Jay Dempsey joined Continent 8 in July, taking on the role of Head of Cloud. Based in South Africa, he previously spent eight years working for a technology company that provides solutions to the world’s biggest suppliers in online gaming.
In the latest Cultiv8 article, our HR Manager, Jordan Holmes, speaks to Jay about his career progression, new role at Continent 8 and what the future holds for cloud technology.
Can you tell us more about your role as Head of Cloud at Continent 8?
Continent 8 has always been a company close to my heart, so when I was offered the chance to build and develop its cloud team and offering, I saw this as a great opportunity.
Continent 8 services a unique, high-value, boutique global market. The demand on having secure public and private cloud solutions has seen it elevate its offering to its customers and allowed it to expand into other verticals with similar business requirements.
Building on our existing solutions to develop a world-class cloud offering for our customer base is an exciting opportunity.
How has your career progressed into such a role?
Building technical teams and helping to drive innovation in infrastructure, cloud and automation have always been where I feel most comfortable. My experience in the world of gaming, combined with product development, means I have a unique view of customer requirements. This is especially important when navigating the worlds of gaming, sports betting, and highly regulated markets.
What attracted you to Continent 8?
I have worked with Continent 8 for about 8 years and I know they are a great company, both from an employment point of view and from a customer perspective. Customer centricity is our philosophy, and the company has the passion and drive of a start-up with the pedigree to match any of the big global providers.
Watching it grow as a company has been superb and when it added cloud to its service catalogue, I knew it was a company to watch and one that I ultimately wanted to work for.
What are the challenges you face as Head of Cloud?
The cloud market is changing, we can see the hyperscale cloud providers driving market growth. It’s something we have had to watch very closely. Not only in terms of increased competition but also their appetite for good technical staff.
But is also presents a big opportunity, and we have developed a multi-cloud provider strategy, supporting customers with hyperscale cloud solutions. I’m proud to see we are an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner and Microsoft Silver Partner as this is a testament to the quality of the solutions and services we offer.
How do you use your knowledge and experience to overcome these challenges?
I have always believed what attracts people to companies is not only their financial success. It’s about the right culture, passion and caring about your people. This always wins in the end.
Building a team with work-life balance, training and learning opportunities and taking the time to focus on the little things are all important to your people.
One of my team once asked me “If we automate everything won’t we be out of a job?”. The funny thing is when you have automation and remove all the menial tasks from your day-to-day working role, you get to work on the cool stuff and can think bigger.
If you take this ethos when dealing with big cloud providers, I don’t see them as a threat, I see them as an opportunity to scale our offering to our customers in new and unique ways.
What is the most rewarding part about your job?
Joining my team ‘stand-up’ meetings and listening to them kick off the day with some friendly banter!
I could say things like when I see a project or solution we put together successfully go live or when the teams automate work that would have taken them hours to complete in the past, but honestly, these are all outputs of building the right culture and giving people the opportunity to succeed and grow. Removing silos and building a safe place for people to learn and share their ideas has always been the most rewarding part of my job.
How has Cloud technology changed the game for iGaming businesses?
Cloud is evolving at such a rapid pace, and the expansion into new gaming markets globally as they open up and regulate has really put a spotlight on what cloud means to different companies. It’s no longer just about servers, storage, and network resources. Having the ability to develop environments that are secure as well as offer a range of platforms and software services in multiple locations, while meeting different regulatory and compliance requirements, is pushing the boundaries when it comes to cloud solutions for iGaming.
What makes Continent 8’s Cloud solution stand out from others in the market?
Continent 8 understands its customers are all different, each with unique needs. Being a boutique provider means giving specialised personal services. That’s something the company has prided itself on for almost 25 years.
Continent 8 has always walked the road with its customers, this means it is not racing ahead or lagging. When you are on a journey with a customer and you take the time to understand their needs and provide advice and services that are in their best interest, you build relationships that set you apart from others. That’s why we have customers today who have been with us from the very start.
Can you share any product developments/updates you will be rolling out over the coming months?
We are about to release our Network Edge Cloud and Hyperscale Regulated Cloud.
Network Edge Cloud is a unique offering that allows customers to consume cloud services that are at the Network Edge. There is clear demand for global edge services and appliances to be deployed through infrastructure as code or virtual appliances. Having a solution that can scale to deliver these bespoke services is important for Continent 8.
Continent 8 is no stranger to regulation. There is increased demand for Hyperscale Regulated Cloud, where customers want to consume public cloud services in highly regulated markets. This means providing a cloud offering that meets regulatory requirements and is certified to provide IaaS and PaaS environments; this is key to expanding our offering. Continent 8 will offer the guardrails to protect its customers and allow them to take advantage of hyperscale cloud.
As you can see there’s plenty of product development when it comes to the Continent 8 cloud offering; it’s an incredibly exciting time for the team and I.