Mark Butcher DTX 2019 Interview
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:14] Hello and welcome back to day two of the Digital Transformation Expo. You’re with me Natalie Turner from Disruptive Live and my fabulous co-host David Savage. And on my right, I have another fabulous person, Mark Butcher from Posetiv. How are you?
MARK BUTCHER [00:00:30] Absolutely fantastic.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:34] Tell us why are you here today.
MARK BUTCHER [00:00:36] Well, two reasons. One, catching up with a lot of old friends I hadn’t seen for a few years and two actually just to see what’s going on in the industry now because everything’s changing so fast. New vendors popping up every five seconds. I come to have a look around. See what’s happening.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:51] So what’s your take on the event so far? You know, when it first started? to how it is today? What’re the differences you’re mainly seeing?
MARK BUTCHER [00:01:00] It’s nice to see some of the newer vendors really taking a place and actually showing how fast they’re growing. So it did get to a stage for a few years where it was the same names saying the same things about the same subjects. And now it seems we actually got a lot of change.
NATALIE TURNER [00:01:17] OK, so tell us a little bit about you and what you do.
MARK BUTCHER [00:01:18] So keep it pretty simple, stripping away kind of the marketing words. What we do is we specialise in two main areas. It’s all related to the cloud. So we’re not actually that concerned with physical infrastructure. We’re all about helping people move the cloud in the most efficient way. So the two areas we focus on are a subject called FinOps and another one called DevOps. Everyone knows about FinOps. No one really knows about.
NATALIE TURNER [00:01:42] Could you tell us about it?
MARK BUTCHER [00:01:44] I was hoping you would ask. So FinOps is its financial cloud management. One of the big problems with the cloud is actually the benefit of it’s endless, so you can use whatever you want, whenever you want. But the big issue is control over the cloud has been pushed way out to the edges. So once you’ve decided you’re going to move to a cloud provider and it doesn’t matter who it is, the control goes out to your development teams, your operational teams, your IT people with limitless resource and they can do whatever they want. What that means is unless you have the right controls, your cloud spend. So it goes like that very rapidly where it goes like that. But whatever happens, it always goes upwards unless it’s really well managed. And the issue with that is you don’t really know whether the spend is good or the spend is bad. So FinOps is essentially bringing control to cloud spend, and it’s not just about putting tools out there. It’s not just about jumping down people’s throat. It’s actually about getting the cultural processes in place, the right organisational model and the right optimisation tooling, because normally about depending who you believe the figures are between 30 to 60 percent of cloud spend is waste, so its money you didn’t need to spend because it’s unused instances it’s buying the wrong type of resources. It’s developers provisioning too much. It’s people massively oversizing things. What that means is your average customer could reduce their cloud build by about say 30 to 60 percent quite easily. And that’s a lot of money which can then go back into innovation.
NATALIE TURNER [00:03:07] So you said earlier that not many people know about FinOps, so what I want to know is why and can you define some of the opportunities and threats that pose them.
MARK BUTCHER [00:03:18] Well, the industry loves a good acronym. So so it’s actually if you take it back to basics. Most people know they have a cloud spend problem. And FinOps has been created specifically to solve that problem. It’s much larger in the US, and that’s typically because the cloud spends in the US is growing much faster than in Europe. So it’s become a problem faster, which meant they had to solve it. So there are lots of FinOps specialists in the US and it’s now become a practice in the UK as well and so what that means the organisation is now putting people in places where they have responsibility for controlling cloud spending and that means they have to stop departments arguing with each other. Because what you normally find happens is you get the blame. A blame culture happens where IT gets blamed by finance, who gets blamed by procurement, who argue with operations, who argue the development teams mainly because they don’t know why they’re spending what they are and they get the big shot once a quarter or once every couple of months. When you look at the cloud, but someone goes, what has happened? Why have you eaten our entire budget in the space of one quarter?
DAVID SAVAGE [00:04:14] Who is the person asking that question? Because typically you get a new CIO coming into the organisation. People are beginning to say the CIO should be chief integration officers they’re the people going out and going to members and spending that money and they want to make those changes. But I would imagine it’s the CFO who’s got the most skin in the game when it comes to something like FinOps.
MARK BUTCHER [00:04:32] Yes. So the CFO is typically the angriest person yet because what they see is what they perceive to be ineptitude. How can you not know what you’re spending? How can you not have the intelligence, not realising that it’s actually something that’s very, very complicated to actually achieve? And the reason it’s complicated is because the cloud providers are brilliant about bringing out new services, new functionality all the time. And people don’t realise that the beauty of the cloud is the fact you could do anything you want. So the CFO are the ones who really care. The CIO are the ones who get to get the knife in the back of the neck, for messing things up. But everyone actually in the organisation is typically asking the question. And their question is, why are we spending, what are we spending? And what that means is they want to take a step back and start spending better.
