Month: July 2017

Financial services leading DevOps adoption across Europe, finds Claranet

Almost half of financial services firms have implemented DevOps, underlining its value for industries facing disruption

Financial services organisations are adopting DevOps approaches faster and with more decisiveness than organisations in other industries, in what appears to be a bid to adapt to disruptive conditions in the financial services industry. This is according to research by managed services provider Claranet.

Vanson Bourne surveyed 900 end user IT leaders from mid-market businesses in six European markets – Germany, Benelux, France, Spain, Portugal, and the UK. Focusing on DevOps adoption, it found that 45 per cent of financial services organisations have already developed a DevOps approach. By comparison, only 32 per cent of organisations in a variety of other industries, including retail, software, and digital and media, have done so.

Michel Robert, MD of Claranet UK, commented on the financial services industry’s inclination towards DevOps:

FinTech startups are using technology to shake things up in the financial services industry with a customer-centric, agile approach. For the big incumbents in the industry the adoption of DevOps suggests a change in mindset and is likely being used as a way of taking on these startups and learning from their innovations.

By encouraging faster software and application development, DevOps enables financial services organisations to streamline the way they deal with the vast quantities of data they process internally. Vitally, it also enables them to rapidly develop new products and services, allowing them to compete with the FinTech disruptors.

Despite being encumbered by legacy IT approaches and siloed data, as well as strict regulatory and security necessities, the financial services industry is ahead in the DevOps game. This demonstrates that DevOps is not only capable of speeding up development time, but is also an approach that prioritises application and data security, a factor that is closely monitored in financial services.”

Financial services organisation who have not yet adopted DevOps are also much more likely to have plans in place to eventually develop capacities. Whilst almost 25 per cent of the overall sample stated that they are either not planning to implement DevOps or haven’t yet made a decision, only 12 per cent of financial services organisations are in the same position.

According to Michel, financial services organisations’ embrace of DevOps demonstrates how digital disruption necessitates new ways of working:

Startups use the internet to remove friction, overturn legacy distribution methods, and create new business models. It’s vital that incumbents are ready to compete – and this means being able to bring their full IT capabilities to bear when streamlining their operations and launching new products and services. DevOps enables them to do so, creating a culture where developing, testing, and making new applications and software rapidly and securely is the norm.

Much of the financial services market is vulnerable to disruption and the dominant players have organisational, cultural, and regulatory impediments to rapid change. This complexity is an impetus to move faster, and taking a DevOps approach can unlock new opportunities for growth. Other industries facing disruption, from retail to media, would do well to look to DevOps as a means of getting ahead of change.”

Technology will determine which retailers will win as the retail market polarises, says Claranet

Customer experience is becoming a key competitive differentiator as the retail market polarises between those who maximise the time customers spend in contact with retailers, and those who seek to reduce the buying process to a minimum

The focus on customer experience is polarising the retail market into either delighting consumers with immersive buying experiences or making buying as fast and practical as possible. This is according to Managed Service Provider Claranet, who says that the effective use of technology will be a prerequisite to success in creating these kind of customer experiences.

Research from Planet Retail and Digimarc found that 63 per cent of retailers consider improving in-store and online customer service as the one action that would have the greatest impact on their organisation’s profitability. Michel Robert, UK Managing Director at Claranet spoke about the significance of this statistic, and the resulting approaches retailers are using to improve customer experience:

With digital disruption fundamentally altering the ways retailers serve customers’ buying needs, it is unsurprising that so many now put customer experience at the core of their competitiveness. We’re increasingly seeing the market’s approach to customer experience polarising between two distinct paths. On the one hand, you have those who seek to make the buying experience as practical and frictionless as possible, typified by Amazon. On the other, there are those retailers who want to involve customers in a brand experience, who eschew getting customers from consideration to purchase as quickly as possible in favour of delighting them and involving them in the buying experience.”

Both dynamics have implications for retail technology leaders, as Michel Robert underlines:

Choosing to immerse consumers in a shopping experience has different technological implications from finding the most seamless way to get a potential buyer from consideration to purchase. For example, The Burberry Beauty Box in Covent Garden aims to engage visitors in an immersive brand experience, and deploys augmented reality (AR) technology to allow customers to virtually sample different nail shades. By contrast, Pets At Home deployed in-store iPads in order to make the administrative process of purchasing a pet easier and to reduce customer wait time by enabling more in-store purchases and registrations to be done away from the till.

The key difference is that the former maximises the time the consumer spends in contact with the retailer for every purchase, whilst the latter seeks to minimise this time. The technological priorities are therefore different – whilst the former seeks to deliver rich content to customers, whether that’s an instore AR experience or an intricate online brochure, the latter removes as many steps from the buying process as possible.”

Despite this difference in tactical priorities, these approaches both rely on the implementation of an effective IT infrastructure, according to Michel Robert:

Both the convenience and the more involved experience approach put a premium on network connectivity and other elements of IT infrastructure that enable the smooth functioning of anything from AR to ecommerce platforms. The Pets At Home example is illuminating here – the company had to switch network providers and roll out a brand new network to support the iPad system.”

