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Red Bull Event July 2023


Tim Russell

OCTO Round-Up

•  Sept 12, 2023

Consistent success is how you might describe the results of the Oracle Red Bull team recently. After winning all 13 of their last racesthe team is well on its way to setting new manufacturer records in Formula 1. This is something that we at CDW are extremely proud of, as one of their chosen sponsors.

In early July, Oracle Red Bull invited CDW and other partners sponsors to their MK7 location for an opportunity to talk about Digitalisation.

When it comes to predicting the future, CDW UK has an important role with many of its customers and partners as a thought leader.   

The future is shaped by those with the vision to imagine it, and the Oracle Red Bull team has certainly shown what it believes the future should look like. We are unable to guarantee the future, just like Oracle Red Bull can’t guarantee a win, but we work similarly towards achieving the best result we can. We both develop the most relevant skillsets, have a mission and vision that the team aligns to and aim to deliver the best results.  

The Office of the CTO at CDW UK has been recently developed to help us build on the amazing track record we have as a company, but to also prepare us, our partners, and our customers for the future.  

Too often, business decision leaders are overwhelmed with the abundance of technology solutions in the market and the understanding of how they co-operate or compete. This ‘data overload’ is similar to the daily digitisation overload we are seeing in everyone’s working life, and this is the main topic for the partner session at Oracle Red Bull. 

The Office of the CTO works with its peers in our customer organisations to help make strategic technology choices that augment and support our customers’ goals and business aspirations; remaining aligned to the business mission and working back from this rather than selecting a technology and trying to make it fit. The fact that we were invited to speak on a digitalisation panel hosted by the Oracle Red Bull Formula One team is a testament to our reputation, and an opportunity to talk with industry experts, our customers and our partners.  

Apart from the Red Bull fridges and the high-tech, high-performance environment that is MK7, it is an amazing location and a treat to be able to meet and present here to the assembled audience, especially with such a prestigious panel of speakers. Both Oracle Red Bull drivers, Max and Sergio, gave an address to the partners present at Red Bull and those who joined remotely on Zoom; setting the trend for the rest of the day's activities.  

The keynote that preceded the Digitalisation panel was given by Amy Hufft (Head of Brand & Communications) from Zoom, who spoke at length about the criticality of time and how we need to protect this resource at all costs. Productivity requires resources. Some of these are physical, some virtual and some are in areas we don’t think of - but time is by far the most important and the one we are trying to make last. Amy shared a message we can all appreciate: time translates into productivity and efficiency.   

If we apply this to hybrid work, we can see synergies with the impact of time on individual productivity. Similarly, time lost through poorly delivered, managed or maintained infrastructure, applications and end user equipment can have just as detrimental an effect on productivity.  

Recently this presentation was referenced in a customer engagement, and the closing message of the meeting was that time is the answer, and how we protect it was the question. Productivity, efficiency, health and wellbeing all stem from this one resource, time.  

CDW UK was present on the next panel, which focused on digitisation and how it impacts individuals and businesses, and how we are supporting our customers in managing the changing face of work. This was a panel with Andy Rhodes (Senior Vice President & General Manager of Hybrid Work Solutions) from HP joining remotely from Austin, Texas, Tim Russell (Chief Technologist) from CDW UK, Alastair Orchard (Vice President Digital Enterprise) from Siemens, Ben Hodgkinson (Technical Director) from Red Bull Ford Powertrains, and Charlie Whitfield (Vice President Presales Systems Engineering EMEA) from Arctic Wolf. The panel was hosted by Zoe Chilton (Head of Strategic Partnerships) from Oracle Red Bull Racing, who asked several questions to the panel members that looked at how digitalisation has affected the way we work, how has it impacted security and what opportunities manifest that allow for more innovation and creativity to thrive.  

“What are the Biggest Challenges Customers are coming to us with and how do digital tools help our customers?”   

This was a great question to answer and aligns to the conversations we are already having. Many businesses are struggling to decide on the right course when it comes to Hybrid working. Employees love the ‘freedom’ but there is a requirement to create equity across working scenarios. Hybrid is not just working at home, it’s about enabling flexibility. As Amy mentioned in her opening speech, it’s about driving productivity and efficiency through the correct utilisation of people's time. This pillar in the Office of the CTO at CDW UK is called ‘Modern Workspace’, because, as we see it, a workplace has a physical boundary, whereas a workspace is wherever you deliver impact through your work; at home, in the office, in the pit lane - literally wherever you are is a workspace when you have access to the correct tools and capabilities.  

Zoe also asked the panel, “How are customers dealing with the immense amount of information and options they are presented with in the technology sphere?” 

Tim Russell from CDW UK was asked to share some of our perspectives. The answer he gave revolved around how businesses must set a mission and vision; this is the north star, the goal posts, or the chequered flag that all business decisions should be aligned to. Too often, technology is selected just ‘for the sake of it’. It may be the latest trend or the hottest topic,; but engaging for these reasons will not ensure alignment to business outcomes. Technology and solutions must align to the vision and mission statements, and these statements must be embedded in the culture of the organisation. He went on to expand on how, too often, a mission or vision is seen as a tick box exercise, then resigned to the drawer only to be reviewed periodically. 

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Jay Ward from Ford supplied an insightful presentation on the future of personal vehicles and the responsibilities that we all have in helping to limit climate impact, as well as how Ford is doing its part in this. This includes new power units and subscription-based capabilities in vehicles allowing users to consume capabilities based on specific individual requirements, and potentially scenarios. 

The main sponsor for the Oracle Red Bull team, Alberto Polleri PhD, Chief data scientist at Oracle, presented later in the day. 

Alberto set himself the challenging task of explaining the mathematics of AI (Artificial Intelligence) in 5 minutes. Ultimately not managing it in 5 minutes, he went on to present an extremely easy-to-follow explanation, which gave amazing clarity and insight from novices to the more experienced among us. 

The second panel session of the day hosted by Kat Farmer (Technical Partnerships Manager) from Oracle Red Bull Racing looked at Digitalisation as a Platform for Fun Engagement and Reward. She was joined on stage by representatives from SUI, Oracle, ROKT, and the Head of Fan Engagement at Oracle Red Bull Racing, Caroline Buckland.  

Closing the day off, Red Bull shared with us the story of Kris Kyle and his amazing BMX stunts while suspended under a balloon several thousand feet in the air. The event was then closed off by Cristian Horner, who also took some questions & answers from the remote and in-room participants. 

Sharing a stage and environment with such a wealth of experience and talent left us with a few key takeaways: 

  1. AI and ML is at the front of everyone’s mind, as is the concern around security and implementation. CDW is already working with partners and customers to help inform and support the development of these capabilities, but it was welcoming to see that our capability is recognised across organisations. 
  2. Our impact on the environment and how even small changes can have a massive impact. We support ways of working, commuting and even engine design directly or indirectly, but we have also been working with partners to look at the potential for carbon foot-printing within IT, and how organisations can reduce their overall impact through guided equipment purchase and investment decisions. 
  3. People are amazing and, when supported, can achieve record-breaking results. From the Red Bull winning streak in Formula 1 to the amazing stunts performed by Kris Kyle and other Red Bull top athletes, they all require support to reach this level. Organisations supported by CDW make this possible. Within our customers’ organisations, employees being provided with the right tools, such as digital experience monitoring or health and well-being tools, allows them to reach their full potential. 

CDW is committed to provide the best services and products to our partners and customers.

How can we help you? 

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