While organizations respond to urgent demands to transition to the cloud, they may overlook the print environment. Even if printing is on IT’s radar, their time and resources are often barely enough to keep on top of day-to-day management tasks. There’s little time and not enough people for all current and new projects.

HP Managed Print Cloud Services helps you implement a comprehensive transition to the cloud. Designed to align to your print environment, you can count on HP to provide the right fit for your organization.

Elevate IT impact

Let HP manage your print environment so technical teams can focus on reinventing how the business works. HP can help optimize costs, maximize resources and personnel, and reduce the hassle of print management. Managed Print Cloud Services provides global, managed services for secure, always-on printing that encompasses your firmware, solutions, and servers. Proactive infrastructure and security monitoring with optimized upgrade strategies let you minimize downtime and service calls.

Help lower your technical debt

The key to game-changing digital transformation is pioneering, cloud-powered technology that lets you go further, faster. Let HP manage ongoing maintenance, monitoring, security, and reporting. With a cloud template that can be designed once and deployed globally, you can dynamically adapt and scale to meet the changing needs of your business. That translates to the ability to quickly deploy your print applications and environment to different locations. To help meet sustainability goals, migrating print solutions from on-premise data centers to the HP cloud can help keep your carbon footprint down.

Count on a full range of security solutions

A cloud strategy that is ahead of existing and emerging cyber threats empowers your business to make bold decisions and pivot to the future. Empower people to work in the way that best suits their needs, with authentication, job accounting, and pull-print solutions. HP Wolf Enterprise Security defends your network with layer after layer of hardened security atop the world’s most secure printers.1 Choose from Trusted to Zero Trust security architectures for your Managed Print Cloud Services implementation, and count on flexible options that can evolve with your business.

Click here to read the full guide. To find out more about HP’s Managed Print Cloud Services click here.

HP

The mainframe may seem like a relic of a day gone by, but truth be told, it’s still integral. According to the Rocket Software Survey Report 2022: The State of the Mainframe, four out of five IT professionals see the mainframe as critical to business success. At the same time, innovation and modernization are imperative for business survival.

When deciding which modernization path to take, some companies choose to scrap their mainframe, a costly endeavor that increases the risk of downtime and sacrifices its powerful benefits. With that in mind, what can businesses do to modernize their applications effectively?

Tap into open-source software

Mainframe-dependent businesses often think that open source is just for cloud-based products – but that assumption is incorrect. By introducing open-source software to mainframe infrastructure, companies will improve product development, speed time to market, and open the mainframe to new developers that will drive mainframe innovation.

Open-source software accelerates IBM Z® application development and delivery through modern tools that drive automation and integration to and from the mainframe. Success hinges on development support. Without, it can create security and compliance risks—and be difficult to maintain. Waiting on vulnerability fixes from the open-source software community can open an organization to a multitude of threats.

Another benefit of open-source software is that it provides the next generation of IT professionals – who may be unfamiliar with the mainframe – with familiar languages and tools that make it easy for them to manage the mainframe similar to the way they work with other platforms.

One of those technologies, Zowe, connects the gap between modern applications and the mainframe. Introduced four years ago by the Linux Foundation’s Open Mainframe Project, Zowe and other open-source technologies like it provide organizations with the responsiveness and adaptability they need to implement advanced tools and practices that balance developers’ desire to work with the latest technology and organizational need for security and support.

Through DevOps and application development, businesses can bring the accessibility of open source to the mainframe while ensuring the compliance and security of their system’s data. Because of the development of open DevOps/AppDev solutions, businesses can deliver applications to market faster, at lower cost, and with less risk.

Modernizing in place

Many legacy systems, mainframe and distributed, lack connectivity and interoperability with today’s cloud platforms and applications not because of a lack of capability, but because of a lack of effort. Enterprises are at a crossroads for how to invest in their future infrastructure support and have a handful of options:

Operate as-is. This option may not include net-new investments but positions a business for failure against competitors.

Re-platform or “rip and replace” existing technology. While it addresses the modernization issue, it does so in a costly, disruptive, and time-consuming manner that forces businesses to throw away expensive technology investments.

Modernizing in place. This makes it possible to embrace increasingly mature tools and technologies – from mainframe data virtualization, API development, hierarchical storage management (HSM), and continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) – that bring mainframe systems forward to today’s IT infrastructure expectations.

Rocket Software data reveals that more than half of IT leaders favor modernizing in place – and less than 30 percent and 20 percent favor “operate as-is” and “re-platforming”, respectively. DevOps innovations (e.g., interoperability and integration, storage, automation, and performance and capacity management needs) have empowered IT leaders to see modernizing in place as a more cost-effective, less disruptive path to a hybrid cloud future.

Bet on hybrid cloud infrastructure

Modernizing in place to drive a hybrid cloud strategy presents the best path for enterprise businesses that need to meet the evolving needs of the customer and implement an efficient, sustainable IT infrastructure. The investment in cloud solutions bridges the skills gap and attracts new talent while not throwing away the investment in existing systems. Integrating automation tools and artificial intelligence capabilities in a hybrid model eliminates many manual processes, ultimately reducing workloads and improving productivity. The flexibility of a modernized hybrid environment also enables a continuously optimized operational environment with the help of DevOps and CI/CD testing.

The mainframe has stood the test of time – and it will continue to do so for the benefits it provides that the cloud does not. As you evolve your strategy, think about how best to leverage past technology investments with the modern app dev tools delivered through the cloud today to innovate on your mainframe technology.