Michel Robert concludes that retail IT leaders should shift their approach to their day-to-day role to focus on creating a delightful or practical customer experience:

To enable either approach to work, IT leaders need to be able to remove themselves from the IT bubble and focus on the basic needs of customers. Taking the customer’s perspective can unlock new areas where IT can make the customer experience either more immersive or more convenient.”

Claranet reaffirms commitment to AWS with platinum sponsorship of the London AWS Summit

Leading pan-European managed services provider Claranet will be the sole platinum sponsor at this year’s AWS Summit London, taking place on 28 June at the ExCeL. Platinum sponsorship is the highest level of sponsorship available, and Claranet’s sponsorship represents the next step in a business relationship that has enabled the company to help customers across Europe take advantage of the full breadth and sophistication of the AWS platform.

The AWS Summit designed to help attendees learn how to maximise the benefits of cloud computing to their organisations and to securely accelerate cloud adoption. Claranet has developed close links with AWS over the last few years, driven by the increasing popularity of the platform as a way to unlock a wide variety of business benefits. The company achieved the highest level of AWS partnership in late 2016 – Premier Consulting Partner status – indicating that it has both the technical expertise and the experience AWS deployments required to meet the huge appetite for the AWS platform in the market.

Sam Bashton, Head of Claranet’s Cloud Practice, commented:

AWS has proved to be the bedrock of business agility and digital transformation for many of our customers, and it forms a critical part of our offering. We have invested a lot into the relationship in recent years, and this is reflected in our AWS Premier Consulting Partner status, and now in our platinum sponsorship of this year’s Summit. Developing a European-wide cloud practice has enabled us to bring the benefits of AWS to a wide variety of businesses, moulding the diverse capabilities of the platform to the specific requirements of our customers.”

Claranet has made several strategic acquisitions over the last few years to support its cloud practice and its capacity to work with AWS. Most recently, at the end of May it purchased French cloud and DevOps specialist Oxalide to reinforce its ability to deploy and manage critical web applications in the cloud.

Sam concluded by underlining the significance of cloud computing in modern ICT, and the role of AWS in this:

Looking at how the industry has been inundated with talk of cloud’s value for the last few years, one might be mistaken for thinking that there is a lot of hype. However, when you look to everything from how consumers listen to music on their daily commute to how employees access their documents whilst working from home, it’s clear that cloud computing has had a transformative impact. AWS has been at the heart of this transformation for over a decade, allowing a variety of businesses to access the many benefits of the cloud, and we’re proud to support them in this endeavour.”

Claranet named as a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Managed Hybrid Cloud Hosting, Europe, 2017

Leader position retained for the fifth year running

Claranet believes that its placement in the Quadrant underlines once again the market-leading position it holds in the European hosting industry. This latest recognition also follows Claranet’s placement in Gartner’s inaugural Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure Managed Service Providers, Worldwide, in March this year.

Commenting on the company’s placement in the Quadrant, Charles Nasser, Claranet’s CEO, said:

“We are proud to be recognised by Gartner in this year’s Magic Quadrant, which we believe reflects the work we do as an organisation to continually improve our hosting expertise and capabilities.

“This year has seen us continue our focus on offering best-in-class private and public cloud managed services and we have invested heavily to ensure that we can meet the often-complex needs of our customers and their mission critical applications. Fundamentally, it is applications and data that keep an organisation’s wheels turning so having the infrastructure, tooling and expertise to achieve the right balance of security, availability, performance and cost is essential.

“We have cultivated strong relationships with the leading hyper-scale public cloud providers over the last few years. This, combined with our own infrastructure, application expertise and heritage in network provision, means that we are able to deliver leading-edge hybrid cloud solutions that help our customers do amazing things. We believe this gives us the edge in an incredibly competitive and fast-paced environment,”

The Gartner Magic Quadrant assessment offers snapshots of markets and their participants. It enables users to map vendor strengths against their current and future needs. Gartner evaluated Claranet’s hosting portfolio on both its completeness of vision and its ability to execute using 15 weighted criteria.

In its latest report, published by Tiny Haynes et al. in June Gartner states:

“Leaders have proved they have staying power in this market, can frequently innovate on their existing products and can be relied on for enterprise-class needs. They have proved their technical competence and ability to deliver services to a wide range of customers. They address multiple use cases with stand-alone or integrated solutions. They also have a presence in multiple European locations to offer solutions around data sovereignty requirements.”

Looking at the challenges facing IT teams, Charles Nasser added:

“With IT departments facing significant pressure to innovate and add value to their organisations – without compromising security – they need suppliers supporting them who can meet their demands and align effectively with their strategic objectives. To achieve greater agility and efficiency, and therefore free up time to be spent on innovation, it is crucial for businesses to have their application and infrastructure services in order and in the right place.”

To find out more about this year’s Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Managed Hybrid Cloud Hosting, Europe, 2017, and to read a full version of the report, please continue below:

Read the full Gartner report