EMC picks up European Best Workplace Award

EMC has been recognised as one of Europe’s Best Multinational Workplaces in the Best Workplaces 2015 awards announced last week. Every year the Great Place to Work Institute surveys some 6,000 organisations around the world to find companies that encourage workplace cultures of high trust and engagement. Due to the success of EMC’s operations in 12 national Best Workplace rankings across Europe, the company ranked an impressive second out of a field of 25 multinationals.

Ever since EMC came 19th in the 2012 awards, its ranking in these prestigious employer awards has improved year on year. This shows the strength and quality of EMC’s people, from senior leadership setting the strategy and direction to the employees on the front line. EMC’s EMEA President, Adrian McDonald said: ‘A key factor of EMC’s success is our focus on building our strength as an employer and creating the kind of workplace that attracts and retains the best talent, talent which focuses on meeting customers’ needs by helping them optimise their existing infrastructures and build new ones.”

Head to the career page to learn more about the company and what it’s like to work for EMC.

A different perspective on hybrid cloud – illustrations

What are the catalysts that lead people to deploying a hybrid cloud? This was the question we tackled with a number of EMC and industry professionals in the second hybrid cloud Twitter chat a couple of weeks ago.

This led to some great discussions around the issues IT departments are facing and the changing role of IT, which are well worth a read. You can find them in full here:  https://www.crowdchat.net/HybridCloudChat.

In addition, we had a very talented illustrator on board to follow the conversation, and produce live sketches of some of the key topics that came up. You may have seen some of them around on Twitter, but please do take a look below at the full collection.

If you’re interested in learning more about EMC’s Hybrid Cloud, visit our solution page for further information and demos.

Study reveals: A highly demanding ‘Information Generation’

Are today’s youth our most demanding customers? We worked with Opinium to investigate and speak with 18-24 year olds in the UK & Ireland. What was unearthed was a lack of brand loyalty when providers can’t meet their needs.

Born in the era of the internet, todays ‘Information Generation’ is very much immersed in social media and the use of ‘smart’ phones. In our study they have shown demanding requirements over their suppliers across retail, financial services and technology, media and entertainment sectors. Control over personal data is their biggest concern: 54% of respondents suggest they’d switch providers if their current one didn’t give them control over their personal data.

Out of all three sectors surveyed, the financial services industry seems to face the greatest pressure when it comes to customer loyalty: 58% of 18-24 year olds would be willing to switch to a competitor if their current provider didn’t give them control over their personal data, marginally more than those that would switch if their provider suffered a data breach (53%), or didn’t provide mobile services e.g. via an App (40%).

Despite slightly stronger customer loyalty in the retail and technology, media and entertainment sector, the results still show a lack of loyalty to any one provider who can’t cater to the needs of today’s Information Generation. 57% in retail and 51% in tech, media and entertainment would switch suppliers, if their current provider didn’t give them control over their personal data. Moreover, 53% in retail would switch if their provider suffers a data breach compared with 47% in tech, media and entertainment.

The pressure facing businesses to cater for these consumers is becoming clear but how are they fairing in meeting those needs? In our next blog post we will a closer look at business leaders across 18 countries to find out how they are coping with fulfilling these demands.

What are the catalysts for the hybrid cloud? People, Process and Technology

Hybrid cloud continues to be a hot topic in the IT industry, but what does it actually mean for businesses?

HybridCloudchat2_Hans_410-412In the first #HybridCloudChat we spoke about what hybrid cloud actually is, and where businesses are on their journey to deploying it. Next Tuesday at noon, we’ll be expanding on this conversation and looking at the problems businesses are facing with regards to people, process and technology. We’re exploring catalysts for the hybrid cloud.

The chat will be hosted by Hans Timmerman, CTO of EMC Netherlands, along with a panelist of industry experts: Christian McMahon, CIO at Three25, Eric Debray, Business and IT Consultant and founder of Mageli, and Dinko Eror, EMC’s VP of Global Services.

We also have a professional illustrator on board who will creating sketches of the discussion as it develops – take part in the conversation and you could win a personalised illustration! If you have any questions, just tweet them at @emcuki.

