As a CxO, is your data future-ready?

By Simon Pass, Associate, Searchlight Consulting

Data has always been essential to the running of any businesses. Ancient man used clay tablets to record the numbers of animals bought and sold; our more recent forebears created ledgers and files of information stored on shelves and in filing cabinets. These days, of course, it’s all on a chip or in the Cloud. And, thanks to the data pulling power of developments like the Internet of Things, there’s much, much more of it than ever before.

Social media channels and sensors in everyday objects from buildings to cars to fridges, mobile technology and software logs are just a few of the ways massive data sets are constantly generated and updated. Information extracted from this data is increasingly used by science, government and business to deepen understanding and make critical decisions.

Emerging analytical and business decision support engines can make a real difference to your business. The key to exploiting it successfully is knowing what data to use – and what data is needed about your data.

“Experts often possess more data than judgement” – Colin Powell

Why should you consider this?

Information gathered from disparate data sets can provide detailed customer insight – who they are, what they do, what they like and don’t like, at levels that have not until now been achievable. It can allow a business to spot trends in social media and respond to them in real time. It can  rapidly identify whether a product or service is a hit, or has reached its twilight and funding should be withdrawn. It can, quite simply, give a business the edge over its competitors.

A very literal example of this is how organisations such as Rolls-Royce and many Formula One teams, gather huge quantities of real-time telemetry, and use this to make immediate changes to how their systems (car plus driver) operate, as well as feeding this into future system developments.

Analysing the sheer volume of data in big data sets takes a lot of computing power and extracting insight is increasingly achieved through the use of artificial intelligence and cognitive computing. Computer systems that simulate human thought processes through computerized models, and self-learning systems that use data mining, pattern recognition and natural language processing to mimic the way the human brain works.

Cognitive computing may sound like science fiction, but the mathematics behind it was created in the 1980s and 90s. The main difference now, is that we have the computational power to cope with the workload, and it’s now more affordable and easy to procure (Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, for example, sell it by the hour).

However, machine “learning” takes time, especially with unstructured data. When the machine starts to analyse, looks for patterns, and attempts to provide insight, it will only deliver results as good as the data provided. In order to succeed, a business needs to consider the quality, consistency, and compliance requirements of its data, to facilitate faster, and better informed decisions. But how is this done?

Closing the barn door after the horse has bolted!

In the early days of cognitive computing, I had a long conversation with someone involved in a trial to demonstrate the value of the artificial intelligence tool against years of existing customer service data. I asked them how the trial was going and the answer was, surprisingly “not well”. The reason was that the data provided by the client was largely unstructured and came from a number of systems and sources. The cognitive technology needed more data about the data, known as metadata, to allow the mathematical model to work.

 

Eventually, the pilot did generate reasonable results. However, a great deal of manual time had been invested to retrospectively add metadata to structure the existing data.  Quite simply, this is completely uneconomical on anything other than small scale, ad-hoc demonstrators, so it is vital for a business to consider the data generated by its systems as early as possible.

The data explosion

Data volumes are exploding; it has been stated that more data has been created in the last two years, than in the previous history of human kind. By 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new data will be created every second. According to Google, we perform 40,000 search queries every second on their platform alone.

“Picture a Megabyte as the equivalent of a small novel”

Most companies possess, or will possess, a mixture of structured, unstructured and semi-structured data. Unstructured data enters an organisation from many different sources, that are often ignored, are unmanaged, and not at all tied into the way it currently analyses and reports. Metadata, data which describes what data is, and what it relates to becomes increasingly important.  An example of metadata for a document, or a scanned invoice, would be; file size, data created, source, author.

Metadata can be created manually, or automatically from source systems. Manual creation tends to be more accurate, but as we have discussed, the volumes are very large, and manual creation is no longer a practical option.

 

“Metadata management can be defined as the end-to-end process and governance framework for creating, controlling, enhancing, attributing, defining and managing a metadata schema, model or other structured aggregation system, either independently or within a repository and the associated supporting processes” – Wikipedia

In considering current and future business strategy, and the systems needed to support strategic objectives, it is essential to factor in data and metadata generation. From a business point of view, there are many advantages in getting this right upfront, and there are many disadvantages if the issue is ignored, such as:

 

  • Rising costs and administrative overheads of managing this data, and no practical way of gaining any knowledge from it
  • No clear idea of what to keep and what to archive
  • The possibility of missing an emerging trend that could present itself as a lost opportunity
  • The chance of overlooking a shift in the buying patterns of key customers
  • Less accurate allocation of marketing and sales effort to the most promising product lines or services
  • Less detailed historical data to model the effectiveness of planned marketing campaigns

 

In a world where more and more companies are investigating the possibilities offered by big data, a business that does nothing could be placed at a disadvantage.

