Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent
October, 22nd 2013

Erich Clementi, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Technology Services

Erich Clementi,
Senior Vice President,
IBM Global Technology Services

By Erich Clementi

The U.S. Department of Interior is embarking on a multi-year process of shifting its traditional information technology systems to a cloud computing-based delivery model. The agency’s 16 bureaus and offices, which manage assets ranging from national parks and monuments to wildlife refuges, dams and reservoirs, spend in excess of $1 billion a year on IT—but have promised to save $100 million per year from 2016 to 2021 via the shift to the cloud.

The financial impact of the move will be substantial, but, in addition, the Interior department is putting in place a long-term strategy aimed at using the cloud to help transform the way it operates—making it more nimble, innovative and responsive to the needs of its constituents. It plans on using the savings it reaps from the shift to fund investments in new capabilities.

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Anne Altman, GM of IBM’s Federal business, talks about the new cloud innovation center in Washington, D.C.

That approach places the agency among the vanguard organizations within government and industry that understand that there’s a lot more to cloud than initially meets the eye. They recognize the potential for what we at IBM call the ‘high-value’ cloud.

The high-value cloud, in contrast to today’s commodity-type cloud services, does not require organizations to compromise on control, performance, automation or open standards. A high-value cloud has the potential to provide a computing infrastructure that is flexible enough to permit lightning-quick responses to changes in the business or governing environment, that is customizable so it precisely fits the needs of each organization, and that in time will be secure and reliable enough for nearly any use. The high-value cloud is based on open technology standards, so customers are not locked into one cloud service provider.

This open and interoperable computing fabric will be the foundation for enabling organizations to take full advantage of the capabilities presented by technology advances in mobility, Big Data analytics, social networking and the just-now emerging cognitive capabilities heralded by IBM’s Watson. For companies and government agencies that embrace it, this infrastructure delivery model can be the key to achieving optimum performance in this high-pressure world.

Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State, spoke at IBM's Cloud Summit today

Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State, spoke at IBM’s Federal Cloud Innovation Forum today

These benefits, of course, come on top of the well-known advantages of cloud computing: It enables organizations to avoid capital expenses and the complex demands of managing their own IT systems. It allows them to take advantage of the efficiencies of the shared computing resources. And it enables them to get new applications up and running quickly.

Today, the world is in the early days of broad-based cloud adoption. Most large organizations and many small ones use cloud services for a handful of purposes like for developing and testing new software applications or managing customer relationships and marketing campaigns. Yet we believe that the organizations that commit to shifting their core activities to a hybrid cloud delivery model now—the way the Interior department has done–will be the leaders of their industries tomorrow.

This is a monumental shift in IT – with tremendous benefits – so organizations should consider all the possible options and implications to their IT decisions. We believe that organizations will be best served by understanding the capabilities that will be available in the future, positioning themselves to take full advantage of them, and adopting enterprise-wide strategies and policies that will enable a smooth transition to the high-value cloud.

Here are some guiding principles:

Be strategic. Do not choose cloud services just based on an immediate need. Make sure they fit into your long-term plans.

Security is paramount. Pick services where security is built in from the ground up—not added on as an afterthought.

Choose services that are based on open technology standards. That way, as your organization and needs evolve, your cloud services can grow with you.

Avoid lock-in. Steer clear of cloud service providers that make it difficult for you to move to another provider.

Do not settle for one-size-fits-all computing: Today’s commodity-like cloud services offer few options. High-value services make it possible for customers to tailor solutions for their particular needs.

We are at a turning point in the evolution of cloud computing. While the cloud is still in the early stages of adoption, hybrid models already offer efficiencies, flexibility and ease of use that are superior in many ways to traditional computing. Yet it is clear that a higher-value cloud is emerging. As time passes, cloud services will be capable of taking on an ever-wider array of tasks and of delivering more profound benefits for businesses, government, the economy and society. Now things get really interesting.

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October 31, 2013
9:05 am

Thank you for this Eric. Have we got yet a well structured and compelling value proposition with a comprehensive roadmap to help banks move towards Cloud Computing?. In particular, when and how would be possible to move to Cloud their existing core and critical applications, such as those supporting Risk Management (market, credit, liquidity, operational, etc)?

Posted by: Juan-Carlos Martinez
October 29, 2013
7:39 am

IBM is rocking in Cloud space – IBM does things in a big way and this is one of the examples. This can surely be showcased as a win to other countries and have them migrated to Cloud – sorry IBM Cloud :-)

Posted by: Vasu
October 28, 2013
9:16 am

Erich, IBM has always led the way in creating high value for our clients. Cloud has often been interpreted as providing a low cost model. This blog helps us articulate to our clients why focusing on value and cost using Cloud is a winning proposition. Standards, Security and Industry value are all the best levers for clients to build long term value

Posted by: Meenagi Venkat
October 24, 2013
7:45 am

This is a great post that focuses in on some of the most important issues that IBM clients deal with everyday when making decisions to move workloads to the cloud. Using open standards provides IBM a huge edge over our competitors and allows IBM to design the solution that the client needs and wants surrounding agility, scalability, performance and security.

As a new hire that was brought in for my expertise in cloud developed in the start-up world, it’s clear that IBM executive leadership is driving cloud tops down. Something I’ve been vocal about since joining IBM is the need for this to translate in the field quicker if we are going to drive the growth IBM is looking for. In addition to the incredible technology and engineering that IBM is known for, we must ensure we are telling the right story to our clients. IBM plays across the cloud, our competitors can’t make that claim. IBM offers incredible value to our clients but we have to do a better job telling the IBM cloud story. That story isn’t about engineering or specs, it’s about our innovation, breadth of portfolio and delivering the industry leading solutions. Cloud will require us to step outside of our comfort zone and lead with the innovation story vs. feeds and speeds. Without standardization in cloud, trust becomes the critical factor. If we are going to earn our clients continued trust and ask them to allow IBM to ideate the next generation of cloud solutions for their organizations, we must focus on a unified cloud message and story that demonstrates our innovation, leadership and accomplishments in cloud. Our clients must be able to visualize how our innovation in cloud will give them a strategic advantage in business if we are going to effectively deliver the high value message to them. A great starting point would be a couple of simple charts that get to the heart of “Why IBM Cloud” to be used in almost every client engagement. We need to make sure our clients know, what we already know. IBM is the best choice to provide the right cloud based solution,(high value, hybrid, shared, dedicated) based solely on their needs.

Posted by: Kyle Pribilski
October 24, 2013
3:19 am

Erich, your outlined points for the high-value points make sense and I am with you, that we have reached now the turning point in the evolution of cloud computing. From my point of view it is very important that our client solution designs are always based on open technology standards. With our IBM cloud portfolio we are able to push open vendor solution building blocks for an open and interoperable client centric computing fabric in a hybrid cloud delivery model.

Posted by: Uwe Meyer-Gundelach
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