06:08 AM

PwC Shares Its Insights Into The Cloud And Enterprise IT

Last week I attended an event organized by PricewaterhouseCoopers, featuring some of their top tech consultants.

Here are some of my notes:

Phil Garland: This is an interesting time to be a CIO. Traditionally, the CIO has had three roles: managing operations, managing vendors, and innovation and strategy. The focus on these three roles tends to vary depending on the economy, the state of the market, etc. There has been a shift in the past 12 months towards looking at the CIO to drive innovation within the organization.

The CIO has to have a better understanding of the business, and how to leverage social media, mobile computing, and cloud computing. Cloud computing is interesting because it was the basis for how to reduce costs but now it is being used to drive top line growth. Also, the consumerization of IT is driving a lot of adoption, and there is also use of social media in IT from junior/younger team members that is driving innovation.

Tom Archer: Software is the enabler for every industry. In the mobile space, software is like the video game Pong, which was very basic. Now we have multi-player immersive games, that's how software will become, it will be like nothing we can imagine today, a very rich experience.

There is a perfect storm in the US. One, is around the technologies and edge devices; two is that user expectations are setting the bar higher for apps; and three is that as we emerge from the great recession companies are looking for ways to drive top line growth without increasing head count.

But clients need to prioritize their efforts. There are new business opportunities for companies, such as Apple with its iTunes business.

Compliance can be a competitive factor.

Mike Pearl: There is often paralysis that sets in when companies look at new business opportunities. We help them overcome that and work with them on the cycle of development to deployment. We work with them to identify the transformation that needs to take place.

Blake White: The digital revolution has transformed the media industries such as movie making. Companies need tools to help them balance their portfolio of digital assets. Consumers want their entertainment in a variety of ways, they want to consume it on their terms. The fact that all devices are now IP enabled means that personalization can be applied to all devices.

Rick Judy: There are huge opportunities in healthcare and it will come from private industry. There is lots of stimulus money available for electronic patient records. Plus opportunities in enabling empowered patients to provide them with information. Also, the way payments and reimbursements are handled today will change from a volume metric, to one based on value.

Dave Patton: Organizations need to develop core disciplines around data, this is hugely important. ERP data is just one part of the issue. We look at the entire life cycle of data. The granularity of analytics is important. The critical path is data and many organizations aren't there yet. Like real-time pricing. A lot of companies don't know the profitability of their customers. We can make it possible to measure that profitability and look how to measure that profitability and improve pricing.

Companies need to have one view of their customer, one view of the product and analyze pricing in multiple markets. A lot of complexity goes into initiatives and pricing is important now. How do I build loyalty? How do I market to one customer? I want to understand their psyche.

Gary Loveland: Security is the biggest trend it is now very important. The number one trend. When are we done? Biggest challenge is knowing where the data is to protect it. It can be in multiple locations. We scan client networks and figure out where it is and why it is there. There are two big buckets people not doing smart stuff, that's easy. But people are using mobile devices and now the data is there and you have to secure it.

Second is identity management, the security of exclusion. Security of inclusion is the biggest challenge, making sure it can happen. Each system does it differently. Who needs access to what? When people leave a company, often they still have access, we see that a lot.

Security is slowing down the adoption of technologies which is a good thing. Advanced persistent threats are a big trend. We are hired to hack into systems and we have a good success rate. Advanced persistent threats are very sophisticated and backed by large numbers of people and originate from China, North Korea and other countries. Google earlier this year was a good example of the methodical threat what we are seeing at other companies.