5 things we learned at Internet World 2014

At Internet World 2014, thousands of IT, technology and digital marketing professionals descended on London to discover the most cutting-edge technology innovations, and learn strategies designed to drive their organisation's success.

Increasingly one of the most buzzing events of London Technology Week, Internet World brought together IT specialists, business leaders, developers, technical experts, digital marketing and business development professionals with leading technology innovators and solution providers.

There were also a whole raft of seminars and workshops on how departments can work closer together to maximise business-wide opportunities.

Here's five things we learned from Internet World 2014.

1. Cloud computing is like running a restaurant

Richard Garsthagen, director of cloud business development for EMEA at Oracle, spoke at Internet World 2014 about how to exploit the cloud to grow your business.

"Everyone talks about putting something in the cloud like we're putting data somewhere else," Garsthagen said, "but that's not what cloud computing is about. It's about shifting the nature of IT to be provided as a service."

Users want to consume IT, Garsthagen told the crowd, and if you don't provide it, they'll find it themselves through a third party.

"Running cloud computing is like running a restaurant. The first thing you have to have in a restaurant is a menu, a list of things people can consume from you IT services, or things you can provide through public computing."

2. It's time to ask the right questions about big data in your business

According to John Morton, big data advisor and former regional CTO of SAS, business leaders simply aren't asking the right questions about big data.

"We all know what the CEO's looking for: growth, sustaining the business, reducing costs and doing more to compete in the marketplace," Morton told us.

"But every time we add more and more in investment, we also bring greater costs in terms of finance, workload, compliance risks and of course security."

"Big data can affect every part of your business, but if you can't explain exactly why you need it and exactly what you want to get out of it in every area, then you might as well not do it," he went on.

"Big data has to be a sustainable delivery project, and it's time to be asking the right questions around big data in your business."

3. Small teams must have a no-blame culture

Tim Lennox, managing director of digital entertainment at Sainsbury's, gave a fascinating talk at Internet World 2014 about how to keep your small team advantage going even within a larger organisation. The main thing he highlighted was having a no-blame culture.

"You have to deal with problems and learn from them, not place blame on people and seek to punish mistakes," Lennox said.

"So long as you're doing something for the first time, innovation is bound to occur," he told the crowd of business decision makers. "A small team has to look at doing things differently. Small teams also have fewer distractions. There are fewer interactions with other departments and fewer meetings."

He also focused on how a small team mentality can benefit the organisation as a whole.

"You have to run a small team like a lab. Experiment on low risk projects that have a quick, cost-effective delivery, and use them to add real value to your larger business. You can trial things in a small team that can then be applied to the wider business."

4. We need to move away from a parental relationship with our employees

Peter Kelly, the managing director of Virgin Media Business, spoke at Internet World 2014 about how mobile, agile working practices are cracking open the world of work, and how you can stay ahead.

"We need to be harnessing the power of millennials and using their innovation. The key to that is embracing mobile change and agile working practices," Kelly said. "Work isn't a place you go anymore – it's what you do. We need to move away from the parental relationship between us and our trusted employees."

"We're all in competitive markets," Kelly said, "so the question is whether you embrace this as your market leads, or take a truly revolutionary approach to get yourself ahead of the trend. The only option we don't have is standing still."

5. We could save an hour a day with mobile working practices

Peter Kelly also went on to talk about how mobile working practices could save billions of pounds a year. he told us that businesses can get a 15 per cent productivity gain by embracing mobile and cloud.

"That's a whole other hour in the day," Kelly said. "Imagine what you could do with that hour."

"In the UK we have 330,000 healthcare workers and carers. Imagine if every one of those got an extra hour in the day. That could be as much as 80 million extra visits – more than one for every person in the UK. Or you could cut costs with that extra hour, or take the extra hour as free time that you can dedicate to your family."

The UK is one of the most technologically developed countries in the world, with as much as 12 per cent of our GDP. If we could embrace this across all sectors, that could be a crucial part of how the UK prospers. Those that stand still could well become extinct, but those that embrace it will come out on top.

Join us again next year for Internet World 2015!