The BizCloud Traveler

Recently I found myself in the position to explain “The Cloud”, the advantages & disadvantages, how to get there and how to identify technical, geographical and functional requirement – this very much for non-techies. Thought I could share my latest analogy:

Being a frequent business traveler I have identified quite a number of similarities between cloud services and hotel services:

  • A cloud service is similar to booking rooms in a hotel where number of rooms and consumed additional in-room services might be uncertain at the the time of requesting the services, but I do know I need access to the hotel
  • I might also be interested in door-2-door services, i.e. get from home to hotel, have a rental car available for spontaneous trips and at one point in time really want to get home again
  • I expect the hotel to cover some basic needs and have those covered by the basic charge
  • I definitely want the hotel to be flexible in regards to my potential upcoming request and am willing to pay a fee for additional services (while still hoping my loyalty program covers at least some of my additional requests); I also accept fees will go up when ordering services out of standard hours or non-standard services
  • I know I will pay for some services I won’t use (e.g. I never managed to use more than 2-3 tea bags per night – in a lot of hotels you get up to 10), but I also understand the service provider (i.e. the hotel) has done the maths for finding the right balance between satisfying the contractual obligations and teasing me into using additional services (“You like the tea? More available at the front desk”) vs losing a customer by including unnecessary items into basic charge

Some obvious statements

  • I want to feel secure in the place I stay – in room and also when walking in the neighbourhood
  • Different hotels offer different choices and levels of quality for certain services
  • Every traveler has different likes, requirements and financial capabilities
  • Services offered from hotel as well as services requested from any traveler might change even during stay
  • Let’s say I originally booked a “just good enough” room, find a precious valuable for my wife on the local market and intend to protect that => “Can I have a safe with adequate insurance coverage?”
  • Let’s face it – it might even be I just don’t like the hotel and want to move to a different one in a close location
  • Searching a room just for myself is way easier (and can be done by myself) than organising a meeting with a few people (that’s where assistance from secretary/PA and travel agency comes in); it’s getting even more complex if a large crowd needs to be gathered for let’s say a conference – that’s where professional conference services take over. (And I’m not yet even talking about the real complex topics like arranging visa for certain countries etc)

Travel scenarios

  • If I travel to a place I’ve been before I tend to look for either my favourite hotels or – of not available or plainly too expensive – check the area I like for something similar – and yes, i of course do this before I travel; I am also pretty adamant on having a confirmation from where I intend to stay before I depart – for some regions / countries on this planet it’s actually a requirement to have the confirmation to get the visa done.
  • In case I need a visa or work permit I will also engage the right professionals – i.e. the ones who give me a guarantee on success before I take next steps like contracting with the client
  • In case I travel to a place I had not been before but know my employer has an office not too far away I might decide to stay close to that office (because I know the hotels around or because we have a great discount) and accept having a slightly longer ride from travel target to hotel or back
  • In case I need to go somewhere I have no clue about I will ask some folks – that’ll include people I know having been there as well as the travel agency to get me a good price for the recommendations received from friends, colleagues and customers

Business Travel Conclusion

  • When on business travel there’s a clear objective for the business part – and I also tend to have one on the travel part reflecting / mapping with the business requirements.
  • I want to be secure, I want my belongings to be secure (insurance for in-room storage of electronic devices and passports, no surprise like another guest in the same room…)
  • I want the accommodation to be flexible to my needs (early arrival, late departure, unplanned check-out, taxi call on time, conference room for x people on request….)
  • Basic stuff like “split my bills into business and private items”
  • If I am a loyalty program participant I expect the hotel to have both my addresses (business and private) on file
  • I expect my travel agency to fully comply with my corporate rules on security, costs, locations..

Analogy Conclusion

  • When I move business data and applications to the cloud I expect full compliance with internal and external regulations
  • My provider needs to cover basic requirements like access management and security
  • I want to have a provider reflecting and responding to my changing requirements
  • I want my provider to be able to respond to scale up/down requests
  • I need to have a Service Level Agreement that explains in detail the expected charges for scaling standard services or requesting non-standard charges
  • A supplier offering the majority of services in a financially reasonable fashion at a consumption based rate will have an advantage over the competition in the same area

Rough thoughts at the late end of a day – might clean up in the next days.

