator, and amateur music composer.


Recent articles
For any IT leader new to an organization, gaining employee trust is paramount — especially when, like PepsiCo’s Athina Kanioura, you’ve been brought in to transform the way work gets done. Kanioura, who was hired away from Accenture two years ago to serve as the food and beverage multinational’s first chief strategy and transformation officer, says earning employee trust was one of her greatest challenges in those early months. Tapped to guide the company’s digital journey, as she had for firms such as P&G and Adidas, Kanioura has roughly 1,000 data engineers, software engineers, and data scientists working on a “human-centered model” to transform PepsiCo into a next-generation company. “People become embedded into the ways of working successfully,” she says. “Me coming in from the outside and proposing so much change —  the associates and midlevel management are the ones that must be empowered and that is the most difficult aspect of any kind of transformation.” Now halfway into its five-year digital transformation, PepsiCo has checked off many important boxes — including employee buy-in, Kanioura says, “because one way or another every associate in every plant, data center, data warehouse, and store are using a derivative of this transformation.” The $247 billion conglomerate, one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world, is developing a modernized data and cloud infrastructure replete with automated processes and workflows. To date the company has moved 5,000 applications to Microsoft Azure as it applies predictive analytics, AI, robotics, and process automation in many of its business operations. PepsiCo’s migration to the cloud has paid off in in many ways, Kanioura says — in speed, flexibility, and agility, reducing on-demand forecasting from weeks to days or hours, and in feeding its supply chain more accurately and frequently. “We want to ensure that the monetary value realization is captured across the board, and so far, we are very happy with the financial KPIs, which translate to business implementations which gave us a positive ROI,” Kanioura says. “But there is more room to go. We expect within the next three years, the majority of our applications will be moved to the cloud.” The company is also refining its data analytics operations, and it is deploying advanced manufacturing using IoT devices, as well as AI-enhanced robotics. PepsiCo also plans to evolve its network modeling to become more “prescriptive,” anticipating events and making planning adjustments rather than reacting to market conditions, she says. Upskilling for the digital future The digital overhaul of nearly all PepsiCo’s business processes and operations has no doubt contributed to the company’s expected 12% growth for the current fiscal year over FY2021’s reported $79.5 billion in revenue. But with automation comes questions about the long-term viability of a range of current roles. Kanioura insists the transformation’s goal is not distributing pink slips. In fact, she says, PepsiCo, which employs about 300,000 workers across the globe, is transforming all its human capital for the digital era. “We are upskilling every employee of PepsiCo, whether you know someone who sits in company headquarters or you’re sitting in a plant or out selling our products,” Kanioura says. One core program developed to achieve this goal, PepsiCo Digital Academy, provides employees with a common foundational understanding of the value of data and analytics and how they can use that information in their own roles, Kanioura says. Digital Academy was launched last year, and to date roughly 27,000 employees have participated in digital training, with almost 140,000 views on digital training content, according to the company. One HR employee took some courses in data analytics and found a new job within the company helping to advance digital transformation. “I was always passionate about advanced analytics and took courses where I augmented my digital skills and acquired new ones,” says Ashley McCown, senior data analyst in PepsiCo’s People Analytics division. “These new skills enabled me to take on a new role where I am able to leverage advanced analytics to solve HR problems.” IDC analyst Craig Powers says increased automation inevitably leads to some job losses. But enterprises are sincerely trying to upskill their employees to retain institutional knowledge necessary to realize the growth a digital transformation is designed to generate, he says. “Is it possible to upskill all employees in a large organization to be digital experts? Not likely,” Powers says. “However, for the sake of success and efficiency in digital transformations, companies should be looking to educate and upskill as many internal people as they can, because their knowledge of the organization’s business processes is hard to replace.” Enterprises like PepsiCo are also battling for new digital recruits even as they develop digital talent from within. To that end, PepsiCo has launched two Digital Hubs — one in Dallas and one in Barcelona — to create more than 500 new data and digital jobs over the next three years. The hubs are designed to accelerate how PepsiCo “develops, centralizes, and deploys critical digital capabilities” across its global operations, according to the company. Blending analytics and AI Since taking over, Kanioura has applied the expertise she developed as chief analytics and AI officer at Accenture to advance PepsiCo’s data infrastructure, a strategy that includes building out a data lake and AI capabilities with partners such as Microsoft and Databricks. Analytics and AI are integral to Kanioura’s vision for PepsiCo’s future, one that centers on enhancing three key pillars: consumer experience, commercial excellence, and operational excellence. “Every data set, every data KPI, or every data field is as important as the app,” she says. “Yes, the data is key. But the big unlock is MLops. The importance of using AI for data ops is critical. What we are trying to do is operationalize all our analytics and algorithmic libraries.” PepsiCo will use a combination of customized Microsoft Azure and Databricks AI frameworks and machine learning models to redefine its operations even as it develops its own homegrown framework, “which is very specific to the needs of PepsiCo,” says Kanioura. “AI in this company is something that we absolutely debated down and it’s evident in many of our transformations across the