Learn more about how Rocket Software and its solutions can help you modernize.

Digital Transformation

For chemists, finding just the right molecule for a particular application can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. With several million compounds to choose from, chemists often must resort to intuition when trying to solve complex problems around chemical processes.

US multinational Dow Chemical was working with a pulp and paper manufacturer to improve inefficiencies in its chemical process with a goal of producing a better pulp yield through a safer process. But to hit that narrow target, Dow needed a faster, more thorough method of identifying candidate molecules. So it launched a collaboration with Chemical Abstract Services (CAS), a division of the American Chemistry Society, to leverage CAS SciFinder-n, which, unlike generic search engines, is optimized for searching for chemical molecules from an electronic catalog of more than 200 million compounds. 

The resulting project, SmartSearch, has earned Dow a 2023 CIO 100 Award list for IT leadership and innovation, and now enables thousands of Dow chemists to discover needed molecules in minutes that once took weeks to identify.

“This is what caused us to go down the road of finding a faster way to search molecules through a database. That was the start of this project,” says Nathan Wilmot, IT director of data client partnerships in Dow’s enterprise data and analytics group. “The innovation here is previously [chemists] relied very heavily on intuition and thumbing through catalogs to identify molecules.”

With SmartSearch for Dow, Dow chemists can very quickly filter down the “chemical, physical, and commercial availability [of molecules, as well as the] health and safety properties for a molecule or set of molecules that might fit a given application” in a matter of minutes, he says.

In its pulp pilot, for example, CAS SciFinder helped Dow identify a set of 8 to 12 safer, more sustainable molecules as possible candidates to replace the existing material the manufacturer aimed to replace.

Dow has since narrowed that pool down to two to four molecular options and expects to commercialize one of those within the next year or two, Wilmot says. “It eliminates a lot of experimentation time … and accelerates our research quite dramatically.”

A partnership based on chemistry

Chemical Abstract Service was founded in 1903 as a resources for chemists globally and is the “keeper” of a registry that contains more than 200 million substances that are indexed and curated from a variety of sources, including patents and meeting notes, according to a CAS spokeswoman.

SmartSearch for Dow is a custom project that uses the CAS SciFinder proprietary search technology and a platform with a “knowledge graph” of more than 2.5 billion entities and 20-plus billion chemical relationships, according to Venki Rao, CTO of CAS.

Its content is supported by modern natural language processing (NLP) and neural network–based relevance technologies, Rao says, noting the union of its platform with new AI technologies “appended” to the existing platform provides Dow with new capabilities to power their R&D and achieve next-generation business goals.

Dow has partnered with CAS for many years but approached the company about a deeper collaboration that would unify the strengths of each to create SmartSearch for Dow, says Dow’s Wilmot, who would not say whether the collaboration will extend to actual development or the use of AI in R&D but the possibilities — business and scientific — could be life altering.

There are millions of molecules that exist and finding one that has a unique use — tying the right molecules to the right application — using digital tools did not exist before and will have a profound impact on Dow’s business, Wilmot says.

“We have worked closely with them as an innovation partner specifically in this area since between 2019 and 2020 when [CAS] started to refresh its business model and have a services organization,” Wilmot says. “They’ve done a great job of collaborating with us on this and other areas.”

Next steps in computational chemistry

Dow’s chemists continue to build their own database of chemicals and are augmenting it with CAS’s expertise to “make better decisions that they could not have otherwise,” Wilmot says.

SmartSearch for Dow is now being used on a number of projects across Dow’s plastics, silicone, and polyurethane businesses, as well as for many industrial solutions, the IT director notes. At any given time, Dow has 10 to 12 people committed to the collaborative solution.

“Instead of a needle in a haystack [approach], SmartSearch allows us to find the best molecule based on the data we have,” Wilmot says. “We can get this to all the researchers to find the best targets available — the most sustainable, cost-effective, high-performance, and high-value materials as quickly as they can, giving us a competitive advantage.”

All borne of what Wilmot calls “a cool collaboration between our IT organization with an external partner,” which, as it scales, will help Dow be more efficient and sustainable, he says, with potential impacts in industrial chemistry, catalysis, and other areas to continue producing sustainable and safe materials across the industry. “That’s the critical piece for us.”

Artificial Intelligence, Digital Transformation

At Choice Hotels, cloud is a tool to help the hospitality giant achieve corporate goals. That can include making progress on immediate objectives, such as environmental sustainability, while keeping an eye on trendy topics such as the metaverse and ChatGPT.

“We’re investing in technology, we’re investing in leveraging the cloud to do meaningful things while we figure out what does tomorrow look like?” said CIO Brian Kirkland.

Kirkland will describe key points on how cloud is enabling business value, including its sustainability initiatives, at CIO’s Future of Cloud & Data Summit, taking place virtually on April 12.

The day-long conference will drill into key areas of balancing data security and innovation, emerging technologies, and leading major initiatives.

The program kicks off with a big-picture view of how the cloud will change the way we live, work, play, and innovate from futurist and Delphi Group Chairman and Founder Tom Koulopoulos. Afterward, he will answer questions in a lively discussion with attendees.  

Before organizations map an architectural approach to data, the first thing that they should understand is data intelligence. Stewart Bond, IDC’s vice president for data integration and intelligence software, will dissect this foundational element and how it drives strategy as well as answer audience questions about governance, ownership, security, privacy, and more.

