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Tackling the resource gap in the transition to hybrid IT

Is hybrid IT inevitable? That’s a question we ask customers a lot. From our discussions with CIOs and CEOs there is one overriding response and that is the need for changimagese. It is very clear that across all sectors, CEOs are challenging their IT departments to innovate – to come up with something different.

Established companies are seeing new threats coming into the market. These new players are lean, hungry and driving innovation through their use of IT solutions. Our view is that more than 70 percent of all CEOs are putting a much bigger ask on their IT departments than they did a few years ago.

There has never been so much focus on the CIO or IT departmental manager from a strategic standpoint. IT directors need to demonstrate how they can drive more uptime, improve the customer experience, or enhance the e-commerce proposition for instance, in a bid to win new business. For them, it is time to step up to the plate. But in reality there’s little or no increase in budget to accommodate these new demands.

We call the difference between what the IT department is being asked to do, and what it is able to do, the resources gap. Seemingly, with the rate of change in the IT landscape increasing, the demands on CIO’s by the business increasing and with little or no increase in IT budgets from one year to the next, that gap is only going to get wider.

But by changing their way of working, companies can free up additional resources to go and find their innovative zeal and get closer to meeting their business’ demands. Embracing Hybrid IT as their infrastructure strategy can extend the range of resources available to companies and their ability to meet business demands almost overnight.

Innovate your way to growth

A Hybrid IT environment provides a combination of its existing on-premise resources with public and private cloud offerings from a third party hosting company. Hybrid IT has the ability to provide the best of both worlds – sensitive data can still be retained in-house by the user company, whilst the cloud, either private or public, provides the resources and computing power that is needed to scale up (or down) when necessary.

Traditionally, 80 percent of an IT department’s budget is spent just ‘keeping the lights on’. That means using IT to keep servers working, powering desktop PCs, backing up work and general maintenance etc.

But with the CEO now raising the bar, more innovation in the cloud is required. Companies need to keep their operation running but reapportion the budget so they can become more agile, adaptable and versatile to keep up with today’s modern business needs.

This is where Hybrid IT comes in. Companies can mix and match their needs to any type of solution. That can be their existing in-house capability, or they can share the resources and expertise of a managed services provider. The cloud can be private – servers that are the exclusive preserve of one company – or public, sharing utilities with a number of other companies.

Costs are kept to a minimum because the company only pays for what they use. They can own the computing power, but not the hardware. Crucially, it can be switched on or off according to needs. So, if there is a peak in demand, a busy time of year, a last minute rush, they can turn on this resource to match the demand. And off again.

This is the journey to the Hybrid cloud and the birth of the agile, innovative market-focused company.

Meeting the market needs

Moving to hybrid IT is a journey.  Choosing the right partner to make that journey with is crucial to the success of the business. In the past, businesses could get away with a rigid customer / supplier relationship with their service provider. Now, there needs to be a much greater emphasis on creating a partnership so that the managed services provider can really get to understand the business. Only by truly getting under the skin of a business can the layers be peeled back to reveal a solution to the underlying problem.

The relationship between customer and managed service provider is now also much more strategic and contextual. The end users are looking for outcomes, not just equipment to plug a gap.

As an example, take an airline company operating in a highly competitive environment. They view themselves as being not in the people transportation sector, but as a retailer providing a full shopping service (with a trip across the Atlantic thrown in). They want to use cloud services to take their customer on a digital experience, so the minute a customer buys a ticket is when the journey starts.

When the passenger arrives at the airport, they need to check in, choose the seats they want, do the bag drop and clear security all using on-line booking systems. Once in the lounge, they’ll access the Wi-Fi system, check their Hotmail, browse Facebook, start sharing pictures etc. They may also choose last minute adjustments to their journey like changing their booking or choosing to sit in a different part of the aircraft.

Merely saying “we’re going to do this using the cloud” is likely to lead to the project misfiring. As a good partner the service provider should have the experience of building and running traditional infrastructure environments and new based on innovative cloud solutions so that they can bring ‘real world’ transformation experience to the partnership. Importantly they must also have the confidence to demonstrate digital leadership and understand of the business and its strategy to add real value to that customer as it undertakes the journey of digital transformation.

