Posts tagged ‘Uber’

The state of cloud computing in Europe #CloudWF

Guest Blog with IBM

Author: Simon Porter

Cloud computing is the most touted technology in the global business landscape today. Europe is no exception.

There are two main ways we’re seeing businesses take advantage of the cloud in Europe. First, there are the smaller, innovative, and born-on-the-cloud startup companies that use it to help them disrupt existing industries by getting to market faster and with less upfront capital investment.

The second area where we’re seeing European companies take advantage of cloud is at more established enterprises looking to enter new, international markets. As companies here seek to become more global, they’re looking toward non-European markets—whether by selling into those markets or tapping into suppliers. In these cases, cloud empowers them to enter these new markets by providing the flexibility, speed and scalability needed to be a global player.

Cloud also enables businesses to market and sell to customers in new and more efficient ways. With the proliferation of smartphones and social media, business success relies on turning this technology into new sales channels. This is often referred to as systems of engagement, and with unpredictable volumes, it’s ideally suited to cloud.

The economic climate in Europe is improving, but it remains very competitive. It is critical for businesses to optimize their supply chains and lower their sales and support costs. Applying sophisticated analytics is one effective way of doing this. In the past, this was prohibitively expensive. But cloud enables analytics-as-a-service, removing the need and cost for a large up-front investment in an IT system that may be used only a few hours per month.

Challenges in cloud adoption persist

According to a Eurostat study released this past year, only 19 percent of European businesses used cloud computing services in 2014. Compare that to a recent RightScale study that reports 82 percent of U.S. enterprises as having a hybrid cloud strategy (up from 74 percent in 2014), and it would appear that Europe is lagging. However, that’s only part of the story.

You can expect the European cloud adoption numbers to rise sharply this year and even more in years to come. But as with any emerging technology, there remains barriers to adoption.

Chief among those barriers is security.

According to a recent Cloud Industry Forum poll, 70 percent of U.K. executives cited data security among their biggest concerns in moving to cloud. That marks an 11 percent year-over-year increase.

What IT departments in Europe are seeing is something quite different than what the rest of the world is experiencing, and that stems from data location and security. A lot of the questions around security and data location are driven by perceptions in the market that aren’t always true. Security in a cloud-based solution will often be much stronger than that of an on-premises, in-house IT solution.

To remain competitive, European businesses must work through security challenges—and I fully believe that they will. It’s ultimately not a matter of technical or legal challenges preventing cloud adoption in Europe—it’s about business leaders understanding the transformational benefits cloud can bring to their business, and then typically for midsize businesses taking advantage of this by using a local trusted Cloud Service Provider.

The good news  is that IBM is continuing to open data centers in Europe. We now have centers in the U.K., Netherlands, Germany, France, and most recently announced, Italy. But even with this span of locations, customers want to keep their data in country.

European SMBs typically lack resources and the IT skills to take advantage of this new kind of capability. They need to turn to a local service provider that can essentially be their IT department. At IBM, we’re continuing to expand our partnerships with local cloud service providers as a means of enabling local data and secure environments with IBM’s Managed Service Providers.

A move to hybrid 

In the business world, we recognize clients have already made investments in core IT systems. We find that European customers want to protect and enhance them with new, innovative capabilities that enable them to make better business decisions faster with advanced analytics. Companies are also able to reach new customers and markets with multi-channel marketing and sales capabilities, both largely based on cloud-enabled digital and social technologies.

For example, a client may have an existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that they have invested a lot of time and money in over the years. They still need to see a return on that investment. It is impractical to completely replace it with a new solution, but perhaps enhancing it with social analytics or social engagement could help them in their customer service and marketing.

Combining mission-critical, on-premises systems with new cloud-based systems of engagement is an example of a common hybrid cloud solution. This is how many businesses in Europe protect their existing investments in IT while taking advantage of new delivery models.

An eye toward the future 

The world is only getting flatter. There are multiple new entrants in many industries, and existing businesses will have to differentiate their own offerings to remain competitive. Who would have thought the taxi industry could be disrupted in the way that Uber has done? Cloud can be the key enabler for businesses to innovate around new products and channels faster and in a lower risk manner.

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IBM will be at the Cloud World Forum on Stand D150, taking place on the 24th – 25th June 2015.

Tony Morgan, Client Chief Innovation Officer GTS Europe at IBM will be speaking on Day 1 at 11:05am in Theatre C: DevOps & Containerisation on ‘Speaker out of the Shadows: Managing Innovation with Cloud.’ 

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Winning with the Internet of Things

Guest Blog with Fujitsu RunMyProcess

Winning with the Internet of Things

shutterstock_265601099Over the last 20 years we have seen successive innovations drive the influence of the Internet into new areas, connecting new kinds of resources, digitizing new interactions and opening up opportunities to challenge the underlying beliefs on which a range of industrial and social activities were based.

