Archive | June 2015

2020 Information Technology (IT) more of same or 2020 vision required now

The year 2020 has a nice ring to it.

2020 sounds like the type of year discussed in science fiction Hollywood movies as a transformational year far away in the future. But it’s not that far away, it’s five years’ time and IT services and solutions is definitely not Hollywood.  Is 2020 too far away to plan for or so near it shouldn’t be feared – in my opinion it’s a resounding NO to both.  2020 and the impact of information technology on future business outcomes should be top of mind for every IT professional. If IT decisions are being made now that will deliver the technology platform for growth and change not just for today but equally over the next 5 years and beyond, 2020 vision is essential today.

At this point it may be easy to reply, “but surely not much will change in five years’ – to that statement, I can’t agree. In my opinion we will see “right size, right use” IT deliver levels of such resounding change & value over the next five years that today’s IT architectural perspective must shift and shift now. Starting with networks, in five years’ time the SDN euphoria may subside as many of today’s networks will be well on the way to a degree of fabric aligned convergence underpinned by optimised hardware that leverages automation and orchestration seamlessly. As a starter for ten all of the benefits of an intelligent programmable network dont just make cloud computing work, its fundamental to a successful cloud future. This healthy amalgam of hardware and software will deliver a friction free, dynamic application transport fabric still benefiting from the intelligence and inputs of highly competent network architects, but enhanced by software and automation. And why am I so confident of this state – “because the tangible benefits realised will be immense and too compelling to ignore”. The potential and business benefit of a network capable of changing personality (to a degree) on the fly, calibrated by real time application or user requirements will lead to the most optimum network performance level delivered “in that moment”. Surely that must be a real world business benefit that delivers material and repeatable value to any user or business.

But it doesn’t end there, 2020 must see a different security look, feel and outcome delivered by IT products, services and solutions. If organisations currently fear the in situ advanced persistent threat often in play as we speak but undetected within even the best protected enterprises across the world, by 2020 the mental acumen required to launch such an attack will be greatly reduced. Whether the attack is out tasked to a “hacker for hire”, occurs via an even more proficient malicious insider, or as a result of a seemingly harmless mistake (a laptop left on a train), the ramifications of breach or data loss will be colossal. If many believe we are on a journey starting now to digitise the enterprise, by 2020 many organisations may be exploiting their digital DNA to its full potential (often via enhanced the use of accessible data analytics platforms like Hadoop or Splunk), with the result a security breach or attack could halt an organisation short term or even permanently almost like a digital cardiac arrest. And lets not add the unknown benefits and effect of a growing internet of connected things (IOT) often unseen but very easy to access and manipulate. To that end security transformation plans today without 2020 vision top of mind may be destined to fail.

But in the midst of this 2020 chronicle of interest (networking), must do (security) there is a story of real excitement (UC) as we end this overview. UC will allow 2020 users to engage with greater productivity  with 2020 users – let’s call it REAL collaboration. Unified Communications has struggled to date within the enterprise due to circa fifteen years of potential and promise but with the result for many no more than a digital dial tone. But with 2020 in mind all of that is set to change with user pervasive UC a “must have” element within any “good to great” enterprise. The social network user persona is no longer the template of the teenage smartphone user, it’s the norm for preschool children, babies (with digital tablets and intelligent toys), the digital savvy Y & Z generation, the “baby boomers” for everything from shopping to collaboration with friends abroad and retirees who just want to stay in touch. And how do they achieve this, via a smart phone capable of communicating via different communications channels (video, voice, IM, social, browser) unified together by the network unified on a single device. In short if UC is starting to work now, driven by the growth of social ideals, the smartphone and tablets within modern enterprises by 2020 as they reach critical mass, enterprise UC will be the communications glue that keeps organisations, their users and their customers – “communicating”.

This ends my short roundup on 2020 and the potential our 2020 future holds. But 2020 isn’t far away and business decisions that drive IT change (or IT change that enables business innovation) happening now without 2020 vision in mind may be built with failure by design through the core. Now is the time not just to plan, but to do – no one wants to be the victim of a digital heart attack.

Until next time.

Colin W

Twitter: @colinwccuk

Chief Technologist:  Networking, Security & Communications.

An update from our 2015 Associates

Let’s talk about our values!

I have been on the sales associate programme for 6 months now and often I get asked by friends and colleagues ‘Why do you love working for Computacenter so much?’

For myself the answer is simple…the Computacenter culture!

CWinning togetheromputacenter has grown considerably from a single location business to a global company over the years and what is great about Computacenter is that despite the growth internationally it still feels like you are working with a tight knit family.

The Computacenter culture is underpinned by the ‘Winning Together’ values which are at the core of how the business operates.

Here are just a few of the times I have seen Computacenter’s values in action;

We Win by (1)

We do it together by (2)  No place id rather be

Let us know your thoughts,

Emily

Sales Associate

My Tamagotchi spawned a Software Defined Future

Reading through the results of our Survey on Software Defined, it is apparent that people have different perspectives around what the real benefits of ‘Software Defined’ are. That’s no surprise as the term is as confused, abused and overused as Cloud was. So where did Software Defined (SD) come from, where is it heading, and what will it deliver in term of benefits?

