In an ambitious event that showcased cloud computing and its promise for business, Ergo declared 2011 Year Zero, the year of cloud.
The "Year Zero - New Ways of Working" event highlighted the "true business transformation" that is now at hand and accessible by businesses of all sizes. Paul Rellis, managing director, Microsoft Ireland, said that the move toward cloud computing and services was akin to the situation where people moved from corner shops to supermarkets, where businesses will come to realise that a greater level of service and convenience is becoming available.
Ergo CEO John Purdy echoed this assessment, adding organisations will move to adopt when they become more comfortable with the concepts and capabilities. Rellis said that current macroeconomic factors were also likely to push organisations into greater cloud adoption, as utilities, fuel and people costs began to rise again.
With a key note address by Martin Curley, senior principal engineer director, Intel Labs Europe, he later commented that consumerisation in IT will become an increasing factor in how organisations deploy technology. Curley said that people's home experiences will make them less tolerant of substandard technology at work, pushing the adoption of newer, increasingly cloud based productivity solutions.
The Microsoft partnered event featured multiple breakout sessions addressing various aspects of the journey to the cloud. In the virtual client services session, George Dowling, solutions architect, Ergo, highlighted the advantages of reusing existing machinery while expanding capabilities in the desktop environment. "If we can turn existing desktops into a Windows 7 thin client without sending out an engineer, that's a big cost saving," said Dowling.
The session co-presented by Niall Gilmore, country manager, Citrix Ireland, demonstrated how Citrix services with Windows 7 could provide robust, cost effective platform to take desktops beyond past implementations. "Users use applications, not operating systems," said Dowling, emphasising that the delivery method was no longer a concern of the user.
The user analogy was carried over into the session on automating IT operations. Gavin McShera, data centre specialist, Microsoft, advised organisations to "manage IT as your users use it-:-as a service." IT as a service, made possible by tools such as Microsoft's Systems Center, means that organisations can allow application owners to "commission services within distinct policies and conditions," said McShera. All this is supported by new capabilities for System Center 2012, expected in this quarter, that actively monitors the health of services taking pre-emptive action where necessary in the case of deterioration or failure.
Other sessions covered topics such as business intelligence, productivity and communications and relationship management.
Purdy of Ergo said that feedback he received from partners and clients indicated that adjustment to the new reality of austerity and restraint meant that every organisation was looking for an edge to remain competitive.
"People at work now expect to have the same easy access to applications and services that they get from their mobile phones, tablets and laptops. The consumer experience is becoming the work experience," said Purdy. "The technology is now available through new delivery models, like the cloud, that change the way IT is accessed and paid for."
"We are mindful that we are in recession which is why an overriding theme of the event is about doing more with less. It's not just about making IT easier; it's about making it more affordable," added Microsoft's Rellis.
Click here to watch footage from the Year Zero event
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