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Raconteur Business in the Cloud


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Raconteur Business in the Cloud

  2. 2. CLOUD FOR BUSINESS twitter: @raconteur Hopefully we are all now famil- iar with the benefits of the cloud. The lower capital expenditure, the joy of passing on the job of maintenance to someone else, the limitless scalability – these have been talked about so much it feels almost redundant to rehash them. So, what’s next with the cloud? What are we going to be talking about for the next five years? Here’s one debate generating a lot of noise: bespoke app devel- opment on the cloud. It’s in its infancy right now, but the way the cloud works means ordinary firms are going to be able to create their own applications. Apps for smartphones are already being made in large num- bers on the cloud. Using an online service such as, you can drag and drop components via a browser to build your app. Add plug-insfromtheonlinecatalogue and hey presto, your app is ready to go. With nothing to download or install, it really is that easy. Adam Spearing, area vice-pres- ident of, reckons this approach is about to trans- form the cloud. “A few years ago, app development was dominated by people who were typified by their extreme focus and deep expertise in code and systems. Frequently they had computer science training and tons of rig- orous study time to become an expert.Afterall,buildingappswas complex,” he says. “Fast forward to 2014 and every- thing you know about app devel- opment has changed. The cloud makes it easier than ever to create great applications, regardless of yourbackground.Anyonecantake ideasandturnthemintosolutions faster than ever before. Kids use Scratch and create interactive apps,whileLEGOMindstormsand Raspberry Pi are bringing them a ‘maker culture’ in engaging ways. “Businesspeople can create enterprise cloud apps without a professional programming back- ground, too, as sites such as Code- Academy make it easy for non- programmers to learn the logic of coding. And leading platform-as- a-servicesolutionsgiveemployees enough flexibility to build their own apps while ensuring they meet the governance needed by corporate IT.” Researchers at Gartner estimate that,withinthreeyears,25percent of large enterprises will have their own app stores. Cloud-based soft- ware vendor EvaluAgent already offers a workforce optimisation platformwhichis80percenthard- codedand20percenttweakable. EvaluAgent managing director Jamie Scott says: “Bespoke appli- cation development is possibly the most compelling reason for firms to move to the cloud, but many companies are not aware of this. Imagine a world where software can be customised to fit a company’s existing business processes as a standard part of the set-up process, without involving prohibitive charges. This is now already becoming a reality thanks to the cloud.” Another trend worth paying attention to is the rise of virtual- ised environments for graphically intensive applications. Histori- cally, if you wanted to run Photo- shoporAutoCAD,youneededtodo itonyourowncomputer.Willthat stay the same? Not according to Nvidia, one of the world’s leading makersofgraphicschipsandcards. Nvidiavice-presidentGregEstes says: “Previously, cloud offer- ings could not run graphics-rich programmes such as Autodesk’s AutoCAD and Adobe’s Creative Suite, but we are now seeing more and more companies moving their most 3D-intensive users to a virtual set-up. This allows accesstocriticalapplications,any- where, from any device, providing employees with more flexibility as well as eliminating the need for local cumbersome desktops.” This change could lead to con- sumers gaming on the cloud. Mr Estes forecasts: “It offers freedom fromconsoles,whereserviceoper- atorscanusethistechnologyasthe base for their on-demand gaming- as-a-service. This move will lead to a revolution in gaming across anydeviceofanyquality,beitaPC, Mac,tablet,smartphoneorTV.” Cost will remain a tricky area for thecloud.It’sstillannoyinglyhard to get a full picture on expendi- ture and return on investment. Service level agreements (SLAs) need clearing up too. According to Compuware, 79 per cent of IT professionals believe SLAs are sub-standard and 75 per cent say cloud-providers may be hiding problems, often using holes in the SLA to get away with it. Security will never stop being an issue for the cloud. And now we have regional legal issues to grap- ple with. Do you want the United States government to requisition your data? What about EU data- protection laws? It is revealing that BTnow permits its cloud cus- tomers to locate their data in the country of their choice; and there are 16 to choose from. One last prediction? The good news stories will just keep com- ing. Such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), which switched in-house automa- tion processes over to a hosted system by Redwood Software. The cloud now handles the direct debits, gift-aid paperwork and donor tracking. Does it work? The RSPB’s data manager Andrew Oldham says: “As a charity, we want to focus our efforts on not-for-profit activity, so it makes a massive difference to us not having to worry about hardware, infrastructure or main- tenance costs. Automation has been monumental in boosting the charity’s productivity.” No matter how the cloud devel- ops, this is what matters. Bespokeappdevelopmentonthecloudissomethingnewthat forecasterspredicthasabrightfuture,writesCharlesOrton-Jones OVERVIEW NEWCLOUDONHORIZON ANDFORECASTISGOOD Businesspeoplecancreateenterprise cloudappswithoutaprofessional programmingbackground DISTRIBUTED IN STEPHEN ARMSTRONG Contributor to The Sunday Times, London Evening Standard, Monocle, Wallpaper* and GQ, he is also an occasional broadcaster on BBC Radio 4 and Radio 2. TOM BREWSTER Freelance journalist covering information security, whose work has appeared in The Guardian and WIRED, he was named BT Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013. DAVE HOWELL Freelance journalist, writer and micro publisher, he specialises in business and technology, and has written for a range of publications and websites. MIYA KNIGHTS Editor of Retail Technology magazine and website, she also writes and consults for a number of national and industry trade publications and analyst houses. JOHN LAMB Former editor of titles including Computer Weekly and Information Week, he publishes Ability magazine on technology for disabled people. CHARLES ORTON-JONES Former Professional Publishers Association Business Journalist of the Year, he was editor-at-large of and editor of EuroBusiness magazine. CAROLINE REID Sport and business writer, she was formerly on the staff of the official Formula 1 magazine. PUBLISHING MANAGER Michael Kershaw DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION, INFOGRAPHICS The Surgery MANAGING EDITOR Peter Archer PRODUCTION MANAGER Natalia Rosek COMMISSIONING EDITOR Charles Orton-Jones Althoughthispublicationisfundedthroughadvertisingand sponsorship,alleditorialiswithoutbiasandsponsoredfeaturesare clearlylabelled.Foranupcomingschedule,partnershipinquiriesor feedback,pleasecall+44(0) RaconteurMediaisaleadingEuropeanpublisherofspecialinterest contentandresearch.Itcoversawiderangeoftopics,including business,finance,sustainability,lifestyleandthearts.Itsspecial reportsareexclusivelypublishedwithinTheTimes,TheSundayTimes Theinformationcontainedinthispublicationhasbeenobtainedfrom sourcestheProprietorsbelievetobecorrect.However,nolegalliability canbeacceptedforanyerrors.Nopartofthispublicationmaybe reproducedwithoutthepriorconsentofthePublisher. ©RaconteurMedia CONTRIBUTORS IN ASSOCIATION DISTRIBUTION PARTNERS
  3. 3. CLOUD FOR BUSINESS twitter: @raconteur twitter: @raconteur 0504 FINANCE With internet-connected PC andmobiledevicesrunningcloud- based consumer software and services, such as e-mail and social networks,itiseasytoseewhycom- pany finance departments want to capitalise on the same cost-sav- ings,accessibilityandconvenience afforded their staff at home. However, this vital line of busi- ness has been comparatively slow to realise the benefits of cloud computing,comparedforexample to its sales, marketing or human resourcescounterparts,withtheir highlydistributedandincreasingly mobileworkforces.Aglobalsurvey of 2,041 business executives, com- missioned by Microsoft and con- ducted by 451 Research, confirms that 32 per cent of organisations now include a formal cloud com- puting plan as part of their overall IT and business strategy. A financial services sector study published by Oracle, Accenture and Longitude Research also reveals 68 per cent of 1,275 execu- tives are either planning to use a cloud-based financial accounting systemorarealreadydoingso.But they are only likely to subscribe or apply cloud-based software or services in selective situations. “Cloud is the single most dis- ruptive force in technology,” says Steve Cardell, president of enter- prise services and diversified industries at HCL Technologies, who runs the IT software and services provider’s enterprise applicationsoftwarepractice.