The Sophisticated CIO “down under”

When we hear of Australia, many of us envision a big country filled with kangaroos, koalas, and rugged folk who say “no worries” all the time.  But there is a lot more to this vast and fascinating land as I found out on a recent trip there.  I spent a week in a number of Australian cities meeting with two dozen CIOs from public and large enterprise companies to discuss our enterprise solutions.  Australia is an advanced and developed country but even then I was surprised by how advanced the CIOs in Australia were in their thinking about how they can get more from their next generation IT solutions.  In particular:  cloud solutions, big data, and virtual desktop implementations.

Cloud:  All of the CIOs I met were familiar with the concept of the Cloud and were exploring it in different ways.   Most customers were keen on the idea of “right-sourcing,” i.e. using the public cloud for some aspects of their IT (email and web apps often came up) but relying more on private cloud for the majority of their needs.  A few of the largest banks in Australia were well on their way to using public Cloud for a significant part of their IT needs.  Also, many state governments are mandating consolidated data centers (or dedicated public clouds) for their various departments and ministries to share IT resources.  However several customers voiced concerns about cross-border data sovereignty issues, recent examples of outages, and concerns about SLA fidelity when multiple customers hit a cloud provider at about the same time with burst requests.  Consequently, there was a great deal of interest in implementing a private cloud within the firewall of the enterprise that provided consolidated and converged IT, dynamic provisioning, self service, and billing and charge back.

Big Data:  the manipulation and analysis of huge data sets from which to develop insights was of critical interest from many CIOs.  For example the CIO of the Bureau of Meteorology in Victoria State talked about how huge their data sets are and how much processing power they have in their massive high performance computing (HPC) farms.  And yet it is still not enough for the level of accuracy in meteorology forecasts that customers are demanding.  The CIO spoke of the need for “micro forecasts” down to the district level which can help farmers in a given area know exactly when they should plant certain crops or harvest them.  Getting it right can impact hundreds of millions of dollars in agricultural output.  Even major construction projects depended on accurate weather forecasts.  So the CIO of the meteorology bureau spoke of his desire to increase the HPC capacity of his x86 server farmers.  As we have all seen lately from the experience with hurricane Irene on the East Coast of the U.S., getting weather forecasting right has enormous consequences.

VDI:  Many analysts talk about virtual desktops as an emerging technology.   But in Australia it seems VDI has clearly emerged with most of the CIOs well on their way to implementing or close to implementing virtual desktop infrastructure.  In many cases this includes hosted virtual desktops.

I also learned that while CIO’s in Australia were advanced in their thinking about IT, they didn’t know enough about Dell’s advanced offerings.  I was often greeted with the phrase “I didn’t know you did that.” So lots of opportunity for Dell.   Recently you may have seen some stories about Dell’s new corporate brand campaign dubbed “The power to do more.”  We rolled it out in the United States in July of this year.  “The power to do more” speaks to the promise Dell makes to customers everywhere to help them do and achieve more when they use our enterprise solutions and services.  Stay tuned and tell us what you think as we embark on this journey.

About the Author: Praveen Asthana