Interview: Peter O'Connor, Snowflake


Monday, 11 January, 2021

Interview: Peter O'Connor, Snowflake

In our annual Leaders in Technology series, we ask the experts what the year ahead holds. Today we talk data with Snowflake’s Peter O’Connor.

Which new technologies will reach critical mass in 2021?

The notion of data sharing will see massive acceleration in the year ahead, as more organisations adopt processes to ensure they have complete visibility of all datasets, both internal and external. Having an acute awareness of data from the entire ecosystem including partners, customers and the wider industry will be key. However, organisations will also be able to capitalise on their data where we’ll see a shift of people no longer just searching for data, but also curating it for others to access.

What more can governments do to counter cyber attacks?

COVID-19 has completely shifted the notion of location, and with it, how security will be viewed and tackled in the year ahead. No longer is the corporate network the main point of security, but now with a large number of users telecommuting from home, identity should be adopted by organisations as the primary layer for robust security. Identity will truly become the new perimeter, enabling organisations to make deeper decisions about who a user is and what they should have access to.

While identity is one step towards improved security, the pandemic will also drive organisations to adopt data governance models in a preventive manner, rather than being pressured by external factors such as legislation. The more an organisation can futureproof its security before a problem arises, the better it will be in adapting to any changes that may occur as a result of the pandemic.

How will IT improve operational efficiency in 2021, and who should lead the charge?

Self-service systems will improve organisational efficiency when it comes to data, and the CIO will be key in leading this charge so that everyone in the organisation can service their data needs in near real time. Thanks to advances in cloud data platforms, anyone can instantly access data to run a report for example, or access third-party data from another department or external to the organisation with ease. Data will be democratised throughout the organisation, empowering employees to get the most of data in a timely manner, rather than relying on IT or data teams to provide this insight.

What’s on your wish list from government, industry and innovators?

Both federal and state governments should progress with real-time data sharing initiatives (including weblog, IoT, GPS and weather data) that today can be securely delivered across multiple public cloud platforms. More organisations should value multi-public cloud relationships and not commit exclusively to one.

At the same time, with government ‘cloud-first’ initiatives now in place, public sector enterprises should use the new year as an opportunity to invest time in understanding how SaaS contracts work and rethink the multi-year government panel process. Increasingly, decision makers should also leverage consumption cloud services versus legacy infrastructure that has traditionally been delivered with expensive operational overheads.

Finally, it would be great to see a realisation that secure sharing data through private and public data marketplaces delivers financial reward and opportunity to blend and join data for deeper knowledge.

Peter O’Connor has more than 30 years’ experience in the IT industry and 25 years’ experience starting and leading tech businesses in the Asia Pacific. Since 2017, Peter has led the management and expansion of Snowflake’s Asia Pacific business. He was previously Asia Pacific VP for Nimble Storage, VP for NetApp Australia & ASEAN and VP Asia Pacific at Macromedia.

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