Sponsored: The Evolution of Cloud Enablement

By Lenovo Health
04:48 PM
illustration of cloud connected devices

Ajay Dholakia, MBA, PhD, is a senior engineering sta­ff member with the Lenovo Enterprise Business Group, working on customer solutions in the areas of big data, analytics, cloud, virtualized infrastructure and healthcare. He has led diverse projects in research, technology, product and solution development, and business/technical strategy. Dholakia designed advanced coding and signal-processing algorithms for data communications and storage systems, and has led the design and implementation of power-management capabilities for System x blade and rack-mounted servers. While on the System x marketing team, he led technical and business strategy for software, systems management, and security. He holds more than 40 patents and has authored more than 40 technical publications including the book, Introduction to Convolutional Codes with Applications.

What are the major trends for cloud enablement in 2016?

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One of the key trends will continue to be increased cloud adoption by enterprises and organizations. I would put this adoption increase into three buckets:

  • Use of public clouds, like Amazon and Microsoft, will grow.
  • Hosting/cloud service providers (CSPs) who don’t want to be generally public, but they are hosting specific communities, such as healthcare, financial and education, will grow.
  • Enterprise IT will go hybrid. In any enterprise, besides on-premises, infrastructure could be on a public cloud or with a hosting cloud service provider.

Is the vision for cloud enablement the same as previous years? If not, how is it changing?

Overall, advances in technology have made cloud adoption easier. Some drivers, such as cost and technology, are the same. Other drivers, like security concerns and service level agreements, are different because of improvements in those areas that weren’t available one to three years ago.

In the healthcare space, many of the underlying technologies are getting certifications for HIPAA compliance, which eases the mind of customers with concerns about using the cloud, and therefore, makes cloud adoption much easier in terms of realizing the promise of quality of service, response times, security, and availability.

Why is cloud enablement important to healthcare organizations today?

Healthcare organizations can gain from the scale that comes by leveraging the cloud infrastructure. Multiple healthcare organizations are accessing commonly hosted infrastructure and that helps reduce costs, drives adoption of new technology and reduces the amount of internal testing they have to do within each organization— whether it is a clinic or a hospital—by leveraging work that gets done for the entire group. There is more confidence in adoption because a community is adopting it rather than one individual organization. That leads to be better interoperability and hardening of technology (technology improvement), which in turn, drives more adoption.

There is a lot of noise about cloud enablement being the cornerstone for harnessing the potential of big data analytics. Where should healthcare organizations prioritize their time, budgets and expertise?

In terms of big data and analytics, there are a few important areas to focus on:

  • Identification of analytics engines that are geared for the healthcare industry. This will reduce the time each organization will need to spend specializing a general-purpose engine for healthcare because it is already coming packaged for healthcare.
  • Selection of data repositories. Some will be EHR/EMR, but when you’re doing broader population-health kinds of activities, collective data sources begin to come in to play, so learning to work with those would be another area of focus.
  • Integrating new data sources by enabling devices that harness the power of Mobility/Internet of Things (IoT) across the setting of care – inclusive of the patient home.
  • Keeping an eye on interoperability. You want specialization, but you don’t want to be stuck in a strictly proprietary environment. You have to make sure that the interoperability needs of the organization are met.

For healthcare organizations that don’t yet have a cloud-enablement strategy, where should they begin? For those that do, do you recommend any course corrections?

Working with trusted infrastructure and application partners would be the best place to start. Each of the big healthcare IT vendors has a cloud strategy around their application. Healthcare organizations need to work closely with these partners to learn about the cloud-enablement options that are offered.

Cloud-enablement success heavily depends on changing and adopting internal processes to align with the cloud technology. You have to ensure that you’re driving a change-management mindset within your organization.

A final word of advice would be to begin the journey to cloud adoption with a pilot project. For instance, you may not want to take your entire organization to cloud in one day, so start with one piece, analytics servers for example, and contain it and analyze how that goes to the cloud. In your analysis, don’t just look at technology, look at the processes. What you learn from that will teach you how to go on to other functions.

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About Lenovo Health

Lenovo Health is a visionary voice and proactive health IT partner that brings a foundation of security, compatibility, mobility and reliability to the industry. Our focus lies in simplistic, seamless solutions that help you get ahead in an ever-changing health IT landscape. www.lenovohealth.com

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