RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – This year’s State of Technology conference from NC Tech will focus on what’s next for cloud computing, with a keynote from IBM VP of Product Management Briana Frank, who directs multiple product management teams within IBM Cloud. 

According to IBM’s top executive in North Carolina, Tim Humphrey, there’s a lot of opportunity. Studies from IBM have shown that 74 percent of CEOs believe cloud computing will be the most helpful technology for their organization to deliver results over the next two to three years, but only 25 percent of enterprise data is in the cloud today. 

IBM’s Tim Humphrey.

“Businesses have a massive opportunity to migrate 75 percent of their mission-critical workloads to the cloud and leverage open source innovations,” said Humphrey. “These mission-critical workloads span extensive IT estates that include traditional data centers and multiple clouds in many different locations, multiple vendors each with unique government and regulatory requirements.”

The COVID shift to the cloud

President and CEO of NC TECH, Brooks Raiford, said the planning committee worked to build an agenda of “relevant and timely information”, and he shared how the pandemic shaped this year’s conference theme. 

“This year, the committee unanimously wanted to focus on cloud, since the way we do business has changed in fundamental ways, in large part due to COVID,” said Raiford. “Most businesses and organizations are shifting to the cloud in some form or fashion.” 

Humphrey also described the effect of COVID on cloud computing trends, describing that many businesses “became digital overnight” during the pandemic. 

“They are being pressed to fundamentally rethink operations,” said Humphrey. “Many regulated industries, like government, healthcare and financial services need more help to meet critical security and regulatory demands. A hybrid cloud strategy gives all organizations the flexibility and agility they need to respond to changes in the economy, buyer behavior, geopolitical realities and the climate.”

Bill Bruno is CEO of D4t4 Solutions, a global data solutions company with a Cary-based US headquarters. Bruno shared his perspective that, while cloud adoption has varied across industries, adoption promises big benefits. 

“The shift to cloud is varied across our customer base and it’s a bit slower in financial services and other industries where there is more sensitive data and information to be protected,” said Bruno. “That being said, the promise of cloud is scale, cost benefits, and automation. With the rise in containerized deployments, building at scale is more possible these days.”

The cloud in NC: Headlines from big tech

Daniel Jebaraj is the Co-Founder and CEO of Syncfusion, a Morrisville-based company that has been featured on multiple Triangle Tweeners lists. Jebaraj said that NC has a “confluence of talent and opportunity” for cloud computing. 

“There are large organizations with thousands of employees already trained on the use of cloud computing resources,” said Jebaraj. 

A peek at recent headlines helps to highlight why North Carolina is focused on cloud computing growth and what could come next. 

IBM, also a sponsor of the NC TECH event, announced its roadmap for developing quantum-powered supercomputers this week at the IBM Think 2022 Conference.

IBM unveils roadmap for developing quantum-powered supercomputers

“Technology is now the source of competitive advantage with digital transformation leading the way,” said Arvind Krishna, Chairman and CEO of IBM, in a statement about the roadmap announcement. “Our clients and partners trust IBM to deliver the innovation behind hybrid cloud, AI, and consulting solutions that are helping to ensure their success.”

Also at THINK, IBM’s SVP of Global Sales, Rob Thomas, shared his perspective on how Red Hat fits into the strategy. 

“Red Hat is the engine for hybrid cloud,” said Thomas at THINK. “The product ‘OpenShift’ is the way that clients can modernize their software to run flexibly on any cloud, public or private. We now have a managed service for Red Hat Open Shift on AWS, Microsoft Cloud, or Azure, and are widely deployed across private enterprise. And today we are the number one container platform in the world with Red Hat.” 

Thomas described hybrid cloud as “the core of the strategy.” 

Video: Red Hat, GM partner to drive future of cars – software-defined vehicles

“IBM now has a platform-centric strategy. The platform is Red Hat,” said Thomas. “That’s where we build our software and that is what enables us to deliver on this value proposition of hybrid cloud running anywhere and bringing AI to applications and workloads everywhere.”

In January, Citrix was bought in a $16.5B cash deal—and in a statement, Bob Calderoni, Chair of the Citrix Board of Directors and Interim Chief Executive Officer and President, mentioned the cloud. 

Calderoni said that the sale to Vista and subsequent merger with TIBCO will help the organizations “to invest in high-growth opportunities, such as DaaS, and accelerate its ongoing cloud transition.”

And just last month, the US Department of Commerce announced that Reggie Townsend, Director of the Data Ethics Practice at SAS, would be named to the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC). Townsend, who has more than 20 years of experience in strategic planning, cloud computing, and AI, will have the opportunity to advise the president and the National AI Initiative Office on a range of AI issues as part of NAIAC.

In response to the announcement about Townsend’s committee role, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) expressed her congratulations, and called the RTP a “global leader in science and technology” that is “propelled by companies and visionaries like Reggie Townsend”.

Also last month, SAS announced a pilot project between North Carolina Collaboratory and SAS focused on predictive insights in vaccine storage freezers, with the goal of improving vaccine dosage delivery to underserved and rural communities. The partnership leverages SAS Analytics for IoT, an AI-powered cloud-native solution.

Global leader indeed. 

Finally, SAS announced yesterday that global cloud revenue is up 19%. 

Headlines like these from some of our area’s biggest players help to highlight the role that cloud computing is still playing in many organizations’ strategies and future plans. 

2022 State of Technology Conference on May 12

In addition to the keynote from IBM, the event will feature executive conversations from Dr. Scott Ralls, President of Wake Tech, and Dr. Pamela Gibson Senegal, President of Piedmont Community College. 

Wake Tech was awarded a half-million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant last year to enhance its Cloud Infrastructure Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree program.

The event will also feature a six-company Startup Showcase and a myriad of technical talks on themes like cybersecurity, quantum and edge computing, and hybrid cloud. 

NC Tech picks six startups to present at State of Technology event – here’s the list

“What is most exciting for NC TECH about this event is being the conduit to share new information and best practices in this space,” said Raiford. 

The one-day technology conference from NC TECH will be held on Thursday, May 12 at the Raleigh Convention Center.