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Cloud computing chance and challenge for big firms: expert


08:14, February 20, 2013


DUBAI, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Zaki Sabbagh, chief information officer (CIO) of Saudi Arabia's Zamil Industrial Investment Company, said here Tuesday that cloud computing enables small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to operate like big players.

Speaking at the two-day Middle East CIO summit organized by global information technology (IT) research firm IDC, Sabbagh said Zamil Industrial Investment, as one of the largest Saudi industry conglomerates, started to implement cloud computing three years ago and the firm needed another three years to complete the implementation.

Zamil Industrial Investment is a stock-listed blue chip firm and employs 8,500 people in 55 countries.

Besides the time challenge, Sabbagh added that it will be crucial for big firms to deliver better services and increase the unique selling proposition "because SMEs can provide the same IT- based services thanks to cloud computing and they need much less time for implementation in order to jump on the cloud wagon than a big market participant."

Cloud computing descries the use of hardware and software resources through a network, mostly the internet. Its advantages are increased economies of scale due to shared resources from many network participants. End-users can access cloud-based services through mobile and smart phone applications.

Whilst most companies do not have to hire new IT staff because cloud computing is mostly based on web-driven solutions, "a key challenge is to involve the entire company into the cloud computing scheme."

Another challenge, Sabbagh said, is that cloud computing cannot be done by one supplier alone. "Times when IT services were outsourced, centralized and standardized to one software and network supplier are over," said Sabbagh.

Cloud computing has also its risks, he added, and in order to diversify the risks a firm opting for the cloud must work with many firms such as Microsoft or Oracle.

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