Join us at 12.00PM on May 19th for #HybridCloudChat #2

For an introduction on the issue, take a look at Hans’ recent post on LinkedIn, or read more about business disruption, catalysts and catastrophes from Dinko.

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#HybridCloudChat Highlights

Dinko_thumbLast week, we held EMC’s first ever illustrated Twitter chat on the topic of hybrid cloud. Hosted by EMC’s VP of Global Services, Dinko Eror, the chat touched on the challenges businesses are facing when it comes to deploying hybrid cloud, and what is required to achieve a well-run hybrid cloud.

A big thank you to everybody who took part – it was great to see the involvement from people the world over, and from the discussion it’s clear that for many the hybrid cloud adventure is only just starting. You can see the chat in full here on Crowdchat and we’ve summarized the key themes and conclusion below.

Defining Hybrid Cloud

Is hybrid cloud simply a combination of public and private, or is it more? Just like with baking a cake, you need all the right ingredients, and a good chef to ensure they’re combined in the right way. Otherwise, despite investing in all of the resources of a hybrid cloud, you may see none of the benefits. True hybrid means controlling your workloads, storage and network resources so it limits risk and increase productivity, i.e. you need public and private cloud infrastructure, made transparent by a management platform. For us, of course, this is where solutions come in that can accelerate the adoption: VCE VBlock or EMC VSPEX , as well as the light-weight, software-defined storage solution EMC VIPR.

Challenges to hybrid cloud adoption

For some, there is clearly an expectation that it will be really difficult to deploy hybrid cloud. However, with fully engineered solutions available, technical complexity is immediately reduced. Security, data control and legacy contracts can still be a concern. For others, another issue limiting hybrid cloud adoption is that it can be hard to implement an architectural strategy when IT teams are focused on day to day application and infrastructure priorities.

Where can hybrid cloud best serve companies?

Although there are a lot of applications for hybrid cloud, it’s mainly the new, third platform applications that will really benefit from a hybrid environment. We’re talking apps that need to scale in some places, require performance in others and data protection in others still. On top of that, hybrid cloud will bring with it cost efficiency, and will allow IT to move at the speed of business.

When we discussed the types of business where hybrid cloud can best be applied – the answer seemed to be every one of them. The underpinning problem hybrid cloud addresses – of managing complex information management needs whilst containing spend, delivering scale and controlling risk – is universal in any business of any scale today.

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Orchestration and Standardisation

A properly orchestrated hybrid cloud lets you set policies and retain control over your data. That’s why it important to get it right. But who is in charge of orchestration? The CIO should make these decisions, but currently many are facing the challenge of juggling all the different demands coming from varying lines of business. This has to be brought together, and complexity must be reduced to get the control back. Standardisation is key and many hybrid cloud adopters see this as a key factor in delivering the benefits hybrid cloud has to offer.

Essentially, in order to have a well-run hybrid cloud and to experience all the benefits that come with it, people, process and technology need to be aligned.

For more information, please visit our website at http://emc.im/EHC_UK

This was originally posted on the EMC Thoughtfeast Blog

The future of digital: A deep-dive into party manifestos – Labour and Liberal

With the May elections looming, predictions are in full swing as to how technology and digital transformation would develop under each political party. In a previous post we looked at the work the Conservative Party has done and their intentions for the future, but what do the other parties have in store?

Digitisation under the Labour Party

Labour has shown an increasing interest in digital issues in recent months. For example, in November, the Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Chi Onwurah published details of her party’s Digital Government Review.

Like the conservatives, Labour would broadly-speaking continue much of the current agenda, including work with the Government Digital Services (GDS) to digitise public services, making smarter use of data and reforming procurement. Labour also favours the use of common architectures based on open standards, opening up APIs and developing more agile and innovative solutions.

However, there are some noteworthy changes. Most importantly, Labour wants to focus on trust, transparency and security, particularly in relation to the use of citizen data. The party intends to publish a review of data sharing and privacy within 90 days of entering office, providing citizens with more information and control over their data. Citizens’ ownership of their own data will be more explicit and new limits will restrict the government’s ability to pass data on to third parties for commercial gain without their consent.