 

The advantages of good data definition and management are clear. Companies can use data to provide meaningful insight into their business; helping them make better, and more informed decisions. Better information gives the opportunity to:

  • Target marketing, using predictive analytics, at existing and potential customers who will be more receptive to a product or offer presented at the right time, at the right place to the right person
  • Gain real-time feedback on products or services via social media feeds, and tailor the service or product to the most valuable customers
  • Better manage risk, by using data generated by internal systems, linked to social media and other external feeds, to measure and analyse risk, in almost real-time
  • Increase reliability of models using predictive analytics.

IT strategy starts with the business and its information

When creating or refining IT strategy, an organisation should use data requirements to shape and define elements of the overall IT strategy. It should consider the thought and planning that will shape its IT strategy, in terms of:

  • What does it see as its differentiator, and what does it need to invest in, to create that differentiator?
  • What systems does it need to generate the data it needs?
  • What systems does it need to upgrade or replace, to provide the outputs it requires?
  • What standards does it need to define and manage, to ensure compliance with, and support of its data requirements?
  • What external services does it need to consider?
  • How will it link its internal data with external sources such as Internet search engines and social media to spot side effects during drug trials? (See Wired for a real FDA example.)
  • What differences are there in the organisation’s IT data requirements, and the requirements from a business or operational point of view?
  • If a business-to-business organisation, what does it need to consider in the end-to-end hand-off of data to assure compliance in a highly regulated market such as pharmaceuticals or Meat Traceability Compliance?

When all types of systems are generating a variety of information, it will soon become apparent that missing metadata cannot be fixed retrospectively without incurring major expense. Just as automotive manufacturers find out, if a vital component is missing from a vehicle as it rolls off the production line, it’s a difficult and expensive process to recall all those vehicles and address the issue.

So, a clear strategy, to get the data right, is an essential part of planning, and a key consideration for the systems and solutions an organisation deploys.

In Conclusion

In summary, data volumes and issues are only set to grow in size and complexity. This article has highlighted the importance of aligning business practice and strategic goals with data and information requirements.  The opportunity exists to use these valuable assets, to innovate, and create value and genuine differentiation over competitors.

At Searchlight Consulting, we have used the knowledge across our 300-strong network of associates, to create a framework that helps align business, information and IT strategies and creates a supporting plan to deliver strategic business capabilities – digital or otherwise. We work with companies of all sizes to help to identify appropriate commercial solutions and appropriate service delivery models, including “cloud” and SaaS.  We then work with clients to evaluate solutions and services, and commercially engage vendors.  Our relationship continues beyond selection, through implementation to successful delivery.

We work to:

  • Get the best out of Clients’ investment in Enterprise IT
  • Shape, create and deliver IT-enabled, business change projects and programmes
  • Provide independent, client-side advisors and supporting teams
  • Help clients to deliver, meet their commitments, and build sustainable change and in-house capability

Our role is to provide clear guidance to our clients as they navigate their way through the complex and uncertain world of using IT, to transform their business processes, to enable smarter working and be more successful.

We do this by:

  • Helping our clients align their IT strategy with their business strategy
  • Helping our clients assess their IT capability in the context of their strategy, and identifying how to address any gaps
  • Helping our clients implement the IT strategy agreed
  • Working with all parties involved in IT-enabled business transformation, to deliver successful outcomes.

To discover how we can help your business, please contact simon.pass@searchlightconsulting.co.uk

Designing GDPR Compliance into your business operations

Join Searchlight Consulting and QualiTest Sept 13th 2017, 4PM BST for a discussion in designing GDPR compliance into your business operations.

With GDPR, the rules regarding the processing and maintenance of European personal data are about to undergo a tremendous transformation, requiring changes to both human and digital processes, putting your company in extreme financial and business risk.  To stay in business requires learning how to survive the new regulations effective 25 May 2018.

Many organisations are unclear on how GDPR applies to their business operations and are unaware of their obligations. Demonstrating compliance as well as business implications and personal exposure for key officers of the organisation are key areas that need full understanding.

Anyone who wants to learn about protecting their business and their people records should attend.

