Posts Tagged ‘Cloud’

Did you believe in any of these cloud computing myths?

October 29th, 2014

Myths and misunderstandings around the use and benefits of cloud computing are slowing down IT project implementations, impeding innovation, inducing fear and distracting enterprises from yielding business efficiency and innovation, analyst firm Gartner has warned.Outsourcing52

It has identified the top ten common misunderstandings around cloud:

Myth 1: Cloud is always about the money

Assuming that the cloud always saves money can lead to career-limiting promises. Saving money may end up one of the benefits, but it should not be taken for granted. It doesn’t help when all the big daddies of the cloud world – AWS, Google Microsoft – are doing are tripping over each other to cut down prices. But cost savings must be seen as a nice-to-have benefit while agility and scalability should be the top reasons for adopting cloud services.

Myth 2: You have to do cloud to be good

According to Gartner, this is the result of rampant “cloud washing.” Some cloud washing is based on a mistaken mantra (fed by hype) that something cannot be “good” unless it is cloud, a Gartner analyst said.

Besides, enterprises are billing many of their IT projects cloud for a tick in the box and to secure funding from the stakeholders. People are falling into the trap of believing that if something is good it has to be cloud.

There are many use cases where cloud may not be a great fit – for instance, if your business does not experience too many peaks and lulls, then cloud may not be right for you. Also, for enterprises in heavily regulated sector or those operating within strict data protection regulations, a highly agile datacentre within IT’s full control may be a best bet.

Myth 3: Cloud should be used for everything

Related to the previous myth, this refers to the belief that the characteristics of the cloud are applicable to everything – even legacy applications or data-intensive workloads.

Unless there are cost savings, moving a legacy application that doesn’t change is not a good candidate.

Myth 4: “The CEO said so” is a cloud strategy

Many companies don’t have a cloud strategy and are doing it just because their CEO wants. A cloud strategy begins by identifying business goals and mapping potential benefits of the cloud to them, while mitigating the potential drawbacks. Cloud should be thought of as a means to an end. The end must be specified first, Gartner advises.

Myth 5: We need One cloud strategy or one vendor

Cloud computing is not one thing, warns Gartner.  Cloud services include IaaS, SaaS or PaaS models and cloud types include private, public or hybrid clouds. Then there are applications that are right candidates for one type of cloud. A cloud strategy should be based on aligning business goals with potential benefits. Those goals and benefits are different in various use cases and should be the driving force for businesses, rather than standardising on one strategy.

Myth 6: Cloud is less secure than on-premises IT

Cloud is perceived as less secure. To date, there have been very few security breaches in the public cloud — most breaches continue to involve on-premises datacentre environments.

Myth 7: Cloud is not for mission-critical use

Cloud is still mainly used for test and development. But the analyst firm notes that many organisations have progressed beyond early use cases and are using the cloud for mission-critical workloads. There are also many enterprises (such as Netflix or Uber) that are “born in the cloud” and run their business completely in the cloud.

Myth 8: Cloud = Datacentre

Most cloud decisions are not (and should not be) about completely shutting down datacentres and moving everything to the cloud. Nor should a cloud strategy be equated with a datacentre strategy. In general, datacentre outsourcing, datacentre modernisation and datacentre strategies are not synonymous with the cloud.

Myth 9: Migrating to the cloud means you automatically get all cloud characteristics

Don’t assume that “migrating to the cloud” means that the characteristics of the cloud are automatically inherited from lower levels (like IaaS), warned Gartner. Cloud attributes are not transitive. Distinguish between applications hosted in the cloud from cloud services. There are “half steps” to the cloud that have some benefits (there is no need to buy hardware, for example) and these can be valuable. However, they do not provide the same outcomes.

Myth 10: Private Cloud = Virtualistaion

Virtualisation is a cloud enabler but it is not the only way to implement cloud computing. Not only is it sufficient either. Even if virtualisation is used (and used well), the result is not cloud computing. This is most relevant in private cloud discussions where highly virtualised, automated environments are common and, in many cases, are exactly what is needed. Unfortunately, these are often erroneously described as “private cloud”, according to the analyst firm.

“From a consumer perspective, ‘in the cloud’ means where the magic happens, where the implementation details are supposed to be hidden. So it should be no surprise that such an environment is rife with myths and misunderstandings,” said David Mitchell Smith, vice president and Gartner Fellow.


How’s TCS seeing the Digital future?