With that foundation, CIOs can move on to considering emerging best practices and options for cloud architecture and cloud solution optimization. David Linthicum, chief cloud strategy officer at Deloitte Consulting and a contributor to InfoWorld, will delve into strategies that deliver real business value – a mandate that every IT leader is facing now.

Want to know how top-performing companies are approaching aspects of cloud strategy? Hear how Novanta Inc. CIO Sarah Betadam led a three-year journey to becoming a fully functional data-driven enterprise. Later, learn how Tapestry – home to luxury consumer brands such as Coach and Kate Spade – developed a cloud-first operating model in a conversation between CIO Ashish Parmar and Vice President of Data Science and Engineering Fabio Luzzi.

Another top trend is AI. Phil Perkins, the co-author of The Day Before Digital Transformation, will discuss the most effective applications of AI being used today and what to expect next.

At some organizations, data can be a matter of life and death. Learn about a data-focused death investigations case management system used to influence public safety in a conversation between Gina Skagos, executive officer, and Sandra Parker, provincial nurse manager, at the Province of Ontario’s Office of the Chief Coroner.

Throughout the summit, sponsors including IBM, CoreStack, VMware, and Palo Alto Networks will offer thought leadership and solutions on subjects such as new models of IT consumption, cloud security, and optimizing hybrid multi-cloud infrastructures.

Check out the full summit agenda here. The event is free to attend for qualified attendees. Don’t miss out – register today.

Cloud Management, Hybrid Cloud, IT Leadership, IT Strategy

The pandemic-era push to quickly boost digital touchpoints and services proved that transformation can happen fast.

That has left a lasting legacy: Even as the pandemic recedes, enterprise executives continue to expect CIOs and their IT departments to deliver transformative capabilities at a rapid-fire pace.

If you think you’re keeping up, think again: One recent study from research firm Gartner found that the majority of CEOs (59%) say digital initiatives take too long and 52% take too long to realize value.

The pressure is on to accelerate digital transformation, according to CIOs, researchers, and analysts. They say growing concerns about economic slowdowns and a possible recession only ratchet up the need for speed.

Veteran IT executives and executive advisors offer the following 10 strategies that CIOs can employ to increase the velocity of IT work and the delivery of transformative initiatives.

1. Shed the legacy mindset

CIOs have been shedding legacy technology for years, but Ken Piddington, vice president and CIO of US Silica, says it’s time for CIOs to kick the legacy mindset to the curb, too.

That means shortening the expected lifespan on new technologies as well as the timelines for seeing returns. In other words, stop thinking big bangs, seek out smaller, quicker victories.

Piddington says he accepts that some technology investments will be short-lived, that they will be designed and implemented to meet the needs of the moment and deliver returns quickly, and then will have to be retired.

“Understand that we might have to throw it away quickly, and that’s not a sunk cost,” Piddington says, adding that as a result CIOs need to get okay with more churn in the tech stack and truly embrace technology strategies centered around smaller investments and iterative builds rather than the big projects of yesteryear.

2. Go all-in with modern work processes — particularly agile

Another way to ensure IT can more quickly deliver transformative features, functions, and services is to go all-in with modern approaches to work; more specifically, CIOs say that means fully embracing the agile development methodology.

Indeed, the majority turn to agile practices for the speed it can bring to enterprise initiatives: 52% of respondents to the 2022 State of Agile Report from DevOps platform maker Digital.ai said they prioritized implementing the methodology to accelerate time to market.

Bobby Cain can attest to the speed agile generates. Cain, who started as CIO for North America at Schneider Electric after serving nearly a decade as the company’s business transformation VP, says his IT department adopted the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), brought in agile coaches to work with teams, and had workers earn agile certifications “so we don’t just think but act in agile terms.”

Cain points to one recent project as proof of the value brought by this full embrace of agile.

We dont just think but act in agile terms.”
CIO North America, Schneider Electric

“The rebate modernization project is a great example of where we saved almost six months in being able to deploy a working solution,” he says, contrasting the agile project with a previous waterfall pilot where “we failed after six months because we designed it in a vacuum and couldn’t scale the solution.”

He further explains: “With an agile team we understood quickly that we needed additional data fields in existing data requests and transfers with our distributors. Partnering with our distributors during the design phase we quickly incorporated VOC [voice of the customer] into our design and it allowed us to adjust the solution during build/test phases to quickly change on the fly and ultimately deploy much sooner. This will enable the business to realize the value and trace it to the P&L ahead of schedule. Equally as important, it delivers productivity savings to our distributors through greater accuracy and less disputes and audits.”

3. Create reusable tools and repeatable processes

Kathy Kay, CIO of the Principal Financial Group, is a big believer in the value of creating tools and processes that can be used over and over to save time, so much so that she has a cloud enablement team that builds and delivers such things (from APIs to pipelines) to other technologists who then use them to speed their own work.

“So it’s easier for engineers to build out new environments, it makes it safer and easier to secure, and more consistent, and that enables those teams to do their work more quickly,” Kay explains.

Kay points to the creation and use of a principal design system as an illustrative example, saying it is meant to ensure that the company’s customers have a consistent experience when interacting with the company regardless of where those customers are located. The system uses various AWS services that have been designed and configured to enable that desired customer experience, and, Kay says, “When leveraged, it will allow an engineer to quickly build an environment that’s secure and consistent — and to build more quickly than if they had to create it for themselves.”

