Each year VMware Explore is an opportunity to convene the conversation on multi-cloud, bringing together a wide range of diverse perspectives - from developers to DevSecOps, from cloud architects to platform engineering teams, and from security teams to employee-experience experts. It was no surprise that recent breakthroughs in generative AI dominated this year’s gathering in Las Vegas.
To share more about how leading enterprises are navigating today’s paradigm shifts in technology, I was joined in my keynote at VMware Explore by Rajeev Khanna, Chief Technology Officer at Aon - a large and growing professional services firm that provides a wide range of risk, retirement, and health solutions. Aon is in “the business of better decisions” – and under Rajeev’s leadership, taking a cloud smart approach and leveraging cloud capabilities to improve its services and operations, ultimately becoming more secure, agile, and cost-effective.”
In our discussion, we touched on three key areas:
- Playing “offence and defence”: As my conversation with Rajeev underscored, many of VMware’s customers are continuing to balance digital innovation with cost-efficiency and security – what we might call “playing offence and defence.” In terms of offence, VMware solutions help enable Aon’s focus on delivering innovative solutions at scale to clients around the globe in an effective and timely fashion. And with respect to defence, “we manage lots of data, and we have to protect that data for both our colleagues and clients,” Rajeev has said. “We have to be very efficient in how we deliver solutions that are effective.” As Rajeev’s comments illustrate, offence and defence aren’t necessarily separate, but taking place concurrently.
- Aon’s multi-cloud journey: Aon leverages two strategic cloud service providers, as well as a private cloud. As Rajeev puts it, “This combination of private and public clouds allows us to position existing workloads to achieve the right balance between business capabilities, agility, cost efficiency and an enhanced security posture.” Rajeev described Aon’s journey as beginning with a software-defined data centre, leveraging VMware offerings like VMware Cloud Foundation and NSX. Rajeev cited NSX as critical in helping to bring policies and standards into the public cloud in a consistent fashion, and looks forward to the next iteration in the newly announced NSX+.
- Embracing GenAI responsibly: Rajeev pointed out that Aon has leveraged AI in the past, but the technology is now opening doors to a range of new capabilities. While Gen AI opens a whole new set of opportunities, Aon is, at the end of the day, in the risk consulting business. As he explained, it’s prudent to balance excitement about what’s next with a steady, cautious approach. As Rajeev describes it, some of the key tenets to this journey include building and maintaining a culture of responsible AI use and governance – and never losing sight of how foundational human oversight is to the ethical and responsible use of AI. As Rajeev puts it, “GenAI offers possibilities of delivering efficiencies and augmenting the knowledge we can provide to better serve our clients.”
Rajeev closed by touching on how VMware continues to partner with Aon to enable the potential of AI – specifically, enabling choice in where they can run GenAI applications, whether in a hyperscale cloud or on-premises, at a sustainable cost.