Digital Markets Act Makes EU Cloud Gatekeepers

An ETR Insights Interview

ETR Insights

| September 09, 2022

ETR Insights recently interviewed the European CTO of a global consumer brand, who addressed the EU’s Digital Markets Act and how corporations are adapting to new regulation of cloud “gatekeepers.” Additionally, our guest discussed spend optimization via contract negotiations, "smart working" in a hybrid world, cybersecurity, data visualization services under Microsoft, SAP, and Google, and a push for data scientists within his organization and across the industry. Read highlights from the interview below.

Top Insights from the Interview

Cloud platforms under the Digital Markets Act. The EU’s implementation of a new Digital Markets Act, which imposes stringent regulations upon large online platforms they deem “gatekeepers,” will have unpredictable consequences for this global consumer brand. Our guest broadly favors a consolidated partnership with a single global cloud provider, imagines this the same for most major companies, and wonders whether this law will be updated as it is rolled out.

Cloud migration underway. 90% of this organization’s cloud is in Microsoft Azure. They have a modest presence on AWS and maintain specific marketing data in Google Analytics. The company’s cloud migration began four or five years ago with Office 365, migrating Exchange from on-prem to the cloud, followed by OneDrive and other small applications. They plan to migrate their on-prem ERP, currently SAP, to SAP’s proprietary cloud. When and how the migration of SAP services such as SuccessFactors or Concur will occur is uncertain. “But the most important applications related to the factory we keep on-prem, [as well as] other applications with sensitive data, like HR applications.”

Security + “Industry 4.0”. Cybersecurity remains a top priority, particularly given the number of production machines the company has introduced to their network. “We have to provide a lot of security infrastructure for that, for the IOT and for the HMI. This is for sure a big investment.” Contract renegotiations. Our guest received the message from upper management to reduce their budget by 5% in 2022 versus 2021. One area they are focusing on is contract renegotiation, where they imagine they have already saved more than 5%. “We usually did contracts year-by-y ear, but for example, making a contract with the duration of two years, we have a major discount.”

Staff are staying home. This organization has already permitted “smart working,” or remote working, for ten years. Prior to the pandemic, usage was low, but today 50% of their staff regularly work from home, which our guest anticipates will continue. As such, they are investing in infrastructure to support this, including video-enabled meeting rooms.

Networking + Security. Our guest uses Microsoft mainly for the PC. They favor Cisco for networking, including a small Meraki installation, and Palo Alto for cybersecurity. “They intercepted a lot of things. It was very useful to understand what’s going on, who was on the network, and what was the threat.” The company also employs Clarity Innovations and Armis Security.

Microsoft, Google + Big Data. Because their infrastructure is built on Azure, Power BI and Synapse are a natural fit. For data visualization, our guest uses both BI and Google Analytics, the latter specifically for marketing. They still employ a lot of Microsoft SQL, though once data is in from the field it is generally passed up to the cloud. This gust has completely removed Oracle from the organization.

Making sense of high-volume data. Having connected every production machine to the network, our guests now sifts through millions of data points. “We are in the process of refining the data so that all the significant data we have, we can use.” They have begun a pair of POCs related to predictive maintenance to anticipate stoppage on the production line and seek to build a dashboard around this, as well as energy consumption and other industry-specific data. Accordingly, they are currently hiring experienced data scientists, who our guest expects will leverage Microsoft’s ML/AI services within the company’s existing infrastructure.

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