4. Educate your IT team on key business drivers

By now, CIOs everywhere have gotten the message that they must align with the business and its strategies. But Piddington has found that keeping his team updated on “what’s really driving the organization, what are the headwinds and tailwinds” is equally important for keeping pace with business needs.

“It’s my responsibility to make sure I communicate that down to my team. Otherwise, how can they make educated decisions?” Piddington asks.

Piddington shares such information with his IT team, and he also invites other departmental executives to speak with his staff so they learn about the opportunities and challenges that the company is facing.

Its my responsibility to make sure I communicate that down to my team. Otherwise, how can they make educated decisions?”
VP, CIO, US Silica

That communication pays dividends when it comes to speedy tech development. Piddington points to a recent exchange he had with one of his developers. Knowing that the company saw more customer access to real-time logistics information as a way to gain and keep market share, she developed over just one weekend a program that could deliver those insights through Amazon’s Alexa. “It was about quickly showing the art of the possible, the ease of accessing the data,” Piddington says.

5. Make your business more digitally literate

Similarly, CIOs who have been able to increase IT’s ability to deliver transformative features, functions, and services are educating their business unit colleagues on the potential — and limits — of emerging technologies, says Kamales Lardi, author of The Human Side Of Digital Business Transformation and managing director, Switzerland, for Valtech, a global business transformation company.

“A lot of times organizations like to leave tech to the CIO, but that creates multiple challenges. That means the CIO is the only one who has tech literacy, so there’s no one else in the room who can help answer questions like, ‘Are we aggressive enough? Are we right with resource allocation? Is this the best solution for what we want to achieve?’” Lardi says.

Although CIOs have taken the lead in marrying technology solutions to enterprise objectives, Lardi says those who can most quickly determine the answers to such questions enjoy a true “collaboration with business leaders and board members and the tech team.”

6. Make IT training a priority

In another nod to education, transformative CIOs likewise say continuously building up the IT team skills is essential for the ability to move fast.

Ramon Richards, senior vice president and CIO of Fannie Mae, says it’s about “investing in the right training to make sure people have the right skills to support the digital capabilities we think are important for the business we support.”

This may seem obvious, but it requires CIOs committing adequate resources to identify what skills will be needed as the organization moves forward, paying for the teams’ training, and carving out time for teams to get that training done, Richards says.

[Accelerating digital is about] investing in the right training to make sure people have the right skills to support the digital capabilities we think are important for the business we support.”
SVP and CIO, Fannie Mae

For Richards, that has meant training sessions to ensure his workers know how to use cloud infrastructure tools and services to an optimal degree “so they’re efficient in building software, and so we are able to deliver software faster and can deliver more resilient software with more controls in place to protect us from cyber threats.”

He adds: “It is about changing and modernizing how we work across our technology and processes by making sure our people have the right skills to operate.”

Richards knows firsthand the speed such training can bring, sharing that he lacked enough skilled workers on prior transformative projects and had to go to the consultant and contractor market to find the needed talent — a process that added time to the project’s delivery.

“We learned early on in our journey as we scaled digital capabilities that if you don’t have enough people with the right skills it will slow down your progress,” he says.

7. Invest in modular architecture

In addition to talking about process and people, transformation leaders also focus — not surprisingly — on the third part of the PPT framework: technology.

More specifically, they focus on investing in the right core technologies, architecture, and design to enable their technologists to quickly deliver whatever transformative tech the business needs.

According to the 2022 State of Digital Transformation report from IT service management company TEKsystems, 87% of “digital leaders agree that their organization’s ability to compete in the market is greatly dependent on the flexibility of their technology architecture.”

This goes beyond adopting cloud computing and software-as-a-service, they say. Rather, it’s about building an IT infrastructure that’s as nimble and responsive as the organization itself aims to be.

It’s about being “modular, open, and agile” and building microservices so teams can configure and reconfigure as quickly as business needs change, says Samsara CIO Stephen Franchetti.

“We need architecture that can keep up with the rate and pace of business change,” he says. “So we have to step back and consciously build that architecture [where it’s] easy to connect and easy to access data.”

Franchetti has seen how that speeds up work. “We essentially use these microservices as Lego building blocks, being able to quickly rearrange them to enable outcomes for the business,” he says.

For example, Samsara IT quickly brought together microservices around customer and product usage information to enable more real-time invoicing, payment, and product delivery information on the company’s website. IT then used those same services to enable the company’s go-to-market teams to have better data around customer usage, support cases, and interactions with the company website.

“We were able to achieve these outcomes in a fraction of the time; using the legacy approach would have taken many [more] months to achieve,” Franchetti says.

8. Speed up access to data

Another critical component for speed: ready access to high-quality data.

Many, if not most, transformative efforts — such as automating processes and personalizing user experiences — rely on data. So it’s imperative for CIOs to break down remaining data silos and build a data architecture that supports immediate access to needed data.

Getting that work done means agile teams won’t have to pause and wait for the data they need in the middle of projects, explains Thomas Randall, advisory director at Info-Tech Research Group and its SoftwareReviews division.

“There can’t be independent silos; there needs to be integration across data portfolios,” Randall adds. “[Departmental executives need to ask,] ‘How might we capture, store, and leverage data for the benefits of other departments as well?’”

Samsara’s Franchetti says CIOs often struggle on this front due to the sheer volume of challenges around data. His approach has been to tackle it bit by bit, leaning on a quote (attributed to South African Anglican bishop Desmond Tutu) about there being “only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.”

