Interview with Marcel Walker, Head of Network & Cloud
Swisscom’s cloud services address all kinds of needs. In this interview, Marcel Walker, Head of Network & Cloud, explains the extent to which we at Swisscom support our customers and the added value that we offer as a service provider.
Text: Hansjörg Honegger, images: © Daniel Brühlmann, first published 30 september 2017
What type of businesses are Swisscom’s cloud services suitable for?
The Swisscom clouds are specifically set up for companies that value being located in Switzerland, in terms of data storage as well as access to local experts. It is integration that sets us apart. We place particular value on network and security integration and offer powerful Managed Services. We are complementing the hybrid architecture with global cloud offers such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services.
Marcel Walker, Head of Network & Cloud, Swisscom
What sets the Swisscom cloud apart from what other service providers have to offer?
We integrate networks and security solutions with cloud platforms in Switzerland and abroad. This is combined with local service management in various regions. Swisscom is the only provider with its own network and data centres. Our security solutions have a great reputation on the market. We are making all these services available in a highly standardised manner with ‘Pay As You Use’ tariff models. Of course, this will be made available under an integrated Service Management Layer.
Marcel Walker is Head of Network & Cloud. He began his career in banking and was the CEO of Comit, a leading provider of IT solutions to the finance sector, for a number of years.
Who are the strategic partners?
We work very closely with Microsoft Azure, although our partners also include Amazon Web Services, Dell Technologies and VMware, who provide these technologies across the globe and have an excellent reputation.
What do customers want? Do medium-sized companies in Switzerland gravitate towards Public Cloud, Hybrid Cloud or Private Cloud?
Among corporate customers in particular, there is a growing preference for multi-cloud solutions. Different infrastructures are used, depending on needs, security and costs, whether with Microsoft Azure and AWS global clouds for quick go-to-market, secure data storage in Switzerland from the Swisscom Cloud or in-house installation of core applications, which can become legacy IT and is not yet cloud-capable.
There is also therefore an increasing need for a reliable partner who can provide support with in-depth specialist know-how. We provide security, connect data and applications, provide the network and ensure that in-house company IT works and communicates seamlessly.
Taking the step towards migrating an operative IT system into the cloud is difficult. How does Swisscom support its customers in this process?
We have a consultation and transformation framework called ‘Journey to the Cloud’. This covers various modules. It starts with an inventory and evaluates, together with the customer, what should run where: data storage, performance, locations, applications, security. The actual migration has to be prepared meticulously.
And what if the customer realises that the offer doesn’t quite fit?
The customer usually evaluates its partner with the help of specialist advisors. Pilot installations can also be carried out as part of tenders.
The cloud business is ultimately profitable thanks to its large degree of scalability. Is Switzerland big enough for this type of business?
Absolutely. We are also integrating capabilities offered by Amazon and Microsoft Azure. The important thing is this: Swisscom is the service provider. The customer doesn’t have to monitor different platforms, we integrate everything. That’s massively important, especially when it comes to security.
Swisscom also offers SAP in the cloud. What does that mean exactly?
We are the largest SAP service provider in Switzerland. We are migrating everything onto Enterprise Cloud for SAP Solutions. That is extremely attractive for both existing customers and new ones. The customer gets an integrated solution and can – in Switzerland, uniquely – operate its existing SAP landscape from the cloud, even for the HANA workload. We take care of network integration, security and performance. This takes a huge amount of pressure off the customer.
Will companies with their own IT still exist in 10 or 15 years’ time?
The question isn’t whether they will still have their own IT. The question is which tasks the internal IT will cover. We are convinced that infrastructure services such as network, cloud and security will be obtained largely from specialist service providers. This gives companies the space to focus their IT specialists on the development of services which help to differentiate the company’s market presence.
The Enterprise Service Cloud is a universal cloud, which covers everything from infrastructure and platform services to managed services and outsourcing. It makes it possible to integrate an existing, even hybrid, IT landscape into the cloud and runs in Swisscom data centres. It complements and completes Swisscom’s other cloud offers, which can be fully integrated.
With Enterprise Cloud for SAP Solutions, customers can acquire virtual SAP HANA servers in just a few hours and adapt them dynamically or boot up test systems for new processes within minutes. The servers and entities can be managed at the touch of a button via a self-service portal and are invoiced based on needs. Enterprise Cloud for SAP Solutions can also be fully integrated into Swisscom’s other cloud offers.
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