Pulse 2011: Cloud computing driven by innovation not cost

Innovation in the cloud

Cloud computing adoption is being driven by the desire to innovate rather than save money.

That was the message sent out during IBM's Pulse 2011 event this week in Las Vegas as the man in charge of the cloud for Lockheed Martin and Big Blue's cloud champion talked up the benefits on offer.

Cloud computing marks a turning point in the "industrialisation" of the IT industry, according to Ric Telford, vice president of cloud services at IBM, who likened the transition as akin to the key changes that happened when we went from making matches, nails and pins one-by-one - resulting in every one being different - to en masse.

"It wasn't an industry. It was a craft. In some ways that's very similar to how IT has been. We're craftsmen. But it doesn't scale," he said.

Using another analogy, this time how the financial services industry coped with growing demand, he added: "[The banks] just couldn't keep adding tellers so the ATM network was born. At any time of the day, in any place in the world you are now able to draw cash out. What this self service model brought to banking is akin to what we're seeing.

"What's changing now is a shift in focus on the cloud from cost control to driving business innovation. Now I can get my services to move faster, be more dependable and repeatable, what can I do differently?"

Melvin Greer, senior fellow and chief strategist for SOA and cloud computing at Lockheed Martin echoed Telford's claims that times were changing.

"We at Lockheed Martin have a unique perspective on how to approach cloud computing. We have less of a discussion around the technical definition of cloud and more of a discussion on what we can do with the cloud," he said.

"It's important to get context as to why cloud computing is so hyped. We have a global economic situation.... This global context has created a new normal.

Given the US government's mandate to invest heavily in the cloud to the tune of $20 billion, Lockheed Martin does and will continue to play a key role in providing those cloud computing services.

As to the benefits of this cloud-centric approach? "Now we can consider whole new levels of business opportunities that never existed before," added Greer.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.