Smarter data

With two major trends impacting CIOs’ jobs in the region, Dell is looking to come to the rescue

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Smarter data BROOKE: Consumerisation of IT isn’t something that CIOs can stop
By  Ben Furfie Published  May 5, 2011

With two major trends impacting CIOs’ jobs in the region, Dell is looking to come to the rescue. Ben Furfie sits down with Dell Middle East general manager Dave Brooke to find out more...

A major part of a CIO’s job is identifying trends and formulating strategies to deal with them. Currently, two of the biggest are the explosion in data and the consumerisation of IT.

The first has been caused by the first generation of enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and business intelligence applications which are creating tons of data for businesses. The second by the emergence of a range of devices that are not only desirable for users, but also do jobs better some enterprise IT.

However, both of these trends are generating threats to CIOs. In response to these threats, Dell Middle East has launched a call to action in an attempt to help give CIOs a clear vision of how not to mitigate the threats posed by these two changes, but actually embrace them and become stronger enterprises because of it.

The overriding factor driving these two trends, claims general manager of Dell Middle East, Dave Brooke, is cloud computing. “There are two primary areas of focus that enterprises have to address when it comes to adopting cloud computing technologies and processes. The first is how will they migrate to the cloud, and the other is how will they manage their data.

“Companies – not just in the Middle East – but around the world need a partner who is capable of holding their hand when needed,” he adds. “We believe that we have a unique offering. We fully embrace open standards when it comes to cloud computing. Dell has no legacy product to protect. It means we can take a different approach from many of our rivals. Many of them – even some of those that claim to be open – do lock-ins.

“If they are given the wrong information at this stage of cloud adoption, it could cripple their business further down the line. The absolute last thing an enterprise should be doing is making purchasing decisions based on previous suppliers. They need to seriously consider the long-term implications of the infrastructure they are buying.”

According to Brooke, there are two primary areas of focus that enterprises have to address when it comes to adopting cloud technologies and processes. The first is how will they migrate to the cloud, and the other is how will they manage data.

“It will depend largely on the type of CIO leading the enterprise,” he explains, expanding on the different approaches CIOs will take when approaching the cloud. “Some are early adopters, while some will be more hesitant. Believe it or not, but there will some people in charge of smaller enterprise’s IT infrastructure who don’t even know what cloud is.

However, urges caution when considering moving into the cloud. “Cloud migration is a progression. It’s not something you can do overnight. It’s important to remember that. The main reason is because intelligent data management isn’t something that can be plugged in and left to run. It’s much more than storage of data or the components used in storing that data,” he adds.

It is intelligent data management in particular that is of special concern to Brooke and Dell Middle East. “The importance of intelligent data management can’t be understated,” he says. “Organisations that lose data will invariably go out of business. You can guarantee if a CIO fails to protect the company from that sort of thing, they’ll be out of a job long before their employer goes out of business. End-to-end, it’s what you do with data. Our strength here at Dell Middle East is in data management.”

This expertise in data management is at the heart of Dell’s current strategy in the region. With a large number of enterprises beginning to virtualise their hardware infrastructure, and some even looking at large scale cloud rollouts, Brooke says that now is the right time to start asking the important questions now.

“How do you move your data to a next generation datacentre? How do you move it to the cloud?  And what’s more, how do we get to that point without negating our existing legacy infrastructure? These are key challenges that have to be addressed by the region’s CIOs.”

However, it isn’t just data that is occupying Dell’s attention at the moment. With the launch of its Streak tablet/smartphone and a strong consumer laptop market, the company knows the consumer market pretty well. It’s also on the ball when it comes to the rise of consumerisation in the enterprise.

“Another trend that we can’t afford to ignore – and it’s one that ties into data management and cloud services – is the consumerisation of IT. If any CIO thinks they can push back the tide of consumerisation, they are fooling themselves. It isn’t an isolated trend. It’s part of a triangle of forces that include people, processes and technology, which includes cloud computing and smarter data management,” says Brooke.

“We have a very specific practice that deals with consumerisation of IT right here in the Middle East. The fact is that consumerisation is happening by stealth, driven by these three forces. Look at webmail, look at the amount of people taking company calls and replying to business emails on their personal iPhones and Blackberrys.

“It is going to impact how the corporation manages the applications people use to do their work and the way they access it. It is going to require a shift in the way people thing about data. Where it is stored; where it is used – it’s important for CIOs to begin considering this,” he adds.

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