Jay Wessel didn't necessarily want to go to the cloud. The vice president of IT for the Boston Celtics had cut his tech teeth on iron, building computers, for Pete's sake. Being elbow deep in hardware is where he felt at home, but he was willing to be open-minded, and it paid off.
Speaking at this week's E2 conference in Boston, Wessel was candid about his hesitation toward cloud migration. What was "cloud" but a buzzword, anyway? One day he had virtualized storage, then suddenly one day it magically morphed into private cloud, he said with a laugh. He was perfectly happy (he thought) handling mail security in-house, but when vendor Mimecast came calling with a cloud solution, he heard them out. And when he found he could reduce layers of complexity, cost and administration time, well, it was eye opening. The bear hug he had on his servers loosened a bit; actually, a lot. Suddenly he was looking for other cloud migration opportunities that could advance his team's ability to focus on users' needs.
Wessel doesn't pretend to have all the answers about cloud, but he'll try new things if he thinks they'll benefit his mission of being an IT organization that's about "enablement, not implementation." And it's OK if a cloud solution doesn't work out. At the moment he has a cloud solution that's not meeting expectations. He'll be severing the relationship soon and bringing the function back in house. A bad experience, yes, but more importantly, a learning experience. It hasn't soured him; he's eagerly shopping around for cloud-based customer relationship management as we speak.
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Wessel's chat came back to me twice while scouring the Web for this week's Searchlight. The first was blogger John Herrman's biting turn of phrase about Facebook dragging itself down due to its "supreme self-confidence, uninhibited by extreme myopia." In other words, they think they're the best at what they do, always will be and don't need to change a thing. (Paging Clay Christensen!) It's the opposite of what IT leaders like Wessel know is good for a business.
The second flashback came when happening upon this week's lead item. The connection here is more concrete. As Bill Kleyman blogs for Data Center Knowledge, the business appetite to digitize everything, the need for data, data everywhere for everyone at all times, is the new normal. Those who embrace flexible, scalable solutions now are the ones who will come away winners.
- And so it was, the cloud begat another phenomenon/catch phrase: "the data center of everything" and yea, it was good (for data center providers anyway).
- Self-driving cars, wearable computers and… balloons? In a quest to bring the Internet to everyone Google shows innovation need not be, uh, grounded in super high-tech gadgetry.
- Don't be fooled by its seemingly random insignificance, as data scientists know, there are plenty of details to be gleaned from metadata -- as that collected by the NSA through mobile call records shows.
- Video may have killed the radio star, but it could help revive a stagnant social network.
- After avoiding a practice other companies have embraced for years, Microsoft soon will bestow big bucks on bug bounty hunters. But offering a hefty payout to find flaws in its software may lead to unintended consequences.
- Big data knows what you did last summer, but things get really scary when it thinks it can predict what you'll do next summer.
Let us know what you think about the story; email Karen Goulart, features writer.