Posted by: drmiw | June 19, 2015

My Scot-Cloud 2015 presentation on matching requirements to cloud computing solutions

Scot-Cloud 2015 logoOn 18 June I gave a presentation at Scot-Cloud 2015 on ‘Matching solutions with requirements’ – I’ve included the slides on this page and a photo from the day. I also answered questions from the audience as one of the panel of speakers for the session.

Panel Q&A

Sharing the stage with me in the morning session were Andrew Mclean and Neil Cattermull from Compare the Cloud, and Stephen MacNaughton, a Cloud Architect from EMC. Our Chair was Mark Stephen, one of Scotland’s best known radio broadcasters.

Photo of the panel
The panel from left to right: Stephen MacNaughton, me (Mark Williams); Neil Cattermull; Andrew Mclean; and Mark Stephen

The questions from the audience addressed the following topics:

  1. The potential negative impact on the industry of new EU data protection law changes;
  2. The pace of cloud migration and whether small steps are really advisable;
  3. The impact of cloud on IT workers, especially elderly employees, and their jobs; and
  4. The chance of something useful emerging from the Internet of Things.

For my part I argued that:

  1. Cloud providers just have to adapt to EU data protection laws rather than try to fight them. It may require some technical innovation and may require working with other providers in other countries, but it can be done.
  2. The pace of cloud migration depends on an organisation’s size, the complexity of their operations and their appetite for risk; but choosing ‘problems’ that have low risk and a potentially big and positive impact, as I proposed in my presentation, could be a good approach for many.
  3. Regarding job losses I suggested that cloud computing gives IT workers the opportunity to do something more valuable for an organisation than just keep servers running. So, I asserted, they needn’t lose their jobs. But an elderly audience member argued that the shift to cloud technologies was too much for many IT workers to cope with, and my fellow panellist Stephen MacNaughton agreed that job losses were inevitable. Perhaps Stephen is right, but if cloud administration tools are made usable enough then I would like to think that most IT workers could make the shift if they keep an open mind. They would face competition from their non-technical colleagues, though, so it’s definitely a major issue for society and it’s the same issue that all workers have faced since the industrial revolution when machines first started taking the jobs of humans. The idea of becoming obsolete one day scares me too!
  4. As for the Internet of Things and the daft examples of musical toilets and the like that Andrew and Neil presented, I predicted that it will go the way of biological evolution, that useful things will eventually emerge but it’s inevitable that  the vast majority of internet-connected things being produced now will be useless and quickly forgotten about. I am more concerned, however, that the real impact of IoT will be twofold: firstly, a society that’s even more dependent on technology to do our thinking for us; and, secondly, yet more stuff to go into landfill when the world needs more sustainable industries. (I wish I’d raised those two concerns in my answer but I didn’t!)

It was a great conference and I hope that something I said was of use to someone. I have received one nice tweet of feedback so far so it seems I made at least one good point!


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