Q&A with Tom Raftery, Global VP at SAP

MEDIA 7 | September 19, 2019

Tom Raftery, Global VP at SAP is an Innovation Evangelist, Futurist, and international Keynote speaker. Prior to joining SAP, Tom worked for a number of companies at Group IT Manager/CTO level, and as an Industry Analyst. Tom is a global thought leader and ranks among the top 10 Internet of Things influencers in the world. 

MEDIA 7: If I were to say to a bunch of people who know you, ‘Give me three adjectives that best describe you’, what would I hear?
TOM RAFTERY: 
I would like to think that I am a good communicator, maybe smart and hopefully generous. You will have to ask people other than myself though. They would be a better judge.

M7: What is the role of a technology influencer in driving environmental sustainability?
TR: 
The role of someone like me would be to raise awareness of the issues that are happening and potential solutions to them, particularly technological solutions. A lot of people are busy in their day-to-day lives and they might not be aware of some of the more pressing environmental issues that are happening in the world and that might impact them. So, raising awareness with people, of the importance of these issues, and the potential technological solutions to them is the role I think that influencers should be playing.


"Raising awareness with people, of the importance of environmental issues, and the potential technological solutions to them is the role that influencers should be playing."

M7: SAP is celebrating the 10th anniversary of strategic sustainability this year. What are the initiatives being taken by the company to help the world run better and achieve the UN sustainable development goals by 2030?
TR:
We are involved in a lot of different projects in this front. We work for example, with Vestas Wind Systems who are the only global energy company dedicated exclusively to wind energy. We help them with their backend systems to help optimize the delivery of windfarms and turbines to windfarms, so that they are keeping their costs down and deploying the windfarms with the highest efficiency. We work with Munich Re and the European Space Agency. Munich Re are one of the largest reinsurance companies in the world and for them, they need to predict, and try and mitigate the damage of natural disasters. We use data from European Space Agency to help Munich Re do that.

We work with Brazilian company, Stara who are an agricultural company. They manufacture agricultural equipment, and the work we do with them is what’s called precision agriculture. Precision agriculture means that we can help their machines be far more precise in things like spreading fertilizers, spreading seeds to make sure that the seeds don’t overlap, the fertilizer doesn’t overlap and you’re doing it row by row. You have to sow the seeds and spread the fertilizer very accurately to avoid an overlap. Because if you have overlap with fertilizer, it can reach toxic levels and damage the plants that you are trying to help. If you have overlap in seeds, you can have excess competition between the seeds and then you get reduction in yield. Whereas if you are optimizing using precision agriculture, you are massively reducing your inputs and you are maximizing your outputs. So, you are able to feed more people with less land and less resources which obviously, as we are reaching higher population levels year-on-year, this becomes more and more important.

We work with NGOs like this one in Africa, called Elephants, Rhinos and People which was founded to preserve and protect the wild elephants and rhinos in Southern Africa. We work with local people to make sure that it’s more profitable for them to protect wildlife than it is to be poaching wildlife. We put collars on elephants and rhinos with geo-tracking in them. We use drones, to track the elephants and rhinos and if they start approaching borders of the parks that might expose them more to poaching. We send off alerts and help move them back into places where they are safer. Since we started the initiative in that area, no elephants rhinos, or humans have been harmed since the deployment of the tracking.

We work with Swiss Federal Railways, the largest energy consumer in Switzerland and they are also an energy producer - they produce electricity. So, we work with them to help reduce the peak loads, the peak demand for electricity by flattening their load which then means, they don’t need to build extra generation plants, reducing their carbon footprint and making their organization more efficient.


"Making our workforce aware of what we are doing as our external constituents is important for our employees to feel engaged and part of something important."

M7: You have been on the SmartCitiesWorld Advisory Board. How does SmartCitiesWorld help in developing smart cities of the future?
TR:
The SmartCitiesWorld is a publication. It raises awareness of smart cities initiatives that cities can take to make the cities run better, reduce their energy requirements, reduce their footprint, increase their air quality, reduce noise pollution, and lots of different initiatives like that. So, as a publication, it’s primarily responsible for raising awareness and helping cities find better ways to increase quality of life for their constituents.

M7: How does SAP embrace an innovative culture in the company?
TR:
Obviously, as a technology company it is very important for SAP to embrace an innovative culture in the company and what the company typically does is, it spends a lot of money on research and development and it does a lot of communication internally and externally highlighting the innovative solutions that we have come up with for our customers. And making our workforce aware of what we are doing as our external constituents because it’s important for our employees to feel engaged and part of something important. And as a consequence, every time, every year, we run this survey internally on how happy our employees are working for SAP. And our rate of employee retention is extremely high.

It’s not unusual in Europe to talk to SAP employees who have been working for the company for 10 or more years, which in the technology industry is unusual. So, that’s how we embrace the innovative culture and we talk of the things that we do, we work closely also with our customers because we do a lot of co-innovation projects with our customers where we take our customers into our co-innovation centers and we talk through their problems with them and come up with innovative ways to solve any particularly gnarly issues that they might have.


