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BIG THINKER
“It is a job for the CIO to prove the advantages of integrated cloud services to business departments.”
Dr Joseph Reger, CTO of Global Business at Fujitsu
Cloud integration: a critical IT challenge for 2014
Image: Dominik Gigler
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Cloud integration: a critical IT challenge for 2014

January 2014
Dr Joseph Reger on the pressing need to ensure multiple clouds work seamlessly together.

Cloud computing is on an exponential curve. What we currently see in that landscape is the rapid growth in the availability of all kinds of services, in the scope of technologies and the vendors behind those. Essentially, cloud numbers are now big and the cloud environment very complex.

In any enterprise, it is very unlikely a single cloud service from a single source is going to satisfy all of its needs. So with IT by and large moving towards cloud computing, the biggest challenge and the most exciting question currently is how can we bring together different kinds of service and get them to work together. Whether that involves software-as-a-service combined with some infrastructure-as-a-service or an enterprise’s own private or hybrid cloud, integration has now become a very serious challenge.
Low-hanging fruit

The situation is not too surprising — or unfamiliar. When a technology is new, its promise can be so great and the low-hanging fruit so attractive that there is little talk about optimization. The perception is that that is not so important because the standalone use of the new technology is going to make a big difference. But the time comes — and it’s coming for many organizations now with cloud computing — when the intelligent combination of components creates further business value.

So in the future, a big part of the cloud computing market will relate to that creation of value through optimization and integration. The integrators are less likely to be the companies who are today providing a particular service or technology. More probably, it will be vendors with a wider perspective.

A key driver of demand for cloud integration is ‘shadow IT.’ Because one of the characteristics of cloud computing services is that they are very easy to subscribe to, many business departments have bought in their own IT. I don’t necessarily see this as a negative trend; the fast pace of business innovation today requires that kind of very quick instrumentation. So if an organization has a process it needs to address that is encapsulated in some cloud-based service, then I think going around the IT department makes sense.

But once these services are purchased and being put to use they tend to stay isolated, and from the company’s perspective that’s not a good idea. Indeed, some CIOs I talk to are very concerned about how to deal with that issue, feeling that if lines of business buy whatever they deem is necessary there is little scope for purchasing advantages, integration and governance.

It is a job then for the CIO and the internal IT department to create the situation where they can prove those advantages and, where it makes sense, to collect back and integrate services — without, of course, intimidating lines of business.

• Dr Reger will be delivering a keynote on Open Source at Fujitsu Forum 2015 in Munich, November 18 and 19
First published
January 2014
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About: Dr Joseph Reger
A renowned visionary, Dr Reger heads up the Technology Office of Global Business at Fujitsu. He applies the mind of a theoretical and computational physicist to how cutting-edge ICT delivers value to business and society.

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