John Burrowes DTX 2019 Interview
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:13] Hello and welcome back to day two of the Digital Transformation Expo with me Natalie Turner from Disruptive Live and my dynamite co-host David Savage.
DAVID SAVAGE [00:00:21] She’s been doing this to me for two days.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:26] We are joined by John Burrowes who a Business Strategy Consultant for iomart. Thank you so much for joining us today.
JOHN BURROWES [00:00:33] Thank you for having me.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:34] No problem, how are you finding the event?
JOHN BURROWES [00:00:34] Really good. Really, really good. Less footfall than in previous years but the people that are here are actually really invested in what we’ve got to offer and what’s available in the market. So it’s been really good so far. Some great conversations with people looking at how they could transform the business in the modern cloud era so it’s been pretty good.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:51] You’ve been coming for quite a few years haven’t you?
JOHN BURROWES [00:00:54] Yes, we have, yes.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:55] What differences have you seen since it first started to now?
JOHN BURROWES [00:00:58] So I think there’s obviously been changes in trends in the market of how organisations are consuming service, consuming IT from the days. Back in the day when it used to be hardware and software purchase and literally they’ve been looking at how they build out their own environments internally. There’s a lot of change now to how they can consume cloud services. But then also from a data point of view, how they can maximize that data and drive it, use analytics to really help them to guide how their decision-making process to manage internally and also how they can drive customer experience from that as well. So obviously that change in the IT landscape, then change in the types of people that are arriving as well. So traditionally it used to be a lot of IT managers and just the people who are looking at how I keep the lights on. Now, you do find a lot more line of business heads coming in and saying ok actually what can I use technology for and how can that help me to do what I need to do to actually drive some advantage in the market. So so the dynamics of that and the types of people that are here are different, but that’s good. It’s making the world more diverse and it’s enabling more people to be involved in that decision making process, which is great.
NATALIE TURNER [00:02:08] Fantastic, so iomart for those who don’t know. Could you just tell us a little bit about the company and your role within iomart as well?
JOHN BURROWES [00:02:13] Yes, absolutely. So, iomarts been running for 21 years as a business head office up in Glasgow so we’re a UK based business. AIM listed. So a PLC started out as a telco provider, provided lines minutes to local businesses up in up in Glasgow. We then acquired a few data centres five years after we started out as an organization. We’ve had a long transformation over 21 years, a long time in IT especially today, we’re now a hybrid cloud managed service provider as we work with organizations to look at what the right thing is for them based on their legacy, where they have come from and their existing investments, they made what makes sense for them in terms of their workflows to put into either the public cloud, into the private cloud to remain on-premise, but also how you can then enable data management to be coming across that regardless of where those workloads sit obviously ensuring compliance and security is wrapped into everything that is there and really helping organizations to maximize the benefits of cloud and analytics and security that’s made in a modern way.
NATALIE TURNER [00:03:13] So what’s the key message that you’re hoping to get out at this year’s DTX?
JOHN BURROWES [00:03:17] So I think the key message that we’re taking to our customers is it’s not a one size fits all approach. Obviously, there’s a lot of marketing that comes from the likes AWS and Azzure. Which we’re partners with to say, yeah, we’re the biggest and best cloud that’s out there or we’re the cheapest or whatever it might be. But every individual organizations has got individual use cases and individual requirements. And they need to look very closely at what they should look at putting where and when and also how they manage their legacy. Because most companies have legacy unlike the likes of Netflix and people who are born in the cloud era. So I think the message that we try to get out to those organizations is we’re here to help. We’re here to support. We can help you to understand where you are today and what tomorrow could look like and help you to drive a strategic plan that takes you from today to that goal, whether that might be in six months, 12 months, 18 months, three years, whatever it might be. But also to help them to understand the risks that revolve with that and how to mitigate those risks and enable them to also get insight from their data as they make that transition.
NATALIE TURNER [00:04:17] Does iomart have a particular USP, I mean, how do you differentiate yourself from your competitors? As you said, there are so many people here. Everyone does something fairly similar. How do you draw those customers in?
