HR Tech Interview with Keith Neilson, Technical Evangelist at CloudSphere

Journey into Tech

Hi, Keith. Welcome to our HR Technology Interview Series. Please tell us a little bit about your journey and what inspired you to start with CloudSphere.

I’ve spent the majority of my career focused on core data center and then cloud-based technologies and solutions. CloudSphere operates and specializes in a domain that I’m very passionate about. I love helping both customers and partners solve problems and overcome pain points in this space.

What is CloudSphere and what are your core offerings?

CloudSphere is a cyber asset management company. We build software products that help organizations identify, analyze, and take informed action against their cyber assets for a variety of use cases. One is for cloud migration, where we help organizations discover their environments and help them form a migration strategy that accelerates the journey to the cloud, but also de-risks the process. We also provide governance and security posture policies and controls against these assets once they have moved into a cloud environment to ensure compliance and security governance is applied against all applications and supporting infrastructure.

Recommended: HR Tech Interview with Kim Sullivan, Chief Human Resources Officer at Sitecore

No code and low-code analytics platforms are now transforming many business operations. Could you please explain how these relate to HR and IT integrations?

When the barrier of entry is lowered through the use of tooling that simplifies traditionally complex solutions such as analytics platforms, you empower users and departments that perhaps had to previously rely on specialist IT teams or even external consultants to benefit from being able to view and analyze their operation in ways that they couldn’t before. The reality is, these tools are allowing a faster and more accessible level of IT competency for business units such as HR to integrate with other systems that they need to in order to optimize their performance and operations.

Please tell us about the state of low-code solutions in employee management workflows. What are the key takeaways from your recent works with these technologies?

Low code, in general, is trending, and one key application is business processes and automation. Employee management workflows such as onboarding and off-boarding can be programmed and benefit from governed workflows that ensure processes are repeatable and resilient, and for HR, that is a key trait.

Great Resignation and talent migrations to M&A subunits are causing a great churn in the industry. How does a company like CloudSphere enable smoother migration during these events?

CloudSphere provides the technical and scientific data for the IT assets within an organization, including policies, identify management and data. Acting as a source of truth which is immune to talent leaving or moving and having that environment knowledge part with them.

What are the key factors that result in weak HR operations? How can tighter IT integrations and compliance help build a stronger HR foundation?

The key factors that result in weak HR operations include a lack of a cohesive process for onboarding and offboarding with IT teams, such as Ops, security etc. Additionally, a lack of validation and insight into the success of processes that require IT support and interaction. In an ideal situation, this integration would contain predefined, HR-specific compliance frameworks within the realm of cyber asset management. These frameworks would be applied to all cyber assets, both those that already exist and those in the future. In addition, there should be clear coordination with IT regarding HR’s involvement in employee access to systems, files, and data.

Recommended: HR Tech Interview with Steve Black, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer at Topia

How have HRIS and HCM technologies evolved in the last 3 years? How do you track these transformations and deliver a smoother customer experience at CloudSphere?

HRIS technologies have become slicker and richer in their capabilities and integrations, which programmatically solves some of the legacy inherent challenges around lack of integration and siloed HR operations. CloudSphere is able to identify if onboarding or offboarding has taken place and if any mis-configurations exist across the underlying cloud environment.

The last two years have accelerated digital transformation for businesses of all sizes and stature. What has been the biggest lesson for you that helped you stay on top of your game? Would you like to share your pandemic experience on how you managed to continue your development works and research during the uncertain times?

The pandemic was an interesting experience for me personally. I’ve worked remotely for a number of years so that wasn’t directly anything new for me, however with the lockdowns it did get tough to not have much outside of work available to differentiate a weekday from a weekend. I remained focused on my work and most likely spent additional time on it. Another point was the pandemic was a good test of my time management, which I’ve always been strong at. Zoom calls replaced the two-minute catch-up at a coffee machine with a default 30-minute slot. My calendar filled up solid with little time in between for notes or actions. I believe being robust with your time and being mindful of what tasks and actions you need after each call helped. Block out five-to-ten-minute slots in your calendar after the calls ensures you can get those actions and notes where they need to be, so you remain as productive as possible.

Please tell us how CloudSphere could fit into the modern HR-IT stack. What kind of data science concepts have you used to make your product so useful for the HR teams?

N/A. It’s a cloud infrastructure solution.

Your take on the future of data science and AI in the Cloud/ HR businesses.

My take on the future of data science and AI in the Cloud/HR businesses includes greater levels of more complex classifications and algorithms that are cognitive to likely or predicted steps and actions to further optimize workflows and tasks

An advice to every data science / AI professional looking to start in this space:

If you are wanting to help with building a solution, ensure you fully understand the customer/user pain and need, it’s easy to over engineer so make sure the use of AI is effective and measured to deliver real quantifiable value.

Thank you, Keith! That was fun and hope to see you back on HR Tech Series soon.

[To participate in our interview series, please write to us at sghosh@martechseries.com

As CloudSphere’s Technical Evangelist, Keith Neilson is responsible for the company’s analyst and cloud provider relationships and strategy, with a focus on ensuring the wider market understands the business and technical value proposition of the CloudSphere platform. In addition to helping create collateral and messaging that supports the company’s go-to-market, Keith ensures that customer use cases are documented back into the various internal teams to ensure product advancements are geared toward real world scenarios and contribute to the company’s vision. Prior to CloudSphere, Keith held senior lead pre-sales engineering and management roles at Optibus, Cloudhouse, and Sourcebits, with a successful reputation for creating and defining compelling product positioning, advocating product advancements internally, leading strategic partner & customer engagements, and creating and executing GTM strategies that attributed to significant growth. He has a broad and strong multi-discipline skillset with a focus on cloud migration, modernization, and management.

CloudSphere Logo

CloudSphere’s unique data science approach to hybrid and multi-cloud Cyber Asset Management provides a solution that automates the creation of a top-down, business service view of a company’s cyber assets. Our continuous business service graphing saves countless personnel hours in constructing a real-time view of a company’s entire IT estate. This newfound visibility dramatically simplifies important use cases like IT optimization, security and compliance. Headquartered in Los Altos, California and Dublin, Ireland, CloudSphere supports a diverse global customer base across industry segments including telecommunications, software, finance, manufacturing, healthcare, construction and education.