Posts tagged ‘SaaS’

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt…#CloudWF

Guest Blog with NCC Group

Author: John Parkinson, NCC Group

During the Cloud World Forum event in London on 24 July, we discussed the opportunities for Software as a Service businesses to become more successful. Focussing on the neglected issue of commercial security, we asked how the SaaS market can provide answers to potential supply failure in the market.  By anticipating, understanding and addressing the risks for customers who rely on outsourced application services, we argued that providers can contribute more to enhancing trust and confidence in the Software as a Service market.

How are SaaS businesses reacting to the issue?  In our experience, there are three broadly different attitudes:

  1. It was Mark Twain who perceptively wrote that ‘Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt’. The Risk Deniers perform according to type in asserting that it just won’t happen. ‘I haven’t failed yet and have no plans to do so’. Said with conviction it is likely that they have convinced themselves. As Isaac Asimov once wrote, they cling to the view that the easiest way to solve a problem is to deny it exists
  2. The largest group, the Agnostics, take a more considered view. They concede the possibility and see the wisdom of having a plan, but only if someone raises the question.  Whether hoping against hope, firmly in the wait and see camp or just too busy with other stuff, they generally accord with the opinion elucidated by TS Eliot that humankind cannot bear too much reality.
  3. Last but by no means least are the Innovators. They align instinctively to the perspective of Peter Drucker that innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. Salmon Software is one good example of a business that recognises this. John Byrne, the Salmon MD says ‘we understand the needs of our customers and the potential impacts of them not having access to the application’. Similarly Wazuko MD, Simon Hill asserts that the objective is ‘to show our existing customers and prospects that stepping into the cloud with Wazuko is simple and secure.’ Operating in a highly regulated sector of finance is Banking system provider, Mambu. MD Eugene Danilkis in a blog article commented: ‘Regulators have rightly recognised the critical role that technology providers play to support key business processes.  In turn, technology providers need to ensure consistent and reliable delivery of these services that financial institutions depend on to reinforce trust and extend the potential for future innovation and growth.’

As a SaaS Provider, which category do you fall into – a Denier, an Agnostic or an Innovator And which type of business would you trust when outsourcing your software services?

Original NCC Group blog here

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NCC Group were a Visionary Sponsor at the Cloud World Forum 2015, which took place on the 24th – 25th June.

The Cloud & DevOps World Forum delivers speed and continuous delivery to Europe’s Digital Enterprises, and will take place on the 21st – 22nd June 2016, at Olympia in London.

Register your interest for 2016 here

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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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The real world cloud is hybrid, bimodal, multi-platform and difficult…#CloudWF

Guest Blog with NTT Communications

Which Apps? Which Cloud?
5 Findings About The Real World Cloud

The CIO of today is under more pressure than ever to balance the new with the old. He/she must embrace new digital possibilities for creating business value and simultaneously maintain a complex set of existing applications that are an organisation’s foundation. A critical factor that can help a CIO navigate this bi-modal tightrope is an assessment of the application estate and the impact of digitalisation on it.

To aid with the above and to establish the current benchmark for the application estate,  NTT Com commissioned independent research to understand which infrastructure is best suited to host which kind of applications in the real world. Further, the research aimed to ascertain if there was a correlation between the characteristics of an application (type, maturity, adoption rates) and its suitability for the cloud or the corporate data centre.

which delivery model

The responses showed that there are no definitive answers to these questions, but highlighted some interesting trends. Here are some of the key findings from the survey that can give a layer of clarity when making decisions about cloud.

  1. The reality – many apps many clouds:

    NTT Com’s study found that on average, an organisation runs hundred applications. In some sectors like telecoms and finance this number doubles. Organisations use four different cloud platforms on average and over 80% of respondents expect the number of cloud platforms to increase.

  2. Which Apps go Where – no definitive answers:

    The survey responses showed a lack of consensus on which applications are best suited to which environments. This did not mean a lack of faith in the cloud though. Respondents made it clear that they were comfortable deploying core business applications in the cloud.

