Research Fellow, Executive Programme at CSC Leading Edge Forum
By Mark Masterson
"Drawing a comparison to Doug Neal, Research Fellow for the Leading Edge Forum Executive Programme, is not easy. Tireless as the Energizer Bunny, as curious as George, tempered with the pragmatism of a drill sergeant, and the wisdom of a Zen master: no matter which facet of Doug I turn my attention to, I find myself reaching for superlatives. But summing up is not hard -- Doug Neal is one of the most extraordinary people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Doug and I met nearly two years ago, when I was beginning my own journey of understanding cloud computing and Enterprise 2.0, and I was searching for people within CSC to collaborate and share research with. Two years ago, that was a tedious search -- there weren't too many people thinking about such things then. Doug and I more or less stumbled across each other in this period, and for me, that was like going from aimless wandering in the Sahara to standing in the full blast of a fire hose: Doug's understanding of and insights into these domains can be overwhelming.
Doug's own research reflects this -- wide ranging, and deeply insightful. It covers things like the aforementioned cloud computing and Enterprise 2.0 domains, as well as related topics such as green IT and mobile / ubiquitous computing. Doug is a big picture thinker, and he connects dots that other people don't even notice. One of Doug's flagship efforts is the LEF Study Tour -- an annual event, often more than a week in length, where Doug takes a select, invite-only group of CTOs, CIOs and architects on an inside look at the movers and shakers of industry and academia. Doug arranges for visits to dozens of companies on these tours, who proceed to open their doors and show the group what they do and how they do it. Each tour examines a particular theme -- the one dedicated to mobile technologies went from Scandinavia to Japan and South Korea in a single marathon tour.
Last year, after we realized that we were working on many of the same things, Doug arranged for me to participate in the 2008 Study Tour, which was focused on cloud computing. Traveling from Seattle to Silicon Valley, we went backstage at Amazon, Google, VMware, Facebook, Microsoft and a dozen other companies, to see what they were working on, and ask them to explain cloud computing to us. It was an extraordinary event, and incredibly valuable to me.
Doug is now helping to lead the effort to establish CSC as an important contributor to the emerging cloud computing services marketplace. I am sure that he will continue to connect dots, challenge accepted wisdom, and shine the light of his understanding into the most obscure corners of the field. Moreover, I am confident that he will continue to challenge us to seek ways to solve problems in a sustainable, responsible fashion -- one that is good for the environment, and creates as much value for the next generation as it does for shareholders in the next quarter. I look forward to seeing where his leadership takes us next."
Mark Masterson is a senior enterprise architect with CSC, focusing on the financial services market. He also writes a blog, popular in certain enterprise geek circles, and is a frequent speaker on cloud computing and Enterprise 2.0.
The most important value the cloud brings is not lower costs, it is improved agility, not just for IT, but for the business as a whole. The biggest cloud computing benefits are being gained in business effectiveness areas such as speed, availability, responsiveness and innovation. This workbook is intended to help you get up to speed on cloud computing, considering issues such as quality, cycle time and customer/employee satisfaction, and then run a workshop jointly with business and IT staff that: Examines cloud opportunities Reviews potential issues Considers where and how specific information should be processed Related links The Workbook contains some tables for you to copy and use in your workshop. These tables are also available as Powerpoint files. Since knowledge about the cloud varies widely both within the IT community and within the business, we have found it useful to start a workshop with the Wall Street Journals cloud computing quiz. The Workbook concludes with some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). You can view a full list of these questions and answers and to submit further questions.
