Archive for the ‘Cloud Expert Interview’ Category

Exclusive Interview with Liam Quinn, IT Director of Richmond Events

1c061f4Session: Cloud as a Utility: Working Seamlessly Across Public & Private Clouds

When: 24th June 2015, 12:05 – 12:25

Where: Employee Experience Theatre

Liam Quinn is IT Director of Richmond Events, pioneers of the one-to-one, pre-scheduled strategic business forums, aiming to match buyers with sellers.

We took a few minutes with him to talk about the challenges and status of Cloud specifically in the events sector, and the importance of SaaS versus IaaS and PaaS.

The interview…

So just to kick off, what do you feel are the unique challenges you face in the events sector?

Our challenges really are two-fold.  The first one we have is the fact that there’s an explosion of technology at the moment within the industry. The challenge lies in trying to work out what is good, helpful technology that’s going to enhance the experience of our attendees, and filter out the stuff which is really a lot of hype or, good today but maybe not very useful in the future.

In terms of our part in the industry, being a multinational organization, we’re operating events in four different countries to a consistent and very similar model.  So trying to make sure that we have the right technology in place that can support all four different business models is a challenge.
In terms of cloud technology specifically, how do you see the status of it in your sector in 2015? Do you feel it differs from other sectors? 

It’s hard to believe we’re very different to anyone else, but that may be a naïve way of looking at it.  I think the cloud is impacting the sector in two ways.  First of all, there are many software solutions that are being developed at the moment and being pushed within the marketplace, which are very cloud-based. So the economies of scale are there, and the price per event or price per attendee is very low. These systems are utilizing the cloud model in order for these software solutions to be implemented across every event organizer who wishes to use it.

The second place, which is where we come in and a lot of our foreign competitors, is whereby people are trying to consolidate their internal IT systems in order to provide a much more cost effective base for providing IT support to the business itself.
Leading on from that, would you therefore say SaaS is more imperative than IaaS or PaaS specifically for the events sector?

I think from a third-party solution perspective, most of the solutions being used are SaaS.  I don’t think event organizers want large IT teams, or want to be developing their own software.  So there’s a lot of software out there.  What they want is to consume it in any way they desire, in any location and that’s why they’re looking for software solutions available that they can just tap in, log in to, and work for their event.  We differ from that slightly in that all our systems are actually bespoke written for ourselves.

Download the full interview here!

Join Liam at the Cloud World Forum at London’s Olympia on the 24th of June for his session: Cloud as a Utility: Working Seamlessly Across Public & Private Clouds.

Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of all the knowledge and networking opportunities presented by EMEA’s only Cloud & DevOps exhibition.

Register for your FREE exhibition pass here!

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Exclusive Q&A with Fin Goulding, CIO of Paddy Power

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Fin Goulding is Chief Information Officer at Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, and is speaking at Cloud World Forum at London’s Olympia on 24-25 June, about the Cloud and DevOps in his business. We took some time with Fin to talk about the challenges and status of Cloud in his sector, followed by an in-depth discussion on what DevOps means to him personally.

The interview…

We start off by talking about some of the challenges of being a CIO in the (largely online) gaming sector, one of which is that there are major (often sporting) events that happen at certain points in the year, and they have to be ready for those spikes in capacity demand.

Another major challenge in the sector is security, about which Fin asserts “we’re hyper-concerned about security in our world because we’re even more highly regulated than banking”. This is largely due to concerns about data loss, particularly in relation to the Cloud. When talking about this, he makes an excellent analogy: “if I put my bike in your house and it’s stolen, who’s responsible for that loss? It’s usually me”. This is a primary concern, and one about which Fin and his team have to be super diligent.

Sticking with Cloud technology, and the status of it within his sector, Fin feels that they are on a similar journey to many companies and industries, and that journey entails moving from “credit card Cloud” to “back office Cloud”. To elaborate, moving from niche Cloud use cases to IT teams working in a digital world, where they have back office systems (eg. HR, finance, ticketing) that are becoming “cloudified”, freeing the team up to spend more time on frontend work.

“But for us, like a number of companies, the next level will be enterprise level cloud, which is really a hybrid. It’s a capacity-on-demand model – recovery-as-a-service – or as Joe Baguley of VMware would call it, data center N+1, so that you’ve actually got this reliability in your production system.”

Download the full interview here!


Fin will be presenting in the Keynote Theatre
at the Cloud World Forum, at Olympia Grand in London on the 24th – 25th June 2015, on ‘A Transformational Journey: Implementing DevOps & Agile at Scale.

Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of all the knowledge and networking opportunities presented by EMEA’s only content-led Cloud exhibition.

Register for your FREE exhibition pass here!

