Operational Lessons Learned from Cloud-First Companies

Fall 2021

Cloud-first companies have been the pioneers of building business value with cloud technologies. But as these companies scale, they find that their cloud consumption cost dominates the cost of sales, and for many, they start moving workloads to on-prem facilities. In this session, we explore operational best practices that enable workloads to move between on- and off-prem cloud infrastructure.


Yesim Akdeniz is a senior Managing Director in Citi technology organization and has been responsible to driving significant transformation across the technology infrastructure landscape over the last 5 years. She has been part of the core leadership team that has driven 30%+ savings across the operating expense, while significantly modernizing Citigroup’s technology capabilities, enhancing customer experience, business agility and managing risk.

Citi technology organization supports business operations in 100+ countries that Citi operates in, across multiple lines of business spanning both Institutional and Retail businesses. The technology engineering organization is designing and deploying industry leading solutions across the Citi footprint as the bank continues to leverage product and business model innovation to maintain and increase Citi’s competitive edge in the market place. Yesim is at the forefront of the innovative thinking that CATE (Citigroup Architecture and Technology Engineering) is delivering.

She has held several senior management positions across Citigroup technology, Yesim has a Masters in Business Administration, Wilmington College and a Bachelors of Art in Computer Science, East Carolina University. As one of the senior most women in technology and co-chair of Enterprise O&T Women Leadership Council at Citigroup, Yesim is actively involved with various ‘Women in Technology’ initiatives, including the Women’s Bond Club and Citigroup sponsorship programs. Additionally, Yesim was awarded the top 100 CIOs award by the CIO magazine in 2010, http://www.citigroup.com/citi/press/2010/100603e.htm, and she was inducted into the 42nd Annual YWCA Academy of Women Leaders on in 2016.

Previously was at Cisco for +20 years, Soni has extensive experience in marketing and driving industry transformation through disruption and commercializing innovative technologies

Held numerous positions including SVP/GM, most recently serving as Cisco’s SVP of Marketing

  • Over the last decade she has been involved with start up ventures as part of the MPLS team
  • Co-founder and part of the spin-in teams for Nuova Systems and Insieme Networks at Cisco where she focused on all aspects of the business related to bringing the product to market with customers and partners, including market validation, product development, competitive analysis, etc.

Prior to joining Cisco, Soni held marketing executive positions at UB Networks and Excelan
Independent Non-Executive Director of The Sage Group plc
B.S. in Computer Science from University of London

Saikrishna Kotha leads PayPal’s Global Network.

Since, joining PayPal, he has transformed PayPal’s network foundations into a stable and modern platform. He has consistently led with a clear vision and has empowered teams across PayPal to fully leverage the global network capabilities. As PayPal moves into a period of massive scaling toward 1B daily active users, Saikrishna is ensuring that PayPal’s network is ready to support the delightful delivery of PayPal products and services anywhere in the world.

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