Why IBM relies on 'bold' flagbearers to spread its cloud

Big Blue says enterprise culture must be ready for cloud

Cloud only catches on if flagbearers help change their organisation's culture to embrace the technology, according to IBM.

Rashik Parmar, IBM's lead cloud advisor for Europe, tells Virtual Clouds that his first action when helping customers make sense of IBM Cloud is to identify those flagbearers.

"A lot of my time is trying to work with clients and figure out who are the sponsors and who are the coaches,” he says.

Sponsors are those with the vision to reimagine their business in the cloud, according to Parmar, while coaches are those who can explain the cloud "so they can then coach and mentor their internal staff in reimagining their jobs in the cloud era".

The former influence the board by creating a roadmap that makes cloud a "viable and sensible" choice, and the latter "help people reimagine their role", Parmar says. "If you don't do that ... they're going to resist this," he adds.

The next big question on the lips of customers curious about how to move to a hybrid cloud environment is whether their systems will be compatible from cloud-to-cloud, or in other words: will IBM Cloud play nicely with a Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services cloud?

“We are very focused on open by design. As we’ve built up our cloud capability, we’ve always looked for the real open, standards-based platforms,” says Parmar.

He points to IBM’s acquisition of Gravitant last year as being a key example of the company’s intention to make hybrid models work for its enterprise customers.

Gravitant’s technology now allows for dynamic provisioning across systems that leverage IBM Cloud. This means, provided a customer has the capability and capacity, it is possible to run an application on one cloud at a particular time, and then move it to another cloud later on.

Parmar tells Virtual Clouds: "Gravitant gave us a brilliant capability, which allows dynamic provisioning. So, you can say: ‘Okay, this application, at this particular time, is best on this particular cloud. And, at this moment in time, its better on this cloud’. You've got to be able to handle the data movement and all those things, but as long as you can do that you’ve got that choice."

Pointing out IBM's membership of the OpenStack Foundation, he adds: “We’ve been a very strong advocate of giving enterprise open, standards-based choice with gives them that vendor neutrality, but, at the same time, gives them the robust and dependable platforms that you expect from a company like IBM."

Picture: Rashik Parmar

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