globe.” Gartner analyst Sid Nag says PepsiCo has adopted many of the technologies that are driving the next phase of enterprise digital transformation. “The next frontier in IT services will be driven by the nexus of cloud, edge, 5G, AI, IoT, and data and analytics,” Nag says, adding that digital business initiatives built on these technologies can help enterprises interact more closely with their customers, thereby improving customer experience and engagement. “Digital touchpoints supported by cloud environments are the mechanism to connect the digital and physical worlds and are essential for the digital economy to execute on and accelerate digital business initiatives.” Kanioura says PepsiCo’s success over the past two-plus years has laid the groundwork for an evolved, insight-driven enterprise. But for her, the most impactful achievement has been fostering employee trust across all layers of the organization. “I expected more resistance,” she says. “I didn’t get too much resistance and that’s the toughest thing — to grow with what we were proposing. If you’re going to bet parts of your business and part of your critical business to a transformation like this, you need to be convinced that it will not cannibalize or disturb your growth trajectory.” Analytics, Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation [...]
Businesses are always in need of the most robust security possible. As the remote workforce expanded during and post-COVID, so did the attack surface for cybercriminals—forcing security teams to pivot their strategy to effectively protect company resources. Furthermore, the rise of organisations moving to the cloud, increasing complexity of IT environments, and legacy technical debts means tighter security mechanisms are vital. During this time of change, the hype around Zero Trust increased, but with several different interpretations of what it was and how it helps. Zero Trust means — as the name suggests — to trust nothing by default. Zero Trust isn’t a software in itself, but a strategy. Meeting the mandate will mean using a number of approaches, techniques and software types. The challenge only grows for those working piecemeal, without an overarching plan for using software and platforms that work together.  In this article, I’ll discuss whether Zero Trust is a strategy to which all businesses should strive towards, the growing shift towards a holistic security approach and how XDR aligns with Zero Trust. Is Zero Trust an achievable goal for all businesses? Zero Trust is an approach, not something that can be purchased. Just like a company will never be “100% secure”, it will never likely have “achieved Zero Trust.” That doesn’t mean security and Zero Trust are abandoned, but instead they are goals that are continuously strived for. At Trend Micro, we leverage the terminology and concept of “Zero Trust” to help our own employees gain awareness of cybersecurity, while focusing on enhancements of foundational cybersecurity maturity through people, process and technology: People –  Enhancing awareness; turning the weakest link to the strongest link in defending against cyber threats.Process – Developing, communicating and enforcing cybersecurity policy with alignments to enterprise risk management prioritisation and remediation.Technology – Leveraging telemetry data integration and machine learning to gain full cyber risk visibility for action. It is extremely costly to achieve the highest maturity of Zero Trust in an IT environment and in most cases, it is not economically feasible nor practical to do so. The maturity level should depend on the enterprise’s risk management framework and approaches as well as its data classification. Shifting towards a holistic approach Organisations often begin their Zero Trust journey when faced with new security considerations as they move to the cloud. Migrating on-premises resources to the cloud entails monitoring a growing digital attack surface, which equals all possible entry points for unauthorised access into any system that is typically complex, massive, and constantly evolving. Since the cloud doesn’t have a perimeter like on-premises environments, IT teams are struggling to keep up. A recent global study by Trend Micro found that SecOps lack confidence in their ability to prioritise or respond to alerts, with 54% of respondents saying they were “drowning in alerts”. With many enterprises using a hybrid cloud environment, operating several siloed point products to catch cyberthreats can be extremely challenging. Organisations should look towards a holistic approach, adopting defensive in-depth security with multiple layers of protection. A unified cybersecurity platform, like Trend Micro One, provides enterprise-wide visibility, detection, and response combined with the security capabilities you need throughout the attack surface risk lifecycle. Our platform enables SecOps teams by providing a single point of truth across the entire infrastructure, gathering telemetry from all environments and correlating threat data to deliver fewer, but highly relevant, alerts to manage. How XDR creates a solid foundation for Zero Trust To properly assess the trustworthiness of any devices or applications, you need comprehensive visibility across your environment. A well implemented XDR solution provides full cyber risk visibility into an IT environment and when used in tandem with the Zero Trust approach, organisations can further enhance their security. Monitoring and managing behaviour patterns of user access and data access are critical parts of Zero Trust. Trend Micro’s XDR solution offers automated detection and responses through machine learning and big data analysis. XDR automated response enforces consistent security policy while aligning to enterprise risk management. Since XDR is constantly collecting and correlating data, it establishes a continuous assessment pillar of the Zero Trust strategy. This means that even after you’ve approved initial access for an endpoint, that asset will continually be reviewed and reassessed to ensure it remains uncompromised. All businesses should strive for a foundational level of Zero Trust. To address the complexity of risk, the process needs to be treated like a lifecycle, in which continuous visibility and assessment are used to discover an organisation’s attack surface, assess the risk, and then mitigate the risk. At Trend Micro, we advise our customers to take Zero Trust implementation one step at a time. Zero Trust [...]