Costs can certainly be rationalised along the way. Ultimately with a hybrid system you only pay for what you use. At the end of the day, the peak periods will cost the same, or less, than the off-peak operating expenses. So, with added security, compute power, speed, cost efficiencies and ‘value-added’ services, hybrid IT can provide the agility businesses need.

With these solutions, companies have no need to ‘mind the gap’ between the resources they need and the budget they have. Hybrid IT has the ability to bridge that gap and ensure businesses operate with the agility and speed they need to meet the needs of the competitive modern world.

Written by Jonathan Barrett, Vice President of Sales, CenturyLink, EMEA

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Risks of SaaS supplier failure & how to effectively mitigate them #CloudWF

Guest Blog with Kemp Little Consulting & NCC Group

The cloud is here to stay and according to a recent survey, organisations are going to be investing more in cloud services to support their core business operations.

But have companies properly considered the risks of SaaS supplier failure if the software is supporting their core processes?

The Kemp Little Consulting (KLC) team has been working with NCC Group to identify some of the risks of SaaS supplier failure and to identify the main problems that end user organisations would need to solve to effectively mitigate these risks.

In the on-premise world, the main way of mitigating against software supplier failure is Software Escrow. This was designed as a means of gaining access to source code for an application in the event of supplier failure.

If a supplier goes bust, there is no short term problem as the application and the business processes supported by the application continue to work and the corporate data remains within the control of the end user.

However, the end user company has a  problem as they will not be able to maintain the application long term and this issue is effectively solved by Software Escrow and related services such as verification.

In the cloud arena, however, the situation is different. If the supplier fails there is potentially an immediate problem of the SaaS service being switched off almost straightaway because the software supplier no longer has the cash to continue to pay for its hosting service or to pay its key staff.

For the end user, this means that they no longer have access to the application; the business process supported by the application can no longer operate and the end user organisation loses access to their data.

The business impact of this loss will vary depending upon the type of application affected:

  • Business Process Critical (e.g. finance, HR, sales and supply chain)
  • Data Critical (e.g. analytics or document collaboration)
  • Utility (e.g. web filtering, MDM, presentational or derived data)

In our research, we found that both suppliers of cloud solutions and end user organisations had not properly thought through the implications of these new risks, nor the services they would require to mitigate against the risk of supplier failure.

The primary concerns that end user customers had were around their business critical data. They were concerned by lack of access to data; loss of data; the risk of compliance breach by losing control of their data and how they might re-build their data into usable form if they could get it back. There was also concern about access to funding to keep the infrastructure running in the SaaS vendor in order to buy time to make alternative arrangements.

They were much less concerned about access to the application or getting access to the source code.

This is understandable as their primary concern would be getting their data back and porting it to another solution to get the business back up and running.

In a separate part of our study, the Kemp Little commercial team looked at the state of the market of the provisions generally found in SaaS contracts to deal with the event of supplier failure.  The team found that even if appropriate clauses were negotiated into the contract at the outset, there may be real difficulties in practically enforcing those terms in an insolvency situation.

End user organisations were more concerned than SaaS suppliers about their capability to deal with all of these problems and were amenable to procuring services from third parties to help them mitigate the risks and solve the problems they could not solve purely by contractual means.

End users were also concerned that many SaaS solutions are initially procured by “Shadow-IT” departments as part of rapid business improvement projects and deployed as pilots where the business risks of failure are low.

However, these solutions can often end up being rolled out globally quite quickly and key parts of the business become dependent upon them by stealth.

It is therefore considered important for companies to develop a deep understanding of their SaaS estate and regularly review the risks of supplier failure and put in place appropriate risk mitigation measures.

KLC recently worked with global information assurance specialist NCC Group to help it enhance the service model for its SaaS Assured service.

This article was originally posted on the Kemp Little Blog and can be found here.

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John Parkinson, Global SaaS Business Leader at NCC Group will be speaking at the Cloud World Forum on 24th June 2015 at 12.45pm.

