Expert Opinion – Security and Scalability are Paramount

It is clear that the cloud is critical to modern organisations. MagicOrange, a progressive cloud-based Cost Transparency solution, enables these businesses to understand everything from the cost of moving to the cloud, to that of the total reorganization of their business.

Digital transformation underpins the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) and has significantly altered the way business is conducted. Just as individual human beings want to pay only for what they use, while getting it as close to instantly as possible, so businesses are also beginning to adopt a similar type of thinking. One only must look at the speed of communication, driven by social media, and the manner in which services have changed, sparked by Uber and Airbnb, to know this is true.

Stephan Lawson, Cloud Architect at MagicOrange, suggests that the beauty of the consumption-based model, enabled by digital transformation, ensures that you pay only for what you use, while being able to scale to meet increased demands, thanks to cloud services like Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS). With a cloud-based model, it becomes possible to scale services up and down, while paying only for what you consume, which means that businesses are enabled to serve their customers better, and potentially at a lower cost, than their competitors.

“This is where MagicOrange plays a role, as it enables its customers to make decisions like these based on the running costs of the business, as well as the financial impact of moving to the cloud, purchasing a new product, and even reorganizing the business,” says Lawson.

“Moreover, it shows the full allocation chain for products and services to business, the complex reciprocal charges which are commonplace in modern IT and enables these customers not only to understand these costs, but also to act on them.”

As a cloud-based platform, he continues, MagicOrange requires a number of technical skills behind it to ensure its effective operation. Lawson is the man providing these critical skills, explaining that the most important aspect of his job is to ensure that what is deployed is a secure and scalable solution.

“Fortunately, I am well positioned to make certain this is the case, as I have always been interested in data and in using SQL Server as the back-end. To this end, I completed my Microsoft Certified IT Professional course for Windows Server, with SQL Server as an elective,” he says.

“My first job was in a Group Technology department of a large South African bank, as part of the SQL Support Team, which ultimately included full database administrator duties, with particular focus on the capital and trading databases.

After leaving the bank, I joined Microsoft Premier Field Engineering (PFE) in Johannesburg, which is part of the company's customer support services organization, and was assigned to mainly financial institutions due to my previous background.”

Initially working as a Microsoft PFE for SQL Server in South Africa, Lawson then transitioned to Analytics Platform Service (APS) which is Microsoft's Tier One on-premise solution for data warehousing and big data. As an APS specialist, I then spent a year and a half working for Microsoft UK, supporting customers who were using APS.”

“When my family and I decided to move back to South Africa, we chose to settle in Durban in order to avoid the constant rush of Johannesburg. This made MagicOrange, which is based in Durban, the ideal match for me. I am certainly grateful for the international experience, as this has definitely changed the way I look at solutioning a product. The experience is now also helping to shape how I design and solution MagicOrange as a globally scalable product, as the company begins to expand into other markets, via its resellers.”

Lawson points out that while he has been successful in the past, success is something that is constantly evolving, and to him, success essentially means not doing the same thing over and over.

“For example, MagicOrange is is expanding capabilities of its cost transparency solution to accommodate the requirements of its clients and market needs. Therefore, the biggest success for me would have to be the opportunity to play a key role in the rapid pace at which MagicOrange is able to roll out those features required by customers or demanded by the market.”

Asked what sets MagicOrange apart from its competitors in the field, he suggests the following reasons: the company's flexibility with regard to different types of cost models; its scalability to suit its largest clients; and the level of granularity which is achievable in the system.

“As a solution that is constantly being improved, MagicOrange requires ongoing work on its design to keep up with new customer requirements. Thanks to the fact that it runs on Azure, my previous experience with Microsoft definitely has a big impact on any design or input that I provide towards improving the product to meet these client demands,” Lawson concludes.