While the term Software Defined was still some 15 years away from being coined, I like to think ‘Software Defined’ inadvertently started with the launch of the child’s toy Tamagotchi way back in 1996. The point is, the small, plastic object was a mere platform for the pixelated Software Defined, duck like, alien pet thing. You could not touch this SD pet, but you knew it was there and the more you looked after it with Software Defined food, snacks, tidied up it’s software poops – the more it could do. Don’t look after it and the thing experienced a virtual death…That was not game over fortunately, as you could then re-spawn a new life at the touch of a button. While this is normal practice with toys, what is a bit worrying was that the creator of Tamagotchi designed the toy as a way of teaching teenage girls how to look after children….

Today, we have moved on to all manner of IT components being defined and delivered as software, then managed by intelligent software. This is what the term Software defined means to most people today. So the bigger picture or true potential of SD is all about automating IT and self-service portals right? WRONG! That’s a bit like comparing the scope of the Tamagotchi from ‘96 with today’s games that leverage an Oculus Rift headset….

SD is about so much more than that for the companies who can see the bigger picture. Those companies are leveraging Software Defined to streamline the way they deliver business services, sure they are removing cost from and streamlining IT operations, but by connecting deep into the business and development functions of the organisation, they are shortening the path between their customers or users and service delivery.

In this scenario, being Software Defined means offering a portfolio of (software) pre-defined business services, delivered in the form required by the requestor…either delivering IaaS, PaaS or other services on a physical IT platform… defined, delivered and managed by software…leveraging all of those lovely software defined, Compute, Networks and Storage elements.  On demand, dynamic, to a known state and elastic.

The Companies making this change aim to get products to market faster, reducing the cost of service delivery and being more agile than their competition in reacting to business change and market and customer demands.

This is not the same as using Software Defined technologies to deliver just IT’s role better, faster and cheaper from a self-service IT portal. It’s about mapping out the path from initiation to delivery of business services, applications, SD Infrastructure components and then automating the said delivery through software tools. Once the service is delivered, it’s then managed by software. Software developed to understand the bigger picture and react to changes to ensure the defined service availability criteria are met.

Clearly this brings significant benefits and extends some way beyond the typical role of IT today. SD enables the situation where delivery of the shortest path necessitates blurring the lines between the Business Lines and IT – the situation that enables DevOps to exist; that Supports Agile IT, Sprints and the things associated to the second, faster gearing of two Speed IT. These SD projects deliver big benefits across the business, but the Software defined technology is but one part of the transformation required. This sort of gear change involves rethinking the role of IT and way IT services are delivered… impacting the Technology, Processes and the People.

These are exciting and changing times for Computacenter and our customers.

Not visiting Infosec this year is “not an option” – Knowledge really is power (Computacenter stand L69)

Computacenter will be exhibiting at Infosec Europe, the industry leading “must attend” security event this week (2nd– 4th June) at Olympia, London.

Normally as Computacenter we send a delegation of sales, strategy and technology professionals to listen, observe, exchange viewpoints and take away as much security insight as is possible across “three days”. The customer benefits of Infosec are numerous but the potential to access “everything security in one location” is the one that makes it so compelling for all. This year the Computacenter approach is very different – for the first time Computacenter will be presenting from its own stand at Infosec Europe (stand L69). Why this year over previous years – with the security challenges faced by the social and professional world now regular “dining table” conversations, this year is the year all enterprises must make “right sight security, right way, right now” priority one.

Whether its identity theft, corporate hacking, data loss, protecting users, cyber threat or the myriad of other breaches and issues, security is the board level topic that now cannot slip down the board level agenda. This for Computacenter places security at the top of the list of customer engagement areas which in turn means our investments in capability and solutions will positively affect the security challenges faced by our customers. As Europe’s leading systems integrator for enabling the users of enterprise customers, Computacenter is keen to help organisations tackle the security challenge head on. ‎It’s no longer a case of waiting to remediate on mass when a breach occurs or over equipping the enterprise with an excess of security defences in the hope that it will make breach near impossible.

Attacks are ongoing, breaches happen ‎and even the best defence is only as effective as its last successful defence. The picture painted is now one of the need to maintain a state of continual but relevant awareness aligned with a more rigorous understanding of critical vs non critical information assets. With an increasingly mobile, always on workforce a new state of security awareness and visibility required that is a very different in stance from those of past eras. The Computacenter stand at Infosec (location L69) will allow attendees to discuss datacenter grade core security and the impact on the enterprise edge of the new “work anywhere on any device” employee.

“We believe security is not a short term topic of interest but will continue to be one of the most fundamental enablers of business success or demise within modern organisations.” For that reason and many others I look forward to welcoming you to the Computacenter stand at Infosec Europe (Stand L69) from 2nd June to 4th June.

Until next time (at Infosec Europe this week)

Colin W

Twitter: @colinwccuk