This webinar will discuss:

  • The problems and risks
  • The impact beyond the EU (especially the UK)
  • What must happen upon discovering a data breach
  • Assessment for developing a remediation plan

Can’t make it?

Register anyway and we will send you the recording

Accelerating digital transformation

Programme

Digital can be seen as both an opportunity and a threat. In this whitepaper, Searchlight Consulting provides a practical framework for organisations to transform at pace by drawing on extensive digital transformation experience, real client scenarios and industry themes. Successful digital transformation requires more than credible technical delivery capability – senior executive alignment and an innovation delivery model, will be the key to achieving digital transformation at pace.

Following our successful webinar on Driving Digital Transformation, Steve Sharp, Jay Parmar and Andrew Lapham have put together some thoughts on digital transformation, delivering innovation and developing a successful integration strategy.

Download the white paper – Integrating the Customer Journey to look at the opportunity that the digital revolution offers businesses to place customers at the heart of their business if they invest in transformation.  Examine some of the constraints that are blocking organisations from changing the way they interact with their customers. And, find out the key building blocks to accelerating digital transformation and how to select the right approach for your business.

Download the paper here

IT’s A Balancing Act

Credit: Magisphoto

Being a CIO today involves balance. The need to balance “keeping the lights on” while introducing new technologies.  Integrating those new technologies to allow data to flow seamlessly without anything falling over.   Embracing opportunity while reducing risk.  And balancing budgets as the IT department shifts from Cap-Ex to Op-Ex, steering the transition from IT as a cost centre, to IT as a value centre.

 

 

In this blog, I’ll take a look at the challenges facing CIOs, and possible responses to those challenges. Some of these were clearly articulated by our guests at March’s Future of the IT Department in the age of Cloud and Digital Transformation discussion. We were joined by ex Britvic CIO and visiting professor at Birmingham City University, Rob Pritchard, Nick Skelsey, IT Director Europe, Harding Retail and Liberty Global/Virgin Media’s Director of Performance and Metrics, Nick Good. Nick, Rob and Nick described a number of challenges faced or were anticipating, including internal reorganisation, dealing with legacy systems, leading innovation, integration, and disruptive competition.

It’s clear the role of IT in business is changing – to a great extent driven by ever increasing demands from customers, who expect a seamless interaction with business through many different channels. Introducing those channels and linking them together, along with any legacy systems in place, is a major undertaking, and the CIO is under pressure not only to do it right but do it quickly as well. This can be done, of course. Recently, we worked with Costa on a major digital transformation programme. We helped them introduce a Cloud based integration platform to enable different channels and technologies come together to provide a consistent business process. Costa introduced 106 APIs in just three months, which would usually have taken significantly longer, so it’s clear integration can be done at pace and done well too.

The challenge from disruptors is one that can’t be ignored. Millions of words have been written about the impact of Amazon, Uber, Spotify and the like, and thousands of other challenger companies are having similar effects across all areas of business. Even higher education isn’t immune: Rob Prichard mentioned the new Higher Education and Research Bill which will allow the set up of new universities. As with any start up, they’ll have the advantage of establishing their business model from scratch, using the latest technologies to build their offering, without any encumbrance from legacy technology or culture.

Other challenges, such as internal reorganisation or a merger or acquisition may also occur. Nick Good, for example, explained how Liberty Global’s nine separate regionally based European IT functions are being reorganised into one new IT department. Initially, this involved organisational change but ultimately, this will also be from a technical platform perspective as well. And of course, this change must be effected while continuing to balance the ongoing support of business growth. Mergers and Acquisitions also need careful attention: there is much to consider. For example, when major online tri-sports retailer Wiggle merged with Chain Reaction, Searchlight’s CEO, Steve Sharp, and Enterprise Architect, David Gray, used our own unique detailed methodology to analyse the companies’ tech landscape, conduct a rigorous risk assessment, evaluate human resources, budget the IT aspect of the merger and advise on how the two businesses could best work together in the future.

All these challenges call for the need for the IT department to play a greater role in business strategy as a whole. The CIO needs to understand how IT can make the business organisation faster, smarter and more responsive, and that means being able to scan and plan on three different levels.

  1. The Horizon Scan – Thinking ahead of current strategy, look at markets (and not just your own) innovations, disruptors, even social trends to get a wide ranging, clear picture of what the next few years might bring.
  2. Business Capability Planning – a more medium term view of your business capabilities and how to upgrade them – that means looking at how processes, people, information and technology need to work together .
  3. Immediate responses – using agile techniques and DevOps principles to deliver rapid change of current environments – both in terms of changes themselves, but also having your organisation and governance processes set up to deliver incrementally and rapidly.