His talk will take place in Theatre D: Cloud, Data Governance & Cyber Security on ‘Outsourcing to Software as a Service? Don’t Overlook the Critical Commercial Security Risks.’

REGISTER YOUR FREE EXHIBITION PASS HERE.

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Case study of Kent County Council #CloudWF

Kent County Council Cuts Time for New Job Postings by 75% and Eases Recruitment for 1,500 Hiring ManagersCapturel

Kent County Council provides a broad range of services to 1.4 million people living in Kent, England. The organization provides services, including social care and health, local transportation and infrastructure, schools and adult education, leisure services, and libraries.

Challenges

  • CapturelpStreamline recruitment processes throughout the council to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and provide better service to hiring managers and candidates
  • Empower managers to take control of recruitment with a user-friendly system that provides more visibility and control over the recruitment process
  • Improve the candidate experience and speed up onboarding new employees across all council services, from social care workers, though to park rangers, librarians, and civil engineers
  • Implement a flexible system that will enable continuous improvement and offer further development opportunities in line with evolving business requirements

Solutions

  • Replaced the existing applicant-tracking system with Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud to drive more efficiency and flexibility through the council’s recruitment process for health and social care, education, leisure services, and local infrastructure employees
  • Cut average time required to create a new job posting by 75%, from four days to just one day
  • Provided flexibility to meet Kent County Council’s diverse range of resourcing activities, from high volume recruitment to specialized campaigns across a vast range of occupations, from social workers through to country park wardens
  • Enabled candidates to track applications on the portal, eliminating the need to use telephone or e-mail communications to check progress, improving the candidate experience, and freeing up council recruitment resources
  • Improved data quality with built-in data validation and check points, saving considerable time and improving accuracy
  • Reduced the number of data fields by one-third and captured information once via online forms, improving data security and reducing manual work-loads and associated costs
  • Enabled manager self-service, speeding the overall recruitment process by enabling more than 1,500 hiring managers to move candidates through stages of recruitment, removing any potential bottlenecks, such as requiring 10 days to arrange an interview
  • Speeded responses to candidates, either by sending out job offers to successful candidates within 24 hours or generating regret letters to unsuccessful candidates immediately, removing previous delays and bottlenecks
  • Speeded onboarding process with automatic requests for an IT account, and by automatically sending an eligibility to work checklist to managers or candidates where applicable, to ensure the organization completes all tasks before the new council employee’s start-date
  • Achieved a streamlined process for onboarding employees, with further efficiencies expected in the future with automatic transfer of employee details from Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud directly into human resources and payroll systems within Oracle E-Business Suite, eliminating manual processes, speeding time to transfer data, and improving data accuracy
  • Worked with Oracle Platinum Partner Evosys to deliver a smooth implementation and knowledge transfer to enable the council to configure the system in-house as business requirements evolve

Why Oracle

Kent County Council undertook a thorough competitive tender, as required by European law. The council weighed each option according to cost and functionality and narrowed its choices down to three. A point crucial to the selection was that Kent County Council wanted to be able to make changes to the system without bringing in external consultants. Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud offered this flexibility.

“Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud outshone all the others in terms of functionality and potential for development,” said Susan Goymer, recruitment manager, Kent County Council.

“Oracle offers incredible support through its product interest groups and the Oracle Knowledge Exchange, which enables us to share experience with other Oracle customers. We also have fantastic support from the Oracle team, which took the time to understand our diverse recruitment requirements,” Susan Goymer said.

Partner

CapturelllA dedicated project team from Kent County Council worked with Oracle and Oracle Platinum Partner Evosys to implement Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud. Evosys provided onsite consultancy together with offshore support resulting in almost 24 hour coverage.

The team pushed Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud live very smoothly and achieved a clear cut-off date to migrate from the old system onto Oracle.

Evosys worked closely with Kent County Council throughout the project, sharing extensive knowledge with the team, providing training, and equipping the council with the resources and expertise to configure the system itself after implementation.

“Evosys spent considerable time with our recruitment team, teaching them how to make changes to Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud as required. As a result, we now have the expertise and knowledge in-house to configure the system in line with changing business requirements,” Susan Goymer said.

