Turning Over a New Leaf: Q&A with Peter Donnelly
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by Chris Sapardanis
In an effort to cut costs and save taxpayer dollars, the Federal Government of Canada is planning to overhaul its network infrastructure. Working alongside are companies from the private sector, which will help streamline IT, save money and end waste and duplication through a new Shared Services Canada organization.
With more than 100 email systems, 300 data centers and 3,000 network services within the Federal Public Service, the motivation for the initiative is clear. The publicized goals include moving government agencies to one email system, reducing the overall number of data centers to fewer than 20 and streamlining electronic networks within and between departments.1
For CSC Canada, the timing couldn’t be better as it continues to earn business in the public sector. In August, Citizenship and Immigration Canada entered into an agreement with Computer Sciences Canada, a wholly owned subsidiary of CSC, to help support the visa application process from Latin America.
In October, CSC joined Seaspan Marine Corporation in Vancouver, which won an $8 billion contract to build ships for the Canadian Coast Guard. CSC will provide logistics support, data management and other IT services at the shipyard for around 10 years.
At the wheel is Peter Donnelly, a native of Canada, who recently became president of CSC Canada. Donnelly will lead more than 1,100 employees in Canada with a focus on long-term growth. He has served CSC in numerous capacities, most recently running CSC Australia’s private sector operations.
CSC World spoke with him about the changing market in Canada and how CSC’s message and capabilities mesh with what’s happening in the True North.
CSC is talking a lot about the as a service economy, the next generation of IT where business services are bought or subscribed to as services. What’s this all about?
Donnelly: There’s growing interest across the public and private sectors in not having to acquire long-term services and build for themselves as done in the past.
The question is becoming, “How do I get out of investing in data centers, buying my own servers and software, etc.?” Even if an organization used an integrator like CSC, they still needed to buy all those component parts and put it together.
Companies are now saying, “Sell me a service so that I can ramp my volumes up and down as my business dictates. I need to move as the economy dictates and not be locked in for multiple-year terms on all these parts that may not be useable in a next-generation solution.”
CSC is now enabling that as a service. For example, our cloud services are completely built on the as a service premise. Buy one, buy a million. Turn it on today, turn it off tomorrow. That’s of great interest, and that’s a strong selling point and capability CSC has developed over the last couple of years.
The Shared Services Canada announcement sounds like a major change. How big is this news?
Donnelly: This is significant for the public sector in Canada and it’s going to allow them to move into that as a service economy. Before the Shared Services organization, they bought all IT services on a point-by-point basis — they contracted people, they bought equipment, they established data centers.
It’s a step change because the government often leads private enterprise within a country to help adopt new technologies. As the government understands how to employ and deploy these things, it matures and changes legislation. That then will hopefully change business rules and requirements that make it easier for enterprises to adopt as a service solutions.
A great example is export control rules. These rules make it very difficult for people to leverage a global economy if regional controls on data management and privacy do not allow you to move data outside of the country, or even move data around within a country.
As the government moves to Shared Services, not only does that provide us with direct opportunity with the government because we’ve got a strong Canadian public sector business, but indirectly, it will facilitate the adoption of new technology over time. CSC is very well positioned to be able to provide our point of view and hopefully sell services into that market.
Taking the regional controls on data and privacy into consideration, how will CSC help enable the as-a-service economy in Canada via cloud services?
Donnelly: We’re truly embodying the