“I’ve struggled across companies to get full investments to eat that elephant all at once, so to make it successful, I attach data initiatives to business outcomes,” he says. “And by building out these strategic use cases, doing each one in the right way, ensuring we’re building the architecture in the right way, we build out these bodies of work that get us to where we’re in a position to expand and expand more rapidly.”

This incremental approach to data then produces a flywheel effect, he explains, allowing each subsequent initiative to move faster by building on the work already done. “It comes down to success breeds success,” Franchetti says.

9. Deal directly with customers

Another way to speed transformation: Ditch some of the intermediaries that exist between the CIO and the customer.

“I would challenge any CIO on how much time they spend with their customers and how much direct knowledge they get from their customers. In most organizations the touchpoints with customers are the product development teams, marketing and sales teams. CIOs rarely have that touchpoint,” Valtech’s Lardi says. “But one way to accelerate transformation is to understand who the target audience is today and tomorrow, what problems you are trying to solve for them, and what experiences they want, so you’re building solutions for your customers rather than building solutions to be sold.”

She says CIOs and their IT teams have a plethora of data that they can access to gain insights about their customers. She also says CIOs should find ways to directly engage customers — something that fits well with the modern work processes (such as agile development and human centered design) that leading CIOs have adopted.

10. Align IT’s pace to each business unit

Yes, CIOs do indeed have to move as fast as the business needs. But at the same time, they don’t want to be so fast that they outpace them, Piddington says.

“You really have to be in tune with your organization, because everyone says they want something yesterday. But not all things in all business units need to have the pedal to the floor. There are different levels of speed needed,” he says.

That’s why CIOs must understand the pace of the various business units and their individual needs, Piddington says. He uses that insight to prioritize projects, thereby ensuring he can deliver speed where and when it will make an impact.

“Even if IT can build [something] quickly, if the business isn’t ready to use it then it will sit on the shelf. So we’ve created shelfware, and I could have used those resources to deliver something elsewhere more quickly that could have delivered an ROI right away,” Piddington explains. “It’s about understanding the timing of the investment to maximize its return.”

Digital Transformation

GPU manufacturer Nvidia is expanding its enterprise software offering with three new AI workflows for retailers it hopes will also drive sales of its hardware accelerators.

The workflows are built on Nvidia’s existing AI technology platform. One tracks shoppers and objects across multiple camera views as a building block for cashierless store systems; one aims to prevent ticket-switching fraud at self-service checkouts; and one is for building analytics dashboards from surveillance camera video.

Nvidia isn’t packaging these workflows as off-the-shelf applications, however. Instead, it will make them available for enterprises to integrate themselves, or to buy as part of larger systems developed by startups or third-party systems integrators.

“There are several of them out there, globally, that have successfully developed these kinds of solutions, but we’re making it easier for more software companies and also system integrators to build these kinds of solutions,” said Azita Martin, Nvidia’s VP of retail.

She expects that demand for the software will drive sales of edge computing products containing Nvidia’s accelerator chips, as latency issues mean the algorithms for cashierless and self-checkout systems need to be running close to the checkout and not in some distant data center.

In addition to tracking who is carrying what items out of the store, the multiple camera system can also recognize when items have been put back on the wrong shelf, directing staff to reshelve them so that other customers can find them and stock outages are avoided, she said.

“We’re seeing huge adoption of frictionless shopping in Asia-Pacific and Europe, driven by shortage of labor,” said Martin.

Nvidia will face competition from Amazon in the cashierless store market, though, since while Amazon initially developed its Just Walk Out technology for use in its own Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh stores, it’s now offering it to third-party retailers, too. The first non-Amazon supermarket to use the company’s technology opened in Kansas City in December.

Assessing cost control

The tool to prevent ticket switching is intended to be integrated with camera-equipped self-service point-of-sale terminals, augmenting them with the ability to identify the product being scanned and verify it matches the barcode.

The cost of training the AI model to recognize these products went beyond the usual spending on computing capacity.

“We bought tens of thousands of dollars of products like steak and Tide and beer and razors, which are the most common items stolen, and we trained these algorithms,” said Martin.

Nvidia kept its grocery bill under control using its Omniverse simulation platform. “We didn’t buy every size of Tide and every packaging of beer,” she adds. “We took Omniverse and created synthetic data to train those algorithms even further for higher accuracy.”

Beer presents a particular challenge for the image recognition system, as it often sells in different-size multipacks or in special-edition packaging associated with events like the Super Bowl. However, the system continues to learn about new product formats and packaging from images captured at the checkout.

While implementation will be left up to retailers and their systems integrators, Martin suggested the tool might be used to lock up a point-of-sale terminal when ticket switching is suspected, summoning a member of staff to reset it and help the customer rescan their items.

Nvidia is touting high accuracy for its algorithms, but it remains to be seen how this will work out in deployment.

“These algorithms will deliver 98% accuracy in detecting theft and shutting down the point of sale and preventing it,” she said.

But that still leaves a 2% false positive rate, so CIOs will want to carefully monitor the potential impact on profitability, customer satisfaction, and frequent resets to prevent ticket switching.

A $100 billion problem

A 2022 survey by the National Retail Federation found that inventory shrink amounted to 1.44% of revenue — a relatively stable figure over the last decade — and in 2021, losses due to shrink totaled almost $100 billion, the NRF estimated.

Of that, survey respondents said 26% was due to process or control failures, 29% due to employee or internal theft, and 37% due to external theft.

