In this Face In the Cloud, we meet Cloud Strategist and Cloudbusting podcast host, Jeremy Ward. We cover his experiences in IT, his love for Fulham FC and the upcoming webinar he will co-host with cloud training provider, A Cloud Guru.
Tell us more about your career before you came to Cloudreach?
I’ve always been involved in IT, from a very early role heading up a document management system for an oil company to COO for a software development company. I’ve also been involved in the hospitality industry for a number of years and held two CIO positions for hotel companies. It was whilst working at one of the hotel companies that I implemented the move of apps and infrastructure to the Cloud and became one of the early customers of Cloudreach.
What drew you to join the Cloudreach team?
As a customer of Cloudreach, since 2011, I really knew the company well. I’d seen the company grow from about 15 people through to over 300 and always had a great deal of respect for the company, the solutions it provided, and the people it employed. I was approached toward the middle of last year and asked if I would like to join the team to bring the experience of migrating organizations to the Cloud from a customers point of view – and help increase the average age of the company by at least 5 yrs.
So you’re a Cloud Strategist, what does that involve? What skills do you need?
The cloud strategist role is really all about experience. After 25 years of working in the IT space, 17 of these at C-level, I’ve taken three companies to the Cloud in various guises and done this with various CSPs. This all helps build credibility when we’re talking to our C-level customers as they know they’re talking to people who’ve been through the journey and can help navigate around the pain points. The skills I find that are the most useful are listening and empathy – when you really listen to your customer’s needs and identify with their concerns, it’s the start of great partnership.
What are the perks of a customer being able to engage with a Cloud Strategist while developing their Cloud Journey?
In most cases, this is the first time a customer has been through a cloud adoption programme. When they have one of the Cloud Strategists on their project they are able to use them as a sounding board. They know the strategist has done this as a customer and has sat in the same seat as them. Having this experience to call on is invaluable and something I wish I’d had the opportunity to utilize when I was the customer.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
Apart from my two boys (12 and 13), it is snowboarding, in the winter and kitesurfing during the summer. When the snow and wind are not right I’m a season ticket holder at Fulham Football Club, although this has not been a great season so far!
So we hear that you’re on speaking on a live Webinar with A Cloud Guru (Feb 14th), why is this such a strong partnership?
This is a really well-tailored match. Basically you’re taking a world-renowned Cloud learning education platform, A Cloud Guru, and matching with a company who day-in-day-out deals with implementation of the major Cloud platforms, Cloudreach. This mixes individuals who have execution experience and trained Cloud educators. Together we can speak with a company’s current IT team and help them adopt the cloud so that they understand what’s happening and how to manage their new environment with ease.
We know you don’t want to give away too much, but what sort of topics will you be discussing on Feb.14th?
We’ll be talking about the benefits and myths associated with Cloud adoption.
We are enjoying the Cloudbusting podcast that you and fellow Cloud Strategist, Dave Chapman, are hosting. Can you tell us a bit more about that project?
Yes, it’s a project Dave and I are passionate about – we’ve created a podcast that explores various areas of cloud adoption. The aim is to not make it too technical and try and add some humanity and lightheartedness to what could be seen as a dry subject. We have guests each week to add their point of view on the different subjects we discuss and to take part in the Cloudy Cliffhanger. Cloudy Cliffhanger? I hear you ask – find out more on Twitter @CloudbustingPod
If you could go back in time to one concert, which one would it be?
I’m a bit of an indie/punk fan. One band I’d love to have seen would have been the Clash in the 70s. They had a lot of gigs, but in 1976, in Manchester, they played with the Sex Pistols, the Buzzcocks and the Heartbreakers – wow what a gig.