DAVID SAVAGE [00:05:14] I suppose it’s a hell of a lot of vendors out there. how do they view, you could be an advocate for them. You know, if they’re in an organisation, they’ve got new features, but they bring you in and say, well, hang on. Let’s be transparent about the way you’re spending money. That could be a real positive story. But equally, they could look at you as being an organisation that might not be overly friendly.
MARK BUTCHER [00:05:31] Ironically, the big cloud vendors are probably the biggest proponents for FinOps they actually love it as a subject area. And the reason for that is they want their customers to stay with them for a long time. The issue in town spending goes absolutely out of control. If that statement comes out, we’re backing out of the cloud. It’s too expensive. And that’s not good for any cloud provider, so they actually like the fact that people are interested in efficiencies. Because what happens is if the customers spend is really good, really well managed. They’re going to do more with that cloud provider. They go to find more projects, more initiatives. They’re going to use more of the tooling. So it’s not that they actually end up always spending less. They actually end up spending a better quality of money with the organisation. Some of them and some of the cloud providers even pay their staff now and remunerate and actually optimising and producing efficiency. Because they really like the fact that actually happy customers, a good customer.
NATALIE TURNER [00:06:22] So what are the security implications of businesses moving into the cloud? everyone always has a different answer to this but be curious to know what you say
MARK BUTCHER [00:06:32] Well, firstly, it depends what you mean by security, there’s the security on the platform. And believe me, the cloud providers have got their platform security absolutely nailed on. But what people don’t understand is it’s your responsibility as the customer to actually secure your applications and services. If you don’t do that, then you will have a problem. But the bigger issue is there is a giant disconnect between the cloud teams in an organisation and the security teams of an organisation. What I mean by that is the security teams haven’t quite caught up with the development in the cloud, so they’re not necessarily using the right tooling and not using in the right way. And they feel disengaged as well because people come to the security, things lost. They almost throw something out and saying, we’ve got this new service. We’re going live next week. Can you give me the tick box? And what happens is security teams, their back goes up. They get defensive because they haven’t been given the time to go through and understand actually what it’s on. Why is it there? How is it built? How is it secure? So there is a real opportunity for the right type of security team to really help an organisation develop into the cloud. If you’re using, again, some of the wonderful tools and services that you’ll actually see here today.
NATALIE TURNER [00:07:45] So, talking about here the expo, what does digital marketing mean to you?
MARK BUTCHER [00:07:45] Talking Completely transforming how organisations deliver their services to their end-users. It’s not just about technology. It’s actually more about the people, the cultural and the processes because you can’t just throw technology at a problem and hope the world is wonderful. What you have to do it. You don’t bring an organisation with you. You’re just going to have the same problem with just different vendor badge. You could equally well deliver your services on in-house infrastructure if that’s what you wanted to do. But what the cloud gives us is amazing agility and the ability to transform, And that’s what transformation is. It’s about fundamentally shifting and changing your mindset, not just your technology base.
NATALIE TURNER [00:08:26] Where do you think it’s all going? What is the future looking like?
MARK BUTCHER [00:08:27] That’s the impossible question, though. Years ago, I used to have a five-year technology invasion, a five-year technology plan. Now, if you’re looking at anything more than 18 months, you’re absolutely mad because technology is developing so fast. The ecosystem is changing so quickly. You can’t possibly second guess. It’s just a whole series of new acronyms every few minutes. And you have to basically take a bet on what it is you’re going to do, whether you or I might know things like AI and machine learning. Everyone’s talking about it, but very few people are actually doing intelligent things with it. BLOCK chain I go to so many CIOs and they talk about what they intend to do with BLOCK chain that really actually understand why. So I think the big problem is people are now trying to find use cases for these new technologies rather than actually having a business value that comes up by the end of it.
DAVID SAVAGE [00:09:13] So here’s a random question when do you think they can drop the digital from digital transformation and just call it transformation expo?
MARK BUTCHER [00:09:19] I wish they would could they do it tomorrow morning. That would be great.
DAVID SAVAGE [00:09:24] Think we’re better off that yet.
NATALIE TURNER [00:09:25] Well, that’s all we have time for im afraid. Thank you so much for coming on. It’s been lovely talking to you again. As I said, that is all we have time for, however. You can join in on the conversations on LinkedIn and Twitter, at Disruptive Live and of course, hashtag DTX Europe. We will be back after a short break, see you in a bit.