Tuesday, 14th April: Get Digitial conference

On Tuesday 14th of April, the last Dice conference “Get Digital” was held in the helix. The closing topic was one of the hottest these days: cloud computing. You probably think you already know a lot about it, but you might be surprised! cloud computing has shown unexpected positive results in different areas, which I will analyse through our speaker’s talks. First, let me introduce you cloud computing… As a start, you must know that if you’re saying “The Cloud” then you are wrong! That’s how Richard Garsthagen, Director for Cloud Business Development in EMEA for Oracle started his speech! Ask yourselves what’s really cloud computing? Only a minority of people can define it right because most people don’t understand it, so here’s for your information:


According to the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) « Cloud Computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. »


Personally, I wouldn’t have been able to give out such a complicated definition about the term before, so don’t worry if you are surprised by what you just read! In simple words… cloud computing is ” Transforming your business so you can deliver or consume it as a service and support the transformation of the digital world.”(Richard Garsthagen). Cloud computing is intangible, it doesn’t depend on the place you are at or the time it is, and that’s all the magic about it! Cloud computing transforms the way we use technology and Richard even talked about “digital disruption”: change that occurs as new digital technologies or business models that affect value propositions of existing goods, services and market.

Indeed, companies such as Netflix, Uber, Airbnb, Amazon etc. are creating new ways of doing business, and we can continue to expect major changes in the future. I would add to that cloud computing has provoked a further evolution. For instance, before if you wanted to read a book you would go to the library and buy one hard copy of it. Now if you want to read a book, you don’t have to move from your cosy house while it’s raining outside! You can just go online and buy your “eBook”. That’s not only it, you can even share it on multiple devices! On the other hand, the negative aspects of it is that small libraries won’t last long because they are loosing a lot of market shares …

Introducing cloud computing in a business tends to be difficult sometimes as it requires companies to broaden their organisation and change the way they think. Oracle is a company that deals with big data and that enables businesses to evolve and work with cloud computing by helping them to understand the concept. Richard was telling us that most IT innovations won’t come from IT departments anymore.

Oracle believes that cloud computing’s positive sides are the following:

  • Simplifies IT
  • Re-engineers the economics of IT spending
  • Accelerates and optimises your business processes
  • Drives innovation
  • And enjoys world-class security and compliance

Besides, cloud computing has also improved education, economic growth and the investment sector. Education Mary Moloney is the CEO of CoderDojo, a free coding clubs for young people. As a mother, she hated to see her 18 year-old child spending all day long playing com puter games. So she decided to send him to a place where children could develop computing skills and enjoy it at the same time: CoderDojo! Over there, children from 8 to 17 are encouraged to be curious and become comfortable with technologies rather than only consuming them.They learn computing, programming and coding but do not necessarily want to become software engineers. CoderDojo even provides them with free computers and the idea is based on volunteering -as much for the children than for the adults teaching them-. The movement is becoming fully global with almost 200 dojos in Ireland and 600 000 active children in the world. Mary is willing to continue expanding and be realistic about what can be achieved through education. She said that her mission is ” to balance between where do we see the true use and were do we see the passive use”. In Pakistan, kids don’t get decent technology education so she decided to start a CoderDojo there. The idea is very successful as some kids have developed amazing ideas through the use of cloud computing with CoderDojo:

  • One kid invented his own coding language, 
  • One nine-year old girl invented a tool to prevent bulling
  • One little boy invented a tool for blind people

Mary also thought that girls had less knowledge about computing, and thus were uncomfortable to learn about it in front of boys. Therefore, she set up a girls-only session in DCU, probably the beginning of many others! As far as I’m concerned, I would love to be able to learn more about programming and coding and I think it is important that girls can also learn about it and be good at it. Consequently, I entirely support CoderDojo and especially the fact that they give children the opportunity to express their gifts younger and flourish their intelligence. Cloud computing might change the whole way people learn and teach. Indeed, according to Ireland’s CompetItIveness & Jobs opportunIty: cloud computIng (Goodbody Economic Consultants), “There is a huge opportunity to leverage the Cloud as a way to share information, share content and to even share class work. It also opens up communication and transparency between parents, students and teachers by increasing access to course ware and content that traditionally has resided in the classroom. ” To sum up, this good use of Cloud Computing has enabled small children to develop computing skills and to change the world with technologies. Beyond this, it is completely changing the way education is delivered and is introducing new ways of learning. Economic growth

“The opportunities of using powerful computing resources on demand via the web are considered as a possible driver for the growth of the European economy” Ireland’s CompetItIveness & Jobs opportunIty: cloud computIng (Goodbody Economic Consultants). As mentioned before, with cloud computing, opportunities could appear for Ireland’s economy.

