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Interview: Ensuring a successful cloud journey

T.C. Seow | Feb. 16, 2015
Kerrie Holley, IBM Fellow, shares his views on cloud computing, security and what businesses need to do to become more agile, more secure, and eventually, more successful.

Kerrie Holley, IBM Fellow
Pix: Kerrie Holley, IBM Fellow

Kerrie Holley, IBM Fellow and Master Inventor, is a business-savvy, technology executive and senior IT architect. He is recognised internationally for his innovative work in architecture and software engineering centred on the adoption of services and service-oriented architecture. He is part of IBM Yorktown Research focused on scalable business services and the emerging API economy.

Previously, Kerrie served as a CTO in IBM Global Business Services. Kerrie collaborates and engages with clients as architect, researcher and consultant on topics in the "next era" of computing (i.e., confluence of mobility, social, analytics, cloud, cognitive and IoT), and its impact on software engineering, business processes applications, and IT architecture.

In this exclusive email interview, Holley shares his views on cloud computing, security and what businesses need to do to become more agile, more secure, and eventually, more successful.

Q: There has been emphasis on getting organisations to become agile in everything they do. How does one get to be agile? Is going to the cloud the best way of getting there?

Kerrie Holley: Becoming agile for most organisations will be a journey and not a destination. That is, some aspects of a company (e.g., applications or lines of business) need more agility than others so companies must prioritise and determine where the biggest payback can be achieved. Becoming agile, elastic or flexible requires a focus in multiple overlapping areas: people, process and technology.

Cloud computing is not just a disruptive technology; it's a trend and market disruptor. Yes, companies seeking more efficiency and effectiveness, improved agility, in their people, process and technology should pursue cloud adoption. Cloud computing has several game changing business enablers: business scalability, market adaptability, cost flexibility, mobile development, and ecosystem connectivity.

Companies need agility for a myriad of reasons: turbulent economic conditions, intense competition, evolving customer expectations, need to optimise use of capital, or increasing regulations. Cloud can be a growth engine for business allowing companies to innovate while managing rapid change. Cloud computing provides the foundation to manage hybrid technologies.

Cloud is said to be the natural progression of utility model of computing from the last decade or so. Why did it take such a long time to gain popularity now? What core technologies are at play to bring cloud benefits to organisations?

Cloud computing as currently defined represents the early stage of a major revolution in how information technology systems are architected, developed, deployed and consumed. Cloud computing dominance as a technology disruptor mirrors the evolution of several technologies and trends: virtualisation, open source, explosion of tech startups (venture capital investment), software defined environments, open standards, lower cost of servers, storage and networking, which have all matured over the last few decades. Couple this with the rise of web platforms creating demand for network delivered services and you get the culmination of a long term trend to simplify the purchase of IT Services, cloud computing.


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