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2018 ONUG conference to tackle IT disruption, building blocks

With the spring 2018 ONUG conference coming up on May 8 to 9, Nick Lippis, ONUG co-founder, discusses how IT teams are facing disruption from technologies like the cloud and SD-WAN.

It's hardly a secret that enterprises are significantly retooling the ways they conduct business and interact with customers. The ONUG conference this spring, hosted in San Francisco on May 8 to 9, aims to equip attendees with the knowledge they need to successfully navigate the disruptions fueled by digital transformation.

Enterprises are realizing that "doing things the way they've always been done" isn't paying off anymore, said Nick Lippis, ONUG co-founder and co-chair. What follows this acknowledgment is oftentimes a chain reaction in which enterprises search for ways to gain revenue and market share, he said. As a result, more enterprises are starting to mimic hyperscale companies -- like Google and Facebook, for example -- that evolved to operate in the digital domain.

Nick Lippis, ONUG co-founder and co-chairmanNick Lippis

Yet emulating Google is easier said than done. IT leaders employed by more traditional enterprises where risk must be carefully managed often need backing in building and supporting the infrastructure required in a digital transformation initiative. The ONUG conference will focus on highlighting the building blocks and skills necessary to succeed, Lippis said.

Investigating how the cloud fuels transformation

One conference session, for example, will address how enterprises can handle the changes that come from migrating applications to SaaS. Another will highlight the practical aspects of operationalizing the enterprise cloud, including patching and software updates.

SaaS and cloud are just two of many software building blocks enterprises are turning to as they restructure their operations. Others include software-defined WAN, 5G, artificial intelligence, machine learning and software-defined security. And while all of these allow for increased control and customization, stitching them together to achieve business requirements can be complex, Lippis said.

IT teams also need to hone the skill sets required to accomplish the designated business processes and requirements, he said. "The skill sets that are needed are non-vendor, or vendor-agnostic," Lippis said. "They're more about software development and coding."

To that end, one 2018 ONUG conference panel will discuss which software building blocks are the most appropriate and tangible, Lippis said. To help attendees better understand what they should be evaluating as they consider investments in software and other tools, ONUG will distribute a mock request for proposal that attendees can download and incorporate in their own RFPs. The single RFP codifies aggregated requirements for the technologies deemed as building blocks -- SD-WAN, security, containers and monitoring and analytics.

"We know every company has its own way to do RFPs," Lippis said. "We're not looking to replicate that or get in the way of that, but to give language that people can use in their normal RFP process for procurement."

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