But Nvidia suggests that its loss prevention technology could eliminate 30% of shrinkage. That, though, would mean it could prevent four-fifths of all external retail theft, even though in addition to ticket switching, that category also includes shoplifting and organized retail crime activities such as cargo theft, and the use of stolen or cloned credit cards to obtain merchandise.

Plus, potential gains must be weighed against the cost of deploying the technology, which, Martin says, “depends on the size of the store, the number of cameras and how many stores you deploy it to.”

More positively, Nvidia is also offering AI workflows that can process surveillance camera video feeds to generate a dashboard of retail analytics, including a heatmap of the most popular aisles and hour-by-hour trends in customer count and dwell time. “All of this is incredibly important in optimizing the merchandising, how the store is laid out, where the products go, and on what shelves to drive additional revenue,” Martin said.

Artificial Intelligence, IT Strategy, Retail Industry

As the world works to reverse climate change through decarbonization and reduced reliance on fossil fuels, the oil and gas industry finds itself at the epicenter of this challenge. Governments, institutional investors, consumers, and employees continue to exert growing pressure on oil and gas providers to decarbonize and adopt renewable solutions. In response, oil and gas majors are making headway in terms of carbon reporting, net-zero targets, and accountability. Many have even spun up renewable energy arms.

Innovation underpins corporate sustainability efforts. From an investment standpoint, sustainable solutions can also perform double duty, often yielding significant added value such as productivity and efficiency gains and new revenue streams. Increasingly, oil and gas companies are making strategic technology investments to accelerate sustainable digital transformation and deliver a competitive advantage. In this article, we’ll share opportunities for oil and gas companies to increase sustainability while achieving other business benefits.

Understand and reduce the environmental impact of services and workloads

Ironically, while technology holds the key to sustainability, it has also contributed to the problem. Recent studies indicate that data centers consume one percent of the world’s electricity, and The Royal Society estimates that digital technology contributes up to 5.9% of global emissions.

While inefficient equipment, buildings, and HVAC systems contribute to the problem, one of the most significant factors is the underutilization of data center equipment. Up to 25% of data center power is consumed by equipment that no longer performs useful work,[i] and only 10-30% of server capacity is used.[ii] Furthermore, according to HPE internal data, average storage utilization hovers around 40%.[iii] While organizations must plan for usage spikes and failovers, they also have opportunities to clean up workloads, retire unused equipment, and leverage newer, more efficient hardware and solutions.

Power savings represents just part of the equation. If an enterprise can do more work with less hardware, using fewer servers, licenses, and people, they save money while lowering carbon emissions.

Apply technology to improve efficiency, productivity, and sustainability

Clear visibility across infrastructure enables organizations to identify opportunities to expand operational efficiency, meet sustainability goals, and improve productivity. Using intelligent automation, oil and gas companies can monitor workloads and boost server utilization to optimize their investments while reducing their environmental footprint.

Infrastructure management solutions enable organizations to simplify lifecycle management through automation and surface new ways to operate more sustainably and efficiently. Oil and gas companies are also deploying self-healing solutions that predict, detect, and correct issues across the infrastructure using artificial intelligence and machine learning, often before the operator is aware of an issue. 

Furthermore, monitoring solutions allow companies to track real-time energy consumption, enabling them to reposition energy-heavy workloads to locations with lower energy costs or optimize usage for carbon emissions.

Make asset management more sustainable

Oil and gas customers rely on the latest technologies to give them a competitive edge. This often means replacing assets with several years of useful life remaining.

Upcycling programs can help enterprise businesses manage the financial and sustainability impacts of surplus equipment. Many companies have budget or purchasing policy constraints or do not need the latest top-performing equipment. By securing reasonable compensation for used equipment from such companies, oil and gas companies can extend the useful life of their assets and further reduce waste.

Drive sustainable digital transformation with HPE GreenLake

Through strategic investments, oil and gas companies not only increase their sustainability but can also reap additional rewards, such as increased efficiency and productivity, while maintaining a competitive edge.

HPE has a unique vantage point rooted in its own sustainability journey. HPE is committed to becoming a net-zero enterprise by 2040 and offers a portfolio of sustainable innovation, technologies, solutions, and cloud services. The HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform can reduce the environmental impact of IT by enabling customers to flexibly scale IT to meet their needs, thereby improving utilization levels and avoiding the waste of overprovisioning.

GDT can help your organization make the most of HPE solutions to fast-forward sustainability, grow stronger, and become more resilient. Contact the experts at GDT to learn more about how we can help you accelerate sustainable digital transformation.

[i] Jon Taylor and Jonathan Koomey (2017) “Zombie/Comatose Servers Redux,” available at: https://www.anthesisgroup.com/report-zombie-and-comatose-servers-redux-jon-taylor-and-jonathan-koomey/  (accessed October 18, 2022)

[ii] Uptime Institute (2020) “Beyond PUE: Tackling IT’s wasted terawatts,” available at: https://uptimeinstitute.com/beyond-pue-tackling-it%E2%80%99s-wasted-terawatts (accessed October 18, 2022)

[iii] Storage Utilization: HPE customer experience

Innovation

For pharmaceutical companies in the digital era, intense pressure to achieve medical miracles falls as much on the shoulders of CIOs as on lead scientists.

Rigid requirements to ensure the accuracy of data and veracity of scientific formulas as well as machine learning algorithms and data tools are common in modern laboratories.

When Bob McCowan was promoted to CIO at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in 2018, he had previously run the data center infrastructure for the $81.5 billion company’s scientific, commercial, and manufacturing businesses since joining the company in 2014.

