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5 must-haves for building the right cloud from Elevate NYC 2016

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Elevate NYC 2016A few years ago, the question facing IT leaders was, “Are you moving to the cloud?” Now, the question has become, “Are you getting the most out of your cloud?”

Organizations in every part of the economy — from retail and finance to government and education —  have adopted the cloud as an integral part of their operations. Most of these organizations, though, are still trying to figure out the best way to build their cloud.

Leaders from some of the top companies gathered this week in New York at the Fortune Elevate NYC conference, sponsored by IBM, to try to answer this new challenge. Five must-haves emerged for creating the right cloud environment:

  1. Data must be connected. Every part of the network — public and private clouds — must be seamlessly tied together. Data only matters if the right people know about it and can access it quickly.
  2. Data must be secure. The ever-expanding cloud and collection points for data create new gateways into an organization that must be shored up.
  3. Design should be intentional. Every operation, including IT, should be designed from the start to work together to support business goals and consumer needs.
  4. Innovation should be the goal. Lower costs attracted many companies to the cloud, but the long-term winners are using the cloud to create new value.
  5. Culture leads the way. Cloud, like any technology, is only a tool for supporting change. True change comes when employees at every level buy into a new way of doing business.

Elevate NYC panelists agreed that assembling the elements to build a successful cloud strategy is more important than ever, because cloud is the foundation for almost every emerging enterprise technology. Artificial intelligence was held up as a major example. Cloud delivers the data and computing power needed to make AI truly intelligent.

“The cloud is not just a nice place to do AI,” said Jason McGee, IBM Fellow, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of the IBM Cloud platform. “It’s a requirement.”

The same can be said of virtual reality (VR), blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Cloud is the connective tissue binding together the resources to create and provide these technologies. Cloud provides the network for gathering and delivering VR, a secure and efficient shared ledger supporting blockchain, and the data collection and analytics behind IoT.

Organizations must focus on building the right cloud for their business goals. They also need to have the right culture to take advantage of the cloud in fast-changing markets with new competitors and consumer demands, the panelists said.

“Spend as much time on the cultural side of the business as you do on the technology side,” Bryson Koehler, Chief Information and Technology Officer for the Weather Company, an IBM business, said at Elevate NYC. “As the technology wheel continues to spin faster, we need to make sure our teams are recognizing the need for a completely new way of thinking.”

You can find out more about how to create a cloud for your business needs in the IBM report, “Tailoring hybrid cloud: Designing the right mix for innovation, efficiency and growth.”

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