“With the cloud, IT becomes a business enabler”

In May, Swisscom announced a multi-year strategic collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS is now launching its on-premises cloud in Switzerland with a site in Zurich. What does this launch mean for Swisscom?

AWS has been present as a company in Switzerland for some time. As a public cloud provider, Swisscom already offers services, consulting and operation on AWS. But until now we couldn’t offer an AWS solution for Swiss B2B customers who wanted local data storage, while it was possible for Microsoft Azure and Google cloud services which have data centers in Switzerland. We are happy that this is changing and that we can complement our hybrid multi-cloud offering with AWS cloud services from the Zurich region. We’ve been waiting for this for a long time.

When will Swisscom offer AWS cloud services from the Zurich region to its local customers?

We will start offering AWS services in Switzerland as soon as AWS is officially launched with your Swiss on-premises cloud. This should happen by the end of the year.

What are the benefits of the AWS Zurich cloud region for Swisscom B2B customers?

We can now meet the requirements of customers in highly regulated and sensitive sectors such as finance, healthcare, public administration, who need or want to store their data locally in Switzerland for compliance or security reasons. We have the advantage of combining the innovative strength of AWS and Swisscom’s local roots.

How does the AWS offering fit into Swisscom’s public cloud strategy?

The public cloud is definitely established in Switzerland and the market continues to grow strongly. At Swisscom, we decided in 2017 to focus on AWS and Microsoft Azure for our public cloud offerings for enterprise customers. This is also what allows us to offer multi-cloud offers to our customers. We have strategic partnerships with these two cloud providers that allow us to better support our customers on their journey to the cloud.

When advising your customers, what criteria determine the choice of a particular cloud provider for your digitization projects?

The customer’s current footprint, what is in production, often plays a decisive role in choosing one or another public cloud solution. Companies don’t want to add complexity to their IT environment. Licensing issues also play an important role. It will be less easy for a company that has worked with Microsoft for years to convince its employees to opt for an AWS solution. We support our customers in their decision-making process, taking into account their individual needs, but the choice of public cloud provider is ultimately up to the customer. In general, the basic characteristics – whether cost, performance, security and availability – are similar across public cloud provider offerings and are often not the decisive selection criteria. From our point of view, more than choosing a cloud provider, it is important that our enterprise customers answer these questions: “How can the cloud benefit my business objectives? What new services or offers do we want to make available to our customers? where can we produce them most efficiently?”

Swisscom is also transforming its own model into a cloud-native approach, with AWS as the preferred cloud provider for its own IT. Why did you choose AWS in this context?

Swisscom wants to advance its 5G and telecom strategy in collaboration with AWS. After a thorough due diligence review, the overall AWS offering was found to be the most aligned with our strategy. By migrating to AWS, Swisscom is completing its transformation from a telecommunications company to a technology company.

How do Swisscom’s corporate customers benefit from the experience gained in their own cloud transformation?

Our customers, of course, benefit immensely as we learn a lot and continue to learn along our journey to the cloud with AWS. We develop good practices that materialize in blueprints and automations, which we can make available to our customers with few adaptations. As Swisscom, we want and must meet the highest standards, and our customers benefit from the issues we have already clarified in the areas of security and compliance. Being in a way our biggest customer, we can share our experience with our B2B customers in the most diverse sectors. We have extensive experience in how to successfully implement public cloud and hybrid cloud models.

How does Swisscom concretely support companies in their cloud transformation?

Hyperscalers have developed cloud adoption frameworks tailored to their offerings. We’ve guided these best practices to better exploit the benefits of the public cloud. Based on these frameworks, however, we developed our own cloud-neutral adoption framework that is based on our agnostic approach and can be applied across different vendors. As part of our cloud consulting services, we also provide our clients with comprehensive consulting on strategy, implementation, migration, compliance, security and operations, as well as outside the cloud. For cloud adoption to be successful, a company’s cloud strategy must first and foremost be focused on its business objectives. In the transformation to the cloud, profitability is a central issue. For companies, the cloud can be a force multiplier, an enabler, but also open up entirely new possibilities and even new areas of business. Organizations must be careful, however, not to assume their own understanding of the cloud and make bad decisions that would incur unnecessary costs.

Besides the cloud, what are the other elements of a digitization strategy?

First, we must distinguish digitization from digital transformation. Digitization is all about optimizing existing processes and ways of doing things with new technologies. On the other hand, companies thinking about digital transformation are rethinking their entire business model and considering the possibilities offered by new technologies. Organizations preparing for digital transformation should ask themselves: what would my business look like if I started today? The focus should be on customers and their expectations, or on the organization and corporate culture, but not on the technological possibilities of implementation. Organizations need to know what they mean by digital transformation and what they want to achieve through it. The technical aspects only become central when the company’s objectives are clearly established.

Why is the cloud such a central aspect of a digitization strategy?

Many new business models are only emerging thanks to digital transformation and the possibilities offered by public clouds. The cloud allows IT to move from being a cost driver to a business enabler. With their nearly infinite infrastructure (IaaS) and platform (PaaS) services – such as IoT, data or AI – clouds offer a massive toolkit that, if used correctly, accelerates innovation and helps reduce time to market. . Companies that do not operate in this area are left behind. Just look at today’s tech startups: they are cloud-native companies. Generations Z and Alpha are comfortable in such environments. They want to work with the latest technology. Companies that miss out on digital transformation will not only be overtaken by innovative tech companies, they will also struggle to find learners and employees among digital natives. They don’t want outdated systems and technologies.

the interviewed

Andrea Meier has worked at Swisscom for seven years. Initially responsible for the configuration and commissioning of Swisscom’s 4SAP (private) corporate cloud, he has been working in the field of public clouds for four years. Since 2021, he has been responsible with his team for Microsoft Azure, AWS and hybrid solutions. Previously, he worked in strategic consulting at SBB. Andrea Meier holds a BA in Business Administration, an EMBA in Leadership and Management, and multiple certifications for Microsoft Azure and AWS.

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