Where once it was important to understand the "network effect" of the Internet on your business, today it's the "cloud effect." The cloud effect is the influence of cloud computing - of on-demand, elastic, pay-per-use IT - on IT and the business. This influence is significant and far-reaching, for when a fixed asset like a computer becomes variable and on demand, all sorts of agility and new cost structures open up. Cloud rEvolution: The Cloud Effect explores six cloud effects impacting IT and Business: The Stack Transforms to Services Structural Deepening Expands the Cloud Ecosystem Cloud Enables New IT Options Mega Data Centers Power It All Cloudonomics Provide Financial Incentive Cloud Drives Business Value
Abstraction, long used in IT to mask complexity, is an essential ingredient for cloud computing. It's the secret sauce that sets up hardware and software to be delivered as a service from the cloud. Cloud rEvolution: The Art of Abstraction shows clients how to mix the sauce for their specific needs. Abstraction includes the many variations of virtualization, as well as services and multitenancy. In addition to enabling new combinations of IT components, abstraction helps the enterprise reduce cycle times. With abstraction, we can do in minutes what used to take days or weeks. Further, we can match IT demand to supply far more accurately, doing away with excess IT inventory.
Cloud Computing is taking IT by storm, and with it enterprises across the commercial and government sectors. As cloud computing changes the game in IT and opens up enormous agility and innovation for the business, enterprises are seeking to understand how they can benefit from cloud. Cloud rEvolution is a four volume series which probes the cloud continuum from its foundational technologies to abstract technologies to the ultimate abstraction: the cloud itself. The series explores IT and business implications, covering technology advances, examples, concerns and practical guidelines. Volume 1, Cloud rEvolution: Laying the Foundation, examines the core building blocks of the cloud, focusing on three areas: universal power, universal information and universal access. Armed with a solid understanding of cloud's foundations, enterprises will be better equipped to take advantage of advances in cloud computing, address its current limitations, and cut through the hype and doubt that currently surround cloud.
The value of cunsumerized services, available to anyone, delivered from 'the cloud', is no longer in doubt. Millions of people and thousands of businesses are already on board. It is no longer a matter of if you will make use of them, but of when and for what.
In today's economy, few predictions seem more certain than the increasing need for more environmentally friendly business and technology strategies. Forward-thinking organizations are already preparing for the many challenges and opportunities of this new Corporate Social Responsibility frontier.
This Issue focuses on managing roles, responsibilities, relationships and communications in an environment of ever more sourcing, partnering and collaboration. Doug Neal introduces the second edition of the highly successful collaboration guidebook, arguing that a little bit of up-front thinking and planning can help get more value from the ever-expanding range of communication tools now in use.
A new world is emerging. It is a world where software is delivered as a service, where browser-based systems replace fat client architectures, and where new business models begin to reshape the sourcing of enterprise IT. This Tour examined the changing Web landscape, looking at how new technology environments coupled with new business models are accelerating change.
This is a series of management messages about Web 2.0, how it differs from the first generation of the Internet and what these differences mean for enterprise agility, innovation and the careers of IT directors.
The IT industry is clearly shifting from a world that revolved primarily around hardware and software products to one defined by an ever-greater range of business and consumer services. By providing a powerful and ubiquitous, but low-cost, network infrastructure, the Internet has become an unprecedented tool for services innovation and transformation. In this Issue, we look at this topic from a number of different angles. Doug Neal explains the current Web 2.0 phenomenon, showing why the Internet has entered a new phase of pervasiveness and technology sophistication.
Will you lead, follow, or just get run over? There is a transformation going on and this time it is happening to the IT guys. Your users may already have better equipment at home than they do at work. Customers are becoming more connected to you and want to co-create their customer experience, not just take what you have on offer.
This report explores the consequences of consumerization for the IT organization, and in particular the role of employee responsibility and trust as consumer devices, public networks and web-based services are increasingly used for business IT.
This report focuses on the evolution and eventual shape of the corporate IT function, as clients continue to tell us that they need a vision that can define how their organization will change and what sort of future state will eventually emerge. This selection of articles is representative of the broad range of research projects currently underway. The articles encapsulate many of the key ideas and concepts we have identified and are now assessing.
Innovation is back on the business agenda. After four long years of post-bubble caution and skepticism about IT, companies are once again looking to technology as an important source of value creation and competitive advantage. This report focuses mostly on practical steps we can all take, whether it is how to improve collaboration via technologies such as videoconferencing, inject more innovation into outsourcing partnerships, or simply how to better think about, plan for, and manage this often fuzzy and intangible topic. Companies are once again recognizing the importance of innovation, but they want to do a better job of delivering it. We hope this series of articles will help.