October 28th, 2014

The emerging technologies are defining the future of almost the whole tech industry and all the IT & Tech players are striving to build their space in the future tech world. Outsourcing34

The largest Indian IT services company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has a clear vision for the future of transforming technologies and the industry. TCS is expecting digital platforms such as Big Data, Cloud and Mobility solutions to bring in cumulative revenuers of more than $5 billion in the upcoming years.

Earlier, TCS shared that it is expecting to do $5 billion growing business in the next three to four years on the digital opportunity.

“The way to see it is that, when originally I said so, I said that over the upcoming three to four years, we’ll do $5 billion cumulative. But now, I think we’ll do far beyond that on a cumulative sense,” said N Chandrasekaran, CEO & MD, TCS.

Its run rate won’t touch $5 billion mark, but it will surely touch a few billion dollars, he added.

The opportunity is enormous as much of the ADG work that’s getting replaced or being rationalized is moving towards digital, said Chandrasekaran.

“Most of the infrastructure contracts are coming up from the outsourcing of infrastructure for maintaining the services levels in a model of managed services, but with transformation thing, to move to the cloud infrastructure,” he added.


Shell Seizes The Moment And Moves 75% of IT Infrastructure To The Cloud

October 24th, 2014

Oil giant Shell has decided to embrace cloud computing. The firm has revealed a major overhaul of its IT infrastructure, with 75% being migrated to the cloud, tech news site V3 reports.Outsourcing39

Shell’s enterprise product manager Oskar Brink made the revelation on Tuesday at the AWS Enterprise Summit in London, where he admitted that the decision to shift to the cloud had taken a lot of persuasion of the firm’s corporate stakeholders.

He spoke of the advantages of the cloud in helping control the cost, risk and agility of Shell’s IT environment, which consists of up to 10,000 applications.

He also talked of how expensive the portfolio is to manage and went on to explain: “Moving the infrastructure pieces into the cloud helps us to get [costs] more under control. We’re moving into the cloud as much as we can.”

One of the advantages is the flexibility cloud services offer. This has helped Shell reduce costs by allowing it to use on-demand services whenever they’re required, rather than being a continuous part of its internal infrastructure.

Brink added: “We look at the cloud as an off/on capability – actually we say off rather than on. What we don’t use we turn off, we don’t pay for it. That’s what we’re trying to achieve in [our] portfolio.”

Shell began outsourcing to virtualised services back in 2008, when 25% was migrated to the cloud. To reach the point where three-quarters of its infrastructure is located there, it took a lot of effort to overcome scepticism from the company’s IT chiefs and stakeholders – Brink likened it to “turning a tanker ship”

Still, it’s not the first time the company has shown that it is willing to move with the times – last year, it revealed plans to support 135,000 mobile devices in a BYOD strategy.


SOS to Indian enterprises: SMAC IT to them!

October 13th, 2014

At the India edition last week, of EMC Forum — the annual tech conference and showcase of the global leader in IT storage hardware and Big Data solutions — the Cloud loomed large, hovering over almost everything that was discussed. Indeed Social (media), Mobile Analytics and Cloud ( SMAC) was seen as the winning combo for Indian enterprises.Outsourcing17

Vishnu Anand spoke to two EMC experts for their take on what cloud strategy might be a best fit for India.

‘Hybrid cloud is a strategy, not a product’

CIOs across the globe have started to adopt hybrid cloud technologies to optimize cost and modify their IT and computing backbone with rapidly changing business needs and increased consumer demands. But it is also essential to make hybrid cloud technologies a part of your business strategy, not just a product that you deploy.

Christoph Thelsinger, VP, Systems Engineering, Asia Pacific & Japan, EMC says: “Most organizations in Asia approach us with one common challenge – having to meet consumer demands swiftly to ensure business agility. We always advice them to embrace hybrid cloud as a broad strategy, and not just a product.”

Thelsinger’s reasoning is that organizations that have already virtualised their systems, and are already operating in a cloud environment, experience the ‘burst’ scenario where there is a sudden – sometimes seasonal — need for compute power for a short span of time. After this time has elapsed, it is business as usual. “Since you cannot predict when the burst is going to occur, it makes sense to invoke compute power as and when you need it. This provides you the agility of a public cloud and the security of a private cloud”, he says. In such a scenario, the IT organization can take back control whenever it decides to.

Organizations that have explored the hybrid cloud are increasingly open to putting critical data on public cloud and accessing them on-demand. “The as-a-service model has a cost benefit to it. It may not be a decision initiated by the IT team. There is a definite cost advantage in putting your core ERP on the cloud, or even extending your data centre to the cloud. This cost consideration, in the days to come, will drive the market towards hybrid clouds”, suggests Thelsinger.

