While some CIOs are rushing to put data into an external cloud, STW Communications Group CIO Tom Ceglarek has taken a different approach.
In early 2012, the advertising and marketing agency which manages digital images and video content for clients such as American Express, began using a FlexPod platform which comprises of two NetApp storage systems, Cisco switches and unified computing servers. The company also used Commvault's Simpana software to manage hundreds of terabytes of data more efficiently.
According to Ceglarek, this has allowed the company to build a private cloud and store over 350 terabytes internally.
"I'm hearing from colleagues that more and more people are coming out of the cloud because they've had bad experiences with it," he told CIO Australia.
"We have found that we can be more responsive when we're running the infrastructure. FlexPod means we have the good parts of the cloud without having to rely on external service providers."
Since the implementation in 2012, what business benefits have you seen?
In spite of the amount of data that has grown over that time, we've had continued de-duplication benefits.
No other agency group offers this level of computing power and level of data protection, which is something that our people can reinforce to their clients and prospective customers. For example, many tender documents ask suppliers to include details of their business continuity plan. We're one of the few companies who can honestly say we have one that is truly reliable.
Did you have some concerns about data security in the cloud?
Some of our clients in their contracts will require data to be located in a particular area so we have to be conscious of that. Using an internal cloud gives us the ultimate flexibility when it comes to meeting those requirements.
Are trends like big data, business intelligence [BI] and analytics changing the advertising industry?
I don't think our data is of the scale to require big data solutions. We tend to create a lot of static data such as artwork which we work on for a particular job and then keep for the future.
Having said that, we are seeing the BI side of things start to pick up. Being a holding company with such a diverse range of companies underneath us, we need quicker and more accurate reporting on client and job profitability.
We're working with our finance software provider SAP on their BI solutions to integrate with iPads and any means with which we can get our business leaders interested in viewing that data.
We need to understand where our costs and profitability are and speed up the manual processes from before into automated BI processes.
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