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Interview: Rethinking cloud strategies and priorities

T.C. Seow | April 3, 2013
Given the changes in expectations, approaches and philosophies towards information technology, CIOs today need to rethink their strategies and priorities for cloud.

How significant has the topic of business analytics become, or are we still talking about vapourware?
With faster and fiercer business competition, distilling data into meaning and action is crucial for success. In the past year, conversations around Big Data have obscured the fact that the real issue is enabling intelligent and instantaneous analysis to provide optimal insights for business decisions. CIOs need to ensure they're looking at these high-volume, high-velocity challenges in the right way: as business enablers, not tech projects.

Today's new and always-on global marketplace requires new insights driven by the social revolution, and many of our old and trusty systems and approaches are simply not suited to the new realities demanded by our customers and by our times. In addition, the opportunity chain concept provides a market-facing framework and context for richly exploiting the potential of business analytics and big data. CIOs need to eagerly and rapidly begin framing business analytic challenges and opportunities in terms of customers, opportunities, revenue and business value.

Organisations are still reluctant to move into the cloud, giving excuses such as data security concerns and lack of privacy assurance. Should we embrace cloud now or should we wait till there is a clearer cloud "standard" emerging so that everyone understands where we all stand?
Enterprises need to embrace the cloud, but key to that is choosing the one model that has the capabilities to suit the business' needs—cloud or on-premise or both; private cloud or public cloud or both; engineered systems infrastructure or not—not one that is one-size-fits-all. Total refusal towards cloud capabilities is not a viable option for most institutions.

Security and privacy are undeniably key priorities that organisations need to consider when evaluating cloud vendors. The right cloud vendor needs to map needs for security controls such as accountability, privacy, confidentiality, integrity and availability to the vendor's capabilities. In addition, flexibility is key for many enterprises—Oracle customers can choose to build their cloud infrastructure behind a firewall to minimise their risk of exposure.

Oracle's IaaS solutions provide a degree of portability between the IT department and the client organisation's own existing infrastructure as deployment takes place on standard platforms such as Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux. Such isolation of resources at the virtual server level means that they have control over their operations, including the storage of data and specific encryption and security measures.

Essentially, enterprises are can be in total control with visibility over their IT environments, enabling them to meet internal and regulatory compliance and security requirements.

How does one go about measuring the merits of the cloud?
Cloud is no longer just about lower up-front costs, but about delivering greater agility and for freeing up resources to focus on innovation rather than running and maintaining systems. Cloud projects should not be judged on their technical merits or on hitting their go-live dates, but rather by how deeply they impact essential business-transformation initiatives, and by how much business value and opportunity they unlock.


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