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Cloud innovation at the speed of life

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The whitepaper ‘Cloud innovation at the speed of life’ argues the importance of considering co-innovation — working with an industry partner to develop something bespoke rather than off-the-shelf; …

The whitepaper ‘Cloud innovation at the speed of life’ argues the importance of considering co-innovation — working with an industry partner to develop something bespoke rather than off-the-shelf; could this be the right route for your organisation?

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  • 1. CloudInnovation at the speed of lifeThe time for talk – the time for the hype – is over. Is cloud finally poised to deliver on itsearly promise? How cloud can help CIOs innovate for change and growth at the speed of life.
  • 2. CIOs are operating in a changing world. Tectonic shifts in the way employees work and play, the waywe communicate and the economic environment are leading CIOs a merry dance. This paper looksat just some of the big organisational changes CIOs are facing. It explores how they can make themost of cloud’s fundamental strengths to tackle them.Many billed 2011 as the year cloud would finally take off. After years of expectation and hyperbole,this was the year it would start to deliver on its promise.But while we start to see shards of light finally splinter through the grey, this year has, so far,witnessed more threatening weather gathering overhead.The unfortunate experiences of some high profile outages have dented cloud’s reputation. We onceagain debated whether cloud could be trusted. Could we really buy computing services over theworldwide web, just as we would gas, water or electricity?There’s another side to the 2011 cloud coin however. Take a look at SpotCloud, for example – theworld’s first spot market for cloud computing. Early predictions suggested it wouldn’t take offbecause of the opaqueness of its services, but now signs are more promising.Elsewhere, consumer adoption of cloud services continues apace, whether that’s hosted email,productivity, storage or entertainment services. The explosion of new mobile devices is alsospurring adoption.Unsurprisingly, business still lags behind. To date, uptake of cloud has been limited to the earlyadopters. But for some that stands ready to change: in July 2011, 49 per cent of CIOs saw movingservices into the cloud as a priority for their organisation.1Cloud is just a part of evolution: changes in the way we communicate with each other; in the waywe do business. Of evolution, the German writer Goethe once said: ‘progress has not followed astraight ascending line, but a spiral with rhythms of progress and retrogression, of evolutionand dissolution’.Business’ adoption of cloud is inevitable. But, just like any other evolutionary process, thatadoption might not take place along a straight line, and it should be for the right reasons. A history of cloud: a theory mis-sold? The hype began to exceed the reality. The barriers to businesses getting onboard with cloud services The industry’s failure to clearly articulate how cloud should are well-debated. Security concerns, whether genuine or be adopted, and what benefits it can bestow, has become the perceived, have dominated the early stage of the cloud, as biggest barrier to adoption. have issues around data storage and regulation. CIOs have often found it difficult to get buy-in to cloud internally. We’re still seeing ‘cloud-wash’ now, and BT’s research suggests 56 per cent of people are struggling to articulate the benefits But there’s something more fundamental that’s happened of cloud services down to a business case level. throughout: cloud has been miss-sold and, subsequently, misunderstood. The cloud industry allowed the idea to be Attempts to define the cloud aren’t helpful. We need to stop expressed as an amorphous, all-singing, all-dancing answer talking about cloud in purely technological terms. More on to IT’s future. that later.1 BT’s ‘Voice of the Customer’ research, July 2011
  • 3. The cloud and change Anytime, anywhere…at schoolSure, it’s a cliché, but the only certainty for businesses nowis change. CIOs have already weathered their fair share of BT is working with pilot schools in Coventry, Ealing andit, negotiating the turbulent economic climate, a climate of the Isle of Wight on a unique ‘virtual desktop’ project.budget cuts and efficiency drives. Many will be over-familiarwith downsizing and innovating to increase productivity. BT Learn Anytime will allow teachers, pupils and parents to access their school computer virtually – andBut we’re also on the verge of some monumental tectonic any resources they need – on any device.shifts in the way we manage our relationships, the way wework and the way we communicate. Successful businesses willnot only have to survive recession, but also decisively