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Podcast: The Computer Weekly Downtime Upload – Episode 15

In this week’s episode of the Computer Weekly Downtime Upload, business editor Clare McDonald takes over presenting duties, and leads Brian McKenna and Caroline Donnelly through a wide-ranging discussion that covers cloud skills, Lady Gaga's take on SAP, government IT procurement and the importance of engaging in-store retail experiences

On this week’s episode of the Computer Weekly Downtime Upload, Clare McDonald leads Brian McKenna and Caroline Donnelly through a discussion of the week’s biggest stories in tech.

  • Caroline talks the team through her trip to the recent Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit at Excel, London, where the tech giant lifted the veil on its latest bid to address the cloud skills gap, through the roll-out of its Get IT programme.
  • As detailed during the chat, the programme is introduce 12 to 13-year-old girls to the concept of coding and application design, while also showing participants the vast array of tech careers that exist for women working in the IT industry.
  • On a similar theme, Clare runs the team through her experience of taking part in the judging for the inaugural Makers’ Women in Software Powerlist. The event, run by software academy Makers, is designed to highlight the achievements of 30 women who represent the best of the coding community, and have all been working in software for less than 10 years.
  • Brian provides the team with an expletive-riddled introduction, courtesy of the Mother Monster herself, Lady Gaga, to his time at SAP’s annual user conference Sapphire in Orlando, Florida.
  • Lady Gaga, who performed at the event’s official party, confessed to having “no f**king clue” what SAP does, which is handy as Brian gives the team a comprehensive run-through of the key discussion points at this year’s show.
  • Those include some chat about how SAP’s $8bn acquisition of survey software provider Qualtrics will help the data analytics software giant provide its customers with the tools they need to address the “experience gap” between what end-consumers want and what they get.
  • The key theme of the event was also the “rejuvenation” of SAP’s business that has contributed to some significant changes to the make-up of its senior leadership team, which the company’s co-founder, Hasso Plattner, declared has got the company “dancing again”.
  • Caroline muses over the future of the government’s cloud-first policy in the wake of the news that it could be scrapped, revoked or tweaked by the Crown Commercial Service and Government Digital Service after six years.
  • On the face of it, it appears to have been a force for good within government IT procurement, but has it served its purpose? Also, given the recent emergence of a number of competing cloud frameworks in the public sector, Caroline and Clare discuss whether this could signal a return to the “bad old days” of government procurement.
  • Clare rounds off this week’s episode by sharing some observations made by a panel she attended at the recent Retail Expo show at Olympia, London, where senior representatives from Lego, M&Ms and Vans talked about the importance of providing compelling in-store experiences for their customers.
  • In some cases, investments of this kind can have a bigger impact on the bottom line and brand loyalty than the equivalent in new tech investment, the panel said.

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