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SA firms show deep hunger for advanced cloud services

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Grant Morgan, GM of cloud at Dimension Data.
Grant Morgan, GM of cloud at Dimension Data.

Local C-suite executives are eager to get real value from advanced technologies through cloud platforms, but are often set up for failure by innovation-lagging IT departments.

This was the word from Grant Morgan, GM of cloud at Dimension Data, speaking yesterday at the ITWeb Cloud, Data Centre & DevOps Summit, at The Forum, in Bryanston.

Discussing the vital role of adopting Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) in a hybrid or multi-cloud environment, Morgan explained ITIL provides a foundation to enable flexibility, scalability and management of data and security within a cloud environment.

While cloud promises to alleviate many common business pain points, Morgan pointed out enterprises are still struggling to unlock the desired and potential business outcomes from their cloud solutions, due to major setbacks, including lack of innovation from IT departments and tech skills shortages facing local organisations.

ITIL is a set of detailed practices for IT service management that focuses on aligning IT services with the business requirements.

“Through ITIL best practice, organisations should be able to derive value of advanced technologies such as machine learning, advanced analytical services and Internet of things, through their cloud platforms, beyond just moving around a bunch of applications.

“C-suite executives are hungry for these new game-changing technologies, which they want to leverage from their cloud services, but are often left frustrated that their IT teams are not open to experimenting with these technologies. We often see the big CEOs pushing their IT departments to use these technologies and are met with resistance which stems from lack of innovation.”

The advanced use of emerging technologies enabled by cloud computing offers organisations enormous promise, transforming their services and product offerings, driving innovation and increasing time to market while providing a competitive advantage at the enterprise level, and helping organisations to develop and test products in new ways, he added.

“One of the things organisations are doing wrong is that they are not moving fast enough to cloud and they are not running proof-of-concepts or hosting experiments of these new technologies that will delight their CEOs. Even if it means starting off by building an internal cognitive service that provides employees with information like: what sex they are, their personality type, and how much sleep they’ve had, as part of an experiment, like we have done at Dimension Data.”

Another contributing factor to lack of innovation within local firms is the country’s skills shortage, he continued. “We severely lack skills such as software development and cloud skills, and yet we compete with global organisations and international talent. SA continues to lose critical skills; we are seeing the really talented and certified guys emigrating, others getting poached by the highest international bidders.”

He highlighted the role of infrastructure-as-code (IAC) in enabling DevOps teams to test applications in production-like environments to manage and increase developer productivity.

“IAC allows DevOps teams to deliver applications and their supportive infrastructure, rapidly. Combined with DevOps,IAC provides the ability to automatically and predictively provision new infrastructure, for release of new code, in parallel with what is already running. So instead of installing code into an existing running service, they can just run and install software into parallel servers and switch the users to a new environment.”

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