JOHN BURROWES [00:04:26] So from our point of view, we are the most highly accredited from an ISO point of view from a cloud solution provider in the UK. We have six ISO accreditations. We work heavily in the public sector a lot and public sector frameworks and we have a broad customer base that we deal with both locally in the UK but also internationally we have twenty-three other data centre locations outside of our eleven data centre locations in the UK and we can really enable people to deliver at scale, but with a very tailored solution that specific to them. So if you go obviously if you look at the public cloud providers individually and AWS Azzure DCP, you will go to them and it’s very much an off off the shelf service. We can say yeah you can take the best of the off the shelf piece, but also we can define you a bespoke environment for other elements of your infrastructure and therefore get you really tailored solution that’s supported, managed locally in the U.K. with data residency held in the U.K., compliance elements covered for you. Make sure it’s all connected by fibre network that spans the whole of the country and enables every single user in your organisation to reap the benefits of what’s available.
NATALIE TURNER [00:05:31] So coming back to the expo. What does digital transformation mean to you?
JOHN BURROWES [00:05:37] What it means to me. That’s a very difficult question. I think more what does it mean to individual organizations? To me, digital transformation is whatever that means for that individual organization. Different organizations they’re on a different road on a different path. They’ve got different legacy they’re at a different point in that journey. And we just basically look to say, what does that mean to you as an organization? It’s a very broad topic. So when we look at trying to arrange meetings with customers and they say we’re interested in digital transformation I say, okay. Where are you? What does that mean to you? How can we help them support you? With what that means to you it’s a very very carte blanche piece digital transformation. But it does obviously help encompass a lot of things.
DAVID SAVAGE [00:06:18] I think picking up on some of the points that you’re making there, you’ve been around 21 years. The market’s changed a lot in the last five years and I kind of thought cloud was done and then all of a sudden you see the investment in cloud is as high as it’s ever been. And traditionally it was the CIO, it was the IT manager who was coming and looking at how to outsource. You’ve been at the company for 18 months and you’re a business strategy consultant. Rather than thinking about how it’s how you’re going out and telling your customers what they need to do. You must be having to change as an organization.
JOHN BURROWES [00:06:41] Hugely, hugely. So we probably up until about two or three years ago, we were very much an infrastructure as a service-based organization delivering the ends to organizations and connectivity. And there’s been a shift in that market. The people are saying, yeah, okay, well that’s just the basics. That’s just running my computer. I want more and I need to do more. And I need to be relevant in the market. I need to be able to utilize digital services to really drive my business forward. So we’ve partnered with the likes of Cohesity data management platform and the likes of Silverpeak who do SD-Wan solutions to enable organizations to reap benefits from the data they have. Understand what data they’ve got across multiple silos, whether that be internally or up in the public cloud, private cloud and then apply analytics to that from the Cohesity perspective and then from a connectivity point of view. We work very closely with Silverpeak around, delivering SD-Wan solutions that enable people to really monitor and make sure that the connectivity which really underpins how cloud services are delivered the connectivity is no good. You’re not going to get a good experience from any of your users. We work very closely with those guys that help to do that so yeah.
DAVID SAVAGE [00:07:49] I suppose if it’s not the CIO or the IT manager, although they may still be coming to talk to you. Who is it now and how is that affecting the language that you’re using?
JOHN BURROWES [00:07:57] It is a broad swathe. We get a lot of engagement from data protection officers, especially around GDPR. Those roles are very new into organizations and they’re very much trying to get to grips with how they can get insights, data and what how they can manage that. Especially when you’ve got the right to stop access requests that are around, right to be forgotten. How that process can be managed is very difficult for organizations to get to grips with, based on legacy environments they have so we get a lot of data protection officers we get a lot of engagements from customer services. Looking and saying, I need to hold data in a certain way. I might need to change how my customer relationship management operations work. I need to know how I can store data, the right data management platform in the right place, dot com management, et cetera. We’re very much getting lots of different lines of business coming and engaging with us to say, actually, I’m not the guys who are gonna make decisions on the solution. But I’ve got a problem or I’ve got a challenge. How can technology help me to address that challenge? And then I’ll sponsor that into the business. So that actually IT becomes a facilitator rather than the overall decision-maker.
NATALIE TURNER [00:09:02] Fantastic. Well, that’s a great note to leave that on. Thank you so much, John, for joining us on Disruptive.
JOHN BURROWES [00:09:07] Thanks for having me.
NATALIE TURNER [00:09:07] That’s all from us for now but you can join in on the conversations on LinkedIn and Twitter. If you follow Disruptive Live and of course, hashtag DTX Europe. But don’t go away we’ll be back after a very short break. See you in a bit.