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Atos CEO On AWS And Dell Partnerships, Acquisitions And Decarbonization

‘We are looking at acquisitions bringing additional and sizable AWS certifications,’ Atos CEO Elie Girard says.

French solutions provider Atos is looking to boost its number of Amazon Web Services (AWS) certifications and is eying acquisitions to do so, according to CEO Elie Girard.

AWS is a strategic technology partner for the Atos OneCloud initiative introduced today. Under the initiative, Atos will work to proactively accelerate its customers’ cloud migrations with a one-stop shop incorporating 10 of its key cloud capabilities and through personalized “Your Atos OneCloud Plans” that it will codevelop with them. It’s committed 2 billion euros, or $2.4 billion, over five years to fortify that effort by investing in increased cloud technical certification for its employees, research and development, hybrid cloud investments and acquisitions.

“Part of the ($2.4 billion) investment is to boost our AWS certification, including through acquisition,” Girard said. “We are looking at acquisitions bringing additional and sizable AWS certifications.”

Girard has been CEO of the Bezons, France-based Atos for the last year, after serving as deputy CEO for nine months and chief financial officer for nearly five years.

In an interview on Friday, he talked to CRN about Atos OneCloud, Atos’ relationship with AWS, Dell Technologies and VMware, the company’s acquisition strategy and the importance of decarbonization for Atos customers – and employee recruits.

Atos, which recorded 2019 revenue of 11.59 billion euros or about $13.72 billion, has been partnering with AWS since 2012. It’s an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, an AWS Managed Service Provider and AWS Well-Architected Partner. It has more than 3,700 AWS accreditations held by Its nearly 3,000 specialists and 1,200 AWS certifications held by 600 certified cloud experts.

Last month, Atos announced it had entered into exclusive negotiations to buy Edifixio, a Levallois-Perret, France-based cloud consulting and integration company. Atos said the acquisition would further strengthen its position to become an AWS Premier Tier Consulting partner. Edifixio is an AWS Premier Consulting Partner and AWS Managed Services Partner.

Atos has worked with AWS services in 50-plus large customer environments globally.

“We collaborate with them at many levels on the cloud itself, but also in the APIs and AI/ML level, which is obviously very important,” Girard said.

Girard sees opportunities to further partner with AWS specifically in the mainframe space to “migrate, modernize and manage customer application landscapes which will unlock huge potential for digital business.”

Atos is a unique global systems integrator with many patented technologies and tool sets that help customers move their legacy environments to the cloud, according to Matt Garman, vice president of sales and marketing for AWS, who said Atos OneCloud is a great example of its cloud transformation capabilities.

“We have a strong history of working together in many large customer engagements worldwide, combining Atos‘ transformative cloud capabilities with the power of AWS,” Garman said in a video messaged played at Atos OneCloud launch event today. “There are many exciting initiatives on the horizon, including tremendous opportunity for us to closely collaborate with Atos to innovate, migrate and modernize legacy IT environments, which will unlock huge potential for our joint customers.”

Atos also is a Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure partner.

“We‘re probably one of the first ones to be very close to Google Cloud, because of their AI/ML capabilities, but in terms of size (of practice), I would say it’s rather equivalent with the three of them,” Girard said.

Acquisitions

Atos has been on an acquisition tear. In addition to its talks to buy Edifixio, it has acquired or entered into negotiations to acquire 10 other companies in the last year.

Last month, it announced agreements to buy Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Eagle Creek Software Services, a technology and management consulting company specializing in Salesforce enterprise implementations in North America, and SEC Consult Group, a cybersecurity consulting provider based in Vienna, Austria.

Girard is not eying acquisitions because he sees holes in the company, he said, but to boost the 10 capabilities that it’s offering under Atos OneCloud in certain geographies.

“I don‘t feel at all that we have any hole,” he said. “This is exactly why we felt it was the right moment to launch this (Atos OneCloud) initiative. Four or five years ago, I would have answered differently.”

Dell and Atos OneCloud

As part of Atos OneCloud, Atos announced a new joint strategic offering with Dell Technologies and VMware to support organizations developing smart strategies to modernize their applications and processes.

Atos said it will provide a modern private cloud landing zone for cloud-native applications, where containerized applications co-exist with legacy applications on Atos’ next-generation Digital Hybrid Cloud (DHC) that’s based on Dell EMC VxRail and powered by VMware Cloud Foundation, vRealize Automation and Tanzu.

“The relationship with (CEO) Michael Dell has always been very, very tight with the company,” Girard said. “We are basically working with them at several levels on the private cloud infrastructure. We‘re working also with VMware on the orchestration layer with VMware Tanzu, which is the orchestration stack of VMware, which is very powerful as well. It’s a very, very tight collaboration, and our relationship is growing very fast -- for the last 10 years now, I would say probably close to a double-digit CAGR (compound annual growth rate).

Decarbonization

Decarbonization of customers IT and non-IT business processes is one of Atos’ 10 OneCloud offerings and a key differentiator for the company, according to Girard.

“Across all CEOs I talk to at customers, the No. 1 topic that sticks in my list is always decarbonization,” he said, noting European companies must meet decarbonization requirements under the Paris Agreement, the global pact to fight climate change. “In Europe, all the large corporates have made incredible commitments, which all mean a very sharp reversal of any trajectory of their carbon footprint. It‘s a big step, and our claim is to say you used to outsource your IT, now outsource your carbon reduction targets to us, and we’ll do it for you.”

Decarbonization also is a key factor in recruiting new Atos employees, Girard said.

“Young, digital-native, high-skilled youngsters entering into the group -- more and more of them are coming because we have put such an emphasis on decarbonization,” he said. “In Europe, it is the No. 1 criterion for joining the company.”

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