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Cloud for Business

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Independent publication by 03 / 05 / 2015 # 0314 raconteur.net CLOUD for BUSINESS Dispersing a cloud of mistrust in the air 03 Storing data in the cloud can unlock great potential for many businesses, but some remain sceptical about security issues Streams of music, movies and now live theatre 07 It is now easier than ever to deliver digital content via the cloud, livening up how we stream music, movies and theatre Hybrid cloud formation mixes public and private 06 Integrated cloud computing, mixing public and secure private services, is an increasingly popular business choice in the UK Role of the cloud in 10 top tech trends 08 Cloud computing plays a central role in delivering strategic technology trends, as identified by researchers at Gartner Cloud shines bright with silver lining The cloud has gone from a misty concept to a solid platform essential for growth and stability in a global economic climate still coughing and spluttering its way out of recession OVERVIEW KATE RUSSELL E xecutives around the world are under pressure to innovate or die, with the value of information and security among the top priorities for all businesses. Adoption of cloud technology is important where there's elastic demand, helping busi - nesses map their metabolism and only pay for computing resources as and when they need them. Retail is the per - fect example of this, with seasonal impacts during the so-called golden quarter between October and December and huge online events such as Black Friday when demand is off the scale, playing havoc with fixed infrastruc - ture arrangements. Shop Direct, which in- cludes the £800-million online brand Very. co.uk, has committed heavily to a hybrid cloud infrastructure that allows it to react quickly to market changes, scaling seam - lessly through the peaks and troughs of the year, and offering a much improved custom- er experience. Andy Wolfe, Shop Direct's chief infor- mation officer, says: "We operate in a very competitive market and therefore we are constantly looking for ways to differentiate ourselves from the competition, which re - sults in high demand for IT change, espe- cially in areas like mobile. We need to be able to spin up development and test environ - ments very quickly. IT capacity can't be the bottleneck in driving change or innovation." The results speak for themselves in a lan- guage any shareholder can understand: increased site availability from 57.47 per cent in December 2012 to 99.99 per cent in 2013-14; record order rates with more than a quarter of a million page impressions per minute on Very.co.uk on Black Friday; and an increase in trade of 4 per cent over Christ - mas 2014, including sales via mobile devices of 45 per cent. Hospitality is another industry undergoing a major digital transforma - tion. For next generation travellers the journey begins online and thanks to social hubs, such as TripAdvisor and Booking. com, buying decisions are heavily influenced by consumer opinion. To keep a pace of this change, hotel chain Marriott In - ternational is migrating a significant portion of its core IT systems and applications to an open cloud plat- form over the next few years to offer faster digital services to web-savvy guests and discern insights about them from its more than 4,000 properties across the globe. This kind of activity marks another strong growth area this year – analytics as a service (AaaS), where large or complex data sets are analysed using cloud-hosted services. Infor - mation is the new gold, but it isn't just about understanding data. Service industries in particular need to deploy that understanding rapidly on a mass scale. How many times have you stood on a platform wondering when your delayed train might make an appear - ance and grumbling to anyone who'll listen about the lack of information coming from station staff ? National Express Rail now uses mobile technology and real-time data ana - lytics to distribute that information as it's called for through the cloud. These infrastructure changes are often not so much about cost-saving as driving up the value of customer experience and providing more flexible working conditions. Although from a provider's perspective, intense competition in infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is making it a race to the bottom in terms of price, causing some players to exit gracefully cloud-left. But as Windows 2003 soon moves to end of life on July 14, the challenge to migrate and modernise will naturally push a lot of businesses towards the cloud rather than shifting sideways to the current version of Windows Server 2012 R2. This is no bad thing as businesses at all levels are now experiencing cloud technology as a powerhouse tool for developing new strategies, forging closer ties with custom - ers, and tapping into the expertise of em- ployees and partners. For these reasons it is pretty much a staple in the startup culture, radically reducing the barriers to entry in any sector. "At last we are close to technology actu- ally enabling business, to the point where it is already no longer just the domain of techies, but now truly accessible to the business and business users. Cloud and the transformation to digital services has been the catalyst," says Chris Chant of cloud consultancy Rainmaker Solutions. Perhaps one of the most striking com - mitments to cloud comes from the public sector. Launched in 2012, the UK govern- ment's