‘Nobody understands Cloud-as-a-Service better than India’

The concept of Cloud-as-a-Service, where organizations — big or small — can invoke computing power as and when they need it, dial-in/dial-out whenever business demands, is catching up in India and Japan. EMC, the global storage, virtualization and cloud services provider has identified a unique characteristic of India that makes it conducive to embrace and use cloud technologies at a greater pace than rest of the world.

David Webster, President, APAC & Japan said: “The IT ecosystem in India has grown up on the concept of outsourcing, and outsourcing is all about sub-contracting your IT operations to a third party and focusing on your core business. The guiding principle of Cloud-as-a-service is very similar to outsourcing, and this is precisely why India is today at the forefront of adopting new Cloud technologies.”

Webster went on to explain that the new-age consumer demands the same level of computing of an advanced laptop or a desktop, in a mobile smartphone. “With 81% of the country’s population using mobile devices, more and more Indians are using their personal mobile phones for official work, including business critical operations like secure bank transactions, stock market monitoring, and even managing their office ERP systems.”

He however cautions: “In order to woo the new-age Indian mobile consumer, organizations and service providers need to pull up their socks and create a smooth and uninterrupted computing that is cross-platform and device agnostic.”

Explaining how the SMAC ideology is a ‘best fit’ for India, Webster said, “The mobile is in more ways than one a ‘third platform’ in computing. The mainframes defined the first platform, while the PC and client/server architecture defined the second platform. EMC believes that the third platform is all about mobile interspersed with Big Data, analytics, Cloud and social business. And India will have a huge role to play”.


Gov ‘cloud-first’ policy has clear gaps

October 9th, 2014

THE Abbott government’s so-called ‘cloud first’ policy lacks a clear plan or specific goals, say industry experts, who fear it will be a pipe dream without strong leadership.Outsourcing4

The government yesterday released a long-awaited update to its cloud computing strategy, saying departments and agencies are required to consider cloud first where it is fit for purpose, provides adequate protection of government data and delivers value for money.

The announcement follows a recommendation by the Commission of Audit for the government to adopt a cloud-first approach for ICT procurement.

Agency heads would be able to approve proposals to place “certain information” either onshore or offshore, a joint statement by the ministers of finance and communications, and the Attorney-General said.

The government spends $6 billion per annum on ICT but only a fraction on cloud services — $6.2 million since July 2010, including $1.5m on data centre-as-a-service contracts.

OzHub chair Matt Healy said the policy showed intent, but lacked targets and strong central leadership.

OzHub comprises industry players such as Macquarie Telecom, Infoplex, Alcatel-Lucent and F5 Networks.

Mr Healy said the British government had a goal of shifting 50 per cent of its new government IT spending to cloud-based services by 2015 but Australia had no such target and spent too little on cloud services.

“Industry is ready but the government must set real targets,’’ he said in a statement. “We’ve been in the starter’s hands in the race for take-up of cloud computing for too long.”

Mr Healy said the Attorney-General’s updated information security management guidelines could hamper cloud adoption since agencies were authorised to conduct their own risk assessments and approve the outsourcing of government-held private information offshore.

“There is an increased risk associated with data held offshore, and surveys showing that consumers and small-to-medium-sized businesses are more concerned about the security of their personal information when held offshore,’’ he said.

“Devolving decision-making to individual agencies on the basis of ‘streamlining decision making’ may not constitute an appropriate privacy and security regime to protect the private information of Australians.

“We believe there should be a sensible balance of prudent accountability by the Attorney-General and central agencies in providing assurance to Australians that their information is safe and that redress in Australia is available should there be a breach,” Mr Healy said.


Pharma Outsourcing Driving Need for Cloud-Based Services

September 30th, 2014

As demand shifts from high-margin branded drugs in Western regions to low-margin generics in emerging markets, successful bio/pharmaceutical companies are adopting new business models that include significantly more outsourcing and require a deeper understanding of costs all along the value chain. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems that have been effective for the internal management of sourcing and production are insufficient for managing the extended relationships and multidirectional communications needed in this new environment. Bio/pharmaceutical companies are therefore turning to cloud-based services to achieve greater transparency and facilitate collaboration.Outsourcing38

Outsourcing trend
The biggest trend driving changes in the market today is the shift from a focus on Western markets to growth areas in emerging regions, according to Diane Palmquist, vice president of product management for GT Nexus, a cloud supply-chain platform provider. “High-margin blockbuster drugs are coming off-patent and mature Western markets are experiencing limited growth. Consequently, the focus has shifted to emerging markets, where the growth rate is higher. However, the demand in these regions is greatest for low-cost, low-margin products, and buying habits are very different (buy the dose, not the bottle),” she observes. The result: bio/pharmaceutical companies need to completely transform their old business models.