By Milan Shetti, CEO Rocket Software In today’s digitalized world, customers value transparency and accessibility above all else. As a result, organizations are taking a proactive approach to provide critical content to end users at the click of a button. For over 130 years, Hastings Mutual Insurance Company has served and protected its clients throughout the Midwest. The regional insurance agency, with nearly 600 offices and 500 employees, has provided security and peace of mind to customers of all shapes and sizes, from small personal family policies to larger insurance packages that have helped to protect farmers and businesses from the unexpected. With over $1 billion in total assets, the company has grown significantly since its humble beginnings in 1885. Still, Hastings continues to pride itself on its relationships and the care it provides its customers. That is why Hastings Mutual decided to look closely at how it managed and distributed its content to its clients. Since the early 1980s, the company has used an in-house Policy Administration System (PAS) with what is today Rocket Software’s Mobius Content Services Platform to classify, manage, and grant access along its mainframe to more than 4,000 unique document types. Although current operations were running optimally, Hastings understood that its PAS’s lack of integration with modern technologies would eventually create issues. Hastings management decided on a proactive approach, taking on the challenge of modernizing its existing mainframe operations to an open-source environment to remain competitive in future markets. In its push to modernize, the regional insurance provider also believed updating its client viewing system to provide a more intuitive, user-friendly experience would benefit its customers and employees alike. The challenges of preserving historical data While migrating information from the mainframe to open source comes with its own obstacles, Hastings Mutual faced even greater challenges. The company had been developing and storing mission-critical documents and information on its old infrastructure for over three decades — including regulatory, accounting, and workflow documents. Not only would Hastings need to find a way to continue generating these documents throughout the migration process, but it was also essential to maintain the integrity of its historical documents and information during its transfer onto open-source systems. Failure to do so could lead to regulatory sanctions and even legal implications. With limited resources and a lack of experience with mainframe migration, Hastings realized it needed help to clean up its Logical Partition (LPAR), preserve the integrity of its historical documents, and successfully downsize its mainframe operations — all while maintaining fluid operations. Finding the right support for mainframe migration Hastings turned to Rocket Software, whose Professional Services team got to work immediately to assist Hastings’ operational team in the clean-up of its existing LPAR environment. Together, the teams went through each historical document within the LPAR to rename and properly segment it for migration to the correct open-source system.  Once documents were properly classified and stored within the LPAR ecosystem, Hastings turned its attention to mainframe migration. Hastings was able to modernize its mainframe operations while still utilizing its PAS in conjunction with Mobius Content Services to generate critical documents on its mainframe. After generation, the documents were automatically duplicated and safely transferred to the proper open-source environment. And Hastings was able to begin the migration of its historical documents safely and securely from the mainframe to its open-source systems.  Improving customer experience Hastings’ pivot to a more innovative web client has also been essential to the migration’s success and the company’s growing customer satisfaction. Now, end users can access Hastings’ digitized documents with the click of a button — reducing document latency and making high-priority documents available within seconds rather than minutes. And having an intuitive open-source viewing system has empowered Hastings’ end users to find critical information faster and without the hassle of asking for assistance. The benefits of great partnership As a result of the project, Hastings Mutual continues to successfully move toward a hybrid open-source infrastructure. The company was able to modernize its operations to produce, store, and distribute documents to its clients faster, more securely, and at a lower cost. Throughout the migration process, Hastings has not missed a beat. As a regional insurance provider, the ability to continue to provide outstanding service to clients when they need it the most has been pivotal. As Mainframe experts, Rocket Software helps businesses avoid complications and enhance the management and security of their most critical information. To learn more about our suite of Mobius products, click here. Digital Transformation [...]