In order to make such long, medium and short term responses, the CIO needs to enhance or develop a skill set that embraces business leadership as well as tech know-how. We’ll take a look at leadership skills for the CIO in our next blog.

In the meantime, if you’d like to explore more of our discussion with Nick, Nick and Rob on the Impact of Cloud and Digital on the Future of the IT Organisation, please click here for the webinar recording.

Future of the IT Organisation Pt 1

We’re constantly told the world of IT is changing, but when hasn’t that been the case? Cloud, Digital Transformation, AI, IoT and Big Data are simply the latest in a series of revolutions that have been the lifeblood of Information Technology since the industry began.

However, some issues appear to have been around for a while. Ten years ago, CIO Insight published a list of trends to watch in 2007.  Among them were forecasts that “The division between IT and business will diminish,” and “CIOs strive to be strategic.”

Last month, on the Cloud Industry Forum’s BrightTalk channel, Searchlight Consulting hosted a discussion on the future of the IT department in the age of Cloud and Digital. We were joined by ex Britvic CIO and visiting professor at Birmingham City University, Rob Pritchard, Nick Skelsey, IT Director Europe, Harding Retail and Liberty Global/Virgin Media’s Director of Performance and Metrics, Nick Good.  And some of the strongest messages to emerge from the event were the need for IT and business strategies to align, and for the potential for business-savvy IT leaders to take an even greater role in shaping the future of their companies.

So, if the IT industry recognised this need in 2007, what’s new? And is it any more achievable today than it was a decade ago?

I think the key word here is “potential.” Ten years ago, the iPhone had just been launched and the impact that mobile technology and connectivity would bring to the world, particularly to the way business and customers would interact together, were yet to be realised. Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud had been available less than a year, Microsoft’s Azure was still to come.  Big Data and the IoT were still in their infancy, and traditional office culture, with its siloed inflexibility, was only just starting to shift.

Today, all these technologies have reached maturity and digital transformation has become a keystone of growth, encompassing the whole of a business from back-end to customer-facing. We’ve worked with companies like Costa Coffee and leading online sports retailer Wiggle on major transformative programmes which have added value to the way they work in a multitude of different ways. The opportunities business technology offers can shape and enhance every aspect of business. And it is this that makes the future of the IT function so exciting.

CIOs now have the opportunity to step out of their traditional silo and make their mark on the whole organisation. To provide a strategic view of the entire business, proactively lead change and make the IT department a beacon for innovation throughout the company. And in doing so, they will shift the IT function from being a cost centre to a value centre. Harding Retail’s Nick Skelsey described the CIO of today as a curator, and I think it’s a pertinent one. The contribution a tech-and-business savvy board member can make in bringing a whole range of cross-functional factors together to add value is increasingly important. It’s a step change from the old concept of CIO as a broker, whose function was merely transactional, implementing specific changes as and when needed.

Of course, there are challenges. And there are responses to those challenges. There are new skills to be mastered, new alliances to make and new ways of approaching the role of CIO. We’ll be examining the challenges, their implications, and possible responses in my next blog. And then, we’ll look at the role of CIO as leader and how that’s set to change in future.

Our webinar Accelerating Retail Transformation tomorrow April 26 from 12.00 to 1pm BST will focus on innovation, acceleration and integration. Mark Dermody, CIO of Costa Coffee will join Searchlight Chief Technology & Digital Officer Jay Parmar and Andrew Lapham, our Chief Innovation Officer for an online discussion of these major issues facing today’s retailers.  You can register for what promises to be a fascinating event here:  Retail Webinar Registration.

And finally, if you’d like to explore more of our discussion with Nick, Nick and Rob on the Impact of Cloud and Digital on the Future of the IT Organisation, please visit: Cloud Industry Forum Future of IT Webinar

accelerating retail digital transformation

Creating a seamlessly integrated way of interacting with your customers, which enables you to evolve your proposition at pace –  is a must have for all customer centric businesses today.

Costa Coffee, one of the worlds leading consumer drinks organisations has evolved their digital proposition by integrating each of their customer channels and creating a platform to align their business, IT and digital strategy.