The biggest impact can be seen in the higher level of outsourcing now taking place. “Pharmaceutical companies are outsourcing nearly every aspect of the business, including some research-related activities, API manufacturing, drug product formulation, packaging, and logistics,” says K.R. Karu, industry solution director for Sparta Systems, a provider of enterprise quality management solutions. Palmquist adds that currently approximately 40% of industry business is outsourced, and that number is expected to increase to 80% over the next several years.

Loss of control
As outsourcing has increased, companies have lost control over many aspects of the supply chain. “Companies are still trying to manage interactions with suppliers and service providers through personal communications, which is not only inefficient, but ineffective given the number and complexity of relationships and issues that must be managed,” Karu says. The low margins of today also do not support this approach. ERP systems, which in the past have been used to connect purchasing with production operations, are also not capable of managing the complex interactions between service providers and pharmaceutical companies, according to Palmquist. Furthermore, to meet the demand of emerging markets, pharmaceutical companies must be very responsive and need solutions quickly. ERP systems generally take about 18 months to get up and running, and often by that time the opportunity has been lost.

One of the key issues for bio/pharmaceutical companies is the lack of visibility into contract manufacturers. Often pharma companies do not find out about issues that can impact the delivery of API or finished drug product until much later because the suppliers are trying to solve the problem. The common response, according to Palmquist, is to try and stay on top of potential problems by constantly contacting the suppliers via phone or e-mail, which is not a practical, sustainable, or effective approach.

“The challenge lies in the need to manage a whole host of different suppliers at the same time that the customer base is changing dramatically and bringing an entirely new set of customer expectations. The key to this puzzle is to obtain visibility on both the supply side and the value side, from inventory to quality excursions to government fees,” Palmquist asserts.

Gaining visibility
Cloud-based services give bio/pharmaceutical companies the ability to extend their visibility into all parts of the value chain, while at the same time enabling vendors to access the information they need in order to provide optimum services. Raw materials suppliers, contract research organizations, contract manufacturers, brokers, and distributors can all interact simultaneously under very controlled conditions that ensure that important information gets to the only the right people when it needs to, according to Palmquist.

More benefits of the cloud
There are several other practical advantages of using cloud-based systems, according to Karu. Because cloud-based software systems are developed by software experts, they are consistent for all users. Maintenance and upgrades are provided on a continual basis, as well as any necessary validation procedures to meet special compliance requirements for the pharmaceutical industry. There is also no need for investments in extensive information technology infrastructure; the servers are maintained by large companies (think Google and IBM). In addition, redundant systems located around the world ensure non-stop operation.

Perhaps most importantly, though, is the controlled nature of the interactions through cloud-based systems. “Generally the information that is being shared using cloud-based systems is already being shared via phone calls and e-mails. There are, however, much stronger controls in place in cloud-based systems that ensure that information only goes to the people who should see it. There are no such controls around the use of e-mails with file attachments,” Karu explains

Achieving assurance of supply
Overall, according to Palmquist, cloud-based systems offer bio/pharmaceutical companies assistance with achieving assurance of supply. All business activities can be integrated in the cloud and important issues, exceptions, and problems flagged automatically, so that efforts are appropriately focused on resolving potential issues. Not only purchasing systems, but logistics and quality management systems can be linked through the cloud so that the bio/pharmaceutical company is always up to date on what is happening and can readily share information that impacts multiple vendors.

“Moving an established quality system to the cloud and sharing it with raw material suppliers and contract manufacturers makes it possible for these vendors to exchange information immediately. In addition, these vendors can be directly included in specific activities, such as investigations of excursions and remedial actions, leading to much more rapid resolution of problems,” Karu comments. Similarly, cloud computing can benefit other aspects of supply chain management and aid in the rapid response to any type of possible interruption in the supply, from natural disasters to manufacturing malfunctions to distribution issues.

