In the clouds or in the sand – where is your head at?

I spend a lot of time flying, and I mean a LOT. So much so, that the new next door neighbours didn’t question my wife when she told them I was a trolley dolly for Easyjet  and that was why I left the house just after 05.00 so often. Now there are clearly a lot of downsides to living in Edinburgh and having your main customers and the team ‘down sarf’. The days can be long and the early starts don’t do a lot for your family life, but I find there are a few upsides. Like that little window of opportunity between boarding and 35,000 ft. where all portable devices are switched off,  when I  could chose to;

  •  Sleep. Nah, I’ll sleep when I’m dead thanks.
  • Squint out the corner of my eye at the X-rated gardening book seat 14B is reading (50 sheds of grey?) –Emmmm NO!
  • Create,  contemplate and plan with back to basics pen and paper – Yep.  I love this time, it allows me to step back, stop consuming information and use the time to reflect and contemplate about our Cloud Strategy, our customers and how the market might look in the future.

So when I’m travelling, besides visiting my favourite city that is LDN, I get to see a lot of other really nice places thanks to my role. In fact before I headed to LHR on Monday this week, I had just arrived back last night from the Computacenter Vendor Golf Challenge in La Manga, Spain. Top quality food, wine, and lodgings… but more than that, the chance to spend a few days on some of the best golf courses with some of the biggest hitters  in the UK IT market.  It’s a pretty unique event, 16 vendor teams, a lot of them who are the best of enemies by day, but who all share a common bond in that they are all major, and very important  partners of Computacenter.  So besides discussing who is playing the best golf or has the most suspect handicap, we talk a lot about the IT market.

Due to my role, Cloud is always the order of the day and the one thing  I think every vendor agrees with is that Cloud is having and will continue to have, a significant impact on the IT market we all know and love, for customers, vendors and service providers alike. The arms race that is the public Cloud market will impact us all for sure if we don’t evolve, as the buyer changes and customer shifts from purchasing hardware and perpetual software licenses,  to consuming what was complex IT, as a service. A service where the badge on the technology  is less relevant, and service levels, cost and functionality are king. The IT market is going through a BIG transformation, probably more so than at any other time in my 25+ years in IT.

It was for one of our key partners, EMC that I agreed to sit on a panel at a media only session recently at EMC forum, discussing the subject of IT Transformation. I was talking about how organisations contemplating IT transformation in the last 18 months have a new dimension to contemplate with Cloud and the private and public ‘as a service’ market now becoming a very viable service delivery model. I was describing that by contemplating the shift to consuming IT as a service, the transformation was as much about transforming IT folks as it was about technology – where people have to be knowledgeable  in service, IT costs, IT process, understanding the business  and a whole lot more, on top of getting to grips with not just one area, but every layer of technology as Infrastructure converges.

Now I’m not proposing that cloud technology will replace traditional IT, they will co-exist for sure, but Cloud computing will have a big impact on many people and it’s time to think about how you might be impacted, and how you need to transform. For many, the days of making a career out of knowing a single layer of technology or shipping MORE storage are numbered. Far too many people, including many within Computacenter  who are used to being treated as a highly valuable IT asset by their employer are going to have to evolve or risk being marginalised by market that could bypass them.  It’s important to take time out from keeping the lights on, get your head out of the sand  at least spend some time contemplating in the Clouds.


About Paul Casey

Paul is Chief Technologist for Datacentre & Cloud technologies at Computacenter UK

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