Join us April 26th 12:00-13:00 BST to discuss:

  • How to rapidly realise the benefits of an integration strategy and how to set out a roadmap to deliver at pace, market test and iterate your digital thinking
  • How to combine innovation, while evolving the customer experience and ensuring seamless integration with transactional solutions
  • How to create a delivery framework that covers innovative thinking, agile evolution of customer experience combined with the challenges of evolving finance, CRM, loyalty, EPOS and analytical capabilities

Our guests for this retail-centric knowledge share are Mark Dermody, Costa CIO joined by Jay Parmar, Searchlight Chief Technology & Digital Officer and Andrew Lapham, Searchlight Chief Innovation Officer.

Mark is a senior IT Professional with experience in medium-sized and large enterprises, he has headed up eCommerce at Sainsbury’s and helped Costa Coffee unify their digital infrastructure. He is joined by Jay and Andrew from Searchlight Consulting who have helped shape successful digital integration for a global portfolio of companies

Register here – Driving Retail Digital Transformation

What is the Future of the IT Organisation?

Searchlight’s panel of business technology leaders discuss

Cloud impactA global audience gathered together on Wednesday 8th March for our panel discussion on the impact of Cloud and Digital on the Future of the IT organisation, hosted on the Cloud Industry Forum’s BrightTalk channel. Tech leaders from every continent (apart from Antarctica) joined us to explore some of the most pressing issues faced by CIOs today.

Our expert panel – ex Britvic CIO and visiting professor at Birmingham City University Rob Pritchard, Nick Skelsey, IT Director Europe, Harding Retail and Liberty Global/Virgin Media’s Director of Performance and Metrics Nick Good, considered a range of questions and shared their experiences, thoughts and opinions in what proved a fascinating discussion.

It’s clear that the function of the IT department and the role of the CIO is changing with the possibilities offered by new technologies. But whereas some have predicted the demise of the IT department as the shift to “everything as a service” takes many traditional functions out of house, our panel saw a more complex future.

One of the most exciting possibilities was the potential to shift IT from being a cost centre to a value centre. By championing cross-functional change and innovation, leading the debate and aligning IT and business strategy, CIOs can play an increasingly essential role. As Rob Pritchard said: “This is a time when CIOs need to see themselves as business leaders with accountability for tech, not as tech leaders who have been asked to take a seat at the big table.”

I was particularly taken with Nick Skelsey’s description of the future CIO as a “curator” as it seems to me that the contribution a tech-savvy board member can make in bringing a whole range of cross functional factors together to add value to the business, is increasingly important.

The panel discussed a wide range of topics from current and future challenges, to outsourcing, soft skills and the merits of, or organisational preference for, funding investment through Op-ex and Cap-ex.  Our experts were able to give different perspectives on each, as representatives from medium and large businesses, and consulting.

I’d like to thank Rob, Nick and Nick for their thoughtful and thought-provoking contributions. They’ve provided a valuable contribution to the debate on the Future of IT and were an absolute pleasure to work with on this project, as was Breda Beyer, Director of Membership at the Cloud Industry Forum, who I’d like to thank very much for hosting this exciting webinar.

You can hear the discussion in full at https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/14849/246467/panel-discussion-the-future-of-the-it-organisation.

Is Cloud the End?

Cloud PhotoWhat Does Cloud and Digital Mean for the Future of the IT Organisation?

IT is evolving; the shift to cloud and the concept of “everything a service” has sparked a revolution in the way it operates; traditional roles have been called into question or redefined, new skill sets demanded, and the function of the IT department itself is beginning to transform into something entirely new.

CIOs are navigating in uncharted seas at the moment, dealing with rapidly evolving technologies that offer enormous opportunities and massive challenges in equal measure.

Charles Darwin, whose epic five year voyage on HMS Beagle inspired the theory of evolution, wrote: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

As trusted advisors, Searchlight is working with companies seeking to unlock the potential offered by rapidly evolving technologies. We’ve seen the opportunities, challenges and pitfalls change poses for business across a wide range of sectors. We’ve also seen how the IT organisations in these companies have responded to the demands placed upon them, and the simple truth is, in order to adapt successfully to change, we must first understand it, and then embrace it.

With this in mind, Searchlight Consulting is bringing some of the brightest IT brains in the country together on March 8th at 4pm (GMT) to discuss what the future holds for the IT organisation on the Cloud Industry Forum’s Bright TALK webinar channel.

We’ll be asking three critical questions:

  • What does the increased adoption of cloud-based, anything-as-a-service offerings mean for the future of IT functions?
  • Looking forwards, what part does IT have to play in the definition and execution of business strategies?
  • Does the future IT function rely more or less on outsourcing and, if so, in which areas? What aspects should be retained in-house?