addressthese shifts.Our reliance on silicon has changed the role of the IT department. More than ever before the CIO isat the heart of a business’ ability to respond to change.These ‘shifts’ all require CIOs to think differently about their IT mix. We look at three of the biggestchanges that are already shaping that thinking.1. Talkin’ about my generation?Henry Ford once said: ‘If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have said a fasterhorse’. Are we now the ‘faster horse’ generation?The impact of an influx of ‘generation Y’ employees into the workplace has long been a hot topicfor HR directors. But there are implications for IT too.Do CIOs look to bend new employees to current ways of working? Telling younger employees theycan only use email or that they can’t use their smartphone in the office might work to a point, butfrom their perspective you might as well be asking them to send a telegram.But this debate could be a red herring. Changes in the way we work are equally driven by the‘consumerisation’ of IT than by generational differences. Personal preference, individual choice andthe desire to use just one device are powerful forces.A 2010 survey suggested that more than 50 per cent of iPad owners use their device for business. Itisn’t exclusive to younger generations, either: chief execs have iPads and want to use them at worktoo. Despite not officially supporting the devices, some businesses have already developed iPadapps to provide live reports against KPIs for the board.Highly networked employees have found new tools – whether that’s an iPad or a social media app– that are useful to their job.As the number of devices and apps proliferate, so ‘one size fits all’ IT will become more redundant.Looking further into the future, ‘traditional’ IT may disappear entirely. We’ll bring our ownindividual tools to our work whenever we take on a new assignment or role.Consumerisation of the corporate IT space is already well established. CIOs can’t afford to think‘faster horse’ if their organisation is to attract the best talent, and make the most of them whenthey arrive.
  • 4. 2. Inconceivable connectivityMass connectivity is changing how we live and work irrevocably. Fixed networks, wireless networks,private clouds, public clouds: anytime, anywhere, any device.Almost limitless connectivity is set to transform our personal and professional worlds. It’s alreadyhappening: look at the way we track parcels or supply chain movements, for example. This is justthe beginning.How so? Well, imagine you’re on holiday and there’s a water leak back home. Sensors thererecognise the danger, and alert you on your mobile phone. At the touch of a button you can turnthe water off, and let a local plumber know you want them to fix the problem.There are professional applications too. The pharmaceutical industry, for example, has alreadystarted to use the cloud to carve out a radically new future for itself. Ingestible sensors that senddata for live analysis in the cloud are only a stone’s throw away.The combination of data and analysis in the cloud will completely transform how individuals,communities and corporations interact. We’re not there yet, but the path to a new way of thinkingabout connectivity and the cloud – and how it can deliver innovation into a business – is in train.3. It’s IT, but not as we know itCast your mind back twenty years. How was your office different from the environment you’resitting in now?Well, there weren’t computers at every desk. It was probably divided into smaller rooms. Desklayout was hierarchical. The fax machine was the conversational water cooler. Today, open plan,noisy offices are the norm. Hot-desking, working from home or on the move and using personallaptops are commonplace.But despite the modern environment creating multiple ways of working, one fixture has remainedconstant – the software that runs on our own, instantly recognisable operating system, and on ourown servers.But chunks of that recognisable software disappearing might not be as far away as you think. Thesoftware market has already started to change, and the ways we work within the digital universeare set to transform with it.The cloud, for example, will allow innovation-focused CIOs to move to an app storeapproach, sampling new services on a pay as you go basis to deliver new thinking into theirorganisation swiftly.Beyond that, signs are that this could lead to the development of a new kind of cloud-based digital‘identity’ that moves with us, whoever we work for and wherever we’re based. Bonded to thesystem and apps of whatever company we work for, this online passport would allow everyone tobring their own tools to the work party, but integrate them with the services of our employer.Ok, so a personal digital key to all IT services may be a little way down the line. But theemergence of a more powerful Google ID, or a digital government identity card, doesn’t takea leap of imagination.