Collaboration is key
“The key to success for bio/pharmaceutical companies with such complex supply networks is collaboration across the value chain. Cloud computing is an effective way to enable such relationships,” Karu says. “There is definitely a growing realization in the pharmaceutical industry that suppliers must be thought of as extensions of the company. To be truly successful, we believe that the relationships between bio/pharmaceutical companies and their suppliers should be viewed more like joint ventures, with real transparency of information,” adds Palmquist.

The idea of allowing vendors to see into their business operations is the most challenging aspect of cloud computing for biopharmaceutical companies. “Most companies are at least initially very resistant to letting suppliers see their company information. It is not possible, however, for vendors to effectively participate in quality investigations, audits, and remediation efforts without two-way communication. He adds that the pharmaceutical industry tends to be very conservative about adopting new technology, in part due to concerns about acceptance by regulatory agencies, and cloud computing is no exception. “Both pharmaceutical companies and their suppliers are interested in cloud-based solutions, but neither is convinced that the other is willing to implement them. The greatest challenge at this point, therefore, is to convince the various members of the pharmaceutical industry supply chain to take the first step.

Early adopters
Companies that have already moved forward with the use of cloud-based services are those that have been pushed fastest towards emerging markets and have realized that ERP systems are insufficient and leave them “flying blind,” according to Palmquist. Pfizer is one example. “Pfizer needed to figure out a way to not only maintain but grow its revenue stream despite having 9 of its blockbuster drugs lose patent protection¾a Herculean task,” she says. Not only did the company need to better manage the supply side, it also needed help tracking costs (taxes, fees, etc.) on the value side in detail, something that was not a concern in the past with high-margin products.

“We expect that more companies will be in this same position and looking for solutions that enable simultaneous, multidirectional communications with numerous members of the value chain. As that occurs, there will also be greater realization that any dollars spent in the supply chain ultimately comes from the pharmaceutical company,” says Palmquist. In the past, it was easy for manufacturers to separate supplier costs from their costs because margins were high. That will no longer be the case as the industry becomes a low-margin business. “As we see in the consumer electronics industry, where every penny is tracked throughout the supply chain, it will be necessary for bio/pharmaceutical companies to look at supplier costs as their costs in order to maximize profits. Connect with suppliers through cloud-based systems will help not only control costs, but also quality and all other aspects of their operations,” she concludes.

For those reasons, Karu anticipates an explosion in demand for cloud-based services in the pharmaceutical industry. “The many-to-many relationships that are possible with cloud-based systems provide a much more efficient mechanism for processing information and managing interactions, which will be critical to the success of pharmaceutical companies in the increasingly challenging business environment they are facing,” he says.


Cloud Computing Solutions and the IT Budget

September 29th, 2014

Cloud computing solutions may be disrupting today’s IT budgets. New research has found that various technologies are affecting how much IT departments are spending.Cloud computing concept.

Outsourcing Falls

A new survey by Computer Economics discovered that, for the second year in a row, IT outsourcing has fallen while new IT resources are growing. About 10.2 percent of companies’ spending was allocated to outsourcing, a decline from 10.6 percent in 2013 and from 11.9 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, IT operational budgets rose 2.4 percent this year. Outsourced help desk, desktop support and application maintenance functions are on the decline, while IT security work and web operations services are seeing growth.

According to the results featured in ZDNet, IT managers want plug-in, ready-made services that are available thanks to cloud computing. They understand they can be ready with their solutions in just hours or even minutes. The study also pointed out that the classified use of software-as-a-service as a form of application hosting outsourcing is on the rise. The cloud is expected to continue to have an impact on both traditional outsourcing and in-house operations.

Investing in Infrastructure

Firms from all industries seek cloud computing solutions to increase collaboration and improve productivity; it is what IT professionals are budgeting for when investing in new infrastructure. At the end of the day, the benefits and risks of cloud computing affect how firms manage their IT infrastructure costs. Midsize firms often turn to public clouds since they do not have the same security risk and legacy IT restrictions as large enterprises.

When IT professionals at midsize firms aim for innovative cloud solutions, they aim to gain better-aligned technology spending that is in sync with business needs. At smaller firms, the money spent on IT is often aimed at maintenance and security areas, so it is easy to overlook the value of the cloud. IT professionals that fail to recognize the benefits of well-thought-out cloud strategies will not invest, and that can affect potential gains. By consulting with experienced cloud vendors, smaller firms can implement the right solutions that align with their business goals.

Spending Future

IT spending is outpacing outsourcing spending, and according to new research cloud has a lot to do with it. It is a trend that more midsize firms migrating to the cloud will see firsthand as the confidence in cloud solutions continues to take off in the marketplace.


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