The Fast-Moving Cloud – Retrospect and Prospect for Enterprise

By 2017 50% of enterprises will have Hybrid Clouds according to Gartner. Hybrids promise the best-of-both-worlds: a “Composable” model to help drive growth, with performance comparable to on-premises solutions yet also the management convenience of the cloud business model. In a recent interview Brian Groen, IBM Hong Kong’s Cloud Business Executive, has been reflecting on the progress being made toward this optimal Cloud for Enterprise.

Q: What key cloud trends to have emerged over the last year?

Brian: Enterprise use of public cloud for development and testing has moved mainstream and most enterprises with their own internal application and development functions are using some facets of public cloud for development and testing. This usage is fast moving beyond IaaS to the leverage of cloud API’s to take advantage of cloud elasticity and scalability for production environments. For example application directed load scaling, offshore/ onshore load balancing.

Hybrid cloud blending of secure corporate clouds with multi-vendor public cloud offerings are gaining traction.

We are also seeing that much or the new IT spending is directed to create improved Systems Of Engagement (SOE). These are systems to engage clients, engage staff, engage suppliers, and partners via applications on smart devices. The smart devices are working with cloud hosting and scaling apps to integrate into the legacy Systems Of Record (SOR).

Q: What is now top of the Cloud agenda among IBM’s Enterprise customers?

Brian: I see leaders from the Lines of Business, not just the IT shop, moving to carve out islands of functionality and take advantage of third party best-of-breed as-a-service solution providers (e.g. Sales functions such as CRM, HR functions such as elements of payroll, Marketing functions such as client and big data analytics). In many cases these are suppliers the organisation has never dealt with before, but the strength of the solution in a specific area is very appealing to the enterprise. This increase in vendors and solution blocks leads to fragmenting enterprise IT landscape as the interconnections grow and the data becomes more distributed. This fracturing of the corporate IT application landscape is also leading to an increase to requests for cross-enterprise security, end-to-end performance and more subtle systems integration requirements.

Q: Where have you seen the strongest growth in Cloud products and services this year?

Brian: Systems Integration tools and solutions across Hybrid cloud environments is increasing as enterprises work to match the predictability of private cloud deployments with the agility of public as-a-service offerings.

Another hot area is hybrid cloud deployments with security and service management linkage to legacy systems

An example of this enterprise quest for integrated systems across both private and public infrastructure is highlighted in a recent press release of our project with WOOX Innovations, a global leader in sound, entertainment and related accessories.

Q: What do you expect to be the biggest Cloud challenges for Enterprises in 2015?

Brian: Systems integration of legacy systems with best-of-breed public SaaS and PaaS services.

Data security and ownership are of growing concern as enterprise data is increasingly accessed and beyond the control of corporate governance.

Meeting the expectations of mobile device users and business units looking to exploit mobile devices. These business units will require development capability, data access and speed to market.

Q: What Cloud topic do you think Enterprises are going to be talking about most of all next year?

Brian: Data security and integrity concerns will continue to trend to higher awareness.

The growing smorgasbord of as-a-service providers each offering solutions which are deep but not very wide will continue to expand, creating increased choice (and confusion) in the market.

Enterprise clients will move past IaaS selection and focus on PaaS provision including development tools, communities and API’s to speed-up application development time, get to market faster and access the pay-per-use cost model.

Brian Groen-800x600

Brian Groen, Cloud Business Executive

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