“Our sustainability goals and key performance indicators are important to us. We’re committed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in areas we can influence by 2030 with a three-pronged approach that includes avoidance, reduction and compensation.” — Arthur Schneider, Head of Sustainability Management One of Europe’s largest IT services providers, Bechtle offers a full IT portfolio to more than 70,000 enterprises and public sector customers in 14 countries throughout Europe. Providing hardware, software, and IT solutions and services, the company also delivers an extensive array of cloud offerings from dedicated private clouds to deployments with the world’s largest hyperscalers, including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Bechtle also offers the Google Cloud VMware Engine, an offering that empowers enterprises to quickly realize the power of Google Cloud while using the VMware technologies they know and trust. Notably, Bechtle also achieved the VMware Cloud Verified distinction. We recently connected with Arthur Schneider, Head of Sustainability Management at Bechtle to learn more about the company’s sustainability initiatives, what it means to be part of the VMware Zero Committed Initiative and what he sees in his work with customers. We also took the opportunity to learn where he sees the greatest opportunities to make a difference. “Bechtle is unique for a number of reasons, among them the fact that we offer a unique blend of IT services, from systems integration to running our customers’ full IT infrastructure if desired,” says Schneider. “We offer this through more than 80 facilities we refer to as IT system houses, and also provide IT leaders with IT E-commerce throughout Europe, a one-stop source of the supplies they need, from printer cartridges and laptops to full infrastructure-as-a-service or a custom-designed server farm.” Schneider notes that because Bechtle business extends far beyond the company’s data center operations its sustainability efforts also encompass a much wider array of business functions. This includes a large effort not only to achieve a core tenet of the VMware Zero Carbon Committed initiative – to power the VMware operations and datacenters with 100% renewable energy by 2030 – but also to radically reduce the carbon footprint of Bechtle’s logistics and fulfillment operations. “On the most basic level, in our Sustainable Strategy 2030 effort we’ve defined four main areas of action we will focus on, including Ethical Business, Environment, People, and Digital Future,” adds Schneider. “Some of our goals include achieving net-zero status by 2030, extending our portfolio of sustainable products, increasing diversity across management levels, and achieving sustainability goals in our procurement and supply chain operations.” This multi-faceted approach can be seen in the scale and scope of Bechtle’s sustainability efforts. For example, the company’s headquarters at Neckarsulm achieved the noteworthy achievement of being powered by 100% green energy since 2021. Furthermore, the facility that serves more than 2,000 people, uses geothermal, photovoltaic, and solar thermal systems. Datacenters are also built with sustainability in mind. The company’s Pfalzkom datacenter in Mutterstadt, for example, is entirely powered by green electricity. Additional investments extend Bechtle’s efforts further. Examples include the purchase of 50 Volkswagen ID.3 all-electric cars and the installation of numerous electric vehicle charging stations across the company’s operations. Bechtle even unveiled the Bechtle box, a special shipping container made out of 80% recyclable materials that can be reused many times and folded for return to Bechtle during subsequent deliveries. “We are consistently looking at sustainability efforts from a three-pronged approach that includes avoidance, reduction, and compensation and that means looking at our entire operation,” says Schneider. “We’ve defined a sustainable portfolio: sustainable product consulting, green logistics and packaging services, repair services, product end-of-life services, and perhaps most importantly energy efficient cloud hosting.” Schneider stresses that the cloud by its very nature offers perhaps the greatest potential, both because it consolidates power consumption into far more efficient facilities, and because it empowers others to likewise reduce their carbon footprint, whether it’s enabling remote work or replacing inefficient legacy hardware. “Enabling enterprises to move from on premises locations to the co-locations that are powered by sustainable sources of course offers the opportunity to dramatically reduce emissions,” he says. “Sustainability has become a responsibility for all of society. Our customers have their own goals and they want to see similar actions on behalf of their vendors. VMware’s Zero Carbon Committed initiative is a great way to help demonstrate and act on that shared vision.” Learn more about Bechtle and its partnership with VMware here.   Cloud Management, Green IT [...]
