SUSE is presenting SUSE Expert Days in Johannesburg and Cape Town on 28 and 30March 2017 respectively.  SUSE Expert Days are known around the world as the place to meet.  Your colleagues and peers will be there.  Spend time in an informative environment where you can network, benefit from great content and enjoy a vibey environment. You are invited to spend the day with experts to discuss those opportunities and challenges in a digital era that you contend with on a daily basis. Click here to register for this complimentary event in Johannesburg or Cape Town.

ITWeb Events spoke to regional manager for SUSE South Africa, Matthew Lee, to find out more.

Q: Tell us more about SUSE and what you do?

A: SUSEis a German-based, multinational, open-source software company that develops and sells enterprise Linux-, cloud-, storage and management solutions to business customers. Founded in 1992 (we will be celebrating our 25th birthday later this year), SUSE was the first company to market Linux for the enterprise. It is also the primary sponsor of the community-supported openSUSE Project which develops the openSUSE Linux distribution. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Micro Focus International.

Q: Why do the SUSE Expert Days focus on three areas, digital transformation, SDI and DevOps? Please tell us a little more about each area.

A: Every year SUSE Expert Days focus on areas that we believe are critical for businesses to understand and explore. For 2017, we believe that this is digital transformation, software defined infrastructure and DevOps.

Regional manager for SUSE South Africa, Matthew Lee.

Regional manager for SUSE South Africa, Matthew Lee.

As the number of mobile devices and device users soars globally, consumer expectations for anytime-anywhere Web site and data access are putting massive pressure on businesses. For businesses to deliver on these expectations and remain competitive, IT must find ways to innovate in this era of rapid digital transformation – namely through optimising the data centre and supporting agile development processes.

To do this however, requires a technological shift. Many forward-thinking IT organisations are accomplishing this by utilising software-defined infrastructure, providing faster access to resources, enabling development, test, and operations teams to adopt DevOps methodologies, and deliver new applications to market faster while improving application lifecycle management.

SUSE offers solutions to help transform the data centre with a software-defined infrastructure – all with greater agility, stability, and reduced costs to the business. And our Expert Days allow us to share this knowledge with our key and potential customers so that they too can navigate their digital transformation.

Q: Why are these services/solutions a vital addition to your clients' portfolios?

A: For many years, the Internet of things has been a hype, but now we are seeing it maturing and with it a plethora of new business models in all industries and applications changing our private behaviour. The most innovative applications have the potential to disrupt current business models.

One important step for enterprises to stay abreast of this revolution is to ready their IT infrastructure – as agile or bi-modal IT infrastructure is the basis for digital transformation. IT today is confronted with two key expectations.

First, the focus today is not any longer exclusively on stability, optimisation and cost reduction – equally important are aspects like agility, flexibility and speed, in the end time-to-market. Secondly, IT is not just a support service of the business, it is expected to create value for the business by enabling faster growth and time-to-market.

Only software-defined infrastructures can manage to solve the seeming contradiction between agility and continuity and will be the backbone of digital transformation.

Q: Can you tell us about some of the clients you work with and their experience of your solutions?

A: SUSE customers range from government and public authorities, small new businesses to large global enterprises across all industries. Take Britehouse South Africa for example, the technology provider for Swicon360, a specialist in Human Capital Management. We provided them with the robust, secure and cost-effective hosting platform they needed, that provides a stable, secure platform for delivering software as a service and offers granular, auditable control over access to sensitive data.

Pick n Pay is another example. They operate a large retail network, which consists of hypermarkets, supermarkets, pharmacies, and convenience stores. It is vital for the company to maximise operational efficiency and enhance the customer experience while keeping costs low. With SUSE, the company was able to achieve this while ensuring that business-critical systems were built on a solid, reliable IT platform that offered centralised management for all POS systems.

Q: You run SUSE Expert Days all over the world, could you tell us how attendees have experienced these events?

A: SUSE has been successfully running the Expert Days since 2014. Our customers and potential customers highly rate the fact that they not only receive first-hand information from SUSE experts and partners, but also the mix of presentations and time to network provides ample opportunities to exchange ideas.

Last but not least, the topics of the SUSE Expert Days evolve from the challenges our customers are facing in their daily business as they embrace a rapidly changing digital economy. Thus, following the success of previous years, the tour has grown and is now global with more than 80 stops across Asia Pacific, EMEA and North America.

Q: What challenges are your current customers experiencing; how are their needs addressed at this event? The same for future customers what will they gain by attending this event?

A: There are many different scenarios for enterprise, which are more or less complex, which are more or less critical in terms of time or impact. Despite these differences, they all have one thing in common – they are undergoing, or have to undergo digital transformation in one way or another. Regardless of being a technology start-up or a century-old more traditional company – they have to transform not only to innovate and build competitive and market edge, but also to simply stay relevant and survive.

For our customers and prospective customers, the challenge is about transforming their core IT tools. Transformation of how they generate, manage and leverage data and how they develop their business applications, manage to scale their business and also their internal processes and culture to name but a few.

The vast majority of businesses do not start from scratch: they have existing infrastructure, software applications, tools and processes, etc. and some investment to absorb. This is why the industry is talking about bimodal IT because the legacy and existing IT has to be transitioned with the new, and both need to co-exist. At the SUSE Expert Days we are showing our customers and prospective customers how to bridge the old with the new, to securely run, maintain, plan and innovate for the future.

Q: How does your service/product/solution support your customers? What is it about your service/product/solution that they like most?  What pain point/s does it target?

A: As mentioned before, at SUSE, we strongly focus on helping our customers and partners to bridge their existing IT with new innovative systems.

There are many challenges: data centre consolidation by migrating from UNIX to Linux, container and private cloud to run as infrastructure as a service or in a mixed hybrid cloud environment running dynamically together with public clouds, leveraging platform as a service for software development, moving away from monolithic applications to micro-services architectures, adopting DevOps principles, etc.

Let me take storage and the data explosion as an example as a major pain point. Traditional storage costs are exploding but IT budgets are flat, if not decreasing. Fortunately, there are technologies and solutions to help solve such a challenge.

If we look at compute and networking, today enterprises need to be very agile to accommodate for customer services, growth and changes to their business, but they also need to be cost-efficient yet still enterprise-grade to ensure quality of service and no downtime for example – and this is where we can offer solutions to help.

Q: Who will benefit most from attending this event in your opinion and why?

A: IT organisations are challenged to adapt the infrastructure to meet the changing demands of customers who can easily switch to the most reliable, leading-edge digital services. Flexibility and time-to-market are critical to maintaining a competitive advantage without sacrificing reliability and security, all while controlling capital and operational expenses. SUSE delivers innovative open-source solutions that enable enterprises to define their digital future. As such, in our road show our experts discuss:

* The challenges of the digital transformation and how open source solutions built on the Linux platform can help them to rise to the challenge.

* Deploying a software-defined Infrastructure and delivering as-a-Service with OpenStack, Kubernetes, container engine from the Docker open source project, Ceph, and Cloud Foundry.

* Improving business agility using an open DevOps approach.

Therefore for any business and their respective CTOs looking to understand the digital transformation and the true potential open source has, this event is certainly worthwhile.