This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview Jeff Kempiners who leads the strategic direction and growth of Avanade nationally and globally. Jeff shares his insights into cloud computing.

Enjoy,
Stephen Ibaraki

Jeff KempinersAvanade has more than 7,200 professionals in 22 countries, including more than 230 in its Canadian business, which has offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Montreal. Recently, the company grew its business by 25%.

A seasoned leader, Mr. Kempiners has more than 12 years of experience in IT management and consulting. Mr. Kempiners joined Avanade in August, 2000 as a Solution Architect in the US-Central region. Most recently, he served as Avanade Canada Capability Director for Infrastructure and Application Solutions, and then Chief Technology Officer. Prior to joining Avanade, Mr. Kempiners was employed with Accenture in a variety of roles, including System Analyst, Project Manager, and Engagement Manager for large customer accounts in all industries.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

DISCUSSION:

Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:40:
Can you share your views on cloud computing as a business imperative?
"....For the right type of organization of the right size and for organizations who are looking to outsource some of the aspects of their information technology, cloud computing has been a very powerful tool...."

:02:42:
We hear the term, cloud computing, software as a service, the platform called Azure, etc. How does it all fit?
"....I sort of see a hierarchy where cloud computing is an encompassing term that covers all of those aspects and there are categories and subcategories within it...."

:04:56:
Let's explore IT initiatives with short and long term payoffs of cloud computing. What are your recommendations here?
"....The short term payoffs are clear - you avoid a capital expense and you avoid the project costs and you also avoid the timeline....The long term payoff is quite different, where we are talking about what does it cost to own and operate the system, (month over month, year over year), what does the upgrade path look like, what sort of outages to expect....those are decisions that people often look at in a traditional build versus buy sense....If you would look at it much more holistically, you'll see that the total cost of ownership can be substantially lower in a cloud environment than it would be in an on-premise environment...."

:09:42:
Jeff shares some stories that illustrate aspects of cloud computing just discussed.

:15:36:
What do you see as the top opportunities and innovations as an outgrowth of our discussion here?
"....I think it starts with small and mid-market non-IT centric organizations doing messaging and collaboration and then it moves up the value chain across industry groups and across company collaboration a couple of years down the road as it moves more and more into the enterprise and multinationals...."

:20:51:
Can you delve into the top risks for businesses?
"....There are real risks and perceived risks. One of the interesting things about cloud computing is that it is really easy to raise a lot of objections....I would encourage you to engage with a company like Microsoft or Avanade or Accenture to talk through that list (of objections) because each of those items is either already solved or is heavily mitigatible...."

:27:50:
Is there a question you would ask yourself and what would be your answer?
"....Jeff, if you were CIO of Company XYX, to what extent would you be investing in and how aggressively would you be going after cloud computing today?...."