In April 2015, InsightaaS teamed with stakeholders from across the cloud community – enterprise and SMB IT management, global IT leaders and Canadian cloud service providers, integrators and consultants, academics, associations, training firms and other experts – to launch the Toronto Cloud Business Coalition. Dedicated to accelerating adoption and use of cloud in Canada, TCBC members formed working groups to identify key business issues and best practices addressing the ten most important cloud challenges.
After six months of discussion and review, TCBC’s working groups have begun publishing unique documents that provide essential guidance for senior C-suite executives, IT leaders, cloud practitioners and supply-side management. At the same time, TCBC is accelerating its ‘education and networking’ agenda by convening a series of events designed to stimulate discussion of best practices positions and requirements. The signature event on TCBC’s 2015 calendar was the inaugural Cloud Symposium, a ‘show within a show’ as part of DatacenterDynamics Converged Canada 2015 presentation. The event was a tremendous success, with more than 500 attendees and over 40 exhibitors. InsightaaS principals Mary Allen and Michael O’Neil moderated nine sessions at the event: the opening and closing plenaries, an entire track dedicated to working group topics, and sessions on IoT and analytics which combined expert panel perspectives with current InsightaaS research.
KeY issue and observations:
The keY issue: advanced cloud applications are penetrating all areas of modern enterprises. These applications have some important common characteristics: they capitalize on the efficiency and agility of a cloud back end, they are enabled for support of mobile users, and they integrate both analytics and collaboration. Advanced cloud applications are used to obtain incremental benefit from existing infrastructure (by adding new features to monolithic applications); they are used to automate functions that were previously unautomated or difficult to support with technology; and they enable process enhancements by connecting diverse task automation platforms together in an environment that offers native collaboration capability and rich analytics. What do enterprises need to consider as they look to capitalize on these advanced capabilities?
Arturo Perez, president and CEO, Solsteace, Inc.: Business user expectations for IT are being set by consumer experiences with technology. Consumers see new mobile apps being introduced every day, that they can use wherever they are, however it best suits them. They expect the same of corporate IT: they want to access applications that work seamlessly on their mobile devices, that provide the functionality and data access that they need to perform a task, and that are intuitive, and don’t require a great deal of training or an extensive user manual.
Paul Lewis, CTO, Hitachi Canada, and head of analytics, Hitachi Americas: We’re coming to appreciate the importance of user control of applications, and of technology outcomes that are aligned with user objectives. In this light, shadow IT isn’t necessarily a ‘bad thing’ – it’s evidence of user demand for technology to support innovation, and it illustrates a need to migrate from traditional IT to new options. Matching IT capabilities with business needs yields real benefits: we saw an example recently in which a customer-facing system expanded from one conduit – the call centre – to eight different access conduits; it increased customer contacts per year from two to 50, moving customer satisfaction from 72% to 92%. This kind of innovation requires responsiveness to technology-enabled business opportunity, and delivers best value when it is based on the rapid deployment and embedded analytics associated with cloud.
Paul Gragtmans, principal, ET Group: Companies need to think about how they will emphasize agility and integration – which will probably mean that they need to de-prioritize adherence to existing corporate policies governing software development, which prioritize control over agility. The key is to obtain real ROI from applications, and ROI is most likely to result from better deployment and use of collaboration capabilities, and better technology and process integration across the enterprise.
Jeff Lamboy, industry strategy and product marketing, GoDaddy: Advanced cloud applications offer compelling value in both time-to-benefit and the demonstrable scope of benefit. At a high level, cloud gives companies the ability to compress the time between the decision to adopt a new application and obtaining business benefit from their investment. What makes advanced cloud applications compelling is that they tie in analytics, which demonstrate the operational, product and performance wins and gains realized from integrating the application within the business.
The bottom line
The advanced cloud application adoption and enablement session, and the other Cloud Symposium panel discussions and the accompanying best practices guidance represent a new standard in IT research delivery. With the community approach to content co-creation and an emphasis on networking and outreach, TCBC and InsightaaS have created a model that delivers real value to stakeholders from all industries, and is designed to provide real support to end user adopters – which aligns with TCBC’s overall objective of accelerating adoption and use of cloud in Canada.