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Cloud Expo: Article

Executive Leadership for the Cloud, Big Data and Mobility Volcano

Information technology is undergoing a major shift due to new paradigms and a variety of delivery channels

Information technology is undergoing a major shift due to new paradigms and a variety of delivery channels. The drivers for these technologies are social networks, proliferation of devices such as tablets and phones. Social business and collaboration are continuing to develop further to enhance productivity and interaction. All these technologies are like a volcano ready to erupt and the key to surviving a volcano is preparation and knowledge. Hence there has to an emphasis on sound preparation to leverage these technologies.

The first step is to develop an organization or agency wide strategy, mission and vision that addresses these areas to achieve business agility. The business strategy, business cases and plans should incorporate the cost, benefits and risks of these technologies. However one shoe size doesn't fit all, hence specific areas where these can be applied should be identified and communicated. There may be internal or legacy applications that don't need to be updated due to the substantial cost and integration concerns.

Executives should direct the technology teams to develop an Integrated Information architecture that includes secure layered services, third party tools, analytics, reporting. Prioritization of new and transition initiatives needs to be accomplished. The focus should be on flexible, open and standardized solutions that achieve automation and easy self service management and to accommodate capacity from a scalability perspective. Open source should explored further as part of technology initiatives and innovative security and privacy mechanisms should also be explored. Frameworks for distributed processing such as Hadoop should be explored that can scale up from single servers to thousands of machines. This open source framework started with technologies created by Yahoo and Google, is now used by large organizations. For example Google has been moving in the direction of supporting open source projects and there are open source frameworks for androids and iphones.

Executives should also review any best practices and lessons learned that are available. Great customer service can be achieved through rapid cloud deployments, analytics and reporting based on customer needs via specific channels such as mobile devices that need to be leveraged.  Cloud facilitates rapid deployments due to quick availability of scalable services and can enhance productivity by providing the infrastructure or application platforms and related tools faster. Big data requires adequate storage and distributed processing and injects heterogeneous data types that need proper integration into the existing infrastructure. Social networks have been generating tremendous amounts of such data. Vendors are now cloud enabling their applications not just for traditional access but also for mobile access since with 4G services, there is lower latency and better data storage capacity. From a strategic perspective applications should be portable, mobile cloud functions to support these applications should be specified and the logistics of content delivery should be defined. A determination has to be made if such applications will be procured or built in house. Interoperability, portability and security are all very important for mobile applications and need to be addressed as part of the strategy.

Executives should lead in these areas by supporting the development of Enterprise wide integrated and standardized solutions that address the business requirements. The organization strategy should go hand in hand with policies, guidance and a path forward that can not just survive, but transcend and succeed over the volcano. Emerging technologies are tranforming the way business is conducted. Leaders and executive have to be familiar with these technologies, their benefits and cost savings and the key is to determine the apropriate areas where specific technologies can be deployed to maximize return.

(This has been extracted from and is reference to Ajay Budhraja's blog)

More Stories By Ajay Budhraja

Ajay Budhraja has over 23 years in Information Technology with experience in areas such as Executive leadership, management, strategic planning, enterprise architecture, system architecture, software engineering, training, methodologies, networks, and databases. He has provided Senior Executive leadership for nationwide and global programs and has implemented integrated Enterprise Information Technology solutions.

Ajay has a Masters in Engineering (Computer Science), and a Masters in Management and Bachelors in Engineering. He is a Project Management Professional certified by the PMI and is also CICM, CSM, ECM (AIIM) Master, SOA, RUP, SEI-CMMI, ITIL-F, Security + certified.

Ajay has led large-scale projects for big organizations and has extensive IT experience related to telecom, business, manufacturing, airlines, finance and government. He has delivered internet based technology solutions and strategies for e-business platforms, portals, mobile e-business, collaboration and content management. He has worked extensively in the areas of application development, infrastructure development, networks, security and has contributed significantly in the areas of Enterprise and Business Transformation, Strategic Planning, Change Management, Technology innovation, Performance management, Agile management and development, Service Oriented Architecture, Cloud.

Ajay has been leading organizations as Senior Executive, he is the Co-Chair for the Federal SOA COP and has served as President DOL-APAC, AEA-DC, Co-Chair Executive Forum Federal Executive Institute SES Program. As Adjunct Faculty, he has taught courses for several universities. He has received many awards, authored articles and presented papers at worldwide conferences.

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