Appreciate your comments as always

/Chris

CSC TechCom 2014 – Learning & Networking for our Customer’s Benefit

Starting June 2nd 2014 hundreds of CSC’s technologists, along with a huge number of our technology partners gathered in Atlanta for 4 days of learning and networking. Main focus was on DevOps, reflected by two parallel main tracks, Development and Operations, tied together by general sessions, cross-over introductions and ideation events like Flash Jams and Shark Tanks.

Days were packed as expected, with activities starting early morning, extending to regular tracks and breakouts during the day, followed by After Dark Hands-On labs late in the evening.

To sum this up already now: Having attended quite a large number of (CSC) conferences in recent years, this was probably the best focused technology-oriented event I have ever attended – and close to all of the attendees do share this view.

In the final general session Dan Hushon asked how many of our technologists would recommend working for CSC to friends and family – rough counting of hands raised showed 80+% positive votes.

Topics covered

As one would expect, focus was on current and future trends including:

  • Big Data & Analytics
  • Cloud
  • Cybersecurity
  • Mobile
  • Applications

Development & Operations tracks tackled those topics from the respective angle – as stated above interlocked by how to successfully execute on DevOps.

Development track breakouts included:

  • CSC Reference Architecture(s)
  • Creating applications using Hadoop Batch Analytics
  • Stream processing w/ Storm
  • Application Development for Cloud and Virtualized Environments
  • Accelerating App Lifecycle w/ DevOps in the Cloud
  • Application Security on Demand
  • ArcSight & Horizon
  • CSC Mobile best practices
  • Agile IT with CSC DevOps Toolkit
  • Continuous Integration & Delivery in the AWS cloud

Operation tracks breakouts included:

  • IronFan (InfoChimps’ Orchestration Layer)
  • Policy-based governance w/ ServiceMesh Agility Platform
  • Hybrid Cloud best practices (AWS, OpenSphere, VSphere)
  • Accelerating App Lifecycle w/ DevOps in the Cloud
  • CSC MyWorkPlace
  • Risk Oriented Compliance Framework
  • Protecting business through Applied Thread Intelligence with CSC’s approach to global thread intelligence

I assume you’ve found the link between the two main tracks above? Just to state again – it’s moving to orchestrated DevOps to ensure quality and speed to market!

FlashJams

As we had the best thinkers assembled on site in Atlanta, we also dedicated time for creativity on specific topics. Topics were laid out and all our experts jumped in to analyze, visualize and craft a solution for the respective topic or issue described – you as our customers will see great benefit from this informal creativity; reflecting Outside-In by tearing down walls in industry silos, i.e. get an external view on what one originally might have considered an industry-specific issue.

Shark Tank

Have you heard about the investment competition show known by various names across the globe? While having different names in different countries (e.g. England & Canada calling it “Dragon’s Den”, Japan “Money Tigers”, Finland “Lion’s Jaw”, US “Shark Tank”), the shows follow the same concepts: Aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their idea to a panel of potential investors, hoping to get funded; the entrepreneurs task is to “sell” the idea based on information and validation, the investor’s task is to question and decide.

We reflected those shows during TechCom 2014 (and will do so again in years to come) by inviting everybody to submit an idea, a panel selecting the ideas to be presented and then running the real “show” live in Atlanta.

Combatants had 5 minutes each to present, followed by the panel posting questions and making a decision – winners were given USD 1000 plus support from the panel to bring the idea in front of our global Investment Review Board to decide if CSC will implement/realize the idea as a new CSC solution.

Sponsors

Of course an event like this is not possible without sponsors – and in fact would not make any sense without those great partners as it’s all about learning from each other, networking and creating value together. So, here a special thanks to our sponsors:

Sponsors

Charity

No event without charity – we all need to stick to this – it’s part of our Corporate Responsibility.

This year’s donations all went to the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities – and it’s been a lot of fun gathering donations and preparing welcome bags for kids & families – Thank You ARMHC for your great work!

Charity_webl

Final words

As stated above, this has been a fantastic event – dedicated and focused to deliver more value to our customers through intelligent and creative use of Next Gen Technology – I am already now looking forward to next year.

For those of you who want to relive this year’s TechCom or just get a first glance on how we interact in such events: Go ahead and use the following link to see a subset of pictures taken and published by our attendees:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152188162241172.1073741833.51414306171&type=3

Thanks for reading – let me know if this is of interest

(This post was originally published here)