  3. Cloud platforms – the winners and losers:
    While there is no clear choice on which platform is the most adopted, nearly 48% voted for IaaS in some form (Private and Public) making it the most favoured among the respondents. On the other hand, there weren’t many takers for PaaS, showing that PaaS providers still need to build confidence for this platform in enterprises.

    4. Top cloud benefits – scalability and cost:
    With 50% of respondents citing it, scalability emerged, unsurprisingly as the top cloud benefit, followed by cost (Capex and Opex) savings at 47%. These point out that despite the confusion around cloud platforms, organisations are clear about the benefits of cloud.

  4. Have Cloud, will move:
    Nearly 90% of respondents cited that they will migrate their most important application from the corporate datacentre to the cloud at some point. 60% believe this will happen within 2 years. What does this mean? The question is not “To cloud or not to cloud”, but when, how and how much.

In summary,  NTT Com’s findings show that the cloud ecosystem is complex and is affected by numerous factors such as the company type, industry, scale, size, and location. The real world cloud is hybrid, bimodal, multi-platform and difficult. There are no broad answers that can apply to all.

The CIO of today, when formulating strategies, must take into account all of these factors and aim for a realistic balance between achieving the benefits of cloud and managing its complexities. In doing so, he/she can create a winning strategy unique to the needs of his/her organisation.

To read the full report go here.  An infographic highlighting the key facts and figures of the report is available here.  Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #realworldcloud.

NTT Communications

NTT Communications is our Headline Sponsor at Cloud World Forum, taking place on the 24th – 25th June 2015 at Olympia Grand in London.

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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80% of banks to replace core systems “within five years” #CloudWF

Four out of five banks believe they will have to replace their core banking system in the next three to five years, with nearly 90% in favour of including SaaS or cloud based services as part of the infrastructure, according to a new survey of senior bank executives.

In the report, Invigorating Banking, sponsored by fintech firm Five Degrees and carried out by Finextra Research, the results revealed strong support for core system replacement and renovation. Some 83% of respondents believe their bank’s existing core technology can no longer support its needs. A further 89% believe that it is inevitable that banks rapidly modernise processes and IT to avoid losing market share.

“You cannot become a digital bank without core systems renewal; you cannot renew core systems without using cloud for data management; you need to consolidate data in the cloud to be able to perform effective data analytics; and when you’ve renewed core systems through the cloud to perform data analytics, then you can innovate,” said Chris Skinner, report contributor and independent financial consultant.

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Many banks planned to respond by working with new technology providers, even where these have fewer customer references, so that the bank can ensure that it implements standard service oriented architecture (66%). A slim majority of banks still believe that IT is a unique selling point and will continue to rely on their own in-house development teams for niche technology that fits the bank’s strategy (61%). However, banks were split down the middle on whether to stick with their current technology provider, following its migration and upgrade process even if it would not provide the benefits of newer SOA technology (50% versus 50%).

There were also geographical differences in how the banks planned to respond to these challenges. While support for new cloud based platforms was strong overall, it was lowest in western Europe, where only 51% were strongly in favour, versus Asia Pacific, where the equivalent figure was 76%. Yet , across all banks, 97% believe that the bank needs to be able to offer new financial products and services faster.

On others areas there was virtually unanimous agreement. Some 97% of respondents agreed that security must be improved for customers due to the increasing risks associated with multi-channel technology. Likewise, overwhelming majorities supported the need to equip bank staff and customers to a higher level of self-service (97%). Unsurprisingly, 82% agreed with the statement that customers prefer an excellent mobile channel over a branch nearby.

However, there is still a place for face to face dialogue. Responses were strongly divided over whether customers prefer an efficient virtual dialogue over a personal one to solve financial matters (52% in favour, 48% against) – suggesting that banks are far from confident that the branch can be done away with entirely.

A number of obstacles to modernisation were identified in the report. One of the biggest was the difficulty of getting a sponsor at boardroom level (71%). Another was regulation: 67% believe their bank is too busy with regulation and compliance to think about innovation and modernisation. Yet at the same time, regulation also appears to be prompting change, since 92% of respondents believe that modernising their systems and processes is necessary to comply with constant regulatory change.