"A lot of people are busy in their day-to-day lives and they might not be aware of some of the more pressing environmental issues that are happening in the world and that might impact them."

M7: What is your favorite part of working at SAP?
TR:
I started working for SAP in September 2016, so it’s just over 3 years ago now. And, prior to working with SAP, I had worked primarily with startups and small companies. I have never worked with a global mega vendor before. So, I was wondering what it would be like and I had my doubts, and if you would ask me in 2016, I would have said, “Yeah, I’ll probably last about three months with SAP”. But, three years later, here I am. And, a lot of that is down to the fact that the company is so big, and it has close to 100,000 employees, it means there are always people I can approach, if I need help in any country or in any industry. Because my role is across industry. So, if I need to talk to somebody who is in the transportation industry, I can just go straight to the transportation business unit and talk to people there. If I need to talk to people in the hospitality industry, same story. If I need to talk to people in the airline industry, the mining industry, the electricity industry, we cover all industries, we cover all regions globally. And, there’s a culture within SAP of helpfulness which is great. Apparently, it’s unusual. For me, it’s the norm if people bring up and ask me for help, I would say, “Yeah sure, absolutely, no problem.” And that’s the way most people in SAP are! You pick up the phone or send an email, and they are happy to help, no matter what. Apparently, that’s not the norm for big companies, but it is the norm for SAP which is great and that’s why I love working for SAP.  

M7: When did you start working, how old were you, and what was it?
TR:
My first job was when I was 14. I worked on a building site where I was a builder’s mate, helping raise the scaffolding on the building and also help ferry bricks that were delivered to the site from the ground up to the brick layers on the top floor. So, that was my first job.

ABOUT SAP

SAP is a global software application vendor. SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software, helping companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables our customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improves people’s lives.

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Though DaaS and VDI solutions help security teams better protect against vulnerabilities, malicious actors and other external threats, they do little to reduce the risk from insiders, as virtual environments inherently depend on cloud tools. “We’ve seen a notable uptick in the number of teams that have deployed DaaS and VDI solutions throughout their environments. Given the continued popularity of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and remote work, coupled with an unstable hardware supply chain, we absolutely expect this trend to continue, In virtual-first organizations where there is pervasive use of cloud collaboration tools, such as Git, Salesforce, GDrive, OneDrive and iCloud, Incydr wraps a layer of protection around data put at risk by insiders, complementing solutions that focus on external threats and malicious actors.” Rob Juncker, CTO of Code42 Code42 Incydr: The Industry’s Leading Data Security Product for Exfiltration Detection and Response Incydr is an Insider Risk Management solution that provides the visibility, context and controls needed to stop data leak and IP theft. Organizations utilize Incydr to detect and respond to data exposure and exfiltration from corporate computer, cloud and email systems. It deploys in hours so security teams can address material risk to the business in a matter of days and drive the secure work habits needed to decrease how often employees put data at risk in the future. Code42 Instructor: Education-Led Insider Risk Response The Code42 Instructor™ micro-learning solution improves Insider Risk awareness by focusing on the creation of holistic, security-oriented cultures. The solution delivers actionable, hyper-targeted and bite-sized video lessons to end-users when they’re needed most, helping to change security behavior for the long term. The Instructor solution helps organizations rapidly mature their Insider Risk Management programs by incorporating data-driven Insider Risk behavioral guidance for end-users. Combining the Power of Incydr and Instructor Instructor works in tandem with Incydr, allowing security, compliance and education teams to immediately send corrective video lessons triggered by employee actions that create risk for the business. For example, when Incydr flags file movement to an untrusted location, like an unauthorized cloud application, an Instructor video specifically explaining the correct activity is sent to educate the employee in real-time through the Incydr solution. Code42 Services: Measure, Manage, Mitigate IRM technology is simpler and faster to deploy than other technologies, such as DLP and CASB, but it does require a strategy and mindset shift. Insider Risk Management isn’t only about data – it’s about a company’s employees and culture. Code42 IRM Services are designed to help organizations establish an efficient and effective IRM program rooted in transparency, training and technology. Code42’s services take a collaborative approach to helping organizations develop, operationalize, and mature an end-to-end IRM program. About Code42 Code42 is the leader in Insider Risk Management (IRM), offering end-to-end data loss detection and response solutions. The Code42 Incydr product is native to the cloud and rapidly detects data exposure, loss, leak and theft as well as speeds incident response – all without lengthy deployments, complex policy management or blocking employee productivity. Accelerating the effectiveness of Insider Risk programs are the Code42 Instructor microlearning solution, and Code42’s full suite of expert services. With Code42, security professionals can protect corporate data and reduce insider risk while fostering an open and collaborative culture for employees. Designed to meet regulatory control requirements, Code42’s IRM solution is FEDRAMP authorized and can be configured for GDPR, HIPAA, PCI and other compliance frameworks. Innovative organizations, including the fastest-growing security companies, rely on Code42 to safeguard their ideas. Founded in 2001, the company is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and backed by Accel Partners, JMI Equity, NewView and Split Rock Partners. Code42 has played a defining role in developing a vision and requirements for the IRM category – now recognized by Gartner, IDC and Forrester – and is a founding member of the annual Insider Risk Summit and Insider Risk Community. The Company has several offices across the United States and its clients include large multinational organizations, such as Crowdstrike, Exabeam, BAYADA Home Health Care, Juniper Networks, Lending Club, MacDonald-Miller, MACOM, North Highland, Ping Identity, Shape Technologies, Snowflake, University of Georgia, User Testing, UTEX and Xactly.

