UPDATED 13:56 EDT / DECEMBER 11 2019

mike-cowden-aws-reinvent-2019 CLOUD

Q&A: Cloud-native ecosystem success brings the best of multiple worlds into one place

We are truly in the midst of a technology revolution, with many start-ups taking the cloud-native approach — building, deploying and operating applications using the cloud. But, one would argue that we’re always revolutionizing technology. It is ever-growing and ever-evolving, which means that organizations need optimal support and a system of collaborating that optimizes productivity.

“In the world we work in today, you have to have proximity to the problem that you’re trying to solve,” said Mike Cowden (pictured), president of Slalom LLC. “So we try to get as close as we can to our customers and create long-term relationships, just like our customers are creating with these new modern technology.”.

Cowden spoke with John Furrier (@furrier) and Dave Vellante (@dvellante), co-hosts of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the during the AWS re:Invent event in Las Vegas. They discussed organizational collaboration, support, and putting data at the heart of what you do. (* Disclosure below.)

[Editor’s note: The following answers have been condensed for clarity.]

Furrier: Talk about the company, quick highlights about the firm, how big you guys are, and your secret of success.

Cowden: Slalom has been around for over 15 years now, and we’ve grown 100% organically. And our model is very much a locally focused model. Our consultants live and work in the cities that they grew up in, and so they know their customers really well. It’s not a traveling model. Slalom Build is Slalom’s answer to building modern software products and modern data products. We have a dozen build centers in three different countries that support projects in those local cities.

Furrier: What are your customers doing with respect to putting that leadership stake in the ground? How are they driving this big leadership transformation? Not tire-kicking; we’re talking about full-throttle transformations?

Cowden: It’s an interesting time right now for sure. We’re in the middle of this technology revolution that if you’re not turning yourself into a modern technology organization, you’re not [going to] be around for very long. You have a lot of new startups that are going to be cloud-native; they’re going to be moving very quickly. They’re taking advantage of all these modern technologies, so there really must be an imperative for senior leaders in these companies to take on that transformation.

Vellante: You said your focus is to build tools; talk a little bit more about what those are and how you’re applying them to help customers.

Cowden: One of the big announcements we had [at re:Invent] was AWS and Slalom have joined together to create launch centers. They’re going to be physical locations that are going to be co-populated with Slalom employees and AWS employees to give our joint customers this unique experience of having the best of both worlds in one place. We can talk about the transformation of an organization, we can talk about the application of tools to solve technology problems, and we can do it all together in one location with our customers.

Furrier: One trend we’re seeing is more uptake with data science, but most customers don’t know they needed data science until they have data. How do guys view that?

Cowden: There’s a lot of data people don’t realize they already have. There’s so much data out there. That tends to be the biggest part of the problem; it’s like “What do I do with all these data?” So, there’s some great tools, the whole data lake that’s opened up access to vast amounts of data that can be unstructured that wasn’t available before. I think everybody has the data, they just may not realize they have the data. 

You don’t have to hire a whole bunch of data scientists anymore. We’ve moved beyond that as well. You can get artificial intelligence and machine learning now out of the box, essentially, and use that data to your advantage.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the AWS re:Invent event. (* Disclosure: Amazon Web Services Inc. sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither AWS nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.) 

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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