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Preparing for the IT of the future can be done by simplifying and by better arrangement in the cloud.

Computers fundamentally alter probably every side of our lives. Exceptions when much remains in the old way of doing things include, paradoxically, the field of IT itself in Slovakia.

There is no doubt that even here there are progressive companies that are inspired by modern IT solutions, and there are many that come up with their own original innovations. A walk through the IT department or server room of an average Slovak organization, though, is not so much different than ten years ago and in many fundamental respects nothing has ever changed.

Less is more

Many companies react to modern trends by creating new innovation teams aimed at web analytics or IoT. The core of their informatics, though, continues to be old structures, technologies and procedures. Most of their effort then continues to be focused on the traditional part of the computer environment, which is extensive, complex and complicatedly interconnected.

Even in a small or medium-sized company or state organization is it possible to funds tens or even hundreds of different servers and complex softwares, spread out over various physical locations.

We encounter this also with cloud migrations. Often their fundamental benefit is that instead of migrating certain applications, we totally cancel them, because we assess them with the customer as unnecessary. Then “only” a consolidated computer environment makes its way to the cloud.

A large part of IT budgets are allocated to the purchase and operation of hardware and software, which do not give companies any competitive advantage and do not improve the provision of services of state organizations to citizens.

Even analysts of Gartner claimthat an organization should focus on reducing the total number and types of components and consolidate the number of localities to an essential minimum. In addition to saving costs, this lets them gain time for resolving new challenges, as the IT moves somewhere else.

Creativity on the top levels

It is no longer about infrastructure, such as networks, servers or databases. Increased effort and one’s own creativity are desirable only where it is necessary to stand out from the competition, i.e. in that part of IT that directly concerns the actual product or service that the company deals in, or in customer relations management.

It is not right to waste increased effort on IT systems that resolve the company’s needs somewhere in the bowels of the organization. For example, one of our telecommunications operators is developing its own application for managing its vehicle fleet and it operates this on its own servers. The internet already offers a full array of readymade applications to do similar things. No need to develop, instal, operate or sometimes even buy anything, because it is paid for progressively.

Even in the area of infrastructure it is good to innovate, but only in the interests of increasing effectiveness. This can be achieved by the use of standard components, virtualization (placement of several servers on one physical machine) or automation, which today is capable of covering increasingly more work of IT admins. Here the cloud can help greatly.

One of our customers shows a positive example. A leading property developer who handed over troubles with email, server and disk infrastructure completely to the cloud and so focuses on developing digital solutions for operation of intelligent polyfunctional buildings, unique even in a global context.

Security above all

As the role of IT rises, so does the importance of security. Computers already today decide on people, advise them what they should buy, if they would get a loan or set a medical diagnosis.

The leak of customer data is currently one of the worst perceived threats for all types of organization, not just as a result of GDPR, but also because of the real negative impact on the company.

IT security and integrity should therefore have a greater priority in organizations. It should be more important than user requirements for new functions or a nice user interface. The security of computers should be given the same kind of attention, resources and priorities as physical safety has in the case of construction work or the metal industry.

Even though every organization should build up its own competences in the area of IT security, its true that few are able to secure it by themselves. One way to move part of the work to suppliers is by migration to the cloud. Even cloud services that we do not regard as “secure” often possess a strong component of IT security After migration to Office 365, for example, the job of anti-spam protection and when implementing two-factor authentication, unauthorized access is basically constrained.

Whys should this interest us?

Slovakia should try to keep pace with innovations in informatics coming from the West and from China. These countries use cloud much more and while some European countries, such as Germany, are trying to catch up with them, Slovakia is far behind in investments to the cloud in terms of the percentage points from total IT budgets.

According to the company IDC, growth in company expenditure on cloud infrastructure is growing  six times faster than that of common IT. Gartner perceives the current year-on-year growth on the level of 18 %.

Use of the cloud ensures cheaper operation of IT and allows easier access to new technologies, such as advanced analytical tools or the latest IoT applications. This could give companies a good competitive advantage.

While it seems that companies and institutions in Western Europe get the importance of cloud, it is time to devote more to the cloud also here.