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"Don't under-estimate security and the value of a European cloud partner" says CEO of ATOS, EMC2 & VMWare JV

A general consensus and a clear focus are two essential points that need to be addressed when embracing cloud computing according to Jacques Pommeraud, the CEO of Canopy, which positions itself as an "open cloud company".

What exactly does Canopy, an Atos company, offer to businesses? When and why was it started?

Canopy is the service line of Atos dedicated to cloud computing. It offers cloud services focused exclusively on bringing the benefits of cloud delivery to large public and multinational private sector organisations. This implies enterprise-grade security and reliability and a global footprint. We created Canopy to help organizations use cloud computing, whose impact goes way beyond the IT domain, in order to enhance their business performance. Canopy delivers on- and off-premise IaaS, PaaS and SaaS solutions (Infrastructure, Platform and Software-as-a-service).

Canopy aggregated all of the pre-existing Atos expertise, business and assets around cloud computing, build solutions, and better answer to our customer needs with a single point of contact for Cloud. Today Canopy manages several hundred million euros in revenue and serves leading corporations and governments worldwide.

How does the partnership between Atos, EMC² and VMware work?

Canopy is a unique joint-venture that cements the partnership between Atos (European leader in IT services), EMC² (world leader in storage technology) and VMware (world leader in virtualization technology). Each founding partner contributes its respective excellence, from R&D to people expertise, and ability to combine cloud delivery with traditional IT outsourcing. This partnership has enabled Atos/Canopy to earn the trust of major new customers in the field of cloud computing.

In your view, what are the primary benefits of effective use of the cloud for businesses & How can businesses make sure they successfully introduce cloud strategies into their company?

The market for cloud services is expected to grow as organizations of all sizes look to realise the benefits of the cloud – most importantly: speed and agility which translates into sales and outpacing competition. But also reduced capital expenditure; transparent pricing through a pay per use model and dramatic cost reduction.

First, it's crucial that executives from Business leaders to CFO and CIO agree on an aligned vision and what is expected from cloud computing. Second see the adoption of cloud as a transformation program and not only a classic technological project or you will only scratch the surface of cloud benefits. Third, don't under-estimate security and the value of a European cloud partner. Canopy has a consulting unit that specializes in assisting executives as they navigate this transformation.

What is the biggest risk businesses face when implementing cloud strategies & How can businesses ensure that they measure cloud ROI?

Beyond Cloud security risks – caused by individuals, organisations or governments – the biggest risk is to underestimate the impact of cloud adoption on IT governance (new way to control costs, "shadow IT", skills requirements...).

The importance of measuring cloud ROI is also vital. You cannot manage what you cannot measure. According to The Open Group 2012 Cloud Survey, only 20 per cent of firms are currently tracking Cloud ROI. Achieving transparency on the current costs by application and user is complex as infrastructure, network, overhead and other structural costs are typically not allocated this way. Specialised consultants have methodologies that allow creating this transparency.

What is the uptake of cloud services among UK business, and what are the barriers to adoption?

The UK has seen variation in the pace of adoption over the past five years, often influenced by scale of business, market sector, and appetite (or necessity) for transformation. The focus was often initially the core business functions, rather than the business critical operations. Rather than the initial economic necessity of adoption, we are now increasingly seeing adoption to drive agility in the way the business operates to enable it to operate fast enough in a very dynamic market. The biggest barriers are still trust – in a maturing market, who do you trust to help that transformation – and skills availability – people who truly understand the potential of Cloud and the criticality of Enterprise business operations.

To what extent does the implementation of cloud strategy impact organisational culture?

Cloud is a fantastic lever to boost well-being at work for the workforce: they can access instantly top notch applications, designed in a modern way, and consumed on any device with mobility solutions. The empowerment that comes with being able to self-provision, and instantly conduct your work is tremendous.

Could you tell us a bit about your background and your career path?

I joined Canopy from its inception.

After spending close to a decade in strategy consulting, most of which with McKinsey & Co in Paris and Boston and serving high-tech multinationals, I joined Atos in 2009. As Chief Lean Officer I assembled and led a team of 200 experts to improve operational efficiency. I then became head of Group Transformation leading priority initiatives around revenue generation and G&A optimisation.

Following the acquisition of Siemens IT Solutions and Services by Atos, I became the executive in charge of the integration of these 30,000 new employees and €3.7b revenue with the former Atos Origin. I attained an MSEng at Ecole nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (France) where I graduated top of class and an MBA at INSEAD.

10. As CEO of Canopy, what's your vision for the company over the next five years?

Canopy aims to become the leading European-based cloud computing provider focused on the enterprise and government market. Our differentiation, on top of the technology and innovation, is that we can actually partner with large organisations to help them transition to cloud from strategy, all the way to outsourcing their traditional IT to Atos and replacing it with cloud computing.

We do not aim to enter the public IaaS market which is becoming a utility market. Instead Canopy pursues 3 axis:1) continue to verticalize our offers and expertise in particular by offering more business applications in SaaS 2) grow our international datacenter footprint to cater for increased sensitivities around data localization 3) strengthen our hybrid orchestration capabilities to enable our clients to use the cloud that is right for them, following our motto of being "the Open Cloud Company"

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