Cloud hotels: Using managed services to build your dream ‘vacation’

By: Ann Corrao

Choosing the right place to stay

Imagine you’re going to a specific vacation destination. Your time off is valuable, so you want to make the best of it. One of the first choices you’ll probably make is to book a hotel.

Any reputable hotel should offer you a great room at a decent price. The room better be clean and the television should work. If a light bulb goes out, hotel staff should promptly replace it.

But you didn’t choose this destination to stay in your room the whole time. Maybe there’s an amusement park or nature preserve you’re eager to visit? The area might be known for good shopping or great restaurants. Ideally, your vacation would have a number of enjoyable activities that make it a top choice over others.

Choosing the right hotel is critical to enjoying the attractions. It should be located within reasonable proximity to everywhere you want to go, maybe even providing transportation. The hotel staff should provide helpful assistance based on what you want to do, whether that’s making dinner reservations, booking a scuba tour, or dry cleaning your clothes for an event.

The role of cloud managed services in your IT vacation

If you haven’t navigated off this blog to plan your dream vacation, let me explain how this relates to IT. In this example, a cloud managed services solution is your “cloud hotel.” The benefits provided by these solutions are substantial—the opportunity to reduce costs, accelerate development on new products, drive scalability and allow your staff to focus on higher-value activities instead of day-to-day IT management.

But when you’re driving IT transformation, a crucial role for cloud managed services is also helping you optimize and integrate other exciting technologies—such as blockchain, AI, IoT, or open source solutions—into a single IT environment. You might think of these technologies as the “fun things to do around town” on your vacation. To get the most out of them, you need an infrastructure solution that can help you properly set up and manage the environment, which includes connecting these technologies to other new technologies as well as your existing applications and data sets.

A smarter way to ‘travel’

One of the biggest challenges is acquiring the right set of skills to create and manage complex environments that feature these new technologies. For example, SAP HANA is a potentially transformational solution, but many businesses may find it difficult to recruit people with the skills to run it effectively.

Again, it’s like traveling to a new place. Sure, you may already know something about the area, but your vacation will be much better if you can leverage the expertise of hotel staff who know how to book the best reservations, find great tickets, or locate a quick shortcut to get where you’re going. That expertise and strategic guidance is what CMAS provides by hiring, training and retaining skilled specialists who are dedicated to helping you reach your goals.

Another major challenge is expense. Many companies are looking to move to cloud because owning and operating datacenters is expensive, resource-intensive, and outside of their core competency. Doesn’t it make sense to stay at a great hotel rather than build your own?

Combining new technologies in ways that make sense

Of course, we’re not really talking about a vacation, but business transformation. This is about looking for opportunities to create new value and solve business challenges by combining industry-leading technologies in strategic, game-changing ways.

One of my favorite use cases is how we’re combining IBM Cloud for SAP Applications and Watson to improve supply chain visibility and help mitigate product loss in food and pharmaceuticals, which can cost up to a trillion dollars a year.

It’s called “Cold Chain,” a solution that combines data collected from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors with blockchain technology and SAP to constantly monitor the temperature and location of packages throughout the shipping journey. If temperatures rise or fall beyond predetermined thresholds, all relevant parties are immediately notified, helping everyone can see where the compliance error occurred and who is responsible. Watch this video to see how it works.

Transforming your business with managed services

Across industries, businesses are striving to take cloud to the next level, gaining a competitive edge by integrating more parts of their enterprise, accelerating response times and ultimately better serving customers. The right application of strategic technologies such as advanced analytics, IoT, blockchain and SAP can help companies achieve these goals.

In this blog series, we will explore the role of each of these strategic technologies in cloud environments and how managed services can help you integrate them to achieve business transformation while avoiding common pitfalls. Keep an eye out for my next blog on this topic in the coming weeks.

Unless, of course, you’re on vacation.

Visit our website for more information about IBM Cloud Managed Application Services.

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About The Author

Ann Corrao

CTO and Distinguished Engineer IBM Services for Managed Applications

Ann Corrao is CTO and Distinguished Engineer IBM Services for Managed Applications, which delivers Managed SAP on the Cloud. Her specialty is in storage and developing cloud services. In her role as CTO, Ann sets the technical strategy and drives market innovation. She has lead the software-defined storage strategy for IBM Services outsourcing and was... Read more