‘Cloud computing offers opportunity to punch above our weight’

Ireland can become a world player in cloud computing given the right approach to innovation, according to EMC chief executive and vice president for Ireland Bob Savage.

Cloud computing success is a more attainable tech industry goal for Ireland than computer manufacture or product development, Mr Savage told attendees at yesterday’s UCC Business Conference 2012 in Hayfield Manor Hotel, Cork.

“Ireland was never going to be big in mainframe manufacture or chip development, but cloud computing really is an opportunity for us to punch above our weight,” said Mr Savage. “The cloud is the biggest change that has ever happened to the computer industry.

“If we join it all together in the right way in Ireland, then we can produce the next Google ourselves within the next 10 years. But that will mean focusing on giving the customer a really special experience, which is something we may have lost in the Celtic Tiger years. We need to get that back.”

The EMC chief also picked up on the UCC conference themes of innovation and transformation. While EMC is evolving into a leader in cloud computing, it is also one of the world’s biggest data storage companies.

Mr Savage said: “EMC is a €20 billion company now. We feel we are about the right size, but we are careful not to become complacent. We are transforming ourselves from one of the biggest data storage companies in the world and moving into cloud computing.

“We acquired VM Ware in 2003 as part of that plan. The transformation we are going through now will define us as a company. If we are going to be big in cloud computing then we are going to have to innovate.”

Mr Savage also said that Irish businesses will have to be willing to fail before they learn how to succeed. This theme was also picked up by other speakers at the conference.

Tenego Partnering chief executive Donagh Kiernan, Glenisk’s Vincent Cleary and Deirdre Collins of Dee’s Wholefoods all explained that resilience and putting the customer first are core tenets in each of their businesses.

The event was also addressed by Bobby Kerr of Insomnia Coffee Company, Victoria Shorten of Power PR, UCC economist Dr Noel Woods, Cork Chamber chief Conor Healy, Fine Gael TD Áine Collins and Lord Mayor of Cork Terry Shannon.

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