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Boardroom Discussion: Making cloud a reality

Rosalind See | Jan. 22, 2013
In today's business environment, IT is no longer a support function but a driver of business growth, say participants at an exclusive boardroom briefing sponsored by Dimension Data in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Neville Burdan
Photo: Neville Burdan

The user was at the centre of everything. "Enterprise mobility has changed the work landscape. Users are increasingly optimising their time by choosing the place and time of work to suit them, be it at the office, at home or on the move. Organisations are adapting to this changing work lifestyle as it improves productivity. With such a dynamic work lifestyle, organisations can no longer rely on the traditional client-server architecture as end points are now many and varied," said Burdan.

Instead, the focus is on the person and device. He continued, "Organisations need to secure and manage applications and data on any device, be it mobile phones, tablets or laptops. You need to look at the big picture — platform, software, hardware, storage — and put the structure together as it affects the whole organisation."

A cloud platform would be the new consumption model of technology and services as it provided flexibility. "In the enterprise mobility world, it is all about applications and how you manage it. A private cloud with service-oriented architecture provides a good starting point as it supports existing business systems and automates normal tasks while paving your way into the public cloud and new services.

Discussion: The way to the cloud
A candid discussion with a panel of IT leaders centred on what cloud could deliver and how an enterprise should start its cloud journey. Moderated by T.C. Seow, editor of CIO Asia, the discussion highlighted the practical challenges facing enterprises keen to explore cloud computing. Panellists were drawn from a cross-section of industries including the property, logistics, manufacturing, agriculture and retailing sectors.

Norhayati Ibrahim, Manager, Information Systems, Denso (Malaysia) voiced the most pressing question amongst panellists: What was the next step for enterprises which had already virtualised or partially-virtualised, and were keen to proceed to the cloud?

Norhayati Ibrahim
Photo: Norhayati Ibrahim

As a start, Dimension Data's Neville Burdan advised organisations to understand what they wanted to achieve in the cloud. "Think of areas which are causing your organisation pain. If cloud provides the solution, then move them over in small chunks. However, do not start with something you do not understand. Abdicating responsibility over to the cloud provider in this way would be the worse move possible," he cautioned.

Burdan reminded the panellists that while virtualisation was about improving efficiency and reducing cost, cloud was about increasing automation and agility. "If you move too quickly, you could end up mitigating its agility," he said.

 

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