The rapid expansion of National DCP, the $2bn supply chain management company serving the franchisees of US chain Dunkin' Donuts, has been brought about by the use of modern cloud platforms, according to its chief information officer Darrell Riekena.
NDCP embraced the Verizon cloud platform as part of Project Freshstart earlier this year, and Riekena told V3 that the evolution of his firm would not be possible without the use of cloud technology.
"Cloud has reached a point where it's more accessible. We are a $2bn company in the US but if we tried to do all this on our own it would be hugely expensive to have data centres and the hardware and to manage it all ourselves," he said during a roundtable event attended by V3.
"I can't imagine trying to do as much transformation and supporting the growth of our company if we were running our own data centres. I can't imagine how we would plan for that, and the economic model would be so difficult for us."
Riekena explained that cloud platforms help companies to manage the sheer amount of data in an organisation and cope with the rapid change caused by technology.
"We rely on partners to stay ahead. We would be left behind if we didn't. I don't know how independent companies can develop applications and stay current on all the infrastructure changes and the pace in how that's moving," he said.
NDCP chose to outsource its data storage to the Verizon cloud service rather than running its own data centres. The company now uses the Verizon cloud to manage distribution, supply chains, the sourcing of goods and the running of its back-end office systems.
This includes Dunkin' Donuts' tools that are used for everything from mobile ordering in outlets to the computer systems connecting the delivery drivers across the chain.
"You choose to select software like SAP as that's one you don't have to build from the ground up and it has the knowledge and ideas brought together from many companies into one solution. So then it's about how you apply your business and maximise the capabilities," he explained.
"You have to have an understanding of your business and where you're headed and not just be technology centric. For me it's the blend of business knowledge and the latest in technology skills."
Cloud security concerns
Security concerns have affected every industry that relies on the internet, and Riekena claimed that partnering with firms like Verizon can offer a degree of security.
"In the age of data security nobody wants to go it alone. You would be foolish to try to do it yourself. So you have to rely on other partners that have the experience and the expertise. I think that balances the need for control which changes to a trusted partnership," he said.
"The security component of our choice of Verizon for our cloud was one of the major factors. The firm is known for its forensics and security and has involvement with learning from breaches, so we wanted to take advantage of that as well."
Ryan Shuttleworth, chief technology officer for Verizon's cloud business, added that the threats facing business change constantly and that cloud platforms can provide greater security.
"Cloud is generally seen to be more secure because you are in the collective. You are not going it alone. But the nature of what's out there as a threat continues to change. There are all sorts of horror stories out there at the moment and the state of play is always changing," he said.
"Some of our customers really value our new rapid retainer, which is an insurance policy from our security experts. If there is ever a breach or problem they will be on the phone to us straight away and we will have guys on site nearly immediately to assess the risk and manage the incident."
Shuttleworth and Riekena agreed that cloud technology will evolve over the next year and see greater adoption by businesses of all sizes.
"From a cloud provider's perspective I think the future of cloud is fascinating," said Shuttleworth.
"Cloud has taught us how to build highly resilient digital applications, whereas previously that was only accessible to guys with really big wallets. It has democratised distribution and delivery around these applications."
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