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Cloud to help Arab Open University provide more support to students and staff, CIO says #cloudmena

Cloud to help Arab Open University provide more support to students and staff, CIO says | Business Cloud News

Written by Business Cloud News

Abid-Butt-jpegArab Open University (AOU), a non-profit, private regional university spanning seven countries is looking to take more of its applications to the cloud in a bid to improve how the organisation supports staff and students in the region, according to the university’s chief information officer Abid Butt.

The AOU, which is affiliated with the Open University in the UK, was set up in 2003 with funding from the Arab Gulf Fund to provide education to working professional in the Gulf region. It’s headquartered in Kuwait with campuses in Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman and Saudi Arabia, but the organisation hopes to eventually cover 22 countries in the region, from Oman to Morocco.

Similarly to the UK Open University, the AOU is not a traditional brick and mortar school and relies heavily on digital platforms to reach a wide audience, which is one of the reasons the AOU is slowly moving its applications and platforms – both student and faculty facing – into the cloud.

“Students should be able to access knowledge and education through any media, anywhere, but when the university started it wasn’t carrying this thinking through to the technology being used,” Butt says. “The eight campuses in the Gulf were doing a lot of redundant work because they weren’t viewing the environment holistically.”

The organisation relies on three core application groups: financial systems (i.e. payroll), human resources systems, and student lifecycle management –including campus management applications and a learning management application, which resembles a Coursera-type model.

But instead of delivering the applications from multiple datacentres in the region, the AOU has for the past year started implementing its roadmap to deliver many of them from the cloud, partly in a bid to cope with spikes in application traffic during certain periods of the academic year, and partly to reduce costs.

The IT department at the AOU is fairly small, with little budget to fund technical support operations for its datacentres.

Click here to view the full interview.

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A moment with Imad Hoballah, Chairman and CEO – Telecommunications Regulatory Authority #CloudMENA

In the run up to the Cloud MENA Forum 2015 we caught up with Imad Hoballah, Chairman and CEO from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

a) Would you tell us a bit more about the TRA and you role?

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is an independent public institution established by Law 431/2002 and legally mandated to liberalize, regulate and develop telecommunications in Lebanon. Our mission is to promote development, progress, digital economy, competition and investments, maintain stability in the market and protect consumers rights.

The TRA basically issues licenses, regulations, and decisions, manages, assigns and monitors spectrum and the numbering plan in the country, monitors the market for any abuse of dominant market position and anti-competitive practices and take remedial actions when necessary.

I am the Chairman and CEO of the TRA and the Chair of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) of the Arab “Internet Governance Forum (IGF)”, and I have been leading the TRA since April 2010. I have also been the head of the Telecommunications Technologies Unit (TTU) at the TRA since its inception in February 2007.

b) How do you see the regulatory landscape of Cloud Computing in the MENA region, how do you think it will evolve and how would you like it to see it evolve?

We are witnessing in the MENA region some efforts to regulate Cloud computing by tackling the regulatory components such as data privacy, confidentiality and security in addition to dispute resolution and Quality of…Click here to read on!

Free Podcast: A moment with Lincoln Lincoln, EMC #cloudasia

Looking forward to the Cloud Asia Forum in three weeks’ time, we spoke to Lincoln Lincoln, Practice Manager, Cloud Service Providers, Emerging Markets APJ at EMC, Headline Sponsor at the event, about “The Transformational Wave of Cloud in APAC“.

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In this podcast we discuss:

  • How this transformational wave is affecting the dynamics of some traditional vendors
  • The opportunity that this brings for service providers in Asia
  • The interesting partnerships he is seeing in the Cloud space
  • Finally, given these dynamic changes, how can consumers best equip themselves to leverage all the benefits of Cloud?

You can listen to the podcast here, and discuss these issues with Lincoln (and all of our expert speakers) in person at the Cloud Asia Forum, where enterprises can claim a complimentary pass.

Deploying IaaS and Cloud in the Asian Financial Sector

August ChanAugust Chan is Head of IT at Delta Asia, and is participating in a cross-industry panel session at Cloud Asia entitled What Challenges Does X Industry Face When Adopting the Cloud, alongside Senior Representatives from Swiss Re and City University of Hong Kong. The session promises to offer a diverse approach to Cloud implementation, adding value for enterprises from all industry verticals.

Looking at August’s specific vertical, the financial sector, we looked at how Delta Asia has implemented Cloud computing so far, what models they have chosen to deploy at this stage, and why. He details that, as Delta Asia’s businesses are highly regulated (including banking, brokerage, insurance), they are vigilant in adopting Cloud, in view of possible (often time-consuming) regulator challenges, questions over compliance, and other non-technical considerations. In terms of rollout, they are ‘cloudifying’ peripheral systems first (that is, non-core systems such as their information portal and marketing-related applications). Cost effectiveness is one of the main objectives of their cloud strategy, with other main reasons being fast provision and easy scalability. August concludes that “all things considered, at this stage, IaaS is what we are working at”.

