CIO roundtable: 'Navigating the new workplace'

Divina Paredes

Vaughan Robertson, group manager - technology services, Beca : We've probably discovered two things in a three-year timeframe. First is that if you think you should go to software-as-a-service for cost purposes, you'd better be counting your chickens very carefully. The second is that very often we're looking at software-as-a-service is because of the speed of change. Software life cycles are shortening and we don't want to be trapped into the unchangeable functionality of a standalone or on-premise application. We are not going to be able to go back to the board and say, 'I want to buy that again' in three or five years. They're not going to entertain the argument.

Leeann McCallum, Group IT infrastructure and operations manager, Beca : You need to make sure you have a backup of your data before it goes into the cloud. One of the key points of geo-location is that whilst there is a copy in two places, this may not be considered as a suitable backup due to the active nature of the cloud. For example, if you get data corruption or a virus, that will just be replicated and then you have two copies of the corrupted data.

Dhaya Sivakumar, CIO, Paymark : A number of years ago, I did a SaaS deal with a vendor and we were a bit concerned about performance. So we specifically did a deal where we named the hardware components that belonged to us as a company and they ran it for us within their environment. They managed the equipment, but we paid for it and we owned the asset. So if anything ever went wrong with them, we could go back and pull it out ourselves.

If you've got X amount of bodies or resources in your team or budget, you don't really want to pay for them to look after an Exchange server necessarily or desktops. You want them doing new things for the new capability, getting your products out to market.

So if you can find a way to do that and still keep your unique IP and keep your secret sauce, that [cloud service] is of value.

Embracing 'shadow IT'

Craig Columbus, CIO, Russell McVeagh : We spend a lot of time on end-user education. For example, someone will ask, 'Why can't I take all of these client data files and dump them out on Dropbox for people to look at?' We have all that firewalled off. I see who tries to do it and we go and have a conversation with them. And they say, 'But it's quick and easy. I can't send 84 gigabytes through email so how am I going to do it?'

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