G - Cloud initiative is at the heart of the "cloud first" ICT strategy. At the Cabinet Office, Stephen Allott, crown representative for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), explains: "The G - Cloud digital marketplace is the stand-out reform for getting full value from SME suppliers. With a £600 million a year run rate and 49 per cent going to SMEs, it's a revolution. Both central government and the wider public sector can buy from thou - sands of SME suppliers in minutes rather than months. "Compliant by default procurement is the new standard. Plus the G - Cloud is a shop window for British SMEs globally. The US recently acknowledged that the Crown is five years ahead in digital gov - ernment and the G - Cloud is one of our key platforms in that." While security remains a concern for any business, the most recent iteration, G - Cloud 6, is the first to use the govern- ment's 14 cloud security principles to enable buyers to assess the security of suppliers' services. For most this is likely to go a long way towards allaying fears of moving to the cloud. Work still needs to be done to address the migration of workloads transparently from one cloud service provider to anoth - er, without experiencing any down time. This requires applications to be designed accordingly, using open source, open stack technology which we're also going to see a lot more of this year. For Doug Clark, IBM's UK and Ireland cloud leader, it's a winning move for busi - ness. "Not all clouds are created equal. What defines the winners is an agility and flexibility that comes with a cloud built on 'open standards'. This allows organisations to pick and mix the elements they need to build solutions, to meet the specific needs of their business and consumers, and that can be continually improved," he says. This movement towards open standards will prove a real leveller as well as an ena - bler. Niche developers from small compa- nies will be able to work together, bundling their skills like fusion cookery. The result will be plug-and-play, hybrid applications that potentially deliver true innovation, rather than just the press office's inter - pretation of the word, and can constantly evolve to meet the ever-changing demands of the digital consumer. Although this publication is funded through advertising and sponsorship, all editorial is without bias and sponsored features are clearly labelled. For an upcoming schedule, partnership inquiries or feedback, please call +44 (0)20 3428 5230 or e-mail info@raconteur.net Raconteur is a leading publisher of special-interest content and research. Its publications and articles cover a wide range of topics, including business, finance, sustainability, healthcare, lifestyle and technology. Raconteur special reports are published exclusively in The Times and The Sunday Times as well as online at raconteur.net The information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources the Proprietors believe to be correct. However, no legal liability can be accepted for any errors. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior consent of the Publisher. © Raconteur Media Distributed in Association partner JON COLLINS Writer, commentator and adviser, he special- ises in the impact of technology on business, society and culture. GREGOR PETRI Research vice president at Gartner, he covers cloud computing, brokerage and service provider strategies. NIC FILDES Technology and commu- nications editor at The Times, he was formerly with The Independent and Dow Jones Newswires. KATE RUSSELL Freelance technology writer, author and broad- caster, she contributes to BBC TV's flagship technology show Click. DAN MATTHEWS Journalist and author of The New Rules of Business, he writes for newspapers, magazines and websites on a range of issues. DAVEY WINDER Award-winning journal- ist and author, he spe- cialises in information security, contributing to Infosecurity magazine. CHARLES ORTON-JONES Award-winning journalist, he was editor-at-large of LondonlovesBusiness.com and editor of EuroBusiness. CONTRIBUTORS BUSINESS CULTURE FINANCE HEALTHCARE LIFESTYLE SUSTAINABILITY TECHNOLOGY INFOGRAPHICS raconteur.net/cloud-for-business-2015 RACONTEUR Publishing Manager Michael Kershaw Digital Manager Jermaine Charvy Head of Production Natalia Rosek Design Alessandro Caire Vjay Lad Kellie Jerrard Managing Editor Peter Archer ESTECO is a pioneer in numerical optimization solutions, specialized in the research and development of engineering software for all stages of the simulation-driven design process. Over 250 international organizations have entrusted the modeFRONTIER multidisciplinary and multiobjective optimization platform with accelerating product innovation across a wide spectrum of industrial sectors. At last we are close to technology actually enabling business, to the point where it is already no longer just the domain of techies WHAT IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PROJECT THAT YOUR IT DEPARTMENT IS WORKING ON RIGHT NOW? Cloud computing Legacy systems modernisation/replacement Software on-premises Security technologies Application develpment upgrades or replacement Business analytics Virtualisation Disaster recovery continuity planning 16% 12% 9% 8% 7% 6% 6% 6% Source: Computerworld 2015 Forecast Study TOP 3 WAYS BUSINESSES ARE USING THE CLOUD TO DRIVE TRANSFORMATION Source: KPMG Cloud Survey Report Drive cost efficiencies Better enable mobile workforce Improve alignment with customers/ partners

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