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Smart Enterprise: Greater Expectations

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CRM, mainly to serve Ball's internal business customers at new, heightened levels. Also, the cloud will help Williams run IT more efficiently, thanks to selective sourcing with partners that meet the company's quality, time-to-market and cost-savings standards. "I'm also looking at innovative ways to help Ball reach emerging markets by leveraging a global technology platform for scale," he says. New solutions are especially important in online retailing, where variable system capac- ity is essential. While most retailers have a set amount of capacity on their e-commerce sites, typically those levels are topped during holiday shopping periods. The traditional, pre-cloud solution was to overprovision servers to meet that potential demand, then let those servers sit idle the rest of the year. However, with the cloud, as demand increases, CIOs can either provision processing capacity in the public cloud or deploy an internal private cloud using virtualized servers. "An organization's ability to gain competitive advantages from technology will be contingent upon its ability to continuously optimize its IT supply chains," says Chris O'Malley, General Manager at CA Technologies. At CAD supplier Alibre, both virtualization and cloud technology are key components of the IT supply chain. "Virtualization affords us the ability to replicate environments in almost real time, providing us the ability to scale our operations up or down without incurring huge sunk costs," says CIO Sukhat- ankar. For example, if the Alibre IT staff expects to encounter an inordinate amount of Web traffic for a short period of time, they can add virtual servers to load-balance the transient demand. On the external side of Alibre's IT supply chain, the cloud has helped the company migrate its CRM operations from an in- house designed solution to Salesforce.com. "I've been a big proponent of the cloud for several years," Sukhatankar says. Several Solutions Fortunately, CIOs don't have to brave the dynamic IT supply chain alone. They can turn to solutions like the recently introduced CA Cloud-Connected Management Suite, which is designed to deliver the IT ser- vices a business needs. The solution helps ensure and secure cloud services in line with regulatory and security requirements, such as identity and access management, and data loss protection. The solution is also designed to help select and provision external services in an automated and orchestrated manner. (For more on the CA Cloud-Connected Management Suite, see "The CIO Rainmaker," p. 8.) One of the four products included in the CA Cloud-Connected Management Suite, called CA Cloud Insight, will leverage the Ser- vice Measurement Index (SMI) Framework. The framework is now being developed by a consortium of Carnegie Mellon University, CA Technologies, Stony Brook University and other business, academic and government organizations. The goal: help CIOs quantify and evaluate cloud-based services, then compare these services against their own internal IT resources. More specifically, the SMI Framework will focus on six measures to help CIOs compare and contrast cloud services with other available services: qual- ity, agility, risk, cost, capability and security. "This framework will be a standard way to talk about IT services at the business level," says Jay Fry, VP of Marketing, Cloud Customer Solutions, at CA Technologies. One place to learn more about the SMI index is Cloud Commons (cloudcommons. com), a new community and website focused on helping IT practitioners get useful, real-world information about cloud computing. The site can help CIOs and others looking to deploy cloud computing and improve the way IT supports business objectives. Founding supporters of this community include CA Technologies, the TM Forum, Red Hat and Insight Invest- ments. "This isn't just a CA site — it's meant for anyone needing practical information about cloud," says Fry. "It's a great place to go when you need to know what's going on with different types of cloud services." Part of the Portfolio The transition to the dynamic IT supply chain could take CIOs on several paths, depending on their IT portfolio, industry, even country. As Petri of CA Technologies points out, cloud technology is likely to catch on fastest in emerging countries, given their smaller installed base of legacy systems. In these countries, companies could well "leapfrog" older technologies, much as consumers have done with mobile phones in countries that lack robust telecom landlines. "They were able to go straight to wireless," Petri adds. Another option is a revisiting of IT's cen- tralization vs. decentralization debate. Petri is seeing a growing number of companies moving IT staff directly into marketing, development, production and other busi- ness units. "When you move IT into the departments and couple that with more frequently sourcing solutions as a service from the cloud, IT will spend less time wor- rying about rudimentary IT issues. Plus, they can be much closer to the user," Petri says, "helping those users pick the right service solutions to accomplish what they need." At Ball Corp., Williams has embedded continuous improvement within the orga- nizational DNA. "If you're not proactively managing the economics and increasing demand for seamless services, you're a sitting duck, and somebody's going to take you out," he says. No matter which path CIOs take, this change will take time. Only now are the big enterprises considering cloud deploy- ment, and many are still experimenting with virtualization technology. "The cloud is hearkening a profound change, but even a revolution can take a long time with a big company," Fry says. "This transformation will be a multiyear process." As the cloud rolls in, CIOs may want to bear in mind what Henry Ford, the world's best-known manufacturing icon, once said: "Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success." ■ LARRY LANGE is a technology writer and former Senior Editor at TechWeb, PlanetIT.com, EE Times and IEEE Spectrum. The transition to the dynamic IT supply chain could take CIOs on several paths, depending on the their IT portfolio, industry, even country. PHOTOGRAPH: YINYANG/ISTOCK )'('SMART ENTERPRISE 17

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