t’s two weeks until our Hybrid Enterprise event, and us at #TeamCisilion couldn’t be more excited. Last but not least, we would like to announce our final guest speaker: James Akrigg, Head of Technology for Partners at Microsoft. Cisilion’s Chief Strategy Officer Rob Quickenden had a Skype for Business call with James (also referred as “Gold Dust”) to discuss all things Hybrid Enterprise. Check out the interview below!

How is Microsoft helping your customers to understand the benefits of moving to the cloud? 

We’ve been helping customers for quite some time over the years to move towards the cloud. The cloud journey is a phrase that you hear quite often. I think the key things are that we are providing choice as regards to how and when the customer moves to the cloud. We are also handling things that weren’t possible before. We’re also providing cloud possibilities without limitations – so if you’re a customer today who’s running on-premise and Linux or OpenSource as a software and Microsoft provides you with the choice to move those workflows to the cloud as well as bring the platforms of those technologies to the next generation of technology and Internet of Things, such as Big Data. So Microsoft is providing more than just a choice.

What are your future predictions for the hybrid cloud? 

Hybrid Cloud is one of those terms that the industry has kind of taken. For each individual customer they will decide what hybrid IT means to them. In some cases it will be still using certain technologies still on-premises across technologies hosted by hosting partners and tech in public cloud services as a combination. In other senses it will be a case of having workloads that are split between on-premise and the cloud and e-mail is one that has taken shape in that regard. What we are also seeing is that some of the technologies we developed initially for cloud and Azure are now coming available to our customers to run in their own data centres due to new stack technologies. It’s down to each individual customer in terms of what they deliver as part of a hybrid cloud environment or we are certainly enabling the technology to enable those choices for our customers.

What are the next big workloads customers will be moving to the cloud? 

We’re seeing so many customers embrace the cloud, particularly with applications such as email and some other collaboration technologies we have brought to our customers. But now customers are looking to do more, so things that weren’t really possible on-premises are now starting to be taken seriously in the cloud, so we are seeing a lot of high performance computing and other areas that are really starting to drive transformation.

What are the biggest challenges when moving to the cloud? 

For me, certain conversations I have with customers, one of their biggest challenges is driving cultural change. It’s not about the technology on its own, it’s about actually driving the business forward. To think differently about how they are going to embrace technology and how they provide digital experiences to their customers and client. I spend a lot of time talking with start-ups and early stage companies. They don’t need to reimagine their business, they just embrace all the technologies that are available, many of those technologies being cloud and mobile and they make it happen. The challenge for our existing customers today, is to be a digital disruptor before they are digitally disrupted.

Interested to hear more from James and MIcrosoft’s view on the hybrid cloud? Join Cisilion for our free #HybridIT2016 event on 22nd April at the London Fields Brewery. An event not to be missed – secure your free place here:http://events.cisilion.com/hybrid/#register