In that capacity, he knew that, in addition to having the right team and technical building blocks in place, data was the key to Regeneron’s future success.

“It is all about the data. Everything we do is data-driven, and at that time, we were very datacenter-driven but the technology had lots of limitations” says McCowan. “It worked for us to keep the company successful, but it wasn’t giving us the scale and horsepower needed.”

To achieve what the company would need going forward, McCowan knew Regeneron would have to undergo a major transformation and build a more enhanced data pipeline that could inject data from up to 1,000 data sources in “analytical ready formats” for both the business and the scientists to consume, the CIO says.

And to do this, a move to the cloud was essential. “The only way to enable our scientists and scale up and grow in the future is to really embrace the cloud, and not just in terms of computational power and storage, but being able to deploy into different environments, different countries,” McCowan says. “If you are not on the cloud, you are going to be left behind.”

Empowering scientists through the cloud

McCowan set about migrating Regeneron to Amazon Web Services in late 2018. By 2020, IT had moved roughly 60% of all company data to the cloud — no minor task for an international firm that generated $16 billion in revenue in 2021, employs more than 10,000 people, and holds nine FDA- and EMA-approved drugs with an additional 30 in clinical trials.

The company’s multicloud infrastructure has since expanded to include Microsoft Azure for business applications and Google Cloud Platform to provide its scientists with a greater array of options for experimentation.

“Google created some very interesting algorithms and tools that are available in AWS,” McCowan says. “And some things [Regeneron’s scientists] can only try out in the Google cloud. So, we are using all three mainstream clouds, but really the core of it is around AWS.”

Due to the complexity of the Regeneron’s experimentation and testing, the company uses a variety of standard SaaS tools for analysis but its enhanced cloud-based MetaBio Data Discovery Platform, which provides a wide array of data services, data management tools, and machine learning tools as “icing on the cake,” is the crown jewel of the company’s analytics operations, McCowan says.

MetaBio, which received a 2022 CIO 100 Award, provides a single source for datasets in a unified format, enabling researchers to quickly extract information about various therapeutic functions without having to worry about how to prepare or find the data.

“Scientists come to us with white papers which may be identifying theoretical ways that you could analyze a scientific experiment,” McCowan says. “We’ll work with those scientists and actually build the computer models and go run it, and it can be anything from sub-visual particle imaging to protein folding,” he says. “In other cases, it’s more of a standard computational requirement and we help them provide the data in the right formats. Then the data is consumed by SaaS-based computational tools, but it still sits within our organization and sits within the controls of our cloud-based solutions.”

Much of Regeneron’s data, of course, is confidential. For that reason, many of its data tools — and even its data lake — were built in-house using AWS.

“We have our own data lakehouses in AWS,” says McCowan, who also lead Regeneron IT to a 2020 CIO 100 Award, for developing Regeneron Deva Platform, a research computing platform built to simplify, scale, and accelerate the early discovery analytical experience. “By creating some small adjustments, we are allowing scientists to connect data in ways they were not able to before. Our vision for the data lake is that we want to be able to connect every group, from our genetic center through manufacturing through clinical safety and early research. That’s hard to do when you have 30 years of data.”

The data platform provides constant access to connected and contextualized data via data lakes, scalable clouds, data processing and AI services, the CIO says, adding that the company’s data lakes manage roughly 200 terabytes of data.

Fueling innovation with data

McCowan is cautious not to restrict the use of external tools — particularly cloud-native tools — that help scientists dig for discoveries. At the infrastructure level, Regeneron scientists use AWS EMR and Cloudera. At the data pipeline level, scientists use Apigee, Airflow, NiFi, and Kafka. At the data warehouse level, scientists use Redshift. As you go up the stack, different data analytics come into play, such as DataIQ. From a language perspective, scientists use Python and Jupyter Notebooks.

For McCowan, the key is to give scientists any and all tools that allow them to explore their hypotheses and test theories. “One of the fantastic things about Regeneron is that we’re driven by curiosity,” the CIO says. “We’re driven by science, and by innovation, and we try to avoid putting hard boundaries around what we do because it tends to stifle innovation.”

Despite the fact that Regeneron scientists have AI and ML tools at their disposal, data remains the key, McCowan says, and it’s the power of the cloud and analytics alone that may reveal the next biggest breakthrough from data that is 10 years old.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read about these fantastic projects using AI and ML, but you never see the output because they fail,” McCowan says. “And the reason they are failing is that people are not putting enough thought into where the data is coming from. That is why we built our data infrastructure. So, by the time that data lands in the data lakes, and we start applying AI and ML, we know we are using it against high-quality data.”

As the company’s chief technologist, McCowan’s job is to digitize everything and help scientists make the best use of the data and metadata regardless of how it is generated.

“It always comes back to the data and the insights that we can provide using different technologies and increasing the speed of decision-making,” McCowan says, adding that providing scientists with the ability to run experimentation mathematically through engines using AI and ML models speeds up discovery, but it will never replace the wet lab.

The combination of enhanced IT and science is what will drive maximum innovation at Regeneron, McCowan says. And here, the MetaBio data platform will play a key role in facilitating breakthrough discoveries far faster than previously possible.

“The level of detail there with us digitizing everything, we’re able to apply technology and tools to help scientists make connections that they were just not able to make before,” McCowan says. “If you look at it from a pure data perspective, what we can do is find ways to [enable scientists] to connect the data better and faster and make those insights and bring drugs to market down to a five-year or four-year [process], when before it was a 10-year process.”

