By JJ Worrall
Preaching the message that "life will never be the same again" for businesses across the globe, Ergo Chief Executive, John Purdy was one of the main speakers at the company's recent '20-20 Vision: Set our Course for the Future' event in Croke Park. The half-day of presentations and breakout sessions saw a number of the company's representatives, alongside experts from its partners: Microsoft, Citrix and HP, attempting to open the eyes of business leaders from around the country as to how "IT will be delivered and consumed" from now on.
Purdy was followed by former HP VP, Tony Redmond and Microsoft Ireland tech evangelist Andrew Macadam, with the former asking those in attendance to consider "where we were seven years ago, where we are now and where we'll be in seven years' time", particularly in terms of data growth and the "blizzard of devices" being utilised by employees.
Redmond spoke of how companies need to get used to the idea that "cloud will be 50% of everything we do", adding that three questions should dominate the mind of any CTO, CEO or IT worker at present: "how to embrace the cloud", how to "leverage BYOD and consumerisation" (to which Redmond appealed for IT departments to "embrace the app model" in particular), and finally to "how can we remain flexible" and "look out for the next big thing".
Meanwhile Microsoft's Macadam emphasised that when Irish businesses try to create a mobility strategy they must try to understand that "context above all else" is important when it comes to how the technology is being used and how the data involved is being secured. IT Director with Beaumont Hospital. Martin McCormack then presented a case study on how Ergo has helped the hospital to improve data collection techniques among other IT functions in recent years, before the event moved on to three breakout sessions looking at ICT-as-a-Service, getting better engagement with customers and "cloud and service out-tasking".
The ICT-as-a-Service session included Senior Consultant Engineer with Ergo, Sean O'Farrell demonstrating the flexibility of desktop options available for those working off a number of devices. Using a smart phone, tablet and laptop to demonstrate how it is now possible to have a "seamless experience" across devices, O'Farrell said the range of management tools available to tackle this issue are attracting attention as, first and foremost, they allow for "more productive employees".
The customer meanwhile was the concentration of the second session of the day, where solutions architect Neil Young spoke about some of the tools now available for a more cohesive engagement process with clients. Demonstrating a customer issue, Young and co-presenter Rob Davies, Subject Matter Expert - Microsoft Lync, showed off some of the "more intuitive” options, including self-service solutions and personalised portals, which are available these days for handling customer issues across any device.
Leveraging components of a company's existing IT infrastructure is vital within this process said Davies, name-checking Lync and SharePoint as examples, he noted that "80% of the gains" involved in such moves are around productivity.
Closing the event, the "cloud and service out-tasking" session included the company's Managed Services Solutions Manager George Dowling talking about the explosion in outsourcing and managed services here over the past five years in response to what he called the "economic natural disaster" in that time. Irish companies, he said, are learning that placing certain IT operations and general services in the hands of experts can help them in the quest to "adapt and become successful" in the current environment.
"Take a look at Coca Cola," Dowling implored the crowd, "they're the king of outsourcers", making the point that the drinks company, like tech giants Microsoft and many other global names, "create a central product" but outsource where necessary to remain successful.
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