The threat of new entrants and disruptive competitors rate highly in the responses. Some 77% of respondents recognise new market entrants such as Google and Apple as a real threat that could steal their customers. Most respondents (56%) also felt that the digital only banks like Moven, Simple and Frank are a serious threat. However, the presence of new challenges is not necessarily seen as entirely negative – fully 88% of banks believe that new market entrants have a positive effect on the traditional banking scene by keeping banks focused.

Source: Banking Tech

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The Cloud World Forum will take place at Olympia Grand in London on the 24th – 25th June 2015.

It will feature 300+ speakers, many of whom represent the financial sector, including Thomas Naylor, CIO, Salamanca Group; Oliver Bussman, Group CIO, UBSJohn Finch, CIO, Bank of England and many more.

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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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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MEA ICT spending to hit USD 270 billion in 2015 #cloudmena

TP logo NRE

Spending on ICT products and services in the Middle East and Africa will surpass USD 270 billion in 2015, as the IT market grows 9 percent year on year, according to International Data Corporation. This makes MEA the second-fastest growing market worldwide, with the SaaS segment set to perform particularly strongly, expanding 29 percent year on year. Converged systems will be another key area of growth as more…

Click here to read more!

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Telco Cloud 2015 Survey Results #Telcocloud

Hello Telco Cloud community,

Exciting news – we are now finalising the agenda for the 2015 Telco Cloud Forum. For the past month I have been researching with the industry to identify challenges and trends that the Telco Cloud community is facing currently when launching cloud services. After speaking to over 50 top industry experts it has become clear that there are definitely key common trends amongst telcos, that we’ll be covering in the 2015 agenda. Let me tell you a bit more about them….

Virtualisation is the big topic that everybody is talking about!  As you might remember, last year we had a stream devoted to technical innovations, including virtualisation. It went so well that you’ve asked us to expand it in 2015. So watch out for a whole stream on new trends, interesting case studies and exciting tools on NFV, SDN and network virtualisation. We will bring all the relevant solutions and Telco cloud virtualisation practical case studies. You will walk away knowing how virtualisation is changing the game for Telcos’ cloud business?

Not surprisingly, cloud security appeared to be another major topic. Over 70% of my calls mentioned that security is becoming progressively more important to Telcos looking to win in the cloud space.  Building a strong holistic approach towards a wide range of security problems is ‘a must’ for Telcos. It’s not an IT service anymore, it’s Telcos’ USP.

Since we launched the Forum over 5 years ago we’ve been covering Go-to-Market strategies or in other words ‘How to Sell’ and ‘What to Sell’.  The 2015 Telco Cloud Forum will be covering this crucial and essential topic from all the possible angles. We will delve into the deepest details of Business Models and Go-to-Market strategies. Have a look yourself at some of the sessions we have lined up:

  • Oxford Style Debates: What do Telcos Sell Best?
  • SaaS and other XaaS: Challenges to Overcome and the Right Decisions to Make
  • Hybrid Models – Delivering Best-in-class High-performance and High-Availability
  • M2M Opportunities for Telco Cloud
  • Workshop: Advancing SaaS Business Models: Enhancing Product Portfolio
  • Unified Communication as an Essential Business Reality
  • 360 Degree Panel on How to Sell the Cloud? Hear from all parties involved in selling the Cloud: each panellist will be a representative from each market player: Telco, System Integrator, Cloud experts and Cloud Service Providers
  • The SME as the Number 1 Customer Group that Telcos can Grow their Revenue From
  • How ODEON & UCI Cinemas Group Are Developing their ICT Strategy Implementing Cloud Based Services
  • Utilizing New Channels to Attract Existing or Adjacent Customer Segments
  • New and Enhanced Revenue Streams from Enterprise Mobility
  • Panel: What are the Skillsets Required to Successfully Sell Cloud – Learning A, B, C Once Again

Finally, there is no way we can avoid the hot topic of the moment, Big Data and Analytics. Over the past few years Big Data has evolved from being a buzz word to something Telcos are increasingly implementing and using when improving customer experience and operational efficiency. The main challenges that operators told me they are facing are all about maximizing existing Data in the Cloud.  Knowing which privileges Telcos have and learning about practical lessons and pain points of Big Data implementation are the top priorities for Telcos now.

(more…)

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