Author: Julia Hordle, Director of Recruitment
Let’s be honest, it isn’t often these days, that you go to an conference event expecting to interested in every topic and speaker on the schedule.
Yesterday, we heard about the principles, potential and applications of cloud technology in a way that even a lay person (me) without a technological bone in their body, could not fail to be impressed by.
I consider myself to be a lay person because, whilst I am interested in (now fascinated by) the possibility of doing so much more with the information we hold, there is always just the promise of doing wonderful work with information, and I am always reliant on others to make the magic work.
In practice, making progress with legacy systems, written in older eras, is painfully slow and there is a high dependency on IT partners who may not share or fully understand the business purpose behind the work.
We had here a group of experts, from many different perspectives, who spoke about a new era in Information; we are at a point where we can optimise value from the content we have already invested in by designing our domains so we can share, inside and outside our own organisations.
The key points driven home were:
- That given the rate of increase of the volume of data held, a cloud solution is the safest and most economical way to store information which is not security sensitive
- The way forward for most large organisations is to use a combination of private and public clouds, infrastructure and content clouds
- That in the use of the cloud, businesses perform better by encouraging self service for customer/users, thus creating the capacity to do much more
- Through social and dispersed media, the cloud can be an excellent mechanism for due diligence, through the smart use of links
- Economies of scale and better community working are easily enabled through a cloud
- To make clouds work, thought must be given to classification, taxonomy and linkage, if they are to work across border, cultures and languages
- There are clear cost savings via reduction in classical IT expenditure
- But the ownership, value and “curation” of data needs to be carefully thought through, or we may lose information, valuable in years and decades to come
- Who pays for content, provision and/or usage? Authors, owners, users or society? How do we pay?
- Little wastage of storage or data utility in the cloud
- Need to get into good meta data habits to be fit for the cloud
Pay detailed attention to contracts. Have an exit strategy.
Who owns the data once you hand it over, what are the rights issues, will you cede power over your own IP if you are not careful?
Make sure you are prepared to have your data back, if contract terminates. Will this undo your cost reduction?
Do providers have the right to keep and use a copy of your data?
- Understand implications for compliance and for QM systems and accreditation requirements
- Independent audit is essential. Don’t rely on service and solutions providers
- Think carefully about security and encryption versus utility
- If encryption bars algorithms for analysis, will this prevent the cloud as a useful solution to data storage and analysis?
TFPL Events did a wonderful job of bringing together a group of speakers and participative delegates who gave The Cloud a rigorous 360 degree, public scrutiny. The event discussed the Cloud as a positive, adventurous mechanism for collaborative working and for engagement with external customers for interest groups. The event worked, because the vendors did not oversell, and the users and the sceptics came to learn but not to deride.
The sentiment in the room was of an event that delighted in its effectiveness, to raise awareness and expand our perspective on the Cloud, through real experience. There was a call for more – perhaps a follow up event to share more about inventive applications of Cloud, to inspire innovation. There is also a clear demand for CIOs –intrepid strategic information and IT professionals able to lead organisations on adventures to a promised land of cost reduction, shared information and easy information living.
One of the delegates talked about a “race for adoption” and how important it is for growth, to take up new technology ahead of the curve for optimum performance. This seminar made us all want to race.