Category Archives: Cloud

Ovum Industry Congress Europe Speaker Q&A: Ara Avakian, Global Reporting Initiative

Ara Avakian is Senior Manager Technology Solutions at Global Reporting Initiativeand he will be part of the following panel session at Ovum Industry Congress Europe, taking place in Amsterdam on 8 October 2014: To the Cloud and Beyond, alongside Belastingdienst and ONVZ. We asked Ara about his experience and projects, as well as his expectations from the conference. Here’s what he had to say:

Ara AvakianAra Avakian: At OIC Europe, I am most looking forward to hearing about how to transition to a data-optimized organization that is positioned to smartly capture, manage and capitalize on information. Despite new apps and enterprise systems some organizations still suffer from information silos, this may be due to insufficient buy-in or change management but an absence of easy to use tools may also play a part. I’d like to hear some examples of how organizations are transitioning and what their experiences have been.

Ovum: From a learning experience viewpoint, what has been your most valuable lesson in your working career, or your most successful failure?

AA: Over the years I have seen a number of technology projects initiated without first undergoing a rigorous review against organizational priorities. I’ve seen this occur across a variety of industries and with projects including enterprise software, websites and online tools. I’ve learned that projects often get initiated for questionable reasons and that simply because we’ve received earmarked funds or someone in upper management is driving an initiative isn’t enough. It’s clear to me that all projects should be reviewed as part of a formal process with upper management (during budget season) where they can be checked for alignment against organizational strategy and prioritized with a clear cost and realistic schedule. These are minimum requirements and if not met then the initiative should be put on hold until more information becomes available. In some instances it’s correct to push back – as long as one can articulate the reasons in clear business risks to upper management. For my own proposals I’ve found it’s especially important to ask the ‘5-why’s’. Is it strategically aligned? Is it providing value or is it just cool? Can the ROI be quantified? Is it a priority worth the resources, time and budget or are my energies best spent elsewhere?

Ovum: What one thing would you implement tomorrow if you knew you were guaranteed to succeed?

Continue reading

Advertisements

‘Is hiervoor geen betere app beschikbaar?’

183x133The second edition of Ovum Industry Congress: Europe takes place at the Amsterdam Hilton on 8 October 2014, and offers complimentary passes to enterprises, presenting a first-class speaker line-up. You can read a review of the first edition, courtesy of Computable, below.

Het Ovum Industry Congres Europe 2013 vond plaats op 2 oktober 2013 in het Mövenpick-hotel in Amsterdam. Het programma bestond uit zes onderwerpen die door de analisten van Ovum in een kort tijdsbestek werden uitgewerkt en onderbouwd met onderzoeksresultaten. Na elke sessie vond een paneldiscussieplaats met zogeheten practice leaders binnen dit vakgebied. Een hoogwaardig congres, waarbij onderzoekresultaten werden gecombineerd met de daadwerkelijke discussies in de boardroom.

ICT van buiten naar binnen

De wereld is aan het veranderen door de inzet van ict. Spraakmakende voorbeelden van deze transformatie zijn: reizen, ziekenhuizen en videoanalyses (denk aan kentekenherkenning en persoonsherkenning bij de opsporing van criminelen). Deze transformatie is gebaseerd op de ict-evolutie van een vaste ict infrastructuur naar het afnemen van dynamische zakelijke diensten. Het wordt dan ook belangrijk dat de cio een belangrijke bijdrage gaat leveren aan het ontsluiten en coördineren van de ict-kennis voor de business. Deze uitspraak is gebaseerd op het onderzoeksresultaat dat meer dan de helft van de ict-afdelingen negeert dat meer dan 60 procent van de medewerkers privémiddelen ook zakelijk gebruikt. Daarbij komt dat steeds meer zakelijke managers beslissingen nemen die voorheen door de cio werden genomen. Een intrigerende trend op het terrein van apps: in het verleden werd elke app als een openbaring ervaring. Tegenwoordig zijn gebruikers veel kritischer. Medewerkers vragen: ‘Is hiervoor geen betere app?’.

Een selectie van uitspraken uit de paneldiscussie:
• Stop met praten over ict, dit wordt onderdeel van de business, net als hr, financiën en verkoop. Be the challenger of the business;
• Het topmanagement spreekt voor 80 procent over uitvoering en voor 20 procent over innovatie;
• Bied zakelijke gebruikers een overzicht van de zakelijke meerwaarde van ict;
• Voel je verantwoordelijk voor de klant van de klant, en dit vanuit het perspectief van marketing, transparantie als vertrouwen;
• Best way of governance: you need trial and error and top-down; een successtory vanuit de praktijk is om deze wekelijks te bespreken in multidisciplinair team, dan weet iedereen zijn rol en invloed.