Every additional expansion has brought the emergence of new industry leaders – e.g. Amazon, Google, Facebook or Uber – who have used the expansion in connectivity to look at the world with fresh eyes.

Today, the Internet of Things (IoT) promises to drive the boundaries of the Internet further out than ever before, providing connectivity to potentially billions of everyday objects.  The sensors and actuators these objects embed will transform our understanding of real world events and enable us to simultaneously manipulate digital and physical environments in real time.  As connectivity penetrates the real world and transforms the potential of even the smallest and most mundane of everyday objects, huge new opportunities to transform customer experiences across a combination of digital and physical spaces will emerge.

But how do you become a winner in this new environment?  How do you maximize the benefits of these new information sources?  How do you leverage the newly connected things in combination with all of the other digital and human resources that already exist?  How do you go fast enough to stay ahead of the competition?  We believe that there are three principles that can help you drive a successful IoT strategy.

The Internet is the platform

Our first principle states that you can only achieve the full potential of the IoT by stressing the “Internet” over the “Things”.  Despite many waves of technology hype over the years, straightforward connectivity has been the most fundamental driver of transformational change.  It is therefore critical to base your IoT initiatives on existing Internet and Web standards at different layers, leveraging the ubiquitous protocols and patterns of the Internet to maximize connectivity potential and support open innovation.  Protocols such as Bluetooth smart, low power IPv6 and the constrained application protocol (CoAP) are bringing open, web-like access to smart objects while maximising their lifetime through sensible optimisations.

Think small to go large

Our second principle states that meaningful and disruptive innovation on the Internet has rarely been achieved in a top down, centrally planned fashion.  It is the open, chaotic and Darwinian nature of the Internet that has enabled such a high tempo of innovation.  Many discussions of the IoT, however, start with huge, complex and monolithic predictions of smart energy, smart agriculture, smart manufacturing, etc., which are on a scale that has little relevance to your business and which therefore cannot be grasped in terms of the small, actionable steps that you can take to start delivering value today.

To become a winner with the IoT you should ignore large, top down discussions and instead focus on rapidly delivering small, measurable improvements in individual activities and processes relevant to your business and its customers.  The technologies and platforms of the IoT are so low cost and easy to engage with that starting many small experiments is the best way to discover the potential value for your specific business.  In this sense successful approaches to IoT will need to leverage simple technologies and approaches that lower the barrier to entry for each individual case and which do not require the aggregation of many dubious business cases to provide a justification for large scale capital investment.

Connect value in the cloud

Our third principle states that the value of the IoT is meaningless unless you can seamlessly integrate and leverage the data it produces in a way which creates value at scale – for your customers, for your business or for society as a whole.  It’s not about individual sensors or smart devices; it’s about the way in which you combine them with other systems and people to rapidly deliver and evolve compelling, digitally transformed processes and activities.  The IoT should not be seen as a separate technology category – and yet another silo – but simply as an extension of the resources available to you in innovating and optimising your wider digital business processes.

For these reasons a high productivity platform as a service focused on rapid process transformation and integration is an ideal place to unlock the value of the IoT in combination with the wider digital environment.  By abstracting away low level technology, such platforms leave you free to focus on the rapid creation of valuable new digital flows which easily connect the people, systems and sensors necessary to deliver, test and scale systems which transform value for your customers and colleagues.  Most importantly using a high level platform as a service will enable you to deliver, test and scale your new processes faster than competitors who get bogged down in low level technology management of infrastructure and middleware.

And the winner is…

The IoT is bringing huge new opportunities to integrate information spanning the physical and digital worlds, opening up a whole new set of activities for digital disruption.  While grandiose concepts and technical language can make the subject seem overwhelming, use of these three principles can put you in a position to experiment and deliver at extremely low cost.

To prove the point we recently used our own principles to experiment with ways of improving the response to cycling accidents, connecting wearables, sensors, cloud services and mobile devices within a new digital flow.  By using CoAP, focusing on the improvement of a specific outcome and using our PaaS to connect across the whole environment we were able to help a small partner create significant value in just a few days.

The first key step to winning with the IoT is therefore to actually move; the low cost of experimentation and importance of gaining insight into this disruptive new area all make it critical to start shaping your future now – otherwise someone, somewhere will shape it for you.

Ian Thomas

ian thomasIan Thomas is a Fujitsu strategist and thought leader currently serving as Chief Marketing Officer of Fujitsu RunMyProcess.

Ian is an active writer and contributor to both Fujitsu thought leadership content and to external peer-reviewed conferences.  Most recently he has published a range of papers on the evolution of the Web and on the convergence of the Internet of Things, cloud and social infrastructures.  In this context he has also delivered a number of invited talks in various events around the world.

Fujitsu Run My Process

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

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