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30 Most Reputable Companies of the Year 2021

An Interview with Dr. James Mitchell, Strategic Blue CEO: ‘We are Experts in Cloud Billing and Price Risk Management, Transferring Expertise from the Physical Commodities Markets to Cloud Computing’

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“We ensure customers are maximising all of the benefits possible by appropriate use of cloud vendor pricing models, initiatives, and promotions.”

Sophisticated cloud workloads would seem to be natural candidates for the speed and flexibility of cloud computing. They require frequent hardware updates to stay at the cutting edge of performance, so would be well served by public cloud services that feature the latest semiconductor and networking technologies.

In light of the foregoing, we’re impressed by Strategic Blue — a financial cloud broker. It serves organisations to buy cloud on terms to suit their needs, helping them accelerate innovation in the cloud and optimise long-term costs.

The company was incorporated in 2010 and is headquartered in London, UK.

Dr. James Mitchell, Strategic Blue CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Explain your services in brief.

Strategic Blue focuses on several services including Financial Adaptor, Clarity and Transparency, and People Powered FinOps.

We offer flexible finance and procurement options and our Financial Adaptor services allow customers to buy cloud on their terms. This additional flexibility maintains alignment with existing processes, procedures, and legal terms to deliver reduced operational complexity. We believe that the procurement of cloud need not limit your options when evaluating the best ways to deliver business outcomes.

Our Clarity and Transparency suite of services translates cloud usage data into insight. We understand that the potential of cloud will only be realised with close collaboration between technical and finance teams. Our tools ensure financial and technical teams have all of the information needed to communicate effectively, by providing a point of common reference in the language which each team understands.

Finally, People Powered FinOps services ensure your cloud environment is delivered as cost-effectively as possible. Our specialist team ensures customers are maximising all of the benefits possible by appropriate use of cloud vendor pricing models, initiatives, and promotions. Our unique approach ensures customers benefit from additional economies of scale.

Q. Access management and the privacy of sensitive information is a major consideration around cloud and hosted services. How can we overcome this issue?

Strategic Blue focuses on the financial, so we only access billing data, meaning our customers don’t have to give us access to any usage accounts at all. They find this very reassuring as they know that we, by design, won’t be able to access any of their sensitive data.

Q. Tell us in brief about your data management system and compliance.

As we’re always working with billing data, which in itself has nothing sensitive (beyond financial values) we are in a privileged position compared to many technology companies. However, we still think data security is of the utmost importance to ourselves and our partners. As such we keep everything encrypted wherever possible to help protect the data we work with.

Q. Do you provide industry-specific solutions based on the clients’ requirements? If yes kindly explain in brief.

Yes, we understand that different industries have very specific requirements in regards to how they charge their internal customers for their cloud usage. A great example of this is how universities manage their researchers’ cloud usage. We have worked closely with the NSF and the University of California in San Diego to develop ‘CloudBank’, a specialist solution for researchers using NSF funding for cloud projects.

Q. There are concerns with valuable and important data being stored in the cloud. How do you educate your clients about the complex security measures that you implement?

The location of data is not the single most important thing about its security. The procedures and policies in place are far more important. If you have poor policies and keep data on-premise, it is far less secure than if it’s in the cloud protected by good governance. We help our customers understand that this is the most important thing involved in data security.

Q. How do you deal with the ‘never-ending change’ in digital transformation?

With very enthusiastic people in the team who love trying to keep up with the latest technologies and trends. We have a group that comes together to share what we all learn in our areas of interest and put together newsletters for internal and external sharing. We’ve just started a podcast to help people understand what’s new in Cloud FinOps.

Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?

We’re currently in the process of expanding the cloud vendors we support to include Oracle on top of our existing capabilities which include Azure, GCP and particularly AWS.

Q. What are your trajectories for the next five years?

We want to help more people get the best value for their cloud usage while being able to procure it in a way that suits them. We are currently expanding to have a US office to help our customers there more locally, and within five years, we plan to be operating on a global scale beyond the UK, the US, and EMEA.

The Leader at the Helm of Strategic Blue

Dr. James Mitchell serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Blue. He comes from a renewable energy background and had a wish to minimise the carbon footprint of IT services.

“We believe that the procurement of cloud need not limit your options when evaluating the best ways to deliver business outcomes.”