REGISTER YOUR FREE EXHIBITION PASS HERE.

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UK MoD launches dedicated private cloud for internal apps #CloudWF

The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) Information Systems and Services (ISS) has deployed a private cloud based in CGI’s South  Wales datacentre which is being used to host internal applications for the public sector authority.

The ISS said it received Approval to Operate for the new Foundation Application Hosting Environment (FAHE), which is hosted as a private cloud instance in CGI’s facilities, and that the first applications have successfully transitioned onto the new platform.

The hosting environment was procured through the G-Cloud framework, the UK government’s cloud-centric procurement framework, and the contract will run for at least two years.

“FAHE provides the foundation of our Applications Services approach and a future-proofed platform for secure application hosting. Our vision is that ISS will be the Defence provider of choice for applications development, hosting, and management,” said Keith Jefferies, ISS Programmes, EMPORIUM deputy head, UK Ministry of Defence.

“FAHE is the first delivery contract under the broader banner of the Applications Programme and we have selected CGI on their ability to deliver a secure environment coupled with a flexible commercial model that allows us to rapidly up and down-scale in line with future demand,” Jefferies said.

Steve Smart, UK vice president of space, defence, national and cyber security at CGI said:

“MOD ISS is taking an important step towards delivering the Government’s vision of using  flexible cloud services. The CGI platform is compliant to Defence and pan-Government ICT strategies and architectures. It will provide multi-discipline services from the most appropriate source with the agility and cost of industry best practice.”

The move comes just a few months after the MoD contracted with Ark to design a new state-of-the art datacentre in Corsham, Wiltshire, a move that will allow the department to decommission its Bath facility and save on energy and operations costs.

Source: Business Cloud News

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The Cloud World Forum, will be taking place on 24th – 25th June at Olympia Grand in London.

Register for your FREE exhibition pass here!

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TeliaSonera CCO says operators have two choices: dumb pipe or ‘next gen telco’ #telcocloud

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TeliaSonera’s chief commercial officer Hélène Barnekow told BCN sister publication Telecoms.com that operators can either remain the provider of dumb pipes or become a ‘next gen telco’ as the industry continues to change to a more software and services driven, converged market.    

Barnekow: Operators need to embrace a more
software-defined, cloud-centric world

While technology innovation is playing its role in the changing face of the industry, Barnekow says the real driver of the transformation is the customer. “The [industry] landscape is changing very quickly, and I actually try to frame that change from two angels,” she says. “One is from the customers’ point of view because it’s not that technology is driving customers, customers are driving us.”

“Their expectations are increasing so quickly that it’s actually mind-boggling, and of course this is because technology has enabled them to do things they couldn’t do before so they can put higher demands on us. But their expectations on us [operators] keeping them connected all the time, seamlessly, always-on, making it easier and easier to stream, to download things are constantly increasing.”

According to Barnekow, increasing demands for data and the industry becoming more saturated with IT, as well as the emergence of IoT and M2M are blurring the lines between sectors and changing the traditional telco. She says this leaves operators with one of two choices. “I think you almost have two choices as an operator: either you say that you can be very, very efficient with pipes and that somebody else can deal with all of that and you’re going to have the lowest cost and the best quality on my pipe, transmit as much data as possible.”

“Or you say you want to be a value-added provider to your customers and then you want to be very customer-focused and provide the customer with what they want. We’ve decided to be the second, and we call that the next-generation telco.”

With this in mind, TeliaSonera has put in place a two-tiered strategy, first announced at the operator’s Capital Markets Day in September. Under this strategy the telco says it focuses on enhancing the core business on one hand and on the other exploring opportunities close to the core, including IoT/M2M, music, mobile financial services, TV and security.

While OTT partnerships play an important role for TeliaSonera, with Barnekow especially emphasising its collaboration with Spotify, the operator has also launched an OTT TV service of its own in Finland and Denmark in December, with other markets set to follow.

“We’ve had a pay-TV offer in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia and Lithuania for quite some time. Originally it has of course been very much linked to our fibre business, and of course it’s an attractive offer with 1.5 million subscribers. This is a healthy business for us and an important one, but the way in which consumers consume TV services is changing and OTT TV is definitely accelerating.”