Our third speaker, John Massey, is the Business Development Lead EMEA of SAP Ireland. SAP helps software enterprises with business operations and customer relations. Because everything is so instant in cloud computing, SAP needed to rethink how they hired people and reeducated their organisation. A firm called “Vertu studio” invented a new way to meet through a PC. The aim is to meet with the client but everyone stays in their respective offices. To my mind, I think this was already possible and done with Skype. However, now with the creation of LinkedIn – the professional social media- and the fact that SAP hires a lot through universities, their hiring process is changing and so is every companies’ one.

“50% of SAP’s employees are hired through linkedIn.” John Massey

If, at first, there was a lot of uncertainty for SAP’s organisation, a lot of communication and training with experts has been done and now it’s working well. Because they have increased their efficiency in the way the company was organised, they have reduced their expenses and will spend 20 billion on mobile analytics to see how people interact with each other and who are the best people to hire.

This corporation shows that the implementation of cloud computing in companies comes with consequent changes that can be transformed into efficiency.  According to Potential and Impacts of cloud computing Services and Social Network Websites – ResearchGate “Cloud computing is […] increasing the competitiveness of European ICT industries”. Moreover, with cloud computing, companies are able to see how their competitors are doing and are being more innovative because they have a different way to look at things. Moreover, cloud computing could also create more jobs “Cloud Computing Could Contribute up to €250 Billion to EU GDP in 2020 and 3.8 Million Jobs”  IDC Study. Cloud computing will boost the creation of new business and thus create new jobs. According to Ireland’s CompetItIveness & Jobs opportunIty: Cloud ComputIng (Goodbody Economic Consultants), cloud computing could “increase employment in the economy by 11,000″. But is also changing our role and jobs “future jobs don’t match The Economists’ perspectives for jobs” (Shay Garvey). Routine cognitive and manual jobs are risking to disappear in the future. As a conclusion, cloud computing has created a way to boost the economy and raise the rate of employment but changes in companies’s organisations are needed as cloud computing is evolving the way people are hired, the way they interact with others and the way they work.

http://www.siliconrepublic.com/video/v/463-cldctr2010/

Investment

Shay Garvey is a Partner at Frontline ventures, a venture capital firm. The aim of this business is to fund technological start ups which are developing new ideas for cloud computing. In the last 10 years, huge productivity gains have been made because a SaaS (software as a service) has been invented: cloud computing. Therefore, it has changed the way private sector invests in company. “Giving it a go is cheap” says Shay, and that’s why Frontline Ventures gives just a little amount of money to get the idea up and running and if the concept is definitely good, then they will invest more. eBay has even created an “AngelList” where people can have a look at the company, see who’s in the team and invest if they want.

We live in a global world : all information is available instantaneity everywhere. Thus, to be the more powerful “you need to know 2% of the information first” (Shay Garvey). When you think of it, there are only a few of powerful companies. So cloud computing can be a limit to investment because information goes so fast that we might not have the opportunity to get this information in a reasonable time to make a decision.

To conclude, the key message of this conference was that people need to be more educated about the cloud because that’s the future.  It is not only changing the way we do business, but also changing the way we use technologies, we interact with people, the way we are hired, the way we learn. In other words, it is changing the economy, education and the investment sector among so many other areas. We have seen many goods aspects of cloud computing, however, I personally wonder about the security that it provides. Who controls all our data for instance? Is our content really safe or could it disappear ? But what worries me most is that we are moving towards a very technological and assisted world and I hope that in the future, we will be able to stay as ingenious as we are and not only depend on technology.