CloudBrew Episode #6

You’ve heard cloud governance matters, but why?

Who better to tell us than the former CIO (and CISO) of Microsoft? Decorated tech veteran, Jim DuBois, joins CoreStack’s Robert Ford in Episode 6 of CloudBrew, CoreStack's NextGen Cloud Governance podcast.

Jim shares why governance is a “now” conversation and the new cloud frontier to master. If you want to “do cloud right” in terms of security, cost, and beyond, don’t miss this CIO-inspired conversation.

All CloudBrew episodes are also available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Audible and SoundCloud.

Discover how our NextGen Cloud Governance platform brings together FinOps, SecOps, and CloudOps solutions so you can Cloud with Confidence.

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Robert: Hello and welcome back to another episode of CloudBrew. My name is Robert Ford and I lead enterprise strategy here at CoreStack. Today, we're extremely fortunate to have the former CIO of Microsoft Jim DuBois with us to talk about all things governance. Welcome Jim and thank you for joining the first in person, CloudBrew. It's great to have you here. Jim, let me start by asking you to give us a short background into your very illustrious career because I'm sure there's a lot to tell us.

Jim: I started with a company that's now called Accenture for several years and then went to Microsoft where most of my career there almost 25 years, mostly in IT. A couple of roles in the product groups had a great time was forced into the CSO role for three years. At one point, I learned a ton in that. And my last four years, I got to be the global CIO it overlapped with Satya first four years, which was super fun and stressful time to be in that kind of a role. And what have you been doing since, since you stopped being the CIO? I'm on several boards helping several startups. I actually remember back in the beginning talking with EZ, and you on what CoreStack was doing? Thinking, wow, if they can actually make this work, this is going to be something else. So nice to be back.

Robert: Perfect. Well, Jim, I've got a few questions here. We'll go wherever the conversation takes us. But the topic of the moment is cloud governance. And here at CoreStack, we like to think of cloud governance as the sort of the new cloud frontier to master. The why cloud conversations have happened? The which cloud, multi cloud as you know that, the the how cloud, is a conversation that all the hyperscalers have got a point of view on, but most CIOs we talked to have got some, some, some thoughts around finding now is the conversation sort of the now cloud conversation is governance. Everybody's in there, there's huge things in the cloud and they need to govern it better. So, from your perspective, you know, what's your thoughts around cloud governance as, as a, as a topic of the day?

Jim: So, I mean, it doesn't surprise me that governance is the thing for you guys because it's what it's your sweet spot. Really, I would simplify it to say, you know, everybody is doing something in the cloud now and getting more in. There's a lot of discussion about, you know, is it really everything that it was meant to be? And there's a couple of articles on people actually pulling stuff back to, on prem. The issue really is, did we do it right when we moved and, and can we manage it while it's in the cloud? The people that have pulled back probably should have just fixed how they doing it. And this whole area of governance really is about how do we make sure doing it right. How do we make sure focusing on the right things for security, the right things for managing our costs, the right things for getting the agility that we really need out of, out of the cloud. So it's, it's governance is all about, are we doing it right? And can we get better at how we do it so that we don't even need to talk about the, let's let's pull back out because that's just the wrong way to look at it.

Robert: Yeah. No, it's very true. And I mean, when, when you were at Microsoft, I mean, how, how from a CIO perspective at Microsoft hugely complex, lots of moving parts, you know, how, how did you approach governance and how did you sort of make it happen across such a such a broad footprint of cloud?

Jim: When we were moving everything into Azure?It was really back in the beginning, more in the wild Wild West days of, of uh the cloud migration. And obviously we had motivation to move because we Microsoft and we wanting to push the edges of Azure and make sure that was better. We were treated like an external customer. We had to pay for our usage. We had to do everything that a normal customer would. And that's what Satya wanted us to play that role so that we could give feedback to the product teams. And there weren't, there wasn't anything like what CoreStack does today, back then, we ended up building some custom things and a few things to help us do governance. But we didn't have tools like that are on the market today with companies like CoreStack. So, I wish that we would have had that. I think it would have helped us manage and do a better job. But we figured a lot out through, you know, through trial and error to get governance right, to make sure we were getting the value that we needed out of the cloud.

