How Dell Technologies enables Three Ireland’s transformation
Jason Ward is VP and General Manager at Dell Technologies Ireland. He has extensive experience managing teams across Europe, and favours exactly the culture in place at Dell. “If you've got a very happy and contented workforce that have a good work life balance, and are all focused on the customer, leadership becomes quite an easy job,” he says.
The company’s mission is to create technologies that drive human progress. “Our vision is to become the most essential technology company, from the edge to the core, from data centres to the cloud and everything in between. We as a company can help organisations transform themselves from the world of legacy IT right into the digital world we're in today.” Its efforts are delineated into a number of complementary offerings, as Ward explains. “Dell, as a family of companies, has created technologies and solutions that feed into four categories. We go to market around Workforce transformation, security transformation, IT transformation and digital transformation.”
One such beneficiary of Dell’s approach has been Three Ireland. “We've been working with them for five years now. One of the great things about working with Three and Stephen Reidy, the CIO, is that they are a real disruptor in the marketplace in terms of telecommunications and mobile.” That disruptive capability has required Dell’s technology. “We've been working with them primarily around supporting them on their core business systems. Support systems, analytics, CRM, and the management of data across Three is critical to their business requirements, and that's very much how we've partnered with them to support that.”
That’s involved the use of some of Dell’s latest and greatest technologies, such as flexible and scalable high end storage infrastructure known as PowerMax. “PowerMax underpins virtually all of the mission critical workloads and applications that Three needs. PowerMax changes the game for Three business applications. It is designed with a multi-controller, active/active scale-out architecture and industry standard, end-to-end NVMe and SCM powered by Intel Optane™ technology. Inline, global dedupe and compression add extreme efficiency to their data centre - we've reduced the time it takes for billing runs to one fifth of what it was. All of the core, mission-critical systems from billing right through to real time analytics and AI for customer data are being supported by our underlying PowerMax technology, which is very exciting.”
Going forwards, as the telecommunications industry evolves with the likes of 5G and software-defined data centres, Ward is confident that the partnership will also go from strength to strength. “The fundamental basis of a good partnership is firstly understanding what our customer's objectives and challenges are,” he says. “We work closely with Stephen and his team to understand Three’s business requirements and what they are trying to achieve as an organisation. Only from that can we architect our solutions. We value the relationship tremendously, and we're looking forward to continued expansion and growth over the coming years.”
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”