Ideas to get your business on target

Ideas to get your business on target

IT Strategy and the Supply Chain

Tags: , , , , , Cloud, Strategy

IT strategyPerhaps this is a mad idea, but I see the decision on cloud like the decision on buying a coffee machine for the office. It is a basic management decision, pros versus cons, investment versus benefit, running cost versus opportunity.  Lets use this as a simple example to see how cloud compares to coffee as a service (CaaS if you will).

The other week I was considering if we should get a machine for the office. Lets face it, with the sophistication of the machines available, you can easily invest a four figure sum in a great coffee maker to match the quality of the coffee from one of the big chains. Now add supplies for a year for the whole team. This includes not just the cost of great coffee, milk etc., but all those hidden extras like cups, filters; not forgetting extra work for the cleaner or one of the staff to clean it all; then potential service costs and spares…

Read More

Changing Paradigms in Banking – Cloud Computing

Tags: , , , , , , , , Business, CIO
photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

It was interesting to see the announcement that BBVA are moving their mail and office services to the cloud. I have been debating with a number of colleagues from the banking industry the future of the cloud in banking.

In the wider services and financial services world, that is less tightly regulated than the big banks, it is clear that they are already making the journey to cloud based computing. Whether they have made the move to cloud based PaaS services such as Salesforce for CRM, or on Google or similar for document sharing and mail, or on an IaaS service for comprehensive corporate computing.

Read More

An Approach to IT Costs

Tags: , , , Assess, Business, Strategy

One of the most compelling arguments for a transition to the cloud is transparency of pricing. The move from complicated internal charges for costs ranging from hardware depreciation to software license shares to the time of system admins all makes the simplicity of buying compute time direct off the network very compelling to a business consumer. The definition of a true cloud service being pay-as-you-go (PAYG in mobile phone industry jargon), buy what you need when you need it, gives the consumer scalability and choice at the best price…..at least in theory.

Read More

The Challenges of Establishing the Financials for a Cloud Project

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Assess, Business, CIO
photo credit: wwarby via photopin cc

photo credit: wwarby via photopin cc

All the technical cloud evangelists are going to hate me for dwelling on the practical financial matters of establishing a cloud project but I am afraid these issues cannot be ignored. If organisations cannot break the deadlock on the problem of first man in or last man out with an sensible approach to managing allocation of costs, then the organisation will be in danger of missing out this critical technology revolution.

In case you have not read my earlier posts, or in case it was not clear, then let us take a real worked example of the challenges faced by a typical organisation in transition to the cloud. Smaller, more nimble organisations may not face this issue so starkly, but certainly the medium to larger ones will.

Read More

Structuring IT Project Costs

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , Assess, Cloud, Strategy
photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

In my last post I hinted at the dilemma of who covers the costs for a cloud project. There would appear to be few issues and some major advantages to scaling out to the Public Cloud, as you can pay as you go or pay for what you use. But is this really the case? The problem with transitions to any shared platform is that nasty subject of who pays. Typically organisations will allocate shared service costs with an allocation key for the costs to various groups using the shared service. This allocation key will determine how much each person pays. It is obvious that as the shared service grows the unit price will trend downwards and will eventually level to a free market unit price but the first or last user may for an interim period pay much higher prices.  This “first man in” or “last man out” problem causes all sorts of grief for projects in the real world, not only for cloud but for many wider IT projects.

Read More

Private Cloud – Is it Worth the Effort?

Tags: , , , , , Cloud, Data Centre, Strategy
photo credit: ell brown via photopin cc

photo credit: ell brown via photopin cc

There is a lot of discussion in the big companies out there of the benefits of creating their own private clouds using their own server farms; whether it is worthwhile versus the full move to use external shared Public Cloud environments. Of course, SMEs don’t have this dilemma: they do not own as much hardware, generally do not have the internal expertise to even consider a private version, and so just use externally available services with no other option. Cheaper, more scalable, more efficient – let us watch some of the leading medium-sized firms leverage the technology to jump ahead of their bigger, less nimble peers.

Read More

Leveraging Your IT Strategy

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , Cloud, Data Centre, Strategy
photo credit: Trucker Dan via photopin cc

photo credit: Trucker Dan via photopin cc

Over recent years we have seen a number of trends among large corporations trying to get clarity on their real IT costs and squeeze efficiency from their resources. It is interesting to compare some of the approaches, and how they restrict the value that can be gained.

Some companies tried to ring-fence their IT by creating a management services company, forcing financial rigour on the supply of services. Great idea… or was it? Clearly there were some benefits from the transparency on what was being purchased (at least in theory), but there were also management overheads and investments needed to gain this rigour; it is unclear whether or not these were ever compensated for in efficient savings.

Read More

The Cloud is Here to Stay

Tags: , , , , , Business, Cloud, Strategy
cloud

Vanessa Hoffmann

Those that know me well would be surprised to find me preaching about the cloud. However, I am not an evangelist. For me, it is clear that the cloud is not just a trend, but a fundamental shift in the way IT is provided that no business can ignore. So I genuinely believe that every business (however large or small) should be facing up to the challenges it brings.

To do this they should be making carefully considered judgements and rational decisions on what to do and when to do it: setting their strategy and planning for adoption.

Read More

The Changing Role of the CIO

Tags: , , , , , Business, CIO

Once a bastion of technical experts, in recent years the CIO role has evolved into a more business-focused position. According to a survey in CIO Magazine, many now feel that their cloud experience has provided sufficient commercial nous to prepare CIOs for the CEO position. This is yet to be realised, with few CEOs coming up from the ranks of CIO, but with increasing reliance on the cloud, it seems a significant shift is occurring.

The shift towards commercial over technical skills can be seen throughout the IT sector, with increasing specialisation of programming skills alongside the gradual integration of business processes into the IT landscape. Attaining proficiency in multiple coding languages is no longer as lucrative as it once would have been, with many tasks being offshored by all sizes of organisation, while a UK-based team focuses on strategy. Although a good understanding of the working of a system is useful, it is return on investment that is critical to the business.

Read More

IT Strategy for the SME Sector

Tags: , , , , , , Process Design, Strategy, Strategy4IT
photo credit: lisamurray via photopin cc

photo credit: lisamurray via photopin cc

My inspiration for this blog comes from speaking with a contact of mine who is working with the finance area of a medium-sized services company in London. What he told me provides an enlightening view on the craziness that one can so easily find in smaller enterprises when it comes to managing IT solutions.

The company is fairly sizeable with over a hundred people and so has its own financial management software and runs its own email.  Like many companies of a similar size, it has, for all sorts of reasons, its own IT hardware sitting in a small rack in a separate area of their office.  Ask a few simple questions, and it becomes pretty clear that here is a disaster waiting to happen!

Read More