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Roundtable: Rise Above the State

John Tan | March 27, 2012
Sponsored by Telstra, the executive roundtable saw keen participation from attendees who raised issues pertaining to remote computing, cloud services, and IT security.

Germaine Seah, Associate Director, Technology Advisory Services, Grant Thornton advised that companies should conduct a risk assessment before moving into the cloud. She noted that many companies hoped to increase revenue, reduce looses and costs. The evolving technology could help generate competitive advantage because of the convergence and increase in efficiency enabled.

Suresh Kumar T, Assistant IT Director, Asia Pacific Region, Agility International Logistics, shared that he had explored moving on the cloud, but there were still some challenges, one of which was connectivity. At remote locations, satellite communications was needed and it was very difficult to justify the high costs incurred. There were, however, no issues for offices located in city areas.

Chong described the segmented approach that Honeywell had adopted with moving onto the cloud. He agreed that risk assessment was needed and emphasised the need to consider the fundamentals of such a migration. He felt that with the opportunity to host data on the cloud, it was important to pay attention to data classification. “Everything so far has been dumped in the same repository. But in order to put data onto the cloud, especially the public cloud for greater cost-effectiveness, not all data can be put on the cloud, because of our dealings with different governments,” he elaborated.


Connectivity challenges and telephony

Because most of Honeywell’s growth were in countries such as China and India, connectivity was a challenge for office premises as well as individuals using mobile devices.

Mottram felt that for companies operating many sites with less than ten personnel in each site, they should consider hosted telephony. For these companies, it did not make sense to build their own system. He updated that Telstra was already offering hosted telephony in Australia, and possibly in Hong Kong and Singapore eventually. 

Mottram observed that it was quite rare for companies to have only one single platform, and it was common for different local branches to operate different telephony systems. But companies were beginning to realise that having to manage so many platforms could be very troublesome, and that it could be outsourced. 

Chong recommended IP-based telephony for companies that had the connectivity. He related how Honeywell had introduced IP-based telephony and because of its success, he had terminated some of their Centrix systems.

Agility had also enjoyed a similar experience in China, India and Malaysia. Kumar added that the infrastructure that was set up was not just for telephony, but for many other applications, such as teleconferences.

Chong opined that there was a lot more opportunity for success in Asia Pacific versus the US for IP-based telephony. "For Honeywell, we had zero IP telephony before 2004 because it was so expensive. But in Asia, we could justify it because of the very high international tariffs here,” Chong explained.


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