Robert: Yeah, one of the things, I mean, you, you hit it on the head with this value out of the cloud and this is one of the things that, that we, thinking and we find when we talk to customers is, you know, governance is a topic tends to always sort of drag you down to percentage saving of the bottom line of an IT budget where we know cloud spend is only a percentage of a percentage of cost. And, and what we want to do is try and see how how can we help customers understand governance is a, is a really a 100% of revenue conversation if you do it right. And you know, have the confidence then to sort of go faster and experiment more.Um You know, what's your thoughts on, on that sort of…

Jim: faster experiment more the the real, so, everybody wants to talk about the cost and the cloud as, as one of the big things and, and there's so many things you can do to manage costs better and have cloud be more cost efficient than what you had on premise. The real value that we found was the agility to be able to, to change things quickly, to spin things up to not have to keep these monolithic preproduction environments around and, and have that slow down our release of new capabilities. We wanted to get the agility, but just like I'll use security as a as a simple example, if you're going to make sure that you're secure, one of the key things you have to understand is where are all your assets so that you know that you're protecting them. The cloud actually makes that way more complicated because you're spinning things up and down all the time, hopefully with automation so that you're doing all of your testing, you know, with a a process where the first step in your test automation is spinning up capabilities in the cloud, getting the data linked right, run your test and then turn it all off. So you have that the savings but the agility to do that, there's no way that you can do all of that manually to keep track of everything because it's coming and going all the time. So you have to have governance in place that can help you manage, that can help you make sure all of your security configurations are, are right when they need to be as they're coming up and down that, that you're only spinning up things when you need to. So you can control costs so that you have the agility in the cloud that you want and having the tools that you know, governance capable abilities a company that provides, that allows you to manage that environment in a way that you can make sure you're secure, you're making sure you're not utilizing capacity that you don't need and spending for things that you don't need, which is, you know, the big one of the biggest parts of not using the cloud, right? And that you're taking advantage of the agility that you can get with the cloud so that you can go faster so that you can do experiments faster so that you can deliver value faster to to the company. And so we need to think of the value that you can get out of the cloud not as is it less expensive than having the on premise infrastructure? The value is way more than that because of the agility that you can get and how, how you can just accelerate what you're doing. And therefore you have to have a more complicated set of controls, governance to make sure that you can manage all of that at the pace that we need to go to deliver value faster.

Robert: Yeah. And I, and I guess that, that, that, that's so that's exactly what we see. And I think that the key thing is being able to do that and give that that sort of board or business level people with the confidence, the thing they're riding on, which is cloud, the thing that probably they're most unfamiliar with, which is the technology, give them that confidence that it's, it's managed. It's, it's, you know, it's in a car when you put your car in sport mode, you just trust everything is going to happen. You don't manually check it all before you put the foot down. That's where I think the conversation around governance is changing to how can we enable the value that has remained elusive and let's face it. As you were probably well aware, you, CIOs are under pressure to realize this value because people, we spend a lot of money in cloud and now is the time to for payback.

Jim: Yeah, you got to be be able to show that you can deliver faster at, at a lower cost, all of the things, you know, this is an and conversation, not an or conversation and, and hopefully the, the board, the business execs, they didn't even need to know that it's cloud. What, what they need to know is that they're getting value faster and what are we gonna do? I mean, cloud is one of the biggest tools to have that happen and it's only going to happen if you manage it well.

Robert: Yes. Yes. So, so let, let's sort of abstract a little bit to the future using, using your, your insight into, you know, there's a, there's a lot of recently, there's a, there's sort of been a leapfrog ahead with the conversation around AI, you know, AI traditionally in the governance world is all around, you know, the areas of, of forecasting anomaly detection and optimization. And then suddenly we've seen this generative AI thing just come, come out of nowhere. How do you see that working and how do you see governance sort of like playing within it going forward in the world?

Jim: The pace of change continues to accelerate. And first point that I'll say is that companies need to be able to manage at this faster pace. So governance is a key part of that. How, how can we go faster because the world is just changing faster and faster. This the conversation from a generative AI perspective just over the last two months is has been massive in order to have that actually work, we got to make sure it for real business problems that going to solve, we have to make sure our data is in a place that's all managed together. So you need a solution that, that is more a platform that looks across everything and not ending up in a bunch of silos so that we can better take advantage of some of what's, you know, in the early stages but has huge opportunity to, to benefit businesses.

Robert: Yeah, I mean, I think that's the key thing is that is the the platform to have the ability to do. You know, the the magic on top of what we if you have a smorgasbord of solutions managing cloud, it's very tough in our opinion to, to sort of front that innovation curve of every hyper scalar. That's just as you say, getting faster and faster and faster. And if you, once you fall behind the wave, it's really hard to swim and catch you on top of it. So, you know, having having governance be making sure you're fronting innovation I think is super, super important because yeah, there there's now, you know, governance even of, of um you know, computations being done in memory. I mean that those are the kind of things that we're gonna have to have solutions towards.

Jim: Yeah, it's about the pace just continuing to accelerate. We have to make sure that we can operate at that pace safely. We have to have the governance across the whole thing so that we can do that. And if we can't, then gonna fall behind the companies that are able to go at the pace that, that innovation is happening. If we don't have good governance, gonna make some mistakes with the new capabilities that are coming out. So we've got to have the ability to consume the new capabilities at the pace that they're coming out or they'll get out of control.

