Announcing the Aryaka Dreamers and Doers Podcast; Flagship Episode #1 featuring Amyris
Last year, during the middle of the pandemic I noticed a pattern while conversing with many of our customers, partners, and prospects. They were all managing rapid change, with no clear manual to deal with it. Ironically, many of them had prepared for contingencies of the highest order – earthquakes, tsunamis, cyber attacks etc. But no one had prepared for a situation, where they, and all of their customers, partners and families were all suddenly expected to let go of their office environments entirely and work from home for an extended period of time. This put a huge stress not just on their IT systems but also on their operational models. Interestingly they had to do it with a “business as usual” attitude.
Many of them not just survived, but rather, even thrived. To me, while these conversations were initially triggered by the pandemic, they soon expanded into broader areas that started to provide valuable insights into several areas that spanned technology, leadership, best practices and more. I felt we should curate such conversations in a way that they could be shared with our teams internally, and perhaps with the external world as well.
This was the genesis of the Dreamers and Doers podcast series. The focus is on having informal conversations with thought leaders getting their perspective on a variety of different areas. Some of them are with visionaries with conviction. Yet others are with practitioners that share best practices. Very often I find the two to be inextricably linked.
I’m happy to say that we’ve now officially launched the podcast series and have recorded a few episodes out of the gate.
You may listen to the pilot episode featuring Mehul Patel of Amyris, a synthetic biotechnology and renewable chemical company based out of Emeryville, California.
Amyris makes it their mission to “Deliver the lowest cost, most disruptive way to produce pure ingredients from sustainable sources with No Compromise®”
I found Mehul to be very articulate and insightful. Here are my seven takeaways from the conversation –
1. Extracting greater efficiencies from Investments
Sometimes we invest in things and forget about it, and fail to explore the capabilities of the investment to its fullest. Mehul inherited the network and cybersecurity portfolio on joining the company. In 2016, when he evaluated the Aryaka investment, he realized that it was being utilized only for a fraction of its capabilities. As he dug deeper, he realized the impact it could provide on a broader range of applications and engaged more closely with the account team to truly understand the capabilities. Result? A 40% performance gain (and thereby productivity increase to the entire organization) across a multi-cloud deployment model, including SaaS applications. More juice, same orange!
2. Data transfers in a multi-cloud scenario can be complex and expensive
Not every organization has a multi-cloud deployment that straddles multiple public clouds, and on-premises deployments. Handling different cloud deployments and operational models is never easy. Mehul’s team is a customer of AWS, Azure and GCP with data transfers across other SaaS providers as well. This is the typical case of more of the enterprise being outside the traditional data center and in IaaS environments. Having the right network made this task easier, more agile and more affordable. The “cherry on top” as Mehul says, was also realizing that disaster recovery was already built into the Aryaka solution architecture.
3. Being cloud-first helped Amyris adapt very quickly to the pandemic
With a significant amount of business built on cloud-first principles, Amyris was able to quickly roll out the entire organization into an agile topology of remote work, as they had to deal with the situation of accommodating 99% of the team working remotely within a week of the lockdown. The result? They hit the ground running within a couple of weeks working with partners such as Aryaka and were able to launch a new hand sanitizer campaign that went from idea to market in 12 days!
4. World class support transcends technology and can make a huge difference
As the technology complexity rises, many enterprises are turning towards managed services versus a “do-it-yourself” model. However, despite going down this path, many organizations feel frustrated due to lack of visibility and finger pointing when things go wrong. Mehul and team understand that support teams need to keep it real. Producing network evidence, being proactive, going above and beyond a sense of traditional ownership are all the hallmarks of a great support organization. Having such companies as your partners will truly make a meaningful difference.
5. Change is hard without the right culture
Leaders need to invest in culture and drive the right mindset across the entire organization. Mehul recognizes the fact that making changes in an organization that is closed, non-transparent and resistant to culture is very difficult. One can have the best tools, technology and skillset – however all of these are negated in the absence of a can-do culture. Fortunately, the leadership team at Amyris has built a culture with a genuine attitude that recognizes that embraces change as the gateway to being better. Clearly, Amyris is an evolved organization. I do not see them at risk of stasis.
6. The security perimeter is continually getting redefined
For an organization with no boundaries, there is no clear security perimeter. Data is sensitive. Applications resident across multiple clouds, edge and transient environment – all make it difficult to enforce traditional boundary conditions. In this context the user or identify becomes a perimeter of one. Mehul discusses the need for zero trust in this context and looks to the collaboration with Aryaka to continue to evolve the security posture.
7. The network and security architectures are converging
Mehul makes the point that network as well as network security are converging to delivery on the promise of greater agility and security in the topology, particularly when there’s change happening. In a way, this is the foundational element of SASE, as coined by Gartner. When an organization or a team within is mandated to drive change, they would do truly well to ensure that the technology they choose is geared to be an agent of change.