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April 17, 2015

Cloud under threat if it doesn’t move forward

Business models, standards, security and data location need to advance.

By James Nunns

The nascent cloud market faces real threat if it fails to address key areas of concern for customers.

Customers need to be able to make educated decisions based on standards and certified procedures Helen Arnold, SAP, CIO, told CBR.

Those on the supply side of the cloud market understand the business model is under threat if it is not moving forward. And Arnold believes that it is this threat which will force development.

She says the market requires education in order to clear up some of the obscurity around cloud services and to continue to move forward "..we must see a situation where you can make an educated decision."

This must come about "not because you have to make in-depth investigations but because we really have a great procedure," she says.

Arnold suggests putting a European procedure in place for certification saying this [Cloud service] is certified in every aspect of security.

This point of view is one which has been mirrored by companies such as HP who have called for a, "Cloud of Clouds" and the potential for a library of cloud service providers.

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While growth is likely to be pushed from the market, clear issues are still dogging the technology, and Arnold believes that Governments have an important role to play.

"Political leaders need to stand up and understand that the agenda is not about bureaucracy, we do not really have much time left."

"To put everyone on that single sheet of music takes time and therefore we (for SAP as example) need to make certain decisions in terms of giving the choice to our customers."


With the tech industry pushing connected devices (IoT), cloud technology has an important role to play with managing and accessing that data.

SAP is keen to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to be able to cope with the growing demands for data storage and cloud adoption, and to make sure the network is secure.

Arnold spoke about the opportunity for developing the infrastructure in Europe: "My goodness – there is such a big opportunity out there converging that into one."

"Making sure that we are consistent that we have standards in place and that we’ve generated a European network and we could play such a great role in security."

Arnold fully understands that huge efficiencies can be made with improvements to infrastructure and spoke about the copious amounts of silos and entire stacks in every country.

It is clear that this has been an issue that has been developing for a number of years and while there is agreement from a majority of organisations that efficiencies need to be made, it seems that these are not being made with any great speed.

As cloud continues to grow and more software becomes cloud-enabled it is likely to throw up more chances for innovation. Yet adoption is not universal and many are still holding back from utilising the technology.

Arnold was keen to stress that companies should start establishing their cloud strategy, however, she understands that particularly in Europe, some key issues still affect the industry – such as data location.

While SAP has looked to counter some of the issues by having a large number of data centres, Arnold does not believe that this will be the future of the market.

"SAP is running an extensive number of data centres, and I don’t think this is really the future. I think we will see a lot of technology change, specifically in that area."

"Also on the public solution side, we are definitely working against a possibility that the solution is hosted in one location, data centre, with the data residing within your enterprise and we can connect with the data. And it’s not that the data resides within one data centre."

"I think there is a lot of technology coming up that will ease the amount of discussions that we are having today."

For the time being, discussions will continue to seek to address the issues around data location and it is likely that companies such as SAP will have an important role to play.

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