“But I would also say that finance has beenatthebackofthebus.Andfor goodreason–theyhavealotmore legal and regulatory compliance considerations than some other parts of a business.” This cautious attitude is slowly beginning to change in response toemergingchallenges.Speed of deployment and lower capital costs, for example, are often the primary rea- son a finance department begins to evaluate what the cloud can offer. Hosted IT infrastructure services, for instance, are help- ing finance departments manage seasonal peaks in demand for computing power. “Budgeting and planning often need a huge amount of IT capac- ity,” says Mr Cardell. “In some cases, the month-end processes can cause IT-based systems to COUNTINGTHECOST OFBEINGCLOUDLESS Finance departments are playing catch-up in switching to cloud-based accounting systems, as Miya Knights discovers Machines inthecloud Page06 grind to a halt. So most build for the peak and don’t use that spare capacity the rest of the time or struggle to meet demand during peakperiods.”Wheredatagovern- ance and security is often written into service contracts, he adds, “cloud infrastructure can be most helpful for cost-effective opera- tional speed and agility”. The finance department also has a range of options when it comes to cloud-based software, includ- ing those developed for time and expense reporting, for example. “I call these input applications,” says Mr Cardell. “They are usually the first area of cloud-based finance software adoption.” Used by management and staff to provide finance with vitaloperationsdata,theseapplica- tions, which can often be accessed through a browser or mobile device, can streamline the gather- ing and dissemination of account- inginformationinreal-time. Mr Cardell highlights the core finance function itself as the place where cloud adoption has so far failed to keep pace with the rest of the business. “These applications tendtobehighlytransactionaland are therefore more liable to risk and regulation, such as payroll or statutory financial accounting packages,” he says. This is because enter- prise resource plan- ning(ERP)software has historically required signif- icant invest- ment and in-house manage- ment where “there are just not as many cloud prod- ucts on the market,” Mr Cardell says. Major vendors, such as Oracle and SAP, have introduced large enterprise cloud-based ERP offerings. But cloud-based vendors, including NetSuite and Salesforce, are also mak- ing headway in the mid- market. The finance department of Broadway Malyan made the move to cloud- based accounting soft- ware early. Anne Howard, head of UK finance for the international archi- tecture practice, says it has enabled more effec- tive resource planning, as well as cost-savings and improved productivity. “The business had already made a move into cloud with Google Apps a couple of years ago,” Ms Howard says. “So we were open to cloud solutions where finding a fit with ourglobalbusinessmadecost,flex- ibility and scalability paramount. It means we have no hardware costs and that the software is constantly upgraded. And we can expand access to the systems to ourpeopleanywhereintheworld.” She adds that, although security is a major consideration, cloud providers’ systems are often more securethanbusinesseswhosecore purpose is not IT related. Broadway Malyan migrated to Twinfield, integrating the provid- er’s online, cloud-based account- ing suite with the company’s existing customer relationship management system in 2012. Ms Howardsaysthecompanyworked with Twinfield to develop some specific local functionality, which included handling BACS (Bank- ers’ Automated Clearing Services) and cheque payments. But this was preferable to buying a larger enterprise package with “more functionality than we needed”, she says. “It’s just been so easy. We have better visibility of what’s happen- ing internationally, where before that would only happen when we physically visited each office to do an audit. And we can now spend the time saved on value-added areas rather than churning out the accounts.” This includes more business-facing analysis of opera- tions, to reveal the least and most efficient projects or most valuable clients, for example. “And we can run reports knowing the data is automaticallyrefreshed,”sheadds. MsHowardagreeswithMrCard- ellthatthemainopportunitycloud now offers is around reporting and analytics. “Different business functions can pull external data sourcesandunstructureddatainto cloud-based analytic platforms or tools,” he says. “You can run finance data through Power BI, for example, to produce tables and integrate this dynamically with a presentation, so that the content of the slides changes whenever the underlying data changes.” With benefits like these, it is easy to see why 47 per cent of organisations, surveyed by researchers at Gartner, plan to move their core ERP systems to the cloud within five years. Problemsfloatawayinthecloud Theadvantagesofworkinginthecloudarejust toogreattoignore,says Big Red Cloud sion2.0andnewlicencesareneeded, you’llbeopeningyourwalletyetagain. The cloud does away with all of that. A user can log-on via a web browser to have full and immediate access to the very latest version of their accounts software. It doesn’t matter which computer they use. It could be via a tablet. It could be on a PC in an internetcaféatNaritaairport,Japan. The cloud application provider takes charge of all hardware requirements so there are no serv- ers to buy and no visits from the man with the drill. The cloud provider handles and pays for all the ongoing nitty-gritty, such as upgrades, anti- virus and back-up. Costs associated with these activities simply evapo- rate. Oh, and no electricity bill spikes either – not your problem anymore asyouaren’trunningadatacentre. By moving to the cloud you’ll be benefiting from your partner’s technical expertise. They will have a large cohort of dedicated techni- cal staff, way in excess of what an individual firm could justify sus- taining. And cloud providers have access to lavish resources, such as Microsoft Azure’s platform. This is Microsoft’s datacentre offering, which leases mass-scale technical infrastructure to cloud hosts. Marc O’Dwyer, chief executive of BigRedCloud,whichbasesitscloud accounting service on Azure, says: “Microsoft has thrown millions at Azure. It offers incredible resilience, back-up and cost advantages. The power of Azure is now available at thefingertipsofsmallbusinesses.” Shouldyouraccountsbeinthecloud? At first glance this might seem unim- portant. What does it matter? Can’t the IT guys decide the technical stuff like this? Well, yes, they can. But the question of where to host your accountingsoftwareiscritical. Inadditiontothecostconsiderations, there is a long list of operational ben- efits to the cloud. When you start to graspthedifferencesbetweentheold- fashionedapproachofbuyingsoftware and installing it on your own equip- ment stored in your office, and the cloudapproachwherebyallyouneedis access to the internet, the advantages oughttogetyouprettyexcited. Let’s start with something basic, like capital expenditure. The old way of using software was to do every- thing in-house. This required firms to splash out on servers to run soft- ware.Thebillsquicklyaddedup. The software costs money. And you’ve got to fork out for an IT guy to install the software. He’ll need to maintainittoo.Upgradesandpatches must be applied. The data must be backed-up, which costs money. You’ll need to make sure your anti-virus systemisuptothejob. The expenditure doesn’t end there, as there are hidden nasties, like the cost of ethernet cabling, electricity bills andforkingoutforatechniciantodrill holes in your walls to accommodate your bulky kit. And there is possible downtimeduringupgrades.Butwhen the software maker launches ver- This means even the smallest firm can have the same technol- ogy at its disposal as the very larg- est. The cloud will change the way your firm works, for the better. There are game-changers. For example, accountants can use the cloud platform to access data in real-time. Mr O’Dwyer explains: “If you are not in the cloud there is a time-delay. Firms need to download their data to a file and then send that to the accountant. This is not a responsive way to work. But with the cloud, the accountant can look at the financial information at any time of day and always get the very latest picture. This means the accountant can take amoreactiverole. “They can use our business intelli- gencetoolstogiveadvancedinforma- tionondebtorsdays[howquicklycash is being collected from debtors] or to warnexecutivesthatcashcollectionis behind schedule and action needs to be taken. It changes the relationship between accountants, book-keepers and their clients. It is for this reason we offer free access to accountants andbook-keepers.” The same is true for business-own- ers as real-time information gives more accurate insight into the busi- ness, allowing for faster and more insightfuldecision-making. There are additional improve- ments, such as the ability to hot- desk in the office. Workers can use any machine to access accounts. Perhaps you are stuck at home with the kids or need to address an urgent issue when on holiday. With- out the cloud, you are reduced to using some sort of “remote login” third-party application or must wait for someone to download and e-mail you the files you need, which may be out of date by the time you get them. With the cloud you have instant access to everything. And the old system meant invoices couldn’tbeprocesseduntiltheaccount- antshaddonetheirwork.Withthecloud thereisnodelay.Ifnecessary,therecan be an ongoing conversation between multiple parties, all viewing the same accountsfrommultiplelocations. For fast-growing firms the cloud offers seamless – and limitless – expansion possibilities. You simply aren’t going to hit a point where your ITguyshakeshisheadandsays,“The server is full”. In the cloud, it is com- pletelyscalableandsimpletoaddten, a hundred or a thousand new staff to an application. With Big Red Cloud an unlimited number of users are allowed,fornoextrafee. Maybe though the biggest pay-off is mind-space. Business-owners need to focus on their core activities. They should not spend valuable time trying toboneuponhowadatacentreshould berunorwhethertheirsoftwareisup todate.Thecloudmeansyoucanforget aboutreamsofnigglingissuesforever. Pick the right cloud partner and you can take your business to new heights. Big Red Cloud founder Mr O’Dwyer says: “Big Red Cloud is simple to implement, works from the get-go and comes with full tel- ephone support. We’re here to help smart modern enterprises make better business decisions and set thefoundationforfuturegrowth.” Clarity of mind, lower costs, maxi- mum up-time, automated back-ups, anywhere-access, easy