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SERVER VIRTUALIZATION

MacStadium Announces Inaugural User Conference, Showcases World-Class Enterprise Mac Virtualization and Cloud Solutions for macOS

MacStadium | September 17, 2022

“We’re honored and humbled to build upon our Leaders in Infrastructure Technology initiatives by hosting our first user conference in our hometown of Atlanta, We’re excited to see the interactions that ensue by bringing together some of the largest technology industry leaders for a tech preview and discussing synergies and opportunities to efficiently solve real industry challenges.” Tom Schnell, senior vice president and chief customer officer at MacStadium Founded in 2011, MacStadium combines patented technology, proprietary configurations and unparalleled expertise in Apple infrastructure to meet the needs of customers ranging in size from individual developers to Fortune 100 companies. With high-performance and dedicated Apple hardware, including the Mac Pro, Mac mini and the new Mac Studio; private cloud solutions required by DevOps, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and enterprise users, guaranteed uptime with expert support; and, data centers located worldwide, MacStadium has earned the trust of iOS developers, mobile testing teams and DevOps engineers worldwide. Simplifying Mac for Business The company’s invitation-only 2022 MacStadium User Conference will highlight its proprietary enterprise Mac virtualization and cloud solutions. The conference is for professionals who work in environments encompassing IT; cloud, bare metal; SaaS; security; the Apple ecosystem; - desktop and management; virtual desktop; DevOps; iOS engineering; continuous integration, continuous delivery and continuous deployment; and Mac virtualization. The conference will offer educational opportunities to learn how MacStadium’s cloud solutions simplify Mac for business. Among them is MacStadium’s proprietary Orchestration of Kubernetes on Apple (Orka®) platform that uniquely solves Mac DevOps and Mac virtualization complexities and IT teams’ Mac virtual-desktop needs. Orka, for instance, may reduce iOS build times by more than 30%. MacStadium also boasts a first-to-market, rackable Mac Studio cloud solution and can reduce IT employee on-boarding by eight to 12 weeks. A data center tour for press members and existing customers is available during and after the conference. “I’ve witnessed MacStadium’s steady and significant growth for many years,” said Nick Cobb, vice president of product and engineering at Kyte and former DevOps executive at Uber. “MacStadium’s expertise and approach to solve real issues within the Apple ecosystem is unmatched. I’m excited to preview their next phase of innovation while they bring industry leaders together.” Previews of MacStadium’s Coming Tech Roadmaps and Platforms Registered conference attendees include technology leaders from Fortune 500 companies, along with gaming, enterprise SaaS, fintech and consumer-focused organizations. Attendees will have the opportunity to preview upcoming technology roadmaps, learn about proprietary new platforms launching soon and about best-in-class utilization of MacStadium’s services for optimizing their organizational processes, engage with MacStadium’s executive and engineering teams and interact with industry leaders. Summit Partners Technologist-in-Residence Neil Roseman is scheduled to deliver the conference’s keynote speech titled, “The Power of Ecosystems.” He spent a decade at Amazon.com, where he served as vice president of technology, responsible for Amazon’s marketplace platform, digital media technologies and worldwide retail software systems. After Amazon, Neil served as Zynga’s vice president of engineering, where he created the company’s platform and led the launch of Zynga.com. Super Bowl champion and former NFL offensive tackle Ryan Harris will deliver an inspiring talk titled, “I Am, I Can, I Will.” Harris won Super Bowl 50 as a player with the Denver Broncos and played professional football for 10 years before retiring in 2016. Harris graduated from Notre Dame University with bachelor’s degrees in economics and policy and is a frequent guest speaker at organized events. About MacStadium Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Atlanta, MacStadium is a software-as-a-service leader delivering scalable and secure enterprise cloud solutions exclusively for macOS. The company’s suite of advanced software-enabled infrastructure, combined with its innovative technology, delivers the security, performance, reliability and flexibility its customers require for successful app development on Apple devices. Powered by MacStadium, Orka (Orchestration with Kubernetes on Apple) is the only virtualization layer available for Mac build infrastructure based on Docker and Kubernetes technology. MacStadium is a Summit Partners portfolio company with growing operations in Las Vegas, Silicon Valley, Dublin, Ireland.

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