Looking more closely at those main objectives, we ask what cost and organisational benefits August expects to see from implementation. With IaaS being a relatively simple cloud adoption, he states that they can maintain lot of controls on the platform running on the ‘rented’ infrastructure, while the ‘landlord’ will handle the hardware availability, maintenance, aged equipment replacement. He goes on to say that “other than the cost saving by avoiding up-front capex investment, we are expected to be able to cope with some short-notice changes in business requirements, such as time-to-market and scalability”.

Many enterprises have concerns before adopting Cloud, and it was no different for Delta Asia. The reasons being that, in August’s words, for a highly regulated industry, those current and possible future regulatory requirements, internal due care and compliance considerations drove them to think about the security and control of data, the location and accessibility of it, and exit planning. But they always remind themselves to “get a good control on what you have and on what makes your business run. We are thus still at the IaaS stage”.

To conclude, we consider the enterprise landscape in Asia as a whole; are enterprises in the region taking full advantage and seeing benefits from technologies such as Cloud? August’s response is straightforward: “Obviously not.  I see many companies not utilizing cloud when it may be more cost effective than all in-sourcing”. So what advice would he offer for enterprises looking to develop their IT infrastructure? “I would suggest when you need to procure a new server or commission a new system, try thinking about cloud; don’t necessarily go for cloud, but think if cloud can help or not before spending on your capex”.

You can discuss this with August Chan and all of our industry experts at Cloud Asia, taking place in Hong Kong on 24-26 November. Enterprises can claim a complimentary full conference pass, with exhibition passes complimentary for all company types.

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Cloud and Digital Services: Enabling Trading at the Speed of Light

Ahead of Cloud Asia, we speak to Rocky Scopelliti, Group General Manager, Industry Centre of Excellence, Telstra, Australia in order to determine some of the winning steps companies should be taking when approaching data analytics.

Rocky Scopelliti Head ShotWhen thinking about those companies that are successful in terms of their data analytics, there are inevitably some common characteristics in terms of their approach to them, and the company-wide policy with regard to them. Rocky is in agreement with this, stating that for these companies “their analytics support a strategic, distinctive capability, while the approach to, and management of, analytics is enterprise-wide”. What’s more, “Senior management are committed to the use of analytics; and the company makes a significant strategic bet on analytics-based competition”.

It’s not just the responsibility of the enterprise, however; ICT organisations have a vital role in enabling more competitive and effective data analytics, by creating an environment for them to succeed. Looking at a specific vertical – Financial Services – this is something that Telstra refer to as a Smart Connected Financial Services World. This, according to Rocky “will enable data analytics to benefit financial institutions; it will be used to respond to the changing competitive environment, and how the design of experiences will be valued by consumers, delivering growth. Demand for ‘trading at the speed of light’ and the need for shaving nanoseconds of latency has seen organisations like Telstra make significant investments in cable systems linking global markets and exchanges”. Trading at the speed of light is paramount, where a fraction of a second can cost millions. As global technology infrastructure develops even further, consumers across all verticals will inevitably become more demanding – what will be next, retailing at the speed of light? Data mining at the speed of light?

Looking specifically at what Telstra can offer to enable a Smart Connected Financial Services World, they have a wide range of cloud and leading edge digital services to enable institutions to reduce risk, improve productivity and create growth. When discussing this, Rocky makes the point that “Our research demonstrates that there is very strong customer demand for the personalisation and convenience that relationship managers typically provide. Unfortunately, direct relationship management is relatively expensive and is typically restricted to very high value customers”. However, there are several options: “Contact.Me brings together the best of a virtual IPA and a real, but remote, relationship manager in a single, engaging interface. Also we have Branch.Me, which is all about personalising the customer’s experience while they are visiting the branch – should they opt in for this level of service. In terms of a personalised customer experience, we have Digital.Me, it isn’t just about using analytics to help the customer manage their finances more easily and effectively, it’s also about creating a platform that will allow providers to offer new services that customers will value”.

Finally, talk turns to this November’s Cloud Asia event, where Telstra are the exclusive Enterprise Cloud Partner. Rocky’s reasons for Telstra’s participation at this important industry meeting place are that “Cloud Asia brings together new insights from leaders breaking new ground. I look forward to contributing my thought leadership on how Cloud can create new business models to compete in an increasingly data-fused environment”.

We look forward to it too. You can join Rocky, and all our event participants, by registering today. With a free-to-attend expo, and complimentary conference passes for enterprise, make sure you’re part of the conversation.

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