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Rackspace’s CMO: Why are marketers making big pushes on the road to hybrid cloud strategy?

Mark Bunting (pictured), CMO of Rackspace, has led the global marketing practice for the company, including global marketing strategy, communications, brands, advertising, creative, digital, field and channel marketing.

He possesses over 25 years of experience as a technologist, author, TV personality and influencer on the topic of demystifying technology. He has appeared on programmes for The Discovery Channel, CNBC, The Learning Channel, Fox and his own series, “Bunting’s Window,” which ran for 23 years across 11 airlines globally.

More and more businesses are turning to a managed hybrid cloud model that mixes and matches dedicated hardware, private cloud platforms and public cloud services to meet their unique requirements. Bunting talks to Marketing Interactive about marketers adopting hybrid cloud strategy, and the trends in the field of B2B marketing and communications.


Marketing Interactive: Why are retail, advertising and marketing making big pushes on the road to hybrid cloud?

Bunting: There are multiple benefits of adopting a hybrid cloud strategy. It gives enterprises the flexibility of storing their most sensitive data on dedicated hardware, while simultaneously benefiting from the public cloud’s cost efficiency and scalability.

To retail brands, the online branded website and e-commerce store are the online face of their business, and it’s of utmost importance to keep them solid, stable and dependable.

This can be a challenge as a brand scales in business, especially in the running of a high-demand e-commerce site. This is where a hybrid cloud strategy helps, and partnering with a reliable and capable cloud service company can help brands build a solid and scalable infrastructure, ensure smooth and seamless migration, and provide ongoing, 24/7 support.

Marketing Interactive: How do you market complex and complicated cloud technology to business leaders?

Bunting: As companies increasingly rely and invest more on emerging cloud technologies, it’s crucial for business leaders to have a deeper-than-basic understanding of those technologies to power their organisations. Yet when discussions turn to concepts like “containerisation” and “orchestration,” frankly many line-of-business leaders can find themselves lost in the terminology without sufficiently understanding its implications. As someone who’s spent much of the past two decades breaking down tech for lay audiences, I can empathise.

As part of my work as the new CMO at Rackspace, I’m going to continue explaining tech, including some the most game-changing products and services we offer, on our blog and through videos.

We’ve already published two videos as part of the “Explained for Business Leaders” series on our blog – Colocation Explained for Business Leaders and Kubernetes Explained for Business Leaders to help customers better understand what goes on behind the scenes in their cloud.

My aim is also to break down complex ideas or wider trends and concepts without any jargon, and highlight the benefits brought about by adopting such technology. Our videos are made to explain concepts in a storytelling format that one can visualise with simple graphics and diagrams, and relatable themes and topics. Recently we created a video – What Pro Sports Can Teach Us About Digital Transformation – that looks at sports teams pioneering new technologies to improve fan experience and player performance, and how this aligns well with what businesses are trying to achieve through big data and digital transformation.

Marketing Interactive: Is using multi-cloud services (instead of single-cloud ones) becoming a trend?

Bunting: Indeed, an IDC report predicts that more than 70% of Asia Pacific enterprises will have a multi-cloud strategy by the end of 2018. The need for efficient management of the new, more complicated multi-cloud environment will also mean that 65% of those with a multi-cloud strategy will likely need to seek management solutions from external service providers.

Currently, businesses of all sizes are gradually moving their workloads out of their corporate data centres onto a combination of platforms like AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, VMware and more. But architecting and operating multiple platforms can be highly complex – especially with new tools, apps and features being launched daily. Rather than managing it alone, or trying to wrangle multiple vendors, businesses are turning to managed cloud service providers.

Adopting a multi-cloud strategy is often the first step towards a comprehensive digital transformation.

A multi-cloud approach makes it easier to give everyone in the organisation access to the best technology to solve their problems. We believe that, ultimately, leveraging a multi-cloud environment will become the standard strategy for businesses.

Marketing Interactive: How to ensure cyber-security when adopting multi-cloud services?
Bunting: Cyber criminals are constantly employing new tools and strategies to infiltrate your business. That’s why it is so important to understand the security landscape, develop a strategy and engage the right partners to help you implement or strengthen your security measures.

The basics of ensuring a high-level of cloud security stipulate that enterprises should maintain comprehensive data protection, threat protection, and identity management in order to prevent unauthorised access to data.

It also stipulates that companies should choose security solutions that not only protect, but are also scalable as they deploy more clouds and cloud applications.

Because there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ security model for all cloud environments, it is vital to understand the context of each and deploy the proper solutions. By working with a provider that invests deeply in security allows businesses to fully leverage the security features available to them.

Marketing Interactive: What are the 2019 trends in B2B marketing and communications?

Bunting:

In macro, clearly B2B marketing is being fuelled by smarter data. Real-time leverage of that data will separate winners-from-losers.

Also, precision in targeting is paramount because B2B targets generally have less available time. Advertisers will be faced with greater contextual requirements, and this will further elevate the role of content and story-telling.

Mobile and advanced AI are just a couple of inputs that are forcing transformational change in engaged marketing. Mobility demands creativity that is consumable in a mobile setting, and the acceleration of AI means that answers and information must be in an always-on state. Innovation and speedy adoption of new technologies are table-stake requirements for marketers in our digital B2B future.

Marketing Interactive: What are your future plans for marketing and for the business at Rackspace?

Bunting: Our team understands there is no “one-size-fits-all” marketing strategy, especially when it comes to B2B technology companies.

Although the digital transformation era and big data has enabled us as marketers to determine and shape our strategies, we are mindful not to lose sight on the creative/story-telling component.

But the most important tenet of our organisation as marketers is capturing the perspective and voice of our customers. Addressing their needs as a “most trusted partner” is where we hang our hat, full stop.

Our unique, ‘fanatical’ customer-first values truly differentiate us from other managed cloud companies. We deliver true transformation as a service across all industries, whether it be applications, data, security or infrastructure on the world’s leading public and private cloud platforms.

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