Labour wishes to emphasise digital inclusion and skills, for citizens and within the public sector. From a citizen perspective, digital services would be designed to be accessible by all members of society, including the most excluded and disadvantaged. Investment would be made in boosting citizens’ digital skills to ensure everyone is able to use digital services. To focus on the most difficult social problems rather than cost reduction, Labour wants to apply a ‘social benefits test’ to new digital services.

This would apply equally to local and central government, and Labour would do more to encourage local authorities to collaborate and develop shared services. For the public sector, leadership and skills are to be a higher priority, and government transformation a Cabinet level priority. Finally, Labour aims to provide more training to improve digital skills throughout the civil service.

The Liberal Democrats’ test the tech waters

Of the three main parties, the Liberal Democrats have said the least about applying technology to transform the public sector. A handful of figures, notably Julian Huppert and Lord Wallace of Saltaire, are getting more engaged in the digital revolution and have recently helped their party to launch an Entrepreneurs Network to engage with the tech sector and help influence the development of Liberal Democrat policy. Like Labour, the party’s starting point is to place greater emphasis on digital inclusion and the protection of individual rights in areas like data sharing, rather than simply aiming for cost savings.

Having looked at all three parties’ policies it’s clear there is a considerable amount of consensus over the digital agenda. This is hardly surprising given that all three parties are committed to delivering significant spending cuts in the next Parliament, £24.9bn by the Conservatives, £5.2bn by Labour and £7.9bn by the Lib Dems. Regardless of the make-up of the next government, it will need to think digital, build on the progress achieved to date and accelerate the pace of transformation to delivery services more efficiently to meet citizens’ rising expectations.

How close are you to deploying a hybrid cloud? Join the #HybridCloudChat

Ready, motivated, undecided – how close are you to deploying a hybrid cloud?

Hybrid cloud has been one of the industry’s biggest buzzwords for a few years now, and uptake is on the rise. However confusion around exactly what true hybrid cloud is and how it can be deployed remains. Recently EMC’s Vice President Global Services, Dinko Eror, debunked the top five hybrid cloud myths, and next week he is taking to Twitter to answer all your burning hybrid cloud questions.

So, where are you on your journey to the cloud? What is holding you back and what challenges do you face? Join Dinko and other EMC and industry experts in the #hybridcloudchat to discuss everything that is (and isn’t!) hybrid cloud on the 25th of March at 12:00 PM GMT.  We’ll cover common challenges and how to overcome them, and a professional illustrator will join us to bring your comments and questions to life, in real time!

Share any questions with us beforehand @emcuki , and don’t forget to join the #hybridcloudchat on March 25th!

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Joining (X-) Forces to Tackle the UK IT Skills Shortage

The UK needs to tackle its digital skills shortage in order to prevent falling behind in new digital era; that much was clear from the House of Lords Digital Skills Committee report released this week. The lack of trained IT professionals is becoming a major threat, not just for our industry but also impacting corporate economic recovery and growth within the UK.

To tackle this shortage, EMC has teamed up with social enterprise X-Forces, to provide free training to up to 20 military leavers. These are typically highly motivated individuals with very specialist technical skills, so they have a lot to offer in an industry with growing skills shortages. Backed by an investment of £250,000, this military leavers program will target all types of military personnel with leadership and technical backgrounds.

Over the course of seven weeks and with support from EMC staff, the leavers will be given lab and online training covering IT architecture and design, storage solutions, data protection and more. This will equip the participants with the necessary skills to perform in a range of different roles – either at EMC or within a company from our channel partner networks. For trainees who’d like to start their own business, X-Forces will provide funding and guidance to get them started. On top of that, mentoring support from ex-military staff will be available to the trainees at all times.

We’re really excited about this initiative, and as Ren Kapur, CEO and Founder of X-Forces, explains, it’s ground-breaking for two reasons: “Firstly it bridges the gap and delivers fit-for-purpose expertise into those vital areas where skills shortages will impact corporate and national economic recovery and growth if they are not filled.

And secondly, of equal importance, it recognises the human nature of the solution, and delivers hope, opportunity and support to this cadre of highly capable people, ensuring that they can aspire to fulfilling and sustainable second careers.

This route will really appeal to technical personnel leaving the Services and from the Forces’ community and give them an excellent opportunity to add real value to the commercial sector.”

To find out more about our partnership with X-Forces, take a look here.

Could wearables save A&E?