Continue reading

Next Generation Infrastructure Q&A with Rocco Labellarte, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

Rocco Labellarte is Head of Technology and Change Delivery at Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and is appearing on the Industry Leaders Panel at Next Generation Infrastructure on 23 September in London, alongside the CTO of Framestore, and Heads of Technology from Mercedes F1 and Government Digital Service. We caught up with Rocco to chat about his experience and projects, as well as his expectations from the conference. Here’s what he had to say:

Rocco LabellarteRocco Labellarte: I am discussing Migrating to next generation infrastructure – Mountain or molehill? at NGI 2014. I believe it is an opportunity to underline the essential move toward IT being all about enabling business outcomes. IT becomes the toolbox; how businesses use that toolbox to achieve their desired outcomes becomes the more fundamental question.

Ovum: What are some of the challenges of your job?

RL: The 3P’s: people, politics and people! Joking apart, being able to manage multiple stakeholder groups, communicate really well and bridge the language divide between what technology can deliver and what people want, makes up 70% of my job. It is a challenge, the rules are what they are, with each employer being just a little bit unique, and you have to adopt the frame of mind that “these are the rules you are going to have to play by, so get used to it”, otherwise you will find yourself stressed out in next to no time.

Ovum: What skills and qualities would you most value in your successor?

RL: The ability to be concise, energetic and with a sense of humour. Knowing what they are talking about helps too. A broad understanding of technology, a sound grasp of business essentials, a delivery mentality and the ability to work with people at all levels of the organisation.  If you convince people you know what you’re saying and you get them on board then they are more likely to trust you to just get on and deliver.

Ovum: What one thing would you implement tomorrow if you knew you were guaranteed to succeed?

RL: A time machine. Hindsight is a fabulous gift we’ve all been given; the trouble is we always get after the event. It is what translates to experience and learning for the next time. If we had a time machine, we’d be able to learn from our mistakes, go back in time and avoid them. That would be fun.

You can view all of the topics to be discussed at Next Generation Infrastructure on the event agenda, and you can discuss these topics and more with Rocco, and all our speakers, by registering today (enterprise end-users can claim a complimentary pass).

OIC speaker interview 6: Dan Crow, CTO, Songkick

Ovum recently caught up with Dan Crow, CTO of personalised live music events database Songkick, who is speaking at Ovum Industry Congress next month in London. Here are his fascinating insights on his career to date, the status of the IT industry, and what his challenges currently are.

Dan CroweI am discussing Cloud Experiences in the Enterprise at OIC 2014. I believe that the move to the cloud is a vast opportunity that many are still struggling to fully take advantage of. I’m interested in how the experiences of smaller startups like Songkick can inform the practices of larger enterprises, and vice versa.

Ovum: From a learning experience viewpoint, what has been your most valuable lesson in your working career, or your most successful failure?

Dan Crow: The first startup I joined in Silicon Valley was a B2B intelligent search engine called Verb. I was the VP of Engineering and hired the development team from scratch. We built a strong product and had early paying customers. We attempted to raise a Series B funding round in 2001. This was in the teeth of the dotcom crash – the worst downturn in California in a generation.

We visited every VC on Sandhill Road, each one liked the business, but told us they weren’t funding anyone right then. I had to layoff the whole engineering team, people I considered friends as well as colleagues. We then sold the assets of the business to Dell. The experience was a sobering one, and made me determined that next time I would get a much better outcome for the people I worked with.

Ovum: Thinking about the conference strapline “Strategy, Technology and the art of the possible”, what tech related innovation, transformation or invention would you hope to see in your lifetime:

DC: In the last few years we have finally begun to see practical, industrial strength Artificial Intelligence being deployed. Techniques like Deep Learning appear to be a major breakthrough. But we are just starting on the journey to smart systems. AI will become widespread, some of it visible through Siri-like services, but much of it becoming a key part of enterprise systems.

Smart systems should be able to automatically understand the knowledge within disparate information systems. These systems will connect siloed data, automatically translating terminology and meaning. I expect that in 10-15 years, most ETL and data connection services will be automatically generated by AI systems and as a result big data will be cheap and commonplace in every enterprise.

Ovum: What has been the most rewarding project you worked on, and why it was rewarding?

