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Q&A: IBM Global Business Services CTO Talks Cloud

IBM Fellow and Global Business Services CTO Kerrie Holley, who helped shape SOA, shares his thoughts on cloud trends, the future of IT, and more.

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Holley (continued): Then, today is not atypical, where I write. I'm finishing up some chapters on this book. I was also on the phone about a week I'll be spending up in Toronto for a project that we're going to launch in South America. We'll spend a week with our Smarter Planet software colleagues and some research colleagues, and we'll spend a week looking at the assets that we want to apply and when we want to apply them, how do we want to apply them. We'll look at the architecture and describe how we can actually minimize some of the risk. This is a huge project, and it'll be fairly significant when it's publicized.

InformationWeek: Are there any insights from your cloud book that you'd care to share?

Holley: Yeah. I think one big insight. Pamela Isom is the primary author, and I'm a co-author. But Pam and I, what I think is most useful about the book is this notion of a cloud adoption strategy, which goes to the heart of [what we've been talking about]. We spend a good amount of time in the book describing such a strategy, how it's linked to your enterprise architecture, and why those two are important. We offer up some decision frameworks. What the book doesn't try to do, it doesn't try to be a primer on cloud, it doesn't try to educate people on cloud, although some of that's in there. But instead, what it tries to do is help companies that are beyond those issues with making these key decisions and what the actual impact of those can be. We also try to focus on looking at cloud computing as more than just a cost-efficiency issue. It can actually be used to drive innovation and make a business even richer in some of its outcomes.

InformationWeek: Are there any examples of that that come to mind?

Holley: When you look at analytics, as an example, it's very expensive for some companies to invest in the information supply chain necessary to make analytics really pay dividends for them. Suddenly, with the cloud, that capital preservation is possible, yet they can, at the same time, take advantage of this analytics to drive innovation that maybe they otherwise didn't have. So I think that's one example of how the use of cloud is an enabler to do something they couldn't do before.

InformationWeek: What about your background in technology? You started off in mathematics?

Holley: I did.

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