Robert: If you were still the CIO of Microsoft and say a company like CoreStack was was saying to you, Jim, what what would you need to be able to have confidence that Microsoft's cloud platforms governed in a way that you would turn back to Satya and say, OK, Satya go crazy because we're a model cloud platform.

Jim: What does it take to buy CoreStack?

Robert: But what? Yeah, but what, what would, what would you be asking for from, from, you know, one of the things that you should be thinking of or asking for to make sure you have a cloud governors platform to trust?

Jim: Yeah.I will say that one of the key things Satya has been working on at the pace is to make sure the culture is something that can consume at the pace that the culture is not slowing us down and to get the culture right, One of the things that you have to make sure you you do is get the incentives, right? So I'll just use a simple example of this when we driving our adoption in the cloud, our infrastructure team owned the budget from infrastructure and the application teams owned the budgets of the applications that sat on the infrastructure as we moved to the cloud. The people that had the best control over how we use the cloud was no longer the infrastructure teams, it was the cloud, it was the application teams that building the capabilities on top of the infrastructure. So we had to change the incentive of how we used the cloud, how we use the infrastructure pieces of that to the application teams because they had the ability to change it. So the governance part of that is the ability to have costs, not just collected in the historic buckets but be able to show them aligned with the the areas of the company, even the the business processes that are driving the consumption so that you can take advantage of that data in the hands of the people that are incented to to, oh, you have to incent the people that can change it to be able to drive change.

Robert: So Jim, the the platform comment you made is is a super important one. I'd just to double click on that one a little bit more the the platform versus sort of product. What, what, why is a governance platform so important um to, to have in in in this space?

Jim: So I, I want it, the most important thing is to make sure you're getting the value for the business and going at the, at the pace. But in order to do that, the best, you have to make sure that you're looking at all the interdependencies, everything that you're doing at, at a, at a platform level and you're not bringing in a bunch of different solutions to try to do this that aren't connected so that you don't, it, it's really hard to get a holistic governance if you're using a bunch of point solutions. So having, you know, a a complete platform view to look at all the interdependencies is, is absolutely critical to getting that value that we, that dragging towards.

Robert: It's so true. I mean, At CoreStack, here, we're looking at GreenOps at the moment. Now, obviously, with the, with the a big emphasis on emphasis on with ESG and without that platform, you know, we want to be to the ability where you know, you can automatically provision a cloud resource, either based on how green that data center is or the price of resource, you'll never be able to make that trade off if that data is sitting in separate solutions.

Jim: Absolutely. And that's a great example. I think people wouldn't be having the discussions of pulling things back on premise if they had thought through the governance to get it all set up right in the first place and that managing it correctly so that you're getting all the value out of that is what people need to be focused on not saying, oh, we did the wrong thing and now, now we need to come back, you know, which the, the actually the one that, that's in the news even more right now is this work from home. So we, we had to send everybody home during the, the pandemic and we didn't really think through all the processes of that. And now there's this discussion. Should we bring people back into the office? Um, a lot of companies have, have done that already. But, but the, the, the tech companies are still more of a debate, but it's the same kind of a question if you're doing it right? If you have a way to still continue the culture, if you have a way to still continue to connect that you don't have to get it back into the office so that we can manage it, right. It's the same kind of thing with the cloud. You know, if managing it, right, we don't have to have that conversation over, you know, does it make more sense to bring it back on prem?

Jim: That's a great analogy. Yeah. Yeah, that is very topical in the news at the moment. Um Cool.

Robert: Well, then, then this has been great, Jim. I mean, let, let, let, let me pose with asking you one last question, words of wisdom. If you had to sum up, you know, we've covered a breadth of topics in this chat. If you had to sort of sum it up, give us a few words of wisdom for everybody to sort of go away with.

Jim: So, I reemphasize the value is the most important that, that agility is more important than cost and what you can do with the cloud having the governance easy so that you can do that is is the key to making sure that you can do that. And and uh you, you got to make sure that you get your culture aligned. So your incentives are right to make that all happen. You can go at the pace that that the world is going, which continues to accelerate.

Robert: Perfect. Perfect Jim, thank you so much for these super valuable insights. Much appreciated and we will be asking you back for more in the very near future. Thank you. Thanks again. And a big thanks to all our listeners. Please subscribe to hear more content.We are on Spotify, soundcloud, youtube, itunes and audible. That's it for this episode and look forward to speaking to you next time. Thank you.

Jim: With the many benefits of the cloud does come some critical issues around compliance, security operations, consumption and cost. CoreStack solves these challenges simply and swiftly. It's a must- use- technology that any enterprise adopting the cloud ought to Embrace.

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