  • 5. The cloud journey and innovation BT was recognised in Germany by the analystsWhen we look back on whether cloud lived up to its promise, of Experton Group in their latest “Cloudwe won’t judge it by how much money it saved. We will judge Vendor Benchmark 2011” report, where BTit by how much money it made by enabling innovation and Virtual Data Centre was listed as a “leader” indriving efficiencies. three categories.Delivering success against a backdrop of far-reaching changewill be the yardstick.Cloud-wash has been a distraction. A perception has grown that cloud is one homogenous entitythat you’re either onboard with, or you’re not. But the reality is something entirely different.The immediate and medium-term future for cloud will, and should, be riven with individuality. Thecloud is the perfect test and development environment – it’s what it was designed for. The flexiblecost model means it doesn’t need huge upfront investment. Critically, it offers almost limitlessopportunities to try new things and drive innovation through your business.And cloud isn’t just a vehicle for responding to changing conditions within the workplace: it candrive innovation in how it faces the outside world, too. Quick and scalable infrastructure and anapp store model could, for example, support rapid product development. It could also enable easieraccess to end customers and new markets.But regardless of the intention, a wholesale movement into the cloud would be painful for anyorganisation – too painful. And it probably wouldn’t be a good move either. Be clear why youwant cloud: while it offers agility, it can come at a price. In some cases, particularly where greaterflexibility is not an issue, it won’t be the right thing at all.But where do you start? How can you use IT to inspire an innovative culture, stimulate new ways ofworking to drive benefits to the bottom line? We suggest five ideas to consider.1) Not tech objectives, but business onesDevelop a vision for where you want to take cloud in your organisation – but make it a vision thatstarts with small, practical steps.It sounds obvious but, as with any other decision you would make, think about your business first.What are the changing operational requirements of the business over the next five years? What roledoes IT play in the business hitting its objectives over that period?As cloud becomes more commonplace the CIO’s role will shift more towards drawing up businesspolicies. These will become the CIOs heartland: use them not only to direct internal audiences, butalso your service providers and software vendors.2) To understand your future, first understand your past…Look at your legacy infrastructure and systems. What parts of your legacy do you want, or need,to take forward? What apps will need re-writing for the cloud? It won’t always be the right option:what legacy systems still deliver?
  • 6. 3). Trial. Succeed. Fail. Learn.The very nature of cloud means CIOs can become ultra-focused, identifying bespoke projects thatcan leverage success for their individual business.Find pilots ripe for cloud experimentation. Trial something in a contained way, succeed or fail, learn,shut it down or scale it up.Critically, cloud should be front of mind for new projects. Using traditional models risks not beingfuture-proof or cost-effective. To maximise potential success cloud services should be built fromthe ground up.Finally, use pilot projects to help make the case internally. Cloud-washing has brought with it a warchest of misconceptions around risk: making a fact-based case based on real projects will be mosteffective at winning support internally.4) The people issue: new tech, new skills, new cultureIT will become more people-oriented, and more strategic, than ever before. It isn’t just thetechnology that needs to change: it’s you, too.Without the people and process in place, cloud simply won’t drive the increased productivity,efficiency and innovation you’re after. Consider what culture you need to cultivate in yourdepartment for a cloud-based future. What different skills will you need?5) Consider co-innovationOne of the potential future benefits of the cloud is the ‘app store’ model: selecting services onlineand bringing them into play almost instantly with a click of a mouse and a credit card transaction.But cloud is also changing the way service providers develop products: a more collaborative,customer-focused model is emerging.Whether a smaller project or a significantchange, consider the benefits of workingwith an industry partner to developsomething bespoke rather than off the shelf.This will help you direct what it delivers fromcradle to grave.
  • 7. Seeing the wood for the cloudsBoil it down, and cloud is just another way of acquiring services. But the hype has made it difficultto see the wood for the trees.CIOs need to strip away the black box around cloud. Consider first what business benefits you wantto deliver for your organisation. Is cloud part of the solution?A gradual cloud evolution is ok. In fact, it’s the perfect strategy. But your legacy systems could belimiting your competitiveness: is this an evolution you need to start now?BT and the cloudCloud is exciting and the hype isn’t groundless. It’s important to understand however that cloudis about services, not technology. It can deliver innovation, not just efficiency benefits. BT GlobalServices can help you understand the opportunity for your business and help negotiate yourcloud journey, supported by a breadth of global experience.But we’re broad minded enough to know that the cloud might not be right for everything,right now.We know that the real solution – cloud or not – starts with you, and with services that helpyou create a better business and service for your customers. We’ll go beyond the buzzwordsand ballyhoo.A truly networked IT services provider, we are trusted by thousands of companies andgovernments around the world to unlock the value already within their organisations. Whethermanaged network solutions or the latest in cloud services, we can be the partner that frees youto do what you do best.Offices worldwideThe services described in this publication are subject to availabilityand may be modified from time to time. Services and equipmentare provided subject to British Telecommunications plc’srespective standard conditions of contract. Nothing in thispublication forms any part of any contract.British Telecommunications plc 2011.Registered office: 81 Newgate Street, London EC1A 7AJRegistered in England No: 1800000

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