The IT systems used to be heavily country-based some ten to fifteen years ago. As an MNC, however, the systems had become very global in the last five years.
“The vision of 2015 is to have common systems like SAP across the world. We would need the network to enable this, and have a central service desk instead of separate ones. So this has driven the IT strategy in the last three to four years,” explained Jamieson.
Jamieson added that the globalisation changes were still ongoing, but the number of telcos had already been consolidated to two - down from some thirty to forty previously.
Chong agreed that there would always be the top-down prerogative when it came to prioritising IT investments. “For us, we have both top-down and bottom-up 5-year strategies,” Chong shared. “IT will align with the overall strategy - that’s top-down.”
As suppliers for US defence, Honeywell had to comply with US regulations, and include data privacy and protection priorities. “We do have a process set up to involve the business side to help us prioritise our IT investments. For each project, the business side is included at each critical stage as a check,” Chong said.
Moving onto the cloud
Seow observed that, over the last two years, much had been spoken about using the cloud and hosted solutions as means to save costs. He was curious to know to what extent the delegates had done so.
William Chong, Business Technology Director, Corporate Solutions, Jones Lang LaSalle, divulged that in order to reduce costs, he had started a pilot project using Office 365 on the cloud.
Phil Mottram, Executive Director, Global Sales, Telstra International, shared that Telstra was undergoing a large revamp of its IT systems with the introduction of new CRM, finance, payroll, and customer care systems. For some of these systems, the company had transited from a mixture of local systems in branches around the world to a common system based on the cloud.
As Telstra had a small IT department of only fifteen personnel, the model had always been based on outsourcing. As a result, the transition to the cloud was easy with no need to decommission existing old systems.
Mottram observed that SMEs were more inclined to use the cloud for hosting applications, because of the cost savings. It was simply too expensive for such smaller companies to buy their own infrastructure such as PBX etc. It was cheaper to pay for cloud services on a per-employee basis.
“For top end companies such as large banks, they build their own cloud solutions on private clouds in their own data centres, instead of public services. At least if a trader loses a laptop, the data is still protected. For the middle tier companies, many use the cloud for non-core testing and development applications,” Mottram elaborated.
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