Cloud, mobility and the social organisation

According to this article in Voice and Data online, Cloud is currently the third priority for CIOs, running behind mobility and the social organisation.

Often, however,  Cloud, mobility and the social organisation are intertwined. Matthew Maw, CTO of the Tatts Group, offered his opinion on the subject. He emphasises the importance of the journey behind Cloud, and that Cloud is just a name. I’d have to agree. The degree to which your vendor understands your business and what your goals are, is much more important that the name of the technology you use to accomplish those goals.

According to John Roberts, Research Vice President at the global CIO team at Gartner, CIOs around the globe share the same eight to 10 priorities. If they didn’t, he says, “IT wouldn’t work globally”.

“There is a nexus of four forces now driving IT. The first is mobility, and CIOs are putting a lot of effort into this as they are being asked to deliver more applications on an increasing range of diverse devices. There is a shift away from core applications. Bring your own device (BYOD) is also challenging CIOs’ minds now.

“The second force is associated with the social organisation, where people need to collaborate outside their comfort zones, both inside the organisation and outside the organisation.

“It’s no surprise that cloud is number three. It is down from number one over the last two years, as organisations have focused on the infrastructure and probably done some consolidation and used software as a service. And maybe now they are looking at cloud as a platform. But it doesn’t change business outcomes. There are very few organisations doing pilot cloud projects.

Roberts said that cloud offers CIOs the same sorts of problems that outsourcing does.

“For example: how do you change from one cloud provider to another cloud provider?” he said.

As one CIO told Roberts after more research into implementing cloud, “When the cloud gets low it gets foggy.”

“The fourth force is information, and using deep analytics – rather than the old business intelligence tools – to unlock the value from what is commonly called ‘big data’. This information is being personalised, making sure it is in the right hands at the right time, so the right decisions can be made to optimise the business,” said Roberts.

CIOs in ANZ differ only slightly in their priorities from the global CIOs, in that mobility and analytics are their top two priorities, followed by cloud and social collaboration.

Commenting on the changing role of CIOs, Melbourne IT’s Group CIO, Guye Engel, said, “In the past CIOs managed systems and infrastructure, and were responsible for the efficiencies of these.

“Now, CIOs try and understand the business strategy, and support it with the most appropriate technologies, systems and products. So it is more an enabling and integration role now, with optimal security being very important.”

Garry Rich, General Manager, IT, The Mantra Group, said, “It must always be the goal to have a strong alignment of the IT architecture to match the business strategy.”

Seamus King, Country Manager, Citrix Online Services Division, said there is no doubt the role of the CIO is changing due to increased complexity.

Matthew Boon, Managing VP and Group Team Manager in Gartner Research, with global responsibility for the Technology & Service Provider market, said: “Understanding just how the CIO is viewing his or her value to the organisation, and therefore how technology can help them achieve their ultimate goals, is becoming an increasingly important, yet rare skill for IT departments and IT and data centre managers.”

At the Cisco Live conference last month, a panel of CIOs and other executive IT officers was assembled to discuss the issues confronting them and their needs.

Matthew Maw, CTO at Tatts Group, said: “The biggest issue is deploying security because if the network has been compromised then there are no sales.

“People are always trying into break into the internet, and it is our number two platform for facing the public. Integrity is vital to our business. A sale lost on the day can never be recovered.”

CIO of Loddon Mallee Rural Health Alliance, Bendigo Area, Bruce Winzar, said the biggest concern for health is standards, with the much talked about health records due in part on 1 July this year.

“From the top it is difficult and slow and from the bottom we need more flexibility,” said Winzar.

VC Gopalratnam, VP and CIO of Cisco Development (India), said, “Technology is introduced as a proof-point. We have to have the knowledge it is going to work because most of our work is in the money markets.

“We need IT people with a services mentality and [who are] subject matter experts.

“Health records in India are so porous you can find out anything you want to about people’s health, so India is not a model to base electronic health records on.”

Bring your own devices

The BYOD challenge is on the radius all panel members. Loddon is looking at it for its flexibility, but haxn’t got the correct model yet. “There is just as much risk as the paper-based model,” said Winzar.

Maw said: “When the latest iPad went on sale, 20 people were using it within minutes at Tatts. Government regulations are in conflict with BYOD. As much as we try, it is just impossible to protect every device.”

The CIO of Westfield for ANZ, Peter Bourke, sees BYOD as inevitable for his organisation, but comments that a lot more attention needs to be paid to the legal aspect of BYOD.

Gopalratnam said Cisco has “been on the BYOD journey for the last two years, and it works for us, as it allows us to cover as many access points as possible”.

There was division on the panel as to the usefulness of the cloud.

Bourke said, “It is a most misunderstood name. Business sees cloud as a panacea for cost savings. There are issues on latency, and there is not enough discussion about this, or what happens when you want to get out of the cloud.”

Winzar said, “Loddon is not very interested, and it’s not high on my agenda, because of the risks. Those risks include where the patient record is held, and we have to look at who the cloud provider is and where the data is stored. Health records should be stored in Australia.”

Tatt’s Maw said, “Cloud is a convenient name for a journey. A journey Tatts has been on for the last 10 years. Public cloud is not on our radar. Cloud is just a name.”

Talking about the CIO role, Bourke said, “CIOs are really challenged and immersed in the business more and more.”

While Winzar said, “We are moving away from IT support to clinical support to match the clinical workflow.”

Gopalratnam concluded by saying, “CIOs have to create a model of user experience whereby users can find the information they want. We really have to work on this.”

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