May 17, 2018

Blackstone’s Portfolio Looks to the Cloud

Many CIOs today face a complex and difficult path when they look to the cloud to deploy enterprise applications and systems. At Blackstone, we saw an opportunity to educate our portfolio companies on this fast changing space.

Last month, 40 Blackstone Portfolio CIOs/CTOs travelled to Seattle for 3 days of cloud education with the three leading cloud service providers - Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.  Key executives from each of the cloud providers provided insights to their corporate cultures, product and application migration strategies, as well as market perspectives and advice.

Blackstone partnered with Cloudreach, one of our Tactical Opportunities portfolio companies to plan and execute this exclusive event.  Our group of technology leaders was given the unique opportunity to compare the three largest players in the cloud industry side-by-side while discussing their unique business challenges with industry and Cloudreach experts.

Our technology leaders walked away with three critical take-aways:

 

  1. All of the vendors are moving very fast creating new capabilities, functionality, and features. They have launched hundreds of new capabilities in the last 12 months.Examples include serverless computing, containerization, as well as advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and a platform to support the Internet of Things (IoT). This fast moving environment is extremely daunting for even the most advanced technology teams to track and determine how to harness value from these new features.
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  3. With the competitive market, cloud service providers are lowering prices in one way or another. This is further underscoring the long-term benefit of efficiency and/or cost savings by moving to the cloud. Although the market is growing rapidly, the top providers appear to have separated themselves from the pack, which should continue to bring new features and higher quality services to the market at competitive pricing.
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  5. While the preferred method of “moving to the cloud” is to develop native applications that take advantage of the cloud provider’s architectures and tools, many companies with legacy technology will adopt the easier “lift and shift” method of migrating applications.All of the providers support both models.While there are still significant efficiencies to be gained with the latter method, but developing new applications native to the cloud environment will provide more flexibility and greater operating efficiencies.

 

The tone this year related to the cloud is markedly different from only a couple of years ago.  All of the CIOs are looking for ways to validate and accelerate their move to the cloud instead of deciding whether to move at all.  Amazon, Microsoft and Google gave us comfort that their innovation, security focus and competitive drive will produce great choices for our portfolio CIOs as they look to create efficiency and drive innovation for our companies and investors. Looking ahead, we are focused on helping connect our portfolio company leaders to the best resources and insights to ensure their success. Through this knowledge sharing, we’re able to create lasting value across our portfolio.