The cloud is here to stay, and carriers, enterprises and service providers must meet the growing consumer and business demand for cloud services.
This was a key message at the 2012 CTCA Information and Communication Technology Conference – Collaboration in the Cloud. The conference was held in Kitchener, Ontario, and explored how the latest collaboration and cloud technologies impact Canadian businesses and telecommunications consultants.
A panel session called Can the Cloud Be Solid? provided insights from Canada’s leading carriers, including Allstream, Bell, Cogeco, Rogers and TELUS.
The panelists agreed that carriers have been in the cloud business for many years, particularly through their managed service offerings. This commitment to cloud allows customers to assume less financial and operating risk in buying, integrating and maintaining network technology.
What’s changed today is that services on the network are more technologically complex and challenging to deploy and manage. The latest cloud services also offer more capabilities in unified communications, collaboration and virtual computing. The panelists recommended that service providers do the following five things if they want to succeed in today’s rapidly changing cloud market:
- Deliver end-to-end reliability. When carriers serve as cloud providers, they must ensure a secure and reliable experience not just at layer one but all the way to the applications that businesses rely on each day.
- Act as a trusted advisor. To earn the trust of customers, carriers should educate them on the best ways to leverage cloud deployments and optimize shared infrastructure. The panelists agreed that carriers must collaborate across the service provider and consultant community to educate, guide and advise customers.
- Consider the cloud an “open shop” that drives innovation. The cloud is not “one service provider wins all”. Instead, it should spur innovation and collaboration with multiple providers. The cloud should not be treated as a walled garden, as the Internet once was, but as an open network for developers.
- Take advantage of global business opportunities. Due to the U.S. Patriot Act, many businesses are looking to avoid hosting their data in the United States. This opens up many opportunities for Canadian cloud providers, as Canada has made extensive infrastructure investments and has a solid cloud architecture in place.
- Consider footprint challenges. The panelists agreed that wireless is the likely answer when carriers are footprint-challenged, especially in rural areas.
Collaboration in the Cloud was sponsored by the Canadian Telecommunications Consultants Association (CTCA). The CTCA is Canada’s only professional association of information and communications technology consultants, vendors and affiliates.