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CeBIT: Cloud Computing Comes with New Tasks for Managers

Speaking at the CeBIT expo, the world’s biggest hi-tech fair held in Hannover, Germany, Bitkom President August-Wilhelm Scheer sees cloud computing bringing a lot of positive changes, but challenges as well. He explains in conversation with JAN-BERND MEYER of ComputerWoche.

CW: Prof. Scheer, as the Bitkom presi­dent, you have a very good idea of what makes the ICT industry tick. How is the mood in that segment right now?

SCHEER: The mood is very, very good. The industry’s optimism indicators are the high¬≠est we’ve ever seen.

CW: Does that apply to all industry seg­ments?

SCHEER: As you know, we are a diverse in¬≠dustry that consists of the information and telecommunications segments as well as the new media, as they’re called. They include among other things flat screen monitors and digital cameras along with their manufac¬≠tures. So with all these different players, you’re going to see various degrees of busi¬≠ness expansion. However, we are seeing ex¬≠cellent growth and I can imagine that we will even increase our prognosis for this year.

CW: It sounds as if the ICT industry has absolutely no challenges left to face.

SCHEER: It would be rather unfortunate if challenges no longer existed. It would be boring actually, but that’s not how our in¬≠dustry is. I’m sure the various segments are facing their own challenges, but one thing they do have in common is a shortage of highly skilled employees.

Right now we have 28,000 vacancies that we’re having a difficult time in filling. That’s why we are also turning to policy-makers so that they can draft policies that will make it easier for specialists to immigrate to Germany. However, we have to do our own homework, too, and make our industry more appealing to women.

CW: There’s one topic that everyone at the CeBIT 2011 is talking about and that is cloud computing. Bitkom has a term ‚Cloud World‚ to address it. What is that about?

SCHEER: It refers to a special CeBIT exhi¬≠bition called Cloud World, where we have assembled a number of providers offering various cloud-related services and displaying different infrastructures and applications. That’s critical to us because we don’t just want to create a lot of hype, or throw a new expression into the discussion. Instead, we want to show in concrete terms how cloud computing actually works, and there will be presentations and demos to do that. This lets potentially interested individuals obtain the information they need. And for decision-makers, we have also prepared written ma¬≠terial they can take with them.

CW: Alongside the positive buzz about cloud computing, there are also a lot of concerns about how everything is going to change. What advice do you have for users?

SCHEER: Well, first off, things will primari¬≠ly change for the better. Investments in software and hardware will not burden companies as much in the future because procured services can be deducted. Com¬≠puting and application capacity will be pro¬≠cured from the Web. Therefore investment expenses will transform into operating ex¬≠penses that are paid on an as-needed basis. These are all positive changes. Also prices will drop due to the improved exploitation of computer, storage, and web resources ‚ all made possible by cloud computing.

CW: What changes can IT managers expect in their companies?

SCHEER: The IT system managers’ respon¬≠sibilities are going to change. They will need the expertise to negotiate contracts with cloud computing service providers. They will also have to know more about data security and develop strategies regarding what type of cloud computing can be used for a given set of applications. These are some of the new responsibilities facing IT managers.

Jan-Bernd Meyer is editor of COMPUTERWOCHE. Article courtesy CeBIT News.

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