Barnekow says she’s confident in TeliaSonera’s ability to compete against such service providers as Netflix, claiming being able to deliver local-language content is one important factor, along with subscribers being able to have the service under the same account as mobile subscription. “We have noticed that local language content for kids is especially attractive to customers,” she says.

TeliaSonera operates in the Nordics and Baltics, as well as in the emerging Eurasian region (Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Nepal), and although none of these markets have yet fully embraced convergent offerings, Barnekow says this is very close to happening in the mature markets in Europe.

“These [Spotify and the OTT TV offer] are the first steps we’ve taken [towards convergence] and we will build on that. What we do believe is that convergence becomes very, very important part of our strategy of our core offering. Especially for the more mature markets like Sweden and Finland, but also Estonia which is very much at the fore-front. We are working on it [convergent offering] as we speak, we haven’t launched it yet but we’re very close to.”

Source: Business Cloud News

_______________________________________________________________________________________imageedit_14_3273410547Join Speaker David Andreasson, Head of Product and Technology from TeliaSonera at the Telco Cloud Forum taking place in London on 27-29 April 2015.

Registration is free of charge for telecom operators and enterprises.

Free exhibition open to all!

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Telco Cloud: IT News, Trends and Predictions for 2015 #telcocloud

Telco Cloud. 
28-29 April 2015
Radisson Blu Portman Hotel, London

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Ovum reveals telcos must invest in the flexibility and agility of their IT estates in 2015

The telecoms industry is showing signs of recovery due to the positive economic scenario, and telecoms will be one of the top industries for IT spending in the next 12–18 months, according to global analyst firm Ovum.

Based on Ovum’s latest Telco IT Trends to Watch report*, telco IT budgets are on the rise, with a lot of investment directed at either optimizing network assets and infrastructure or improving service quality and the customer experience.

Trends to watch for telco IT in 2015:

A brighter economic outlook and voracious demand for high-quality content and services on smart devices has renewed telco interest in the value they provide from a customer perspective and the quality of the customer experience.
Omni-channel engagements will inform investment in CRM strategies for sales, marketing, and operations. Relevance and content of services, packages, and customer care will be a differentiator.
Outsourcing engagements between telcos and IT service providers will intensify.

Read more

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Telco Cloud 2015 Outlook

Analyst Opinion By DIMITRIS MAVRAKIS

WHAT ARE THE KEY DRIVERS/OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE PROVIDERS THAT ARE CONSIDERING NFV? CONVERSELY, WHAT ARE THE KEY CHALLENGES?

The biggest opportunity driving CSPs to adopt NFV or SDN is the ability to operate a more efficient and cost-effective network. Also, NFV and SDN make it much easier and faster to create and deliver services. The biggest argument for NFV is that it enables network components to make the transition from hardware to software. In other words, components now run on commoditized hardware platforms that might even be in the data center (standard computing platforms or COTS equipment).

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL Q+A

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CompTIAs 5th Annual Trends in Cloud Computing

In the five years that CompTIA has been studying cloud computing, the topic has shifted from a potential game-changer to an essential ingredient of modern IT. IDC estimates the public cloud market to have reached $45.7 billion in 2013, and they expect it to grow at 23% CAGR through 2018. On the private cloud side, IDC estimates that worldwide spending on hosted private cloud services will surpass $24 billion by 2016…

READ MORE .
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Cisco throws its hat back into the enterprise collaboration ring

CISCO, Telco Cloud Forum’s Principal Sponsor is working on a new offering for the enterprise collaboration market: Project Squared – a mobile-first, virtual meeting room for teams. Project Squared is still an early work in progress, but the vendor is hoping that customers will like what they see and not defect to the likes of Microsoft, Google, or Citrix, all of whom have competing offerings in the realtime communication and collaboration market. The offering is delivered by the Cisco Collaboration Cloud.

READ MORE.

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Industry News

Verizon has promised rolling upgrades to its cloud platform that don’t impose downtime or require customer intervention following the latest update period, which lasted nearly two days.

(more…)

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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