expansion, improved management control and greater security all come as standard in the cloud. It is pretty much impos- sible to achieve anything similar in- house. That is why there is so much excitement about the cloud. You’d be crazynottotakeadvantage. Formoreinformation,pleasecontact MarcO'Dwyer Tel:01619268822 Thecloudmeansyoucanforget aboutreamsofniggling issuesforever THECLOUDAPPLICATION ON-PREMISE Largeup-frontcapital infrastructureandinstallation costs.Extrairregularpayments Generallyonelicenceper computerwithdatadownloads andmanuallydistributedfiles E-mail or physical back-up data exchange with risk of being out of synch Server, hardware and infrastructure required Manual, potential downtime and extra licence costs Often pay for separate licences In-house reliability, storage and back- up issues Extralicencesneeded Nocapitalexpendituretoget upandrunning.Regularand predictablepayments Real-timeinformationanywhere, anytimewithinternetconnection Real-time updating of a single data set by client and accountant No limits. Accommodates increasing volumes of data Automatic, with every user on the same version Included in subscription cost Major industry specialist delivers the required and secure computing power Potentiallyunlimited FINANCIAL USERS BUSINESS ACCESS ACCOUNTANT'S ACCESS SCALABILITY UPGRADES TECHNICAL SUPPORT PLATFORM SaaS CLOUD MODEL COMPAREIN-HOUSEANDTHECLOUD UPDATE RECORDS REAL-TIMECOLLABORATION ACCOUNTANT BUSINESSOWNER SIMPLEAND INTUITIVEINTERFACE SIMPLEAND INTUITIVEINTERFACE
  4. 4. CLOUD FOR BUSINESS CLOUD FOR BUSINESS twitter: @raconteur twitter: @raconteur 0706 INTERNETOFTHINGS Understanding the societal impact of computing and test- ing the possibilities of machines withhuman-likeintelligencehave always been passions of Sir Nigel Shadbolt. Yet he recognises the threats concomitant with trusting toomuchincode,eveniftheyseem like science fiction to some. It’s only been 12 months since Sir Nigel was knighted for his ser- vices to science and engineering, but his work stretches back 30 years. Over that time, through his psychology and computer science research, he’s seen the inexorable spread of the internet as a force for change and is now keeping a watchful eye on the so-called internet of things. This will see the spread of con- nected,automateddevices,largely operating on their own, suppos- edly for the benefit of the general public. They will be powered by cloud-based systems, again consisting of collections of highly- automated machines, spread across global data centres, with the ability to deal with massive fluxes of traffic – something the growing pool of connected things isexpectedtodeliver.Fortheaver- age home-user, this means being able to let computers decide how best to manage their energy use to save money or having their fridge send alerts when groceries have reached their use-by date. But Sir Nigel believes the most successful internet of things pro- jectswillinitiallybenefittheemer- gencyservicesandurbanplanning groups,astheycantakeadvantage of open data streams. He has been impressed by one initiative using avarietyofinformationsourcesto placeambulancesasclosetolikely incidents as possible and expects cities to get greener with more efficient energy usage thanks to automated controls. In a bid to further the benefits of the web for the common man, Sir Nigel and his team at the Uni- versity of Southampton, where he is a professor of artificial intel- ligence (AI) and head of the Web and Internet Science Group, are working on the study and practice of social machines (SOCIAM). The project will determine how to develop distributed, crowd- powered systems that have the potential for profound impact on individuals, businesses and gov- ernments. “We want to make that a routine way in which business is done,” he says. He also founded the Open Data Institute (ODI) with the forefa- ther of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee. The purpose of the ODI is to encourage govern- ment and businesses to open up sourcesofdataforthepublicgood. Yet Sir Nigel believes this idea of openness needs promoting across other areas to ensure the inter- net continues to bring benefits to a wide audience, whether via web browsers, the cloud or con- nected “things”. Inparticular,ina“post-Snowden world” and one in which a handful of companies have massive power over the way the web works, he worries about excessive control over the internet. He frets about “intrusive and exclusive control by any agency”, whether a state agency, such as the US National Security Agency, or an organisa- tion on the scale of Facebook and Google. Despite the intrusions on privacysuchentitieshavebrought, Sir Nigel is still hopeful. “The thing that depresses me is when people just sit on their hands and say privacy is dead, get over it. It’s entirely in the hands of our soci- ety,” he says. His answer is to build account- ability into the internet, by having tracking working for the average user, rather than against them. “We’vegotmorecomputingpower than ever; some of it should be devotedtothisissueoftrackingfor ourbenefit,”headds.“Thewayyou can do that is doing what’s called ‘accountable computing’, where there’s a trace associated with the flowofdatainthesesystemsabout whereit’sbeen,whohashadaccess to it.” Those building the architecture of the internet also need to be wary of granting machines too much decision-making power through AI. “You have to keep asking yourself, if we keep grant- ing autonomy to these systems to takedecisionsonourbehalf,dowe understand the full range of their responsesandtheside-effectsthat might have? “Fundamentallywehavetoaskat everypointwherewe’redelegating decision-making authority, do we know how to take it back and do we understand the limits of that authority? That’s really crucial,” he says. While cloud systems have seen failures, for example when Goog- le’s Gmail goes down or Amazon Web Services hosting collapses causing websites to go dark, they stillworkmostofthetime.Aslong asmachinesarecodedresponsibly, these systems will continue to operate adequately, says Sir Nigel, and the same goes for other, more contentious technologies, such as weaponised military drones. “You have to put those rules of subservienceintothefundamental software systems,” he says. Sometimes the code giving machines their instructions does get out of control, so much so that humans cease to understand how they work. “We’ve got this very interestingareaofAIcalledgenetic algorithms where you essentially evolve programs,” Sir Nigel says. “Those programs can do things that you stare at as a designer for hours and hours to work out how it’s doing what it’s doing. “There’s a very good example in electronic design where they had a program to design oscil- lators and amplifiers, simple electronic circuits. They found some of these designs that the genetic algorithms had evolved and nobody could make any sense outofthem.Thesystemhadlearnt totakeadvantageofreallypeculiar impurities and facets of the hard- ware and the materials that you wouldneverdesignforasahuman designer. It’s fascinating, but it’s kind of spooky.” Yet fears of the fictional Skynet, of a world in which machines have taken over, are far-fetched. It should be remembered humans oftenmakefatalmistakes.Inmany cases, we should trust machines more than an individual with free will and capacity for error, Sir Nigel says. He concludes: “What we do know is that, in lots of routine kinds of automation, the error rates are much less than when you’vegothumanoperatorsthere. That’s just a sad fact. People make mistakes more often than our machines do.” Fundamentallywehavetoaskat everypointwherewe’redelegating decision-makingauthority Smartmachinescan savetimeandmoneyin thecloud PLACINGOURTRUST INTHEMACHINES A fridge that knows the use-by date of food and appliances which switch off to economise on electricity are just the start of an internet-like network of machines increasingly entrusted to make our decisions, writes Tom Brewster Brightenup business Page12 Examples of national and regional efforts to embrace the cloud can be found in the United States, Europe, Japan, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and many other countries and regions. In the private sector, adoption of cloud services is growing within thebankingindustry,manufactur- ing, healthcare and in many other largecorporations,aswellassmall and medium-sized businesses. Despitethesimplicityoftheidea of information and communica- tions technology services offered as a utility, on demand and pay- as-you-go, the cloud computing modelisbasedonacomplexchain of interactions between multiple parties, which operate in different countries and cross jurisdictions. The complexity and opacity that sometimes characterise the cloud “supply chain” have generated somebarrierstofasteradoptionof cloud computing, including: • Lackofclarityaroundthedefini- tion and attribution of responsi- bilities and liabilities • Difficultiesachievingaccountabil- ityacrossthecloudsupplychain • Incoherent global, and some- timesregionalandnational,legal frameworkandcompliance Wre- gimes • Lack of transparency of some service providers or brokers, particularlyaroundsecurityand risk management • Difficulties in performing inter- nal and external due diligence • Lack of clarity in service level agreements (SLAs) • Lack of interoperability • Lackofawarenessandexpertise. A key underlying theme in all theseistheneedforassuranceand trustbetweencloudprovidersand customers, and generally within the overall ecosystem. Barriers can be removed. Gov- ernments, cloud service providers and customers should be working collaborativelytowardsincreasing the level of trust in the market. Tothisend,thedefinitionofsecu- ritycontrolandcertificationframe- works, SLAs, standardised contrac- tualterms,andtheuseofcontinuous monitoringarekeymeanstoprovide moretransparencyandgovernance tothecloudcustomer. The European Commission strat- egyforcloudcomputing,forinstance, isbasedonthreemainpillars: 1. Identification of suitable stand- ards and certification schemes 2. Definition of model terms for SLAs, and contractual terms and conditions 3. Definition of common requirements in public sector organisations, and use of public procurementasamarketandqual- ity stimulus. Similarapproachesarecurrently being adopted in the US and Asia- Pacificregion.Cloudprovidersare strivingtobecomemoretranspar- ent, especially when it comes to security and privacy. Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) STAR, a voluntary registry where cloud providers can publish the results of their security assess- ment – either self-assessment or third-party audit-based cer- tification – against the CSA best practices, namely Cloud Control Matrix, is a clear example of cloud providers’ willingness to maintain the trusted relationship they have with existing customers and to provide assurance to potential new ones that their service will be sufficiently secure. Assurance is provided by telling customers whicharethesecuritycontrolsand measures in place to manage risks to their infrastructures, services and data. The objective is to put the cus- tomer in a position to compare competing offerings against their requirements, to make informed decisions when choosing the ser- vicetheyneedandtobeableverify, duringtheservicedeliveryphase,if realitymatcheswhatwaspromised. These are certainly steps in the right direction and point to the creationofamarketwheresecurity is a market differentiator, where transparency is the general rule andobscuritytheexception.Cloud solution providers have business incentives to be transparent, to shareinformationwithregulators, enforcementauthorities,aswellas current and potential users, about their security practices. The most obvious business incentive is based on the simple logic that the customer is more likely to buy services only from those providers which provide enough information to effectively managetheirrisks.Inthisrespect, the example of an incident man- agement process is very illustra- tive; in fact a cloud customer necessarily needs information and co-operation from the cloud provider to be able to manage an incident properly. Policy-makers are playing their part by introducing a number of “soft” policy measures, as well as newbindingrulesontransparency and accountability. We have also seen a more proactive approach of somecloudsolutionproviderswho are voluntarily sharing relevant information with the general pub- lic. What is still missing, perhaps surprisingly, is a more active role of cloud service customers. Cloud Security Alliance is a not-for-profit organisation focus- ing on best practices, standards, research-provider certification and education in cloud computing security. CSA’s activities include the Open Certification Frame- work/STAR Certification, aware- ness and educational campaigns, conferences, seminars, summer schools, webinars, educational papers, guidelines for companies and government, and finally train- ing and professional certification through the CCSK (Certificate of CloudSecurityKnowledge). TRANSPARENCYAND ASSURANCEFOR ATRUSTEDCLOUD OPINION Cloudcomputingisbecomingamaturebusinessmodel, andmanycompaniesandgovernmentsaroundtheglobe areimplementingstrategiestoembracecloudservices,says DanieleCatteddu,managingdirector,Europe,theMiddle EastandAfrica,atCloudSecurityAlliance
  5. 5. twitter: @raconteur twitter: @raconteur 0908 CLOUD FOR BUSINESS CLOUD FOR BUSINESS WhentwoHelpforHeroesweb- sites crashed under the weight of traffic following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in the streets of London, the charity turned to the cloud to make sure it did not hap- pen again. “Before that I was a bit of a sceptic about the cloud,” admits Charles Bikhazi, head of IT devel- opment at Help for Heroes. “But the move was forced upon us by events – we needed to be able to handle these spikes in demand.” As cloud services move into the mainstream, companies ranging from the giant Coca-Cola down to the small, corner restaurant are looking to the web to deliver their information and communica- tions technology (ICT). Although most avoid Help for Heroes’ crash course in technology, many strug- gle to make informed decisions about the cloud. Marketing hype and the absence of reliable, independent analysis make it difficult for hard-pressed managers to understand an eco- system in which nearly every ICT function from servers and storage to application software and telecommunications has its cloud equivalent. Underlying the services is a bit- ter commercial struggle involving suppliers that only operate in the cloud and established firms jug- gling their cloud offerings with older products developed for use “on-premise”. The competition has led to keenerpricesforsomecloudprod- ucts, although comparing services iscomplicatedbythelargenumber ofsuppliersandthemanydifferent ways they have of presenting and charging for their wares. For example, providers are not abovemakingcloudbuyerspayfor resources that they do not need. Organisationsmaybeaskedtobuy extra disc storage and processor power in order to get the amount of main memory they require. “Many of these problems stem from[services]thatweredesigned aroundlegacyarchitectures,which is why we see such dramatic per- formance and cost differences among providers,” claims a study, from cloud company Profitbricks, called The Secret World of Cloud Integration-as-a -Service Pricing. The industry has created an alphabetsoupofjargontodescribe its technology. At the top floats Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the longest established cloud service. In SaaS, software solutions and associated data are held centrally by one or more suppliers and can be accessed by their customers throughanyPCwithawebbrowser. Common business applications – e-mail, human resources man- agement, customer relationship managementandaccounting–are available as a service from well- known names such as Salesforce, Microsoft and Google. Instead of laying out for a single licence, customers pay monthly for each user, sometimes according to how muchtimeusersactuallyspendon the service. AlthoughSaaSisthelargestmar- ketforcloudcomputingatpresent, in the longer term Platform-as-a- Service(PaaS)islikelytobeamore important sector. PaaS is aimed at business man- agers who want to develop and adapt their own applications. Suppliers provide both the hard- ware and operating systems for running applications, and the tools for developing them. The tools are usually presented as an application stack. ECOSYSTEM Howthecloudworksandinteractswith othertechnologyasanIT“community”can beconfusing,unlessyoureadJohnLamb’s jargonbuster UNDERSTAND THECLOUD ECOSYSTEM LOOKINGBEHINDTHECLOUD Theindustryhascreatedan alphabetsoupofjargonto describeitstechnology TheadvantageofPaaSisitmakes itmucheasiertodevelopnewbusi- ness processes without involving IT experts. Off-the-shelf services enable managers to develop and adapt business applications with- out incurring high costs and long lead times. The business of loading up a server with systems, data and software, known as provisioning, is faster in the cloud. End-users areabletoselectandremovecloud services by themselves. Indeed, many services include software that adds additional resources automatically. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is the third main category of cloud service. It is aimed at organisations that want to reduce the amount of money they spend onbuying,hostingandsupporting their computer servers. IaaS providers offer comput- ing power on a rental model that IT departments can access instead of buying their own serv- ers and running the risk of having too much or too little capac- ity. Organisations access virtual machinescreatedwithinsuppliers’ datacentres. A price war has already broken outbetweenmajorplayers,suchas Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. In April, Microsoft cut the price of renting virtualmachinesbyuptoathirdin order to match earlier reductions by Amazon. Not to be outdone, Google has followed suit. Recent tests of the performance of virtual servers on Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, and Microsoft Windows Azure, carried out by InfoWorld magazine, put Googleaheadintermsofspeedand cost, closely followed by Azure. But thatpeckingorderislikelytochange asthesuppliersjockeyforposition. Amazon and Google’s public cloud services have grown out of the huge server capacity the companies built up to run their own businesses. Microsoft on the other hand is a relative newcomer and has adopted a hybrid strategy with Azure mixing private and public cloud. There are growing pains. Some service providers suffered outages lastyear,butthatseemsunlikelyto dent the growth of a business that now sees Amazon installing more server capacity each day than its entire business required to run a decade ago. Few organisations of any size have moved their ICT entirely to the cloud; most manage a mixture of existing software and hardware on their premises together with new cloud services. They must also choose between buying public cloud services that are shared with other users and building their own private cloud. Many users opt for a hybrid approach, running a mixture of public and private cloud services. For example, Help for Heroes is keepingitsall-importantdatabase ofdonorsin-houseforthemoment and relies on its cloud supplier Rackspace to provide additional computing power when needed. However, in future Mr Bikhazi is looking to expand Help for Heroes’ use of the cloud. Projects include introducing cloud-based customer relationship manage- ment and adopting Microsoft’s Azure, which provides both IaaS and PaaS resources. Help for Heroes will also take advantage of the free access to Office365,theSaaS thatMicrosoft offers to not-for-profit organisa- tionstorune-mailandPowerPoint applications online. Managing a transition like this can be tricky. “Businesses can find themselvescobblingtogetherend- to-end