Stealth Cloud Event (Brussels – 27/5/2011) report

On Thursday May 27 2011, CIOnet Belgium hosted a Stealth Cloud event in Brussels (CIOnet members can view and download the presentations here). The agenda featured the following topics:

  • Cloud Adoption Survey 2011 by Patrcik Callewaert (Partner, Deloitte Consulting)
  • Stealth Cloud & Joint IT-Business Cloud Computing at Barco by Filip Coppens ( IT director Infrastructure, Barco)
  • Cloud-case: Belgian EU Presidency by Tom Auwers (Director General, FPS Social Security)
  • Global Sales & Marketing Transformation: AOM Journey with SaaS by Sander van Vliet (Sales & Marketing EMEA, Aon)
Patrick Callewaert

Patrick Callewaert (Deloitte) explained what is understood under the term cloud computing.  There are different types of Cloud Computing (SaaS, Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service, etc.).  Adoption of Cloud Computing is currently limited but growing.  The majority of companies is looking at applications such as mail to put in the cloud but slowly this is changing.  There does not seems a specific business that is faster at adopting Cloud Computing.  It is a worldwide phenomenon not limited to the USA.

Patrick shared the results of the CIOnet survey based on 150+ respondents of the CIOnet Community (European-wide).  80% is using or planning to use Cloud Computing.  The main reason to switch to Cloud Computing is agility.

The Key take aways from the survey on why companies are adopting cloud is Cost, Agility and Focus on core competencies. The biggest inhibitors are Data Security, Availability, Control and Compliance, Vendor maturity and adapting the IT organization.

Patrick ended with the statement that “The Cloud is there and not going away and impact strategic agenda of the organizations and IT”.

Filip Coppens

Filip Coppens (Barco) described in an eye-opening introduction the different industries and trades that Barco operates in worldwide.  To support these activities Barco has a centralized IT organization with 3 different hubs in the world.  The IT landscape consists of 3 levels: Main applications (hosted in Belgium), Hosted solutions (ERP, websites, etc.) and Cloud Solutions.

The Cloud Computing solutions include for Field Service ad CRM, some HRM solutions.

Filip explains that the considerations to implement Cloud Computing adoptions  are security and compliance issues, time to market, cost and type of cloud solution.  Filip said that “Stealth applications has always existed in IT but with Cloud Computing it has been made easier for the business to buy it with support from IT”.  The business is not willing to wait till IT can put it on its agenda.  It is all about agility to solve today’s problems.  Large projects that entail Cloud computing are easily spotted but the small ones are harder to find (eg call centers in certain business units).  IT governance is the key to success to keep Stealth Cloud Computing under control.

Finally, Filip demonstrated how HR and ICT can work together to implement a Cloud Computing initiative for HCM

Tom Auwers

During the European presidency of Belgium last year the FOD Social Security was given the task to coordinate the European-wide initiatives.  Tom Auwers was put in charge of the project and soon found out that he had to deal with many partners both in Belgium and Europe.  None of these people have worked together and thus getting them to cooperate was a major challenge which consisted of keeping track of documents without the burden of email.  Tom turned to the Cloud for a solution and found it in Huddle a document sharing platform.

The biggest challenges in this project have been to change the habits of people who want to use paper or email as well as partners to work in the Cloud, including IT.  Once people had taken to the concept and conquered the fears of security, the document exchange worked perfectly.  The biggest drawback of this solution is that it is not a content management system and leads to a jungle of document.  A follow up project has now been created to integrate this into a Sharepoint environment.

As added bonus which was created by the way Tom ran the project is that the IT department is now adding cloud solutions to it offering to the business leading to a more agile and flexible service provider.

Sander van Vliet

Finally, Sander van Vliet impressed the audience with the project AON undertook to transform its global sales and marketing environment using cloud solutions.  The main driver behind this project was  the fact that the AON platform needed a serious upgrade to be able to provide the business cross business unit account information.  And they found a solution in which is now implemented in 80+ countries.  The strong message Sander gave was that  “75 countries were implemented in less than 20 months”.  The whole project was driven by the Chief commercial officer.

Quickly in the process they discovered that the has 2 main weaknesses – marketing execution and analystics (reporting is okay lacks integration).  To complement the solution, Eloqua for marketing execution and Vortinit for analytics were added.

For Sander the key success factors were “the accelerated delivery model with focus on business, the active management sponsorship and focus were key element.

The afternoon closed with a debate which surfaced a large number of items that need to be answered to make cloud solutions part of the IT solution offerings:

  • Do Cloud applications really live up to the hype that they solve problems?
  • Is the openness of the Cloud really a benefit?
  • Do cloud computing maintenance cost live up to good TCO?  How does that compare to IT developed applications?
  • What about ROI? There are few cases in to based information on today.
  • What is the role of IT in cloud computing solutions?  Does IT loose out.
  • Does Cloud computing reduce the barrier between IT and the business since it seems that the Business is driving IT into the Cloud. Is that a good thing?
  • Users are happy to accept 90% solution solving cloud solutions but IT solutions be 100% of the solution
  • What is the key driver: cost or solution or time to market
  • Are cloud solution more targeted at smaller or larger businesses
  • Is cloud the new PC type of application?
  • What is the exit strategy for your cloud computing?

We would like to thank again all attendees, all presenters and every body that helpedin the preparation of this great event.

Cheers, Mic & Hendrik.

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