Our panel will comprise:

Birmingham City University Visiting Professor Rob Pritchard, who has led major change programmes and strategic planning at Allied Domecq, Philip Morris, Japan Tobacco, Britvic and Gillette. His experience as a senior leader in a plc corporate environment coupled with his ‘Big 4’ consulting background enables him to bridge the gap between technologists and business leaders.

Nick Good, Director of Performance and Metrics at international cable TV and internet services provider Liberty Global, ranked one of Forbes’ 100 most innovative companies. Nick is responsible for delivering a performance measurement and governance framework for IT, as well as a continuous and consistent resource capacity view across the IT function.

Nick Skelsey, IT Director for Harding Retail, is currently developing and delivering the technology agenda for this leading cruise retail concessionaire’s next phase of growth. He has 20 years’ IT experience within end-user organisations as a generalist IT and change leader, starting with Diageo and Allied Domecq and progressing to IT Director roles at Unite Students and The Bradfords Group before joining Harding Retail in 2016.

Mark Dermody, IT Director, Costa Coffee, who has focused the last 20 years of his career on supporting a wide variety of ‘bricks and clicks’ retailers in senior IT roles and has a passion for transformational change and how technology can accelerate customer experience improvements in a digital environment.

Join us to hear facts and opinions from the coal face of change – and to ask your own questions too.

The way forward is complex, and every organisation has its own opportunities and challenges. By sharing knowledge and experience, we can, perhaps, make the path easier for all of us. Because, and this one may or may not been have said by Charles Darwin but it’s a good quote anyway: “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

Register for the event at  Brighttalk registration link

Migrating Business Applications to the Cloud – White Paper

The world of IT has come a long way since the birth of modern computer technology in the 1940s.

Back in the days of punched tapes, Williams tubes and magnetic drums, no-one had any idea where the technology would take us – hence the oft-quoted comment from IBM’s then president, Thomas Watson in 1943, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”

We can smile at his words with the benefit of hindsight, but they are also a graphic illustration of the incredible pace of change in our industry. Who would have thought in 2006, for example, when Amazon launched its Elastic Compute Cloud, that within ten years, Cloud Computing would have become such a powerful force in the IT industry? So much so, that we are now seeing non-Cloud system upgrades referred to as “traditional,” which for such a young industry, is an extraordinary concept in itself.

At Searchlight, we are firm believers that the alignment of business and IT strategies, and the consequent enhancement of IT capabilities must be driven by business, rather than technological imperatives. In other words, the solution you chose should be the one that’s right for your unique circumstance, whatever platform that may entail. Having said that, many of our clients are expressing a desire to move at least part of their IT capability to the Cloud, and it’s with this in mind that we have authored a new White Paper; Migrating to the Cloud, The Transition to Cloud-based Business Applications.

In it, we take a look at the factors involved in the decision to move to a commercial off the shelf (COTS) platform and cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, and changes such a move will bring to business users. We also examine the different commercial considerations that need to be taken into account when selecting a cloud-based solution as opposed to a more traditional solution, and look at ways in which the process can be smoothed and safeguarded.

Much of this revolves around the paradigm shift of moving from internal to external responsibility for application support and management of infrastructure. The nature of SaaS means that vendors automatically have more responsibility, accountability and control in the application management process, as well as the management of technical support services. When you select your product vendor, you also select the organisation that will provide a significant part of your ongoing service management capability. It’s important, therefore, to ensure your vendor has both the capabilities to implement and manage your chosen solution.

Clear lines of responsibility need to be drawn. And attention needs to be given to issues of redress, recovery and, in the last resort, exit.

As with any emerging sector, it’s important to promote industry standards and best practice adoption of services and technologies. The Cloud Industry Forum has developed a Code of Practice for Cloud service providers which covers a broad range of areas and disciplines, focusing on transparency, capability and accountability, and we are delighted to have recently become a member.

One of the key benefits for us is being able to collaborate with leading Cloud industry providers and to be able to contribute to the promotion of best practice adoption approaches and industry standards. It also provides a platform for us to share our experience and that of our clients, both businesses and individuals, as well as giving us access to the latest research and information.

We’re looking forward to working with them in the coming months and years to contribute to this new and emerging industry, offering different perspectives and points of view. Our White Paper, we hope, is only the start.

To download the White Paper please complete the following information and click “Submit”.


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