processes as a result,” says Jez Back, cloud expert at manage- ment consultancy Deloitte UK. Recently, cloud brokers have set upshoptoaidtheprocess.Brokers combine technology, consulting and buying power. They act as middlemen between business users and cloud suppliers, putting together packages of services. Securityremainsoneofthehottest issuesforcloudusers.NationalSecu- rity Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations about the extent of covert data gathering by security services in the United StatesandtheUKhaveundoubtedly affected corporate attitudes to the securityofcloudcomputing. Around two thirds of organisa- tions not currently using cloud feel the revelations have pre- vented them from moving their ICT into the cloud, according to the NSA After-shocks survey by the Japanese communications company NTT. Many are looking for reassur- ance about where their data will be stored in increasingly global networks of cloud datacentres. But looking ahead the cloud is likely to provide fewer shocks. It will become more transparent as suppliers fine tune their services and terms of business. Mean- while, customers will buy with a greater certainty of what they will be getting. CLOUD SERVICE MODELS NUMBEROFPROVIDERS DATABASE,WEBSERVER, DEVELOPMENT TOOLS... VIRTUAL MACHINES, SERVERS, STORAGE, NETWORK... THECLOUDPYRAMID CRM, E-MAIL, VIRTUAL DESKTOP, COMMUNICATION, GAMES... Software-as- a-Service Platform-as- a-Service Infrastructure- as-a-Service CLOUDCLIENTS-APPS,BROWSERS,MOBILES PUBLICCLOUDSERVICES,WORLDWIDE(US$M) Source: Gartner 2014 MOST POPULAR LEAST POPULAR WHICHSERVICESAREYOUUSINGINTHEPUBLICCLOUD ORTHEPUBLICPORTIONOFYOURHYBRIDCLOUD? 42% Collaborationsoftware 42% IaaS 39% Disasterrecovery 56% Cloudstorage 62% SaaS 23% Cloud-based networkmanagement 26% Businessintelligence 21% Security-as-a-Service 21% Hybridcloudintegration 13% Desktop-as-a-Service SaaS PaaS IaaS PUBLIC,PRIVATEORHYBRIDCLOUDSTORAGE? 35,777 2,492 22,374 3,604 9,208 132,605 49,060 5,045 38,720 7,199 25,117 214,313 53,553 5,957 45,503 8,718 32,802 253,436 20152013 Cloudbusinessprocess servicesTOTAL 2014 Cloudapplication infrastructureservicesTOTAL Cloudapplication servicesTOTAL 2016 Cloudmanagementand securityservicesTOTAL 2017 Cloudsysteminfrastructure servicesTOTAL 2018 Publiccloud servicesTOTAL 58,843 6,912 52,911 10,136 41,826 293,918 THOUSANDS OF APPLICATIONS IN THE CLOUD FEW CLOUD PLATFORMS ELITE GROUP OF PROVIDERS SCALABILITY SECURITY PERFORMANCE RELIABILITY COST PUBLICCLOUD PRIVATECLOUD HYBRIDCLOUD Veryhigh Limited Veryhigh Good,butdependsonthesecurity measuresoftheserviceprovider Mostsecure,asallstorageis on-premise Verysecure;integrationoptionsadd anadditionallayerof security Medium;dependson internet connectivityandservice provider availability High,asallequipment ison-premise Mediumtohigh,ascached contentiskepton-premise,but alsodependsonconnectivityand service provider Verygood;pay-as-you-gomodel andnoneedforon-premise storage infrastructure Good,butrequireson-premise resources,suchasdatacentre space,electricityand cooling Improved,sinceitallowsmoving some storageresourcestoapay- as-you-gomodel Lowtomedium Verygood Good,asactivecontentiscached on-premise Source:TechTarget 2013 Source:Raconteur 40,207 3,330 27,321 4,643 13,341 157,776 44,555 4,143 32,646 5,830 18,585 184,537
  6. 6. CLOUD FOR BUSINESS twitter: @raconteur10 twitter: @raconteur Over the past few years, more businesses have discovered the benefits of using the cloud to pro- vide elements of their IT infra- structure. Often the initial deci- sion will have been based around costefficienciesandtheattraction of not having to pay large upfront costs, but for many the cloud has also been a source of innovation that has helped to drive organisa- tionalgrowthorchangethewayin which they operate. One of the biggest advantages has been the ability to experiment with new offerings without hav- ing to commit to costly projects. “Many business leaders will tell you that true innovation is try- ing out different ideas and cloud computinghasbrokendownsome ofthetraditionalcostbarriersthat can prematurely halt this kind of trialanderror,”saysAndyBarrow, technical director at ANS. “If a small enterprise is develop- ing a smartphone application or website for particular territories, public cloud providers like Ama- zon or Google can be used to build apresenceandrolloutacampaign quickly, while only paying for the cloud provision that they need in each of those territories.” Othershavefoundmoreefficient ways of working on the back of being able to access information from almost anywhere, across a rangeofdevices.“Physicallocation no longer matters, so the best tal- ent can be sourced wherever they are to create unique, global teams basedonexpertise,”saysPeteBax- ter,vicepresidentatAutodeskUK. “The cloud is enabling businesses todowhattheycouldn’tdobefore.” The ability to access software through the cloud is also helping IT departments provide extra resources or functionality to busi- ness teams, without physical or geographicrestraints.“Cloudplat- forms are allowing thousands of point solutions to be developed by IT and the business alike,” says Steve Cardell, president of enterpriseservicesanddiversified industries at HCL Technologies. “Thisisahotbedofinnovationand creativity,bringingthepotentialto enrich every job role.” AGILITYANDINNOVATION CASESTUDY CASESTUDY TRACINGSUCCESSTOTHECLOUD GETTINGACAFFEINEBOOST Demand-generationmarketingagencyTrace- pointstartedupthreeyearsagoanddecidednot toownanyserverhardware,butinsteadtorely onthecloud. Thebusinesssawimmediatepracticalbenefits, particularlyaroundsharingfileswithclients andstaff,buthasalsousedthecloudtohelpit becomemoreinnovativeandresponsive,toboth itsownneedsandthoseofclients. CompanyfounderJamesCoxsaysthereallight- bulbmomentwaswhenthebusinessswitched fromatraditionalaccountancymodeltoacloud- basedpackage.“Althoughwewerequitequick atgettinginvoicesandexpensesacrosstothe accountants,itwouldtakefourorfiveweeksto getfinancialinformationbackintothebusiness,” saysMrCox.“Nowwecancloseourbooksfive daysaftertheendofthemonth,andveryquickly seewhichactivitiesareproducingthebest resultsandwhichneedsomeattention.” Thecloudmodelhasalsohelpedthecompany competewithmuchbiggeroperatorsbyenabling ittoaccessarangeofsoftwarepackagestooffer clients.“Thesebringtogetherdatasilos,inplaces suchasGoogleAnalytics,customerrelationship managementorsocialmediasoftware,andcon- nectitalltogether,”hesays.“Itwasalwaysmuch moredifficulttolinkupdifferentpartsofthebusi- nesswhenthingsweren’tinthecloud.” LikeMrMilligan,MrCoxattributesmuchofhis business’ssuccesstothiswayofworking.“We wearitasabadgeofhonourthatwehavenever lostaclientandwecouldn’thavegrownaswe havewithoutdeliveringatangibleimpacttotheir businesses,”hesays.“Wecouldn’thavedone thatwithoutthecloud.” ForAndyMilligan,founderofconsultancy firmCaffeinePartnershipandauthorof BrandItLikeBeckham,thecloudhascome toepitomisetheinnovationhisbusiness standsfor. “Whenwefirstsetup,wewantedtobean unconventionalconsultancysowelookedat whatwewoulddodifferently,”says Thecloudisenabling businessestodowhatthey couldn’tdobefore This ability is helping organisa- tions embrace trends, such as big data, modelling and simulation, and 3D animation, says Professor Sian Hope, chief executive of HPC Wales. She gives the example of architectural visualisation firm iCreate, which has used the pro- cessing power of supercomputers based in the cloud to improve details of its animations and reducetheamountoftimeitspent rendering them. “This increased quality, alongside faster produc- tion speeds, allows the company to compete more effectively in a globalmarket,takingonlargerand more ambitious projects, and pro- viding services to more customers thanpreviouslypossible,”shesays. But Chris Harding, director of interoperability at The Open Group, a vendor and technology- neutral IT consortium, also has a wordofwarning,despiteacknowl- edging the potential of the cloud as a source of innovation. “The advantages of being able to use resources as and when you need them, and paying only for what you use, often make the decision tousecloudfordevelopmentano- brainer,” says Dr Harding. “Buttheconsiderationsforlong- term operation of systems are very different and cloud is not always the best solution. Do not fall into the trap of relying on the specialfeaturesthatyourdevelop- ment cloud provides, so that it is impossible to move to an in-house or hosted platform, or even to anothercloudproviderthatmaybe more economic for your produc- tion system.” INNOVATIONISAS FREEASACLOUD Flexibilityofferedbycloudcomputing makesbusinessesmoreagileandableto innovatewithoutcostlycommitmentstoIT infrastructure,asNickMartindalereports MrMilligan.“Wethoughtnimblenesswasthe key,andtodothatweneededpeoplewhowere reallygoodatthinkingsmartlyandquickly.” Byenablinggenuinelyflexibleworking,the company’suseofthecloudhashelpedboth recruittherightkindofpeopleandcreatethe conditionsinwhichtheirnaturalinstinctscan flourish. “Ourclientstendtobeseniorleadersand ourpropositionisgivingthemexperienced businesspeoplewhowillhelpthemtogrow,” hesays.“Youcanonlydothatifyouhave expertpeople,andtheytypicallytendtobe self-startersanddon’twanttobemanagedina traditionalway.” Morepractically,thecloudalsomeansstaffcan bebasedalloverthecountry,whichallowsthe growingconsultancytorespondquicklytonew projects.“Ifaclientasksifwecanstartwork tomorrowinBirmingham,Glasgoworeven overseas,wecansayyesbecausewe’llhave oneofourconsultantassociateswhodoesn’t livethatfaraway,”saysMrMilligan. Thecloudalsocreatesaculturewhere partneringwithotherorganisationsbecomes thenorm.“Theabilitytolinkupwithnimble networksallowsustocreateamuchbetter offering,”hesays.