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Embracing cloud in the cognitive era

Sep 08. 2016
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By Kittipong Asawapichayon

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Seventy per cent of the companies that were once on the Fortune 1,000 list in 2003 have now vanished. An analyst has also predicted that over the next three years, at least one-third of the top 20 companies in every industry will be disrupted if they don’
So what is the cause of this disruptive trend? According to IBM’s “2016 Global C-Suite” study, 77 per cent of chief information officers interviewed attribute this disruption to the influence of new technologies. While they believe mobile solutions, cloud computing and the Internet of Things will continue to have the most significant impact on their organisations over the next three to five years, over 60 per cent think cognitive computing could revolutionise businesses.
As we enter the cognitive era, where systems have the ability to learn at scale, reason with purpose, and interact naturally with people, companies are beginning to realise that they are merely scratching the surface of the cloud as a means of reducing infrastructure costs and achieving operational efficiencies. 
Today however, instead of commoditised activities, the cloud allows companies to spend more time on value-added activities such as strategy and innovation while saving money. Companies should start to explore ways to use the cloud to drive innovation and growth, break into new markets or create new revenue streams.
   Here is guidance on how to become a cloud leader in a cognitive world:
l Leverage a broad services catalogue on the cloud to create cloud native apps quickly
Speed is of the essence and time means money. The cloud reduces to days or even hours what used to take weeks or months to be done! The as-a-service model has simplified developers’ workload and facilitated the transformation. 
Infrastructure-as-a-Service reduces the effort and time required to provision and manage hardware, while Platform-as-a-Service reduces the effort needed to manage various middleware, from databases to application programming interfaces (APIs) to services. Software-as-a-Service also now gives end users access to business applications hosted and maintained by the vendor.
l Connect what you do in native cloud seamlessly across enterprise IT, without compromising governance and security
CIOs spend billions of dollars to build up a data centre for a reason, with large amounts of time dealing with issues related to deployment and operations. 
Today things are more simple and effective. The vibrant API economy lets business open the way to new markets and easily extend assets to ecosystem developers. Using deployment scripts that are repeatable helps to reduce errors, improve productivity and speed time-to-market. 
Reusable deployment processes with built-in actions help enable faster testing and deployment of changes. Cloud is also where different workload patterns and speed can be optimised to the best fit.
l Stay alert, cloud is a shared responsibility
First, to prevent cyber-attacks and comply with regulations, a strong security strategy is necessary. Data encryption should not impact the user experience. 
Second, a provider could have the latest security features, but due to the general lack of cloud standardisation, there are no clear-cut guidelines unifying cloud providers. Third, on-boarding is among the key challenges and requires portability of key components that can be moved to cloud and determining their interoperability with components that remain on in-house systems. 
Lastly, having a back-up schedule is crucial – and be sure never to take shortcuts to security.
When every business is fully digitised, cognitive will be the key in enhancing 
business competitiveness. Clearly, the cloud will be there as a key enabler.
Kittipong Asawapichayon is country software group manager, IBM Thailand

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