Giving you more flexibility with multi-cloud

With demands for more flexible cloud services growing, vendors offering more developer tools to help with multi-cloud strategies are bridging the gap

John O’Connell, director of software engineering solutions, Expleo: ‘It’s an exciting time, and we expect the same amount of change that happened over the last 40 years to happen in the next four or five years’

The term ‘digital transformation’ has been floating around for many years. Originally the question was how you move to the cloud, but now the focus is on what vendor you use and the setup you have.

There are a significant number of ways to not just move to the cloud but configure your setup to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

“Generally, tools are more freely available,” explained John O’Connell, director of software engineering solutions at Expleo. “About seven or eight years ago, people would have asked you, ‘Why are you on the cloud?’ Now it’s focused on, ‘Why aren’t you using certain tools?’”


Founded: The Expleo brand was launched in 2019 after the merger of Assystem (founded in 1966) and SQS (1996)

Staff: 17,000+

Annual turnover: €1.3 billion

Why it is in the news: As the pressure to keep up with consumer and business demand grows, more companies are looking to specialised solutions like multi-cloud to keep up, according to Expleo

That shift in mindset is down to several factors. For one, the expectation from both front-end and back-end users has risen; people expect to do more with services and take flexibility and accessibility as a given.

That is complicated by the growing challenges companies face. Expleo’s most recent Business Transformation Index (BTI) found that cost inflation and talent shortages are the biggest concerns for chief information officers and chief executives today. Similarly, for older companies, it’s becoming harder for decision-makers to achieve the cultural change needed to push ahead with digital transformation.

It’s difficult to change, but the rewards are there for those who can pave the way. Much has been made of moving to the cloud, but the latest generation of developer tools has opened up doors for organisations. Offerings like Microsoft Dev Box create new ways to be productive and drive business efficiencies.

This doesn’t just mean more plugins, it means utilising tools like generative AI to streamline processes and take away some of the workload of developers.

“For Dev Boxes and similar technologies, you can speed up the process,” O’Connell said. “You can produce code and work from it within a day rather than spend a week writing it and releasing your first usable code three weeks later.

“There’s stuff happening around generative AI such as ChatGPT, which can act as a persona, and developers can ask them questions.

“It’s all around the same problem: there’s a shortage, and you have to keep your people happy and productive while protecting your business – because if you don’t change, your competitors will.”

The other area that is seeing significant growth is the multi-cloud setup. While previously companies were limited to just one vendor, now you can pick the features from two or more services that best meet your organisation’s needs.

It’s easier than ever to go multi-cloud, and there are several benefits in doing so.

“For some, it’s trying to avoid vendor lock-in, but others are looking at sustainability and which vendors are greener,” said O’Connell. “With the tools that are available now, you can easily shift your workload. You have greater uptime, and there can be cost advantages.

“Granted, it makes things more complicated because you have two [or more vendors] to deal with, but there are rewards for doing it. Because each of the different vendors is constantly innovating, and have a raft of new services coming out that you can use.”

Likewise, there are numerous plugins developed for each of the major vendors, so many of them can interlink with each other. While it does increase the complexity of your cloud environment, it ensures that you have flexibility throughout your strategy.

Security remains a significant concern for organisations, especially in the cloud, with Expleo’s BTI showing that 36 per cent of businesses see cyberattacks as inevitable and 46 per cent focus on prevention as a primary strategy against cybersecurity threats.

The stance has gone towards adopting a zero-trust policy, where the assumption is that bad actors will get into the system. It means verifying everything, ensuring that all users have the least access privileges required and use their encryption keys so that even if someone is compromised, the data is indecipherable to anyone without the right keys.

All in all, it’s a busy and challenging period for those focusing on their cloud strategy, but a very exciting one.

“It’s an exciting time, and we expect the same amount of change that happened over the last 40 years to happen in the next four or five years,” O’Connell said. “It’s the hockey stick growth that’s expected. As a technical person, it’s very exciting, but that’s why there’s been a big shift happening now.

“With the skills shortage, how do we make the best of it? And those demands are just going to go up and up.”