“Atrulyinnovativemindsetis naturallycollaborative.” sioned by Adapt, 75 per cent do not feel that their cloud provider really understands their business and one in four businesses does not expect their cloud provider to be meeting their business needs within the next 12months. The survey, conducted by Easy- Insites on behalf of Adapt in March 2014, comprised 102 respondents from commercial organisations with 200-plus employees in the UK. It discovered that cloud is cur- rently used to support a wide range of requirements. Some 60 per cent of businesses use it to manage diverse workloads from test and development to business-critical applications, with specific com- pliance and governance require- ments and varying infrastructure demands. With this diversity comes natural specialism – you wouldn’t put your low-priority workloads on an expensive extreme perfor- mance platform in the same way you wouldn’t buy a Ferrari to tow a caravan – it’s about fitness for pur- pose and the most efficient, appro- priate solutions for the objectives you need to achieve. What all businesses agree on is the need to drive maximum return from their existing investments and develop a future strategy that is both relevant and the right-fit. So can one provider do it all? Tellingly, some 62 per cent of businesses are already multi-sourcing and 53 per cent of respondents had learnt from experi- ence that a single provider could not meetalltheirneeds. Provider specialisms can help busi- nesses achieve more, faster. How- ever, managing a range of provid- ers requires considerable time and effort on the part of in-house teams, Three quarters of UK businesses are now officially “in the cloud” in one form or another. The universal, horizontal benefits of agility and utility are undeniable and compel- ling, but businesses still need to be able to translate these into enable- ment and competitive advantage to really get the most out of their cloud investments. Not all clouds are created equal, and depending on your drivers, desired outcomes and preferences, some will be a far better fit than others. But in a fragmented, rap- idly evolving provider market that features niche startups, traditional infrastructure providers, telcos and a technicolour array of differ- ent propositions and services, it is hard to be (and stay) well informed. It’s sometimes difficult to know where to go and how to map your changing requirements to individ- ual provider capabilities. Amismatchisevidentbetweenwhat UK businesses need versus what they actually get from their provid- ers. According to research commis- forcing investment at both a service management and supplier manage- ment level, and potentially missing out on economies of scale. The indi- vidual providers meanwhile inevi- tably have an incomplete view of the customer, so organisations are not aligned to support their overall long-termgrowthstrategy. Against this backdrop, the idea of working with a single overall pro- vider that manages these various relationships can be highly appeal- ing. Cloud brokers or aggregators match organisations with providers that can service their needs at a par- ticular point in time, or on a certain cost model. But because the broker/ aggregator is a tactical rather than strategic role, their ability to develop long-term relationships that evolve withcustomerdemandislow. Another option is the cloud inte- grator. Integrators are the advisory conduit between the business and what the complete provider land- scape can deliver. Unlike brokers and aggregators, who simply bundle ABOUTADAPT multi-provider services together to be consumed through one contract, integrators take the long-term part- nership view, comparing providers and clouds through the eyes of your business, and evaluating the poten- tial for specific commercial, opera- tional, technical and compliance gain. Cloud integrators are not cre- atedovernight–ittakesyearsofreal- world experience and significant investment in platforms, people and processestoreallydeliverresults. But the fundamental difference is that the integrator takes account- ability and responsibility for end- to-end service management, bringing together provider, legacy, customer-owned and public hyper- scaler solutions to achieve a set of goals or outcomes. This single pane, comprehensive view reduces complexity, and delivers more meaningful insight and intelligence back to businesses. The integrator approach empow- ers organisations to maximise their return on investment, and really capi- talise on the breadth of choice and options available, maintaining a per- manentlyoptimisedblendofservices, solutions and providers that repre- sent the best fit for delivering busi- ness outcomes for today and tomor- row’s aspirations. This is a marked difference from the traditional out- sourcing concept, under which cus- tomers tend to be locked into three or five-year cycles with little scope for flexandchangealongtheway. Crucially, it also releases in-house IT teams from managing those rela- tionships, freeing them to focus on getting new products to market more rapidlyanddeliveringreal-worldben- efitbacktothewiderbusiness. According to the research, almost half (48 per cent) of UK businesses expect to make big changes to their cloudplatformsinthenext12months. Ifyouareoneofthem,takethetimeto consider your options carefully. Keep- ing your teams focused on creating business value and outsourcing the effort, worry and uncertainty associ- ated with choosing, migrating to and managingmultiplecloudenvironments mightjustbetherightmoveforyou. Ifyou’dliketofindoutmoreabouthowa cloudintegratorstrategycouldhelpyour businessmakethemostofthecloud,visit Canoneproviderdoitall? The rise of the integrator model helps UK businesses make the most of the cloud, says Adapt's Tom Needs Outsourcingtheeffort,worry anduncertaintyassociated withchoosing,migratingto andmanagingmultiplecloud environmentsmightjustbethe rightmoveforyou “Inrecentyears,financialuncer- taintyhasforcedtacticaldecisions– it’snowallaboutgearingforgrowth again.Agoodcaseinpointwasacus- tomerwhohadbeenacquiredand leftwithcostlyout-of-supportlegacy infrastructureandarequirementto integratecomplexcoreHRandpay- rollsystems. “Ourexperiencemeantwewere abletotakeonmanagementofthe legacyand,collaboratingwiththe customer,designedcreativetrans- Adaptisanaward-winning,end-to- endmanagedservicesproviderand cloudintegrator.Wehelpcustomers makethetransitiontohighlysecure, scalable,enterprise-classITthat deliversreal-worldadvantage,ena- blingchangeandinnovation. formationplansthatexploitedamix ofpublicandprivatecloudservices, whilemovingtowardscomplete integrationwiththenewparent company’ssystems.Theresult–a fastertimetobenefitandasizable costreduction,puttingthemina strongpositiontogrowtheircom- binedmarketshare.” KevinLinsell Headofservicedevelopment Adapt Adaptservicesincreaseagility.Our integratedofferingspanstheentireIT infrastructurefromend-to-endman- agementandcloudservicesthroughto colocation,hostingandcomplexnet- workingsolutions.Formoreinforma- tion, INTEGRATEDCLOUDINCONTEXT ONECLOUDPROVIDERDOESNOTFITALL Useprivatecloud 65% Usepubliccloud 43% Usecommunitycloud 23% Useblendedhybridcloud 31% COMPANIESARETRYINGTOCREATETHERIGHTCLOUDMODELTOMATCHTHEIRNEEDS THEREISAMISMATCHBETWEEN WHATBUSINESSESREQUIRE VERSUSWHATTHEYACTUALLY GETFROMPROVIDERS OFUKBUSINESSESARE OFFICIALLYINTHECLOUD 75% USECLOUDFORBOTHBUSINESS- CRITICALANDGENERALPRODUCTION ACTIVITIES 60% AREUSINGMORETHANONE PROVIDER 62% AGREETHATONECLOUD PROVIDERCANNOTDOITALL 53% DONOTEXPECTTHEIRCLOUDPROVIDERTOBE MEETINGTHEIRBUSINESSNEEDSIN12MONTHS DONOTFEELTHATTHEIRCLOUDPROVIDER REALLYUNDERSTANDSTHEIRBUSINESS Tom Needs Chief commercial officer, Adapt
  7. 7. CLOUD FOR BUSINESS CLOUD FOR BUSINESS twitter: @raconteur12 twitter: @raconteur OPINION Perceptionofthe cloudisshiftingtothe bestwayofmoving companiesintothenew ageofdigitalbusiness CLOUDFOR DIGITALBUSINESS GregorPetri,Gartnerresearch director,looksintothecloudand thenewageofdigitalbusiness 33 Movefrombeing anITbuilder toaservicebroker COMMERCIALFEATURE The modern chief information officer needs to focus attention on finding new ways to add value to the business, says Dave Allen, NetApp vice president for Northern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and general manager for UK & Ireland Thethingsthatcreaterealvalue aretheapplicationswhichpower yourbusinessortheproductsyour businesscreates modityareas,youcanmakedecisions about how to deal with them. Do you have them delivered to you as a cloud service? Or do you build shared infra- structures that are highly efficient and automated to reduce the costs of running them? Typically this is a dis- cussion focused on operational excel- lence and legislative requirements, ratherthantechnology. The opportunity for CIOs to add value and competitive differen- tiation to the business increases exponentially as investment shifts from commodity IT to business value IT and new opportunities. According to Gartner, 63 per cent of IT budget is spent running cur- rent IT infrastructure, 21 per cent on meeting the natural growth in application performance require- ments and data, but only 16 per cent on new opportunities, where there is the potential to create the most value. This is the challenge for a modern CIO: how do you maintain opera- tional excellence while increasing investment on ways to add busi- ness value and exploit your unique data? How do you move from being abuilderofITtoabrokerofservice? NetApp creates innovative prod- ucts, storage systems and software that help customers around the world store, manage, protect and retain one of their most precious corporateassets–theirdata. For more information visit /uk The IT market is changing faster than ever. Industry trends, includ- ing cloud, big data, mobile, flash and the software-defined datacen- tre, mean this will only acceler- ate. The landscape is changing for chief information officers (CIOs) as workloads are becoming more dis- tributed and hybrid cloud becomes reality. So, given this complexity, what should CIOs and the rest of us in IT be discussing and thinking about? Where should you be look- ing to save money and where to invest your time? The things that create real value are the applications which power your business