Ireland’s claim to be home of cloud computing has already been realised for one of the world’s biggest technology manufacturers, HP, with its Irish divisions making some notable firsts in terms of innovation and product development, the company’s general manager for the country Martin Murphy explained.
In previous interviews with the HP Ireland general manager, Murphy has always been emphatic that there are two key things we need to be aware of: firstly, the quality of the company’s Irish workforce has continually attracted investment after investment by the California-headquartered IT giant; secondly, the cloud represents the biggest paradigm shift that has ever swept the industry.
In the last three years, HP in Ireland has been successful in attracting more than 1,000 new jobs to the country in addition to the 4,000 or so already in place. The creation of the Global Services Desk in March 2009 generated 500 jobs, and the expansion of the company’s Galway operation in 2010 spawned 50 jobs. In addition, the company announced 120 jobs at its Dublin operations in September 2010 and 105 jobs at its Galway operations in December 2010, which were followed by a further 50 new jobs.
It’s actually hard to imagine a service that is critical to the running of a business that hasn’t in some way been already transformed by the cloud and it is in this transformation that Murphy believes Ireland has a leading role to play.
“We have a very young population and we’ve invested for decades in top-quality education. We also have a national hunger for enterprise alongside an export-focused economy and a very pro-business environment.”
Cloud transcends borders and boundaries
Murphy says in tandem with Ireland’s edge in industries like agri-science and pharmaceuticals, the country has an opportunity to influence a variety of industries via cloud.
“Cloud by its nature transcends all boundaries and sectors and effectively we’ve a fantastic platform to work off. In addition to this, Ireland is uniquely positioned at the crossroads of global data exchange. We are almost mid-way between the US and China and we are strategically a gateway into Europe.”
This, he says, is a welcome development because it eradicates previous limitations faced by an island economy. “These limitations disappear when you talk about cloud.”
He said that traditionally the country’s position on the periphery of Europe has been used as an excuse, but no longer. “The old business model of needing to be close to your customer isn’t necessarily as strong when you look at the cloud industry. In many respects, the global boundaries are being redrawn and in fact they are being redrawn very nicely in Ireland’s favour.”
Murphy said a considerable amount of HP’s R&D capability in Ireland is devoted to cloud computing. “We are innovating, incubating and globalising cloud solutions from our Irish base as we speak.
“In Galway, we have a global centre for cloud service innovation and engineers there have pioneered the first end-to-end product recall processes which is delivered as a hosted cloud service.
“What that has done, and it’s being used by thousands of businesses globally, is they have reduced the product recall cycle from the previous cycle of 42 days to one hour.
"That is powerful because it is in the area of food product recall, so obviously lives are at stake when you have to recall food products. This has actually not just improved an industrial process but it has also contributed to saving lives.
“Another example would be HPcloud.com. HP’s first public cloud product was actually developed and pioneered in Ireland. This provides fast, cheap and reliable cloud computing services to consumers, SMBs and all the way up to the enterprise at a corporate level. Once again another public cloud offering pioneered in Ireland.
“Engineers are busy developing cloud infrastructure, cloud apps and storage solutions from the R&D centre – there’s quite a lot of cloud activity here for the last couple of years that’s only now coming into its own as cloud has become as topical as it has of late,” Murphy said.
Big data opportunity
Murphy said that as the cloud world evolves towards big data and analytics, there’s a real opportunity to capitalise on its legacy of software development and represent the gold standard for business.
“The analytics piece is fascinating – the mind-reading piece that allows us to understand, know and predict patterns from a myriad of data sources over the internet and cloud. This can be interpreted for businesses and bring them closer in a virtual way that previous businesses models would only have allowed by being physically closer to the customer.
“We will see businesses being closer to their customers than they had in the past, but virtually more closer rather than geographically so.
“So the game-changer for me won’t necessarily be the cloud itself, per se, but the ecosystems that will develop and evolve around the cloud.
“Ireland needs to become a hotspot, a haven for cloud entrepreneurs who want to start up businesses in this space,” Murphy recommended.
Join Martin Murphy and Ireland’s digital leaders who will gather to discuss cloud computing and the big data revolution at the Cloud Capital Forum on Friday, 23 November, at the Convention Centre Dublin