Many people today don’t know a world without email, video conferencing, and a host of other technology-driven collaboration and connectivity solutions. The same can be said of a world without televisions, telephones or cars – few people would probably have known such a world. Development happens gradually and incrementally until it is taken for granted, but getting there is always a story of struggle, commitment and perseverance. Tom Keane, who served as vice president at Microsoft, was a key player in the cloud computing revolution that brought fast, secure, high-performance, and reliable cloud services and infrastructure from Azure – the form of Microsoft’s cloud services – to thousands of customers. the world.

As Team Leader at Azure Global, Tom Keane led a global team of engineers that drove the adoption of Azure by dozens of countries around the world. This work included designing and launching future Azure data center regions and expanding Azure’s global coverage and capacity. The service is currently distributed across more than 300 data centers in 65 regions and 34 countries. Tom Keane has also worked closely with governments and regulators in the areas of cybersovereignty engineering to ensure that Azure’s privacy, compliance, data residency, and data security protocols adhere to or exceed and operate with all applicable laws, regulations and industry requirements.

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According to Tom Keane, some of his greatest accomplishments included launching the Azure Government Secret and Azure Government Top Secret cloud regions. He also cited the development and launch of a portfolio of industry-leading devices designed to bring cloud capabilities around the world as a significant win for his team and Microsoft.

“Whether you own a mission or are developing tools to support mission owners, you will have access to a very rich set of cloud capabilities,” said Tom Keane. “These features are available on the fabric of your choice and are easy to launch in the enclave of your choice, that too with the permissions you choose. And you extend to the technology your team already uses to serve your mission” , did he declare.

The goal? The goal has always been “to host the most critical, complex and regulated workloads on Microsoft Azure” while ensuring that customer data and workloads are always secure, monitored, available, reliable and compliant.

A constant challenge, however, has been to develop these cloud capabilities to conform to location- and user-specific needs. Redeploying new iterations of the same innovations in new markets then required a deep understanding of location-based trends, needs and sentiments, as well as the landscape and the legal and regulatory frameworks in which Microsoftthe Azure team and Microsoft customers had to work.

“We have always taken a product-driven approach to growth,” said Tom Keane. “We have worked closely with our largest customers, engineering team members and engineering team leaders working directly with our customers. The objective was to understand the client’s concerns and pain points, to be accessible, to listen to them and to respond to them. By using this approach, Tom Keane says he and his team have been able to overcome some of his clients’ many concerns. “We brought humility and a willingness to listen and learn to these discussions. It was important because we asked our customers to trust us. Tom Keane noted that “This was a very significant shift for many people who had built their careers around controlling their technology to now allow someone else to run it on their behalf. A growth mindset and the ability to constantly learn and be a learner, as opposed to a know-it-all, were instrumental in our initial success with early clients.

This approach, which Tom Keane and his team initially took when deploying Azure in China, has proven to be an effective model for future deployments. “I think Microsoft builds some of its best technology when we listen incredibly carefully to customers about how we can build technology that solves their toughest problems,” he said. Tom Keane and his team eventually worked with dozens of governments and hundreds of regulators to bring Azure’s cloud computing capabilities to users around the world.

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We are now at a point where many customers may not even know much about the underlying technology or infrastructure that powers the day-to-day applications and solutions they use. However, services like Azure — built incrementally over years to become an enabling, growth-oriented resource for all — operate behind the scenes, supporting users, businesses, industries, and economies. Tom Keane and Microsoft’s efforts to bring cloud computing to the world have caused a monumental change in the company world to cloud computing that we see today.

Tom Keane on unlimited cloud computing and the dilemma of AI

According to Tom Keane, in the past, an engineer’s creativity was limited by the amount of computing power he could access. For example, banks, energy companies, retailers, and anyone else who had some sort of solution was ultimately limited by the number of computers they could throw to solve their problem. “What the cloud does is it removes that constraint,” says Tom Keane. “Because of this, I can create a more valuable business, a more successful business, a more profitable business. I can better solve customer problems using this technology. And that’s why critical workloads are starting to move, because they can be solved in a better way using cloud computing than they could using legacy approaches of the past.

That, in itself, has already proven to be a global game changerbut where Tom Keane sees creating the greatest added value comes from digital transformation.

“I’m incredibly excited about what digital technology is bringing to every industry right now,” he says, “from manufacturing companies thinking about what they can do with a connected car, to financial services institutions thinking about what they can do with abundant computation and automated, augmented intelligence A key point, says Tom Keane, is that while most people think of AI as artificial intelligence, the reality is that it is rather an augmented intelligence. “AI is a technology that can make people more productive and give them more insight,” he says. “I don’t think it’s a technology replacing people; instead, it allows them to be more productive.

To that end, Tom Keane says we need to be careful about how and where we use AI systems. “One thing we’ve stood for is keeping a person in the know,” he says. “Like any technology, AI can be imperfect. And I think it’s important to know that you have a human there who can validate that the technology is making the right decisions. The creators of this technology should take a leading position in the principles of use, since they are closest to its operation, strengths, weaknesses and possibilities. And I think industry should take the lead here and guide government and big organizations.

The impact of COVID-19 on technology and future prospects

Organizations that rely on digital technology tend to move faster and adapt faster than their traditional counterparts. Tom Keane says, “I think COVID is a great example of where entire organizations built on Azure have been able to move workforces overnight to work from home rather than coming into the office without missing a beat. According to many analysts, many global industries experienced two years of digital transformation in as little as two months at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Much of this can be attributed to what cloud computing has enabled and what Azure has enabled in terms of customers’ ability to grow and use the cloud and cloud-based resources to span and solve problems they had never imagined or never considered.”

So what does the future hold for us?

Tom Keane said, “I think cloud providers have a responsibility. I have always believed that trust is built on transparency. I can’t ask you to trust me, but if I can be transparent, then you can form your own posture of trust. And I believe in it very deeply. Privacy-focused legislation such as the GDPR seems to share this sentiment, but as Tom Keane says, “I think the law is a lagging indicator. With the speed at which technology is changing, I think the responsibility has to be that the technology providers take the lead and then make sure the laws catch up to that technology. I don’t believe we should rule the speed of innovation by the speed of the law.

With the power of the cloud readily available to users and businesses around the world, there will always be opportunities for innovation, especially where rules and regulations may have been written for another era and may not reflect how the world works today. . Tom Kean says this is where the most exciting future developments are likely to occur, and it has only been made possible through the efforts of industry experts such as Tom Keane and the expansion and access easy to enable technologies such as Azure.


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