or the products your business creates. With more focus here it’s amazing how much addi- tional value IT can add through aggressive application of tech- nology innovation. An example is accelerating test and development by enabling developers to instantly create database copies. The focus should be providing high levels of automation and self-service. Companies are constantly look- ing to exploit data and informa- tion, whether it’s social media feeds, such as the Twitter Firehose which streams 500,000,000 tweets directly to you every day, new ana- lytics tools, such as Hadoop, to mine vast quantities of information for trends and patterns or develop- ing BYOD (bring your own device) strategies to better enable your mobile workforce. For example, NetApp IT recently deployed a Hadoop solution, which has reduced queries on 24 billion records from four weeks to less than 10.5 hours, accelerating the compa- ny’s ability to respond to customers’ needs.Itenabledapreviouslyimpos- sible query on 240 billion records in less than 18 hours, further enhanc- ing its proactive service capabilities. A survey by Vanson Bourne shows that 69 per cent of C-level executives cite technology as one of the main reasons why business decisions are notbeingmadequicklyenough. The things IT has to do to sup- port the business are necessary and time consuming, but typically add little value. Ask yourself the question, “If I started today from scratch, what would IT do and not do?” Once you’ve identified these com- For a while, business leader- ship considered cloud comput- ing merely as a smarter way to do IT – with smarter most often meaning faster, better and, espe- cially, cheaper. The part about the cloud being faster is certainly true. Many a company finds their IT depart- ment is able to respond sig- nificantly faster to their needs by using cloud services. And if not, they gain speed by going rogue, simply bypassing their IT depart- ment and going straight to the cloud themselves. Cheaper is a different question. Eventhoughcloudproviders,such as Amazon Web Services, Micro- soft Azure and Google Compute Engine, continue to lower their infrastructureserviceprices,many companies find that the cost of infrastructure is only a very small partoftheirtotalITcost.Sotheuse ofthecloudisnotnecessarilymak- ingoverallITsignificantlycheaper. In response, perception of the cloud phenomenon is shifting from merely a smarter way to facilitate “business as usual” to the best way of moving companies intothenewageofdigitalbusiness. Digital has taken the business communitybystorm.Afterdecades of IT lingering at the bottom of the annual chief executive top ten pri- oritylistandcostreductionbecom- ingthemostdiscussedaspectofIT in boardrooms across the world, the idea of gaining competitive advantagethroughdigitalcapabili- tiesisbackwithavengeance. Granted, new imaginative capabilities, such as 3D printing, smarterdecisionsthroughbigdata analysisandthepotentialofreach- ing out directly to millions of con- sumersthroughsocialnetworking technologies, did more good to the momentum of digital than IT departments finding ways to run their existing enterprise resource planning system “in memory” or “on Amazon”. Thismadesomearguethatdigital business should not reside under the current chief of information processing and indeed we are see- ing the new role of a chief digital officer or CDO emerge in many organisations. Some old-school chief information officers (CIOs) may worry that these fast-moving CDOs have the same devastating impact on IT’s role as that other type of CDO, collateralised debt obligation,hadonfinancialmarkets inthewakeofthesub-primecrisis. Other CIOs cannot wait to embrace the role themselves to get back into making a real differ- encebyusingthecloudtorunwhat could be described as “software- defined business”. Over time, digital business will make digital resources as impor- tant to companies as today’s most mentioned critical success factor –humanresourcesorHR.Andjust asbusinessesdidnotconcededay- to-day control over their human capital to a corporate staff depart- ment, neither should we expect them to do so with digital. Already we see lines of busi- ness taking a more active role in defining their digital future. For example, by bringing architects anddevelopersbackintotheirline organisation.Thatwouldmeanthe emergence of “rogue” or “citizen” ITisnotapassingfad,butasignof times to come. To manage this change, corpo- rate IT will need to eschew its traditional service provider role for a brokering role, similar to the roleofcentralHRincorporations, to provide the crucial governance, complianceandbusinesscontinu- ity still needed in the ever-faster moving digital economy. Advertsforcloudcomputingareusuallyaboutasexcitingasthoseforanewmicrowave oven.Youcanheatfoodupquicker,saysone;noupdatestoinstallandnobig capitalexpenditure,saystheother.Thesedaysweallknowthere’smoretolifethan microwavedfood.Andthesameistrueforthebenefitsofthecloud.Fiveyearsagothe internetwaslikethehighstreetwithcompaniessellingtoconsumers.Nowit’scentral toalmosteverycompany’sbusiness,connectingthemwithsuppliers,employees, customersandpartners.StephenArmstronghasourtoptenwaysthecloudhelps businesseswithsomeshop-freshexamples… TOPTIPS CLOUDCANBRIGHTEN UPYOURBUSINESS TEN WAYS JohnWinsor,chiefinnovationofficerat HavasandchiefexecutiveatVictors& Spoils(V&S),saysthecloudisrestruc- turingtheadagencymodel.V&Suses aglobalteamoffreelancerspaidper job.XeniosThrasyvoulou,founder andchiefexecutiveofPeoplePerHour, arguesthatcrowdsourcingtalentis thefutureforflexiblefirms.Theonline marketplaceletssmallfirmsadvertise projects;freelancersrespond. 04DIFFERENT WAYS TO EMPLOY 06SHARING INFORMATION NewhamUniversityHospital NHSTrustservesapopulation ofsome240,000inEastLondon. Theadventoftablets,smart- phones,wi-fiandthecloudmeans doctorsandnursescanaccess datainstantlywherevertheyare. DavidBolton,directorofpublic sectormarketdevelopmentfor QlikTech,saysthecompany’s softwarespeedsupproductionof reportsandsharesinformationvia anonlinedashboard. Lockingallsuppliersintoyour supplychainallowsafreeflowof information,measurement,and costandinventorycontrol,says DebraHofman,vicepresidentof supplychainresearchatresearch giantGartner.Thecompany predictsthatby201660percentof banksworldwidewillprocessthe majorityoftheirtransactionsin thecloud. 01SUPPLY CHAIN “Usuallyitiseasytodeploywherever youwant,”saysRobKeenan,headof UKportfoliomanagementatSiemens EnterpriseCommunications.London agencyJamesParkAssociates designsfirst-classseatsforairopera- tors,includingSingaporeAirlines, andusesthecloudtoenableitsAsian andLondonofficestocollaborateon design,thuseffectivelyoperatinga 24-hourworkingday. 07WORKING FASTER SalessoftwarehotshotSalesforce measureshowinfluentialemployees areonthecompany’scloud-based internalsocialnetworkChatter.Chief executiveMarcBenioffinvitesthe company’stop20influencerstothe quarterlyoff-siteretreatwithtopexec- utives.“Weestimatewehave25per centfewermeetings,26percentless e-mailandaccessto39percentmore informationusingChattertocommu- nicateandcollaborateinternally,”the companysays. 09COLLABORATION Manylargeserversrunatlessthan 30percentcapacity,accordingto PeterZonneveld,co-founderandchief executiveofGreenclouds.Thecom- panybuyssurpluscomputingpower fromthosewithtoomuchandsellsto thosewithatemporaryneed.InBrazil, startupAudioMonitorlinkstothe country’sradiostations,viathecloud, andpromptsartistswhentheirtunes areplayedtomaximiseroyalties. 03NEW BUSINESS MODELS“Forbusinessfacingachangingmar- ketandclientneeds,thecloudbrings incredibleresponsiveness,”says JacquelineDavey,IBMvicepresident, cloud.Thecompanyhelpedonline gamedeveloperMojang,ofMinecraft fame,spinupitscloudpresencefor itsnewBattlefield4game.“Using thecloudallowedustoaddanextra 25,000playersinjustfourhours,” MsDaveysays. 02MARKET RESPONSIVENESS Thecloud’sreal-timedatarecord- ingandresponseallowsTPVision, ajointventureofHongKong-based TPVTechnologyandTVmanufacturer PhilipsElectronics,tomeasureview- ers’habitsandfine-tuneprogramming suggestionsforPhilipsSmartTVcus- tomers.Thecompanycanpersonalise programmesuggestionsaspeople viewandtargetadvertswiththepreci- sionofasearchengine. 08DATA GATHERING Cloud-basedsoftwarecompany CallidusCloudhasdeveloped MySalesGame,pioneeringthe gamificationofsales.MySalesGame setslevelsandmissionsintoa company’scustomerrelationship managementsoftware,suchas salesstaffadoptingbestpractice, reachingmilestonesandhitting targets.Thosefinishingamission oralevelgetrewardsfrompeer recognitiononsocialcollaboration platformsoraperk. 05NEW WAYS TO MOTIVATE GreeneMotionistheEuropean Union’scontinent-widebidto promotetheuseofelectriccars. Thesystemhastolink43coun- tries,allownewcomersonstream, enableanyGPSdevicetoconnect tothesystemandmapelectriccar rechargingdocksacrossEurope. “Thiswouldhavebeencompletely impossiblebeforethecloud,” saysJacquelineDavey,IBMvice president,cloud.“Usingthecloud, however,thesystemcangrowas largeasitneeds.” 10SCALABILITY