Analytics, CIO 100, Cloud Computing, Healthcare Industry, Machine Learning

University leaders have long understood that the future is digital, but there’s now added urgency to modernise. The pandemic is in part the cause – highlighting that true business resilience and digital transformation are inseparable. But there are longer-term factors at play too, including the expectations of digitally native students and the requirement to provide them with work-ready skills. For these and other reasons, universities across Europe are looking to migrate to modern, cloud-based Student Information Systems (SIS) and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms to improve user experiences.

However, there remain significant barriers to the digital transformation of universities. For one, many institutions have expanded rapidly over the past two decades, while their supporting operations have developed more organically. Often this has led to the proliferation of operational workarounds rather than a cohesive operating model. This challenge is exacerbated by the complexity of existing CRM and SIS implementations and the usual budget challenges. Additionally, some universities don’t want to risk a wholesale digital transformation – there is simply too much at stake should something go wrong.

Fortunately, the concept of “composable” business presents universities with an opportunity to overcome these barriers. As Gartner defines it, a composable business “exploits the disruptions digital technology brings by making things modular – mixing and matching business functions to orchestrate the proper outcomes.” Composability enables organisations to structure and restructure to achieve results in face of disruption in a volatile world.

For universities, composability means considering SIS and CRM functions as part of holistic business capabilities, rather than simply IT applications. The focus is on all key elements needed to deliver a required capability, while facilitating overall governance. Doing so reduces complexity, breaks down data silos, and ultimately delivers a better user experience.

However, while composability de-risks and simplifies digital transformation, it can be challenging to achieve. The types of challenges faced by institutions include:

Complex requirements: implementation at universities can be complicated by the deeply ingrained legacy of universities (e.g., complex hierarchies, strong rules, and the need for accreditation).Configuration-heavy systems: these can make updates and upgrades difficult.University cultures: decision-making processes can make adapting at pace trickier.

It is for these reasons that working with an higher education expert brings significant benefits. For instance, Ellucian’s flexible, cloud-based student information systems (SIS) and CRM solutions  are designed to support the simplification and adaptability of technology architectures used by universities, enabling them to evolve at pace. Meanwhile, the Ellucian Experience solution provides universities with the opportunity to integrate their chosen digital services in one place quickly and easily.

Partnering with Ellucian also significantly reduces the time to complete a successful digital transformation. With our modern implementation approach, organisations are transitioned to a proven next generation cloud platform that delivers a modern student experience in just 12 months, which is more cost and time efficient than the industry standard 36 months. What’s more, Ellucian’s solutions are based on the industry leading Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, which means that universities benefit from a global, scalable, highly secure, and innovative platform.

For more information on how Ellucian can help drive change in your organisation click here. And to learn more about how Ellucian’s cloud-based SIS and CRM solutions can support your success click here.

Digital Transformation, Education and Training Software

IT leaders in EMEA are increasingly leading digital transformation efforts, with 84% of CIOs saying they’re responsible for these efforts, according to the Foundry 2022 State of the CIO study.

But significant challenges remain. Their most pressing issue: the need for technology integration/implementation skills to support digital business initiatives, according to the survey. Many organizations are also struggling to modernize their IT architecture to accommodate digitization. The talent gap affects these efforts, as do a lack of strategy and little sense of urgency.

Yet, there is risk in sidelining these issues and not moving quickly. Competitors may overcome challenges and gain an advantage, for example. Fast-acting companies may be winning the race to envision and realize their digital transformation objectives. That’s why CEOs are urging their IT leaders to upgrade IT and push digital initiatives forward.

How to avoid stagnation

It’s time for enterprises to take a fresh look at their transformation projects and set a new tone to accelerate their digital initiatives. That should start with examining their IT architecture and asking whether/how it enables the business to:

Use cloud services to achieve improved business outcomes such as efficiency, cost optimization, and speed to market;

Pivot to new ways of working, as needed. Evolving market forces combined with the hybrid workplace require business agility;

Modernize by adopting new technologies. Automation, artificial intelligence, and 5G require an open, flexible IT infrastructure.

In other words, does your IT infrastructure allow for easy integration of data sources to speed business decision-making? Does it allow for easy application migration to the cloud? Do your IT teams have automated processes and platforms to ease application modernization and development?

For example, the City of Madrid was facing an urgent need to deliver digital services to its citizens. However, it was challenged by the limits of its IT architecture, complex data regulation requirements, and the ever-increasing need to improve cybersecurity efforts.

Working with Kyndryl, the City deployed a hybrid cloud IT architecture, including a new data center with backup and disaster recovery capabilities. The results:

Accelerated digital services, with enhanced security measures, for citizensFaster processing of large data volumesEnhanced data protectionAn optimized IT infrastructure with room to scale and grow as needed

The next step

Organizations facing skillset and strategy challenges can benefit from working with an expert managed services and implementation partner. Kyndryl consults with its customers to understand existing resources and business needs, then helps define and chart the digital transformation journey.

For example, Kyndryl’s advisory and implementation services have helped customers unlock business value with a pragmatic, building-block approach. Its integrated portfolio of solutions and services address use cases ranging from cloud to the digital workplace and from security to the network and edge. And Kyndryl’s infrastructure practice has deep expertise in designing, building, and implementing all types of IT environments to accelerate digital outcomes.

Accelerate your digital transformation by starting here.

Cloud Management