DC: I led the engineering team that built Google Squared. This was a prototype technology that extracted billions of facts from the general web and made it available to users through a novel interface. We took a team of 10 of the best Google engineers for a year and built something extraordinary. The extraction technology we built now power’s Google Knowledge Graph, which is the next generation of search on Google. Building Google’s first web-scale semantic search engine that is now used by billions of people, is immensely satisfying.

Meet Dan at Ovum Industry Congress, 13-14 May 2014 at the Victoria Park Plaza, London. Enterprise IT professionals can claim a complimentary pass, here.

OIC speaker interview 4: Laurent Lachal, Senior Analyst, Software – IT Solutions, Ovum

In the latest Ovum Industry Congress speaker interview, we chat to Laurent Lachal, Ovum’s Senior Analyst in the Software – IT Solutions division. Laurent is leading the Cloud Computing in the Enterprise track at OIC, including a presentation on ‘PaaS – a 360º view’, and is a specialist in the Cloud market.

Laurent-Lachal-2013Laurent Lachal: At OIC, I am most looking forward to interacting with cloud service providers and consumers, especially during one to one analyst clinics that are freely available.

Ovum: What do you see as the coming trends in your profession/area of expertise, and how can you prepare?

LL: The IT industry likes fashions. Fashions have a habit of coming back. Workflow, for example, was all the rage in the mid-90s then faded away, only to reappear in the mid-noughties as business process management (BPM). Similarly, the industry, which has been talking about the “digitalization” of economies, industries, and/or enterprises for a number of years, seems to have found a new interest, largely cloud computing-centric, in the subject in 2013. I expect this interest to remain sustained in 2014. Both cloud service providers and consumers will continue to struggle to cope with the need to:

  • Define balanced (public, private, and/or hybrid) “cloud first” strategies at both technology and business levels
  • Shift from cloud-enabling IT with a focus on cost control and automation, to cloud-centric transformation with a focus on making it easy to innovate
  • Become cloud brokers that aggregate, integrate, customize, and curate third-party cloud services
  • Understand, manage, and bridge a variety of cloud-centric digital divides including line-of-business (LoB) executives versus CIOs, shadow versus official IT, and developers versus IT operations divides.

Ovum: In relation to your area of expertise, what 2 pieces of advice would you give to end user organisations to prepare them for the coming changes, if any?

LL:

  1. Cloud computing is a long-term that redefines the way in which enterprises relate to their IT assets (in for example, the way they design and provision assets), their IT departments, their IT vendors, as well as one another because it makes it easier for them to share, and via public clouds it massively democratizes IT, disrupting whole industries and supply chains. Get briefed on the latest developments and the implications for your vertical sector. Find out if and where cloud services are already being used in your jurisdiction and others, and discuss the strategy and policy implications with customers and stakeholders. Cloud adoption is a two-way street. It is not just about whether cloud computing is ready for you, it is also about whether you are ready for it.
  2. Many executives regard technology evangelists as “drive-by shooters” who cruise by their offices firing so-called “silver bullet” solutions, creating panic and confusion with a barrage of innovation. The adoption of cloud services can cultivate the kind of decentralized decision-making environment that is an ideal target for “drive-by shooters”. The best defense is flexible enterprise ICT strategic thinking that includes an awareness of the big-picture trends in the ICT industry and the preparedness to get a grip on the logic of ICT management. A strategic perspective is recognizing that cloud services are primarily a business and organizational-level challenge and will therefore require a strategic, outward-looking, top-down response rather than a rigid, inward-looking defense of the enterprise ICT perimeter.
  3. A major challenge is to avoid the temptation to impose the full baggage of legacy IT expectations, requirements, and regulation on cloud services. It will be important to value the cloud for what it is, a new and potentially useful IT innovation in IT delivery, rather than regarding cloud computing services as conventional enterprise IT applications. Many of the benefits of cloud computing stem from the fact that it is a commoditized, standardized, take-it-or-leave-it service environment. Successful early adoption of cloud services will require an acceptance of its limitations, astute selection of appropriate opportunities, and a preparedness to solve the new problems that will emerge.
  4. Keep control under control. Try not to clamp down on employee-driven cloud shadow IT too hard in the name of security and governance. IT as well as business executives need to give user experience and user empowerment the same priority as governance to keep up not only with public cloud convenience and flexibility, but also their peers. They need to train employees on the advantages, not just the dangers, of public cloud services.

Enterprise utilising Cloud technology can claim a complimentary pass for Ovum Industry Congress. For more details, visit the OIC website.