  8. 8. CLOUD FOR BUSINESS CLOUD FOR BUSINESS twitter: @raconteur14 twitter: @raconteur The complexity and volume of data generated by sophisticated racing cars means cloud computing could soon be in pole position for Formula 1, writes Caroline Reid Asenterprisesofallsizescontinuetoadopt cloud-basedservices,DaveHowellasksis securitystilla major concern? SKY’STHELIMITFOR F1ANDTHECLOUD ACLOUDOF INSECURITY? FORMULA1 When millions of dollars are spenttogainameretenthofasec- ond advantage, it’s little surprise that Formula 1 teams are looking to high-tech solutions, such as cloud computing, for the future direction of the sport. Competing in F1 is a costly busi- ness. The leading teams spend more than $400 million each to propel two cars around a track for a few hours 19 times a year. Every teammustdesignandbuilditsown chassisand,withonly2.5secondsa lapseparatingthechampionsfrom the losers, getting the technologi- cal advantage is crucial. The most visible components may be the sponsor-covered chas- sis and wheels, but it’s what the eye can’t see that makes the cars so costly. Incorporating on-board computing power in an F1 car presents its own challenges and increases costs. To make sure the bodywork is as slender and aerodynamic as pos- sible, all the wiring, electronics and cooling systems must be packed in a tight space around the engine – more difficult than it sounds when there’s 1.25km of wiring and up to 150on-boardsensorstobeinstalled. Each sensor gives readings up to 1,000 times per second and data is sent wirelessly from the car to the pits. This gives around 1.5 billion samplesofdatafromeachraceand these are monitored in the garage while the car is on track, then analysedafterwardsbysupercom- puters back at the team’s factory. Leading teams take around 20 engineers to races just to work on telemetryread-outs,withafurther 30backatbaseworkingsimultane- ously. In this environment, quick transfer of data is crucial. This is the reason why cloud computing is starting to play a major part in the world of F1, long before the racing car even gets on thetrack.RedBullRacinghaswon boththedrivers’andconstructors’ world championships for the past fouryears,andcloudcomputingis playing an ever-increasing role in the team’s quest for victory. Its head of technical partner- ships Alan Peasland explains: “At Infiniti Red Bull Racing we have a private on-premise cloud that we use for a variety of simula- tion and computing tasks. In the design and development of the car, we use our high-performance computer (HPC) to run compu- tational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations and finite element analysis in order to support the core design activities.” This affects areas from the evalu- ation of aerodynamic performance totherefinementofthemechanical properties of a design, such as its strengthandfatiguelife.Mostofthe computing power running within RedBullRacing’sHPCisconsumed in processing the hundreds of simulations performed by CFD in a typical week. Running parallel to this,theHPCalsoanalysesthedata produced as the team tests scale modelsinitswindtunnel. Toaccomplishthisithasthesup- port of some of the world’s leading techcompanies.Suppliersinclude The cloud is transforming every aspect of the business community. Surveys of business owners con- sistently conclude that the cloud now plays a significant role in their ability to compete and realise their strategic goals. Security though, continues to be a concern, but is fast receding as a major barrier to theadoptionofmorecloudservices. Cyber attacks have been made oncloud-basedservicesthatmany enterprises have come to rely upon. Twitter, Dropbox, LinkedIn and Google Docs have all had their securitycompromisedoverthelast few years. The Heartbleed secu- rity scare that impacted on many cloud-based services was the last to hit the headlines. According to researchers at The Verge, as much as one terabyte of data per day is being stolen from businesses, academic institutions, the military and governments. David Emm, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, says: “Recently, trust in cloud storage has been undermined somewhat by the Snowden [NSA] leaks and growing fears about privacy. I think it’s too early to say whether thiswillaffectthetake-upofcloud services significantly. Although it may well ensure that security issues become a key part of the negotiations between cloud pro- viders and prospective clients.” With Andy Barrow, technical director at ANS commenting: “Security concerns are often a scapegoat used by IT teams who are adverse to change, rather than a legitimate concern. In reality, working in the cloud means busi- nesses can access a level of data security that may be cost-prohibi- tive to invest in themselves.” Findings from the Cloud Indus- try Forum (CIF) reveal busi- nesses are pushing ahead with cloud adoption despite security concerns. “Around 69 per cent of businesses express concerns about security, yet the overall cloud adoption rate has increased rapidlyfrom48percentin2010to 69percentin2013,”saysCIFchief executive Alex Hilton. Asthecloudbecomesubiquitous, business owners need to appreci- ate that the perimeter of their organisation’s security has shifted fromtheiron-siteserversandinto the cloud. In the brave new world of cloud-supported business, a fresh appreciation of security is rapidly developing across the entire business environment. To ensure high levels of secu- rity, businesses need to partner with cloud service vendors that can demonstrate they meet cur- rent security standards, such as ISO 27001, ISAE3402/SSAE16 and CSA STAR. Carrying out due diligence when adopting cloud services is vital to ensure robust and reliable data security. When cloud security is consid- ered, it seems that experience breeds confidence. As businesses gainmoreknowledgeandseesecu- rity concerns are being addressed, securitybecomeslessofapressure point to more cloud adoption. “Overall, the security risks still exist, but companies are willing to acceptthemtomakesavingsandto be more responsive to demands,” says Dr Gerhard Knecht, head of global security services and com- pliance at Unisys. “Others delay the large-scale implementation until the first wave of security breaches and remedial action has Asbusinessesgainmoreknowledgeand seesecurityconcernsarebeingaddressed, securitybecomeslessofapressurepointto morecloudadoption Cloudcomputingisstartingtoplaya majorpartintheworldofF1,longbefore theracingcarevengetsonthetrack IBM Platform Computing, Ansys, iLight, AT&T and Siemens PLM who,accordingtoMrPeasland,“all contribute to the overall solution that takes us from initial concept design, through simulation and analysis, and into manufacture”. All this takes place long before a car turns a wheel on a track some- times half way around the world from Red Bull Racing’s Milton Keynes base. Calculations done in the cloud are key to making sure everything runs smoothly. “Performance on track will be influenced not only by the new components we send to each race that help to tailor the car for the specific circuit, but also how quickly the car can be optimised during the race weekend,” says Mr Peasland. Information travels in the other direction too. “Data captured on-car during practice sessionswillbetransferredbackto the factory, by virtue of our AT&T Global EVPN Network, where it will then be analysed by our team of experts.” Perhaps surprisingly, at the moment cloud computing is little used for processing data during the race, and Red Bull Racing and the other teams instead transport heavy servers to each race. DATASECURITY been taken care of. This is akin to companies using the ‘never install version 1.0 in your company’ approach.” Ultimately the cloud services that any business adopts must instillhighlevelsofconfidenceand trust,asRajinderTumber,security consultant at Auriga, concludes. “Customer trust is of paramount importance to business owners. Withouttrust,customerswillseek business with a rival competitor. Therefore, businesses need to ensure they are using secure and trustworthy cloud-based services and platforms, as well as imple- menting and embedding effective securitypracticestobetterprotect customer data,” he says. There is little doubt that the cloudscape offers massive value and flexibility that all enterprises can leverage. The cloud itself isn’t necessarily inherently insecure. If asensibleapproachtosecuritypol- iciesistaken,cloud-basedservices canbesecurelymanagedtodeliver the benefits they clearly offer. Security concerns will prevent a wholesale move to the cloud for some time yet, but the advantages the cloud presents far outweigh any security concerns. Security specialist Graham Clu- ley says it best when he observes thatthecloudreallymeans“some- body else’s computers”. In this context, business owners consid- ering the cloud and its security should simply ask themselves if they are comfortable placing their data on these systems? “We have our own software- defined on-premise cloud,” he says. “The main reason for doing so is due to the sensitive nature of the data being processed and stored, and also the speed of access to this data. “Formula 1 is a high-paced, time-restricted environment in all areas of the business, so being able to have real-time access to largevolumesofdataiscrucialin order to perform complex simu- lationsduringraceweekendsthat can ultimately deliver increased performance on the track.” However,MrPeaslandbelieves cloud technologies are set become more important in the nearfuture.“Ascloudtechnology advances and with the introduc- tion of hybrid clouds that can support our peaks in demand, it’s highly likely that this will be an area of development for the team,” he says. Bill Peters, chief information officer of Caterham F1, says his team is considering migrating IT to the cloud. “We’re starting to look at potentially having our supercomputer capabilities as a service that we buy, as opposed to something we have in-house. Similarly, if we could have reli- able enough communications to trackside, there’s no reason why you couldn’t host all your track- side systems in the cloud as well, so you wouldn’t need to carry thewholeITcircusfromtrackto track,” he says. It would also help to cut costs and, in a sport where many smallerteamsstruggletokeepup with the larger outfits’ accelerat- ing budgets, this could be a driv- ingforcebehinditsproliferation. Mr Peasland agrees that “cloud computing, in the right environ- ment and used in the correct way, will most definitely be able to offer cost-savings.” And that isn’t the only way it will change the sport. He says: “As cloud technology and services mature, it will not only be areas such as CFD and simulation that will benefit, but all other business systems, including telephony and com- munications, design and devel- opment. And it’s our innovation partners, such as IBM Platform Computing and AT&T, who will workwithustomoveusforwards in this area.” Formula1motorracing teamsaredriving computerdiagnosticsin thecloud