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IP Expo 2012: Businesses should use IT as a 'weapon', say VMWare and Sega execs

Companies must make more strategic IT decisions to improve their chances of competing in the marketplace, according to VMWare (opens in new tab)’s chief cloud technologist Joe Baguley and Sega (opens in new tab) systems architect Francis Hart.

Speaking to IT industry experts, professionals, and press including ITProPortal at IP Expo in London (opens in new tab) this morning, Baguley and Hart stressed the importance of introducing integrated virtual and hybrid IT solutions in order to keep pace with the evolving business space.

Using Sega’s gradual switchover from a mostly hardware-based process of game development and internal distribution to a virtual, primarily cloud-reliant system as an example, Hart highlighted the extent to which shifting IT solutions helped the games publisher shrink its average delivery time, introduce higher levels of security, boost standardisation across its products, and reduce the overall cost of ownership - ultimately making for more effective and streamlined operations.

(opens in new tab)After first relying on a mostly physical mode of internal distribution and then following that up with an unsuccessful FTP-based approach, Sega eventually adopted a hybrid cloud solution to distribute and manage its products internally, Hart explained. The company built virtual apps that it used to manage the processes of game development. In addition to flexibility and security, he cited scalability, manageability, and increased security among the other benefits offered by a virtual solution.

Baguley of VMWare agreed. Changing over from the physical to the virtual offers an added level of flexibility which, for businesses, translates directly to revenues, he said.

Adopting virtualisation allowed Sega to “not only do things slightly better, they can develop games, build games, and bring games to market faster than before and faster than their competitors,” he said, advising businesses to “turn IT into a weapon to compete against the other people in your game and win.”

But one of the primary obstacles preventing companies from embracing cloud-based solutions is rooted in fears and misunderstandings of what it involves. Instead of mulling over whether to use the cloud, businesses should think “how can I use the cloud?” said Hart.

While he touted virtualisation as an important part of the future of IT trends, Hart also pointed to a couple of issues that need to be addressed. Virtual technologies present legal and financial issues that preceding IT solutions did not, he acknowledged. In particular, cloud-based solutions introduce unresolved issues over data ownership and protection, he said.

Moving forward, however, it will be necessary to address ways to incorporate other business necessities, like analytics, large-scale digital distribution and microtransactions, all of which are elemental to many companies’ business models, into the integrated virtual solutions, Hart said.