James Norman, former Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen Hospital director and current healthcare director at EMC, looks at whether wearable devices could be the answer to the looming A&E crisis.

As the number of A&E admissions continues to rise, fuelled by chronic illness and an ageing population, the NHS is under ever increasing pressure to keep up with demand. Recently released figures show that the last three months of 2014 saw the worst A&E waits for a decade, while delays faced by ambulances when they arrived at A&E doubled over the past year. A major part of this burden comes from the emergency re-admissions that take place each year, a number the NHS itself estimated to be as high as 600,000 in 2011.

If we are going to help reduce the pressure on our overstretched emergency departments, we need to find new ways of monitoring patients to ensure that their treatment is effective and to reduce the risk of exacerbations and emergency admissions. This year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas showcased a multitude of wearable technology. Whilst it’s still early days for the wearables market, these devices provide a simple method of tracking heart rate, body temperature, respiration, posture and activity levels in general. There are also models in development that will soon be able to track blood oxygen levels and measure blood pressure. The data captured by these devices can drive proactive monitoring and care, providing early warning if a discharged patient is at risk and giving medics the ability to recall them through non-A&E routes.

In a recent report, EMC and Volterra investigated how a more joined up approach to using information insights and opportunities in ehealth could deliver a Wellness Model, aimed at empowering individuals to have more control over their own lifestyles and care as well as making the healthcare sector more efficient. The study demonstrated that the use of data analytics could reduce re-admission costs by tens of millions each year, and have a knock-on effect on the quality of patient care. However, this kind of model can only be achieved through collaboration and sharing of information.

A serious gap currently exists between the NHS and other industries in the use of data analytics and technology. The lack of willingness to embrace electronic records, predictive analytics, collaboration and effective monitoring of patient and treatment outcomes, in addition to personalised care, is leading to failures and financial inefficiencies that are unsustainable in the long-term. With wearables monitoring and recording our vital signs, data analytics could lead to increased treatment effectiveness through risk stratification at an individual level and disease prevention through identification of risk factors.

Top Tech Trends in 2015

Here is our take on what will be the big tech trends for the UK in 2015.

Everything mobile

An ongoing trend is that of the mobile consumer. The expanding computing environment involving smartphones, tablets and wearables is making it vital for businesses to focus increasingly on adapting their services to the requirements of the mobile user. Consumers are always available, always online, and businesses that adapt and take their services to mobile devices will be able to create a direct relationship with them, with the potential to reach them as they are making their purchase decisions.

Doing this requires vast streams of data to be processed in real time, driving a massive increase in the adoption of technologies such as in-memory databases and flash storage. An industry that can benefit especially from this is the retail sector, however there is still work to be done for businesses to be able to process such large quantities of data in real-time as outlined in our recent Big Data League post on the retail sector. 2015 will be a year where we expect and hope to see this progressing much further.

Software defined

In the next decade, almost every industry will be re-defined by software, with much of that software being surfaced on mobile devices, smartphones and tablets, but also in cars, aircraft engines, running shoes and human beings!  Think about Tesla – an electric car, AND a software-defined car. Tesla has done to the driving experience what Apple did to the mobile phone experience – your car is now a software platform to innovate on top of. Companies that don’t innovate in this way won’t last long. Storage arrays, servers, networks and entire data centers will be run and managed by smart software in the future. It is crucial for businesses to move away from static to dynamic models in order to deal with the rapidly changing demands of digital business.

Big Data Analytics

In the world of big data analytics, it is the analytics part that will be the decisive factor for success in the future. It is this that enables businesses to filter the huge amounts of data coming from the ever-growing world of smart machines and the Internet of Things (IoT), a growth which won’t be slowing down anytime soon either. Further, analytics combined with embedded intelligence will increase the prevalence and further the development of context-rich systems, which can be alert to their surroundings and respond to them – such as context-aware security.

The above are three of the key trends that will affect businesses in the UK, but there are many more developments we expect to see in 2015. For example, 2015 may signal the beginning of the end of lectures, as the education sector is moving increasingly online and leading to better results.  Another influence will be the growing influx of millennials into the workforce, which is likely to affect the way businesses and IT departments operate.

What do you predict to be the big trends in 2015? Tweet the EMC team at @EMCUKI.