In the age of disruptive business models and constant competition, the travel and hospitality industry, like most industries, needs to deliver services in real-time. The Covid-19 pandemic has created a significant shift in the industry with a greater demand for competitive pricing to prevent loss of market share, targeted marketing to build loyalty, optimizing company staff, real-time inventory tracking, all of which require real-time data analysis. Companies must reinvent themselves into agile, connected travel platforms that go beyond the realms of smart phones and other wearable devices.  Technology advances can enable highly personalized user experiences across a host of devices. For instance, form factors would not be limited to AR/VR glasses alone but extend to other wearables like contact lenses as well. Hearing devices could cater to selective hearing or provide real-time translation. However, these personalized experiences will further increase the need for heavy data management and processing as well as requirements for improved data privacy and security. Meanwhile, customer preferences for better sanitary facilities, improved travel insurance coverage on trip cancellations, medical coverage, health checks and screening, touchless payments, etc. have also increased pressure on the industry. Driving change to anticipate your needs The travel and hospitality industry has risen to these concerns and opportunities in a revolutionary way, with cloud at the center. Here are a few purpose-built solutions targeted to anticipate customer needs. Personalizing experiences   Processing data at scale and generating predictive insights can help deliver highly personalized experiences to surprise and delight customers. Towards this, cloud partners like AWS use a comprehensive range of AI/ML services coupled with targeted communications, marketing campaigns, and tailored recommendations across a variety of channels, to deepen brand loyalty. For instance, McDonald’s says it has enabled a faster, easier, and more rewarding drive-through experience using AWS technology.  Staying connected  An IOT suite of products can help achieve seamless connected experiences across a host of devices. Computer-vision technology that analyzes images and videos, aids in identity verification and surveillance during travel. AI-enabled chatbots with natural-sounding human speech capabilities, engage with customers to manage bookings, field inquiries, collect feedback, and deliver 24×7 automated assistance. AWS provides customers omnichannel engagement, over scalable cloud solutions with reliable and personalized customer service. For instance, Priceline, a leading online travel company, states that it has optimized customer service during 3x call volume increase. Optimizing operations and IT  The airline industry uses forecasting for crew scheduling, fleet, and equipment management. Similarly, hotels predict guest inflow, make inventory adjustments, and release dynamic pricing offers. With real-time streaming and data processing capabilities, apps can be built to analyze video streams and live feeds from IOT devices. These detect fraud, which improves security and operational efficiency. AWS’ forecasting capabilities also provide actionable intelligence, based on ML, to help companies meet upcoming demands. It reduces IT costs by offering access to unused compute capacity at discounted prices and providing serverless technologies with pay-for-use billing model.  For instance, Domino’s Pizza says it has increased the speed of its service delivery by using AWS for predictive ordering. Reducing carbon footprint Hotels use smart IOT sensors and automated systems for facility management, energy management, predictive equipment maintenance, and water metering. AWS brings together AI, ML, and IOT devices to make travel more sustainable. By monitoring fuel consumption, AWS provides recommendations that can be used to reduce emissions. Route optimization using AI/ML models reduces flight lengths and therefore fuel use. For instance, Qantas Airlines cloud-based flight simulator helps to save millions of dollars in fuel costs each year. The travel and hospitality industry has witnessed a massive slowdown due to the Covid-19 crisis. However, the cloud has presented effective ways to swiftly innovate, deliver personalized connected experiences, improve security, and contribute to a greener environment. Author Bio tcs E-mail:  u.sircar@tcs.com Ujjal Sircar is a technology leader within the Travel Transportation & Hospitality unit at TCS. Ujjal and his team helps enterprises build their digital transformation roadmap to enhance customer experience, increase operational efficiency, and enable digital growth. He along with his team have built solutions primarily for the Travel & Hospitality industry that enable enterprises to remain viable through agility and innovation. In his 20+ years of progressive IT career, Ujjal has assumed various responsibilities which include technology consulting, delivery direction, program management, and agile coaching. He is a distinguished Contextual Master in TCS and has a successful track record of working with leading enterprises spanning domains like Travel, Manufacturing, Life Sciences, and Human Resources. To learn more, visit us here.  Cloud Computing [...]