Tag Archives: Cloud Computing


The Friday Update 3: From the edge to the core – smart thinking in regards to start-ups and the cloud

I’m feeling a bit for Pluto this week. News of the potential discovery of a ninth planet at the far edges of the Kuiper belt must smart for a ball of rock that was only reclassified as a dwarf planet ten years ago. Hard times for a former planet named by an eleven-year-old schoolgirl in Oxford.

Down in London, I’ve been investigating the potential use of start-ups by big businesses. The piece for Computer Weekly presents top tips from people in the know and suggests that, with creativity seen as a key competitive differentiator, CIOs are being charged to help find new solutions to intractable business challenges, including from the start-up community:

CIOs must recognise that larger, fast-growing start-ups should be approached differently. Companies that float on the stock market can change their approach and even become destabilised, especially if they are burning through cash to reach a target size.

Many start-ups, of course, have the luxury of being able to start their IT set-up from a greenfield position, probably making heavy use of the cloud. For senior executives thinking of making a move on-demand, I’ve just produced an article for ZDNet presenting the three key areas to consider through 2016 – costs, processes and roles:

The cloud will branch into new areas of provision through 2016. Rather than just picking elements of enterprise IT to run on-demand, researcher Forrester says we are entering a new stage of the cloud, where executives will be able to run entire business ecosystems in the cloud.

I’ll be analysing the cloud further in a forthcoming piece in a Raconteur supplement for The Sunday Times. The article will consider the role of the cloud in innovation and future business models. Basically, how is cloud computing allowing enterprises to develop new products, services and lines of business? I’d be really keen to hear from anyone who has a view, particularly in regards to using the cloud in a business context.

I’m also investigating the use of virtual reality in a business context. It’s still a niche area but, once again, any views or opinions would be welcomed. If you have a view, just drop me a line at mark.samuels@gmail.com or mark@samuelsmedia.co.uk.

Dark side of the cloud

A quick update to my article list for silicon.com – an article explaining why the shift to cloud computing may take longer than CIOs think. Along with the familiar barriers to cloud adoption, such as security and vendor lock-in, there are a number of less obvious challenges giving some CIOs pause for thought:

Listen to the vendors and on-demand computing is presented as an unstoppable force that is set to change technology provision quickly and irrevocably.

Check the research and that representation certainly appears credible, with analyst house IDC estimating that companies spend £10.7bn a year on cloud IT services worldwide and that the market will be worth £27bn by 2013. But while the numbers might sound impressive, IT leaders wishing to transfer services to the cloud face significant challenges.

Executives rapidly discover a dark side to the cloud, where concepts of on-demand technology are confused, trust is constrained and understanding is limited. “I find the whole debate about cloud as interesting as the debate about service-oriented architecture,” says Stuart Curley, chief technology architect at the Royal Mail. “It doesn’t keep me awake at night but it does send me to sleep.”

For the rest of the feature, click here.

Summer 2010 edition of CIO Connect magazine

The summer 2010 edition of CIO Connect should be hitting IT leaders’ desks this week. Cover star is Deloitte UK partner and CIO Mary Hensher, a people person with a passion for the potential of IT to change business. Other articles include cloud computing, innovation, governance and a review of IT leadership from India.

As ever, thanks to all the CIOs, business leaders and technology experts who contributed their time and opinions. Below is a full list of featured participants:

  • Mary Hensher, Deloitte UK partner and CIO
  • Richard McGrail, head of IT at Baillie Gifford & Co
  • Steve Webster, IT director at Admiral Group
  • Peter Ingram, IT director at Addison Lee
  • Martin Ferguson, head of strategy at Socitm
  • David Hopkins, manager of business development at Siemens Enterprise Services
  • David Wilde, head of IT at Westminster City Council
  • Patrick Smith, local government client executive at IBM
  • Richard Mahony, director of telecoms research and analysis at Ovum
  • Philip Virgo, secretary general of the European Information Society Group
  • Ian Wilcox, principle IT consultant at Hampshire County Council
  • Peter Bassill, chief information security officer at gambling giant Gala Coral Group
  • Chris Head, principal associate at Socitm Insight
  • Robin Johnson, global CIO at Dell
  • Peter Breunig, CTO at Chevron
  • Mike Bevil, manager of IT Innovation at Merck
  • Ruth Spellman, chief executive at Chartered Management Institute
  • Zafar Chaudry, CIO at Alder Hey
  • Peter Bauer, chief executive at Mimecast
  • Rajendra S. Pawar, chairman of technology company NIIT
  • John Suffolk, UK government CIO
  • Saurabh Srivastava, chairman of CA
  • Filippo Passerini, president of global business services and CIO at Procter & Gamble
  • Dana Deasy, group CIO at BP
  • John Torrie, UK chief executive at Steria
  • Michael Gogola, director of information services at HCA International
  • Francis Jellings, head of IT at Virgin Trains
  • John Robinson, group IT director at Morse
  • Mark Foulsham, head of IT at insurance specialist esure
  • Stuart McGill, CTO at Micro Focus
  • Maurice van Sabben, president of National Geographic Television International
  • David Head, director of LFA
  • Adrian Joseph, Google’s European managing director
  • Dominic Batchelor, partner at Ashurst LLP
  • Inbali Iserles, professional development lawyer at Ashurst LLP
  • Danièle Tyler, solicitor at Ashurst LLP

Will auditors allow your data to reside in the cloud?

While I was away on paternity leave, Computer Weekly published my feature on cloud computing, security and audit trails. Here’s the intro, with a link to the full article below:

“Do you fear the auditor more or the attacker?” asks Peter Bassill, chief information security officer at gambling giant Gala Coral Group.

It is a key question for IT leaders thinking of dabbling in on-demand computing provision through the cloud. For Bassill, there is only one answer, particularly for firms operating in highly regulated sectors: “A lot of companies fear the auditor more. If you hold data internally, you can show the auditor your controls, but the cloud makes such demonstrations more difficult.”

The resulting complications mean many businesses still shy away from on-demand IT. About 40% of UK companies use cloud computing systems, according to the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. This represents a significant proportion of British organisations, but implementation levels – certainly with regards to large-scale enterprise systems – are nowhere near matching the cacophonous intensity of supplier hype.

For the full feature, click here.

The FD, the CIO and the implementation of cloud computing

I’ve just written a feature for Financial Director, which shows that cloud computing has received mixed reviews but can save the FD and CIO money:

The terminology associated with the dark art of business technology can sometimes make finance directors feel as if they are back at school. Bamboozled by a series of buzzwords developed by the technical clique, they could be forgiven for tuning out when the chief information officer (CIO) begins bending their ear.

But the baffling jargon associated with IT obfuscates a business necessity; technology is changing the way business operates and the finance function is not immune to such transformation. What is more, the changes associated with cloud computing – the latest hyped-up killer app in technology – are potentially the most far-reaching yet.

Moving all your databases, systems and software onto an internet-based platform rather than running it through expensive hardware platforms, cloud computing breaks the traditional and costly model of IT purchasing and implementation. Rather than being tied to rigid licensing models for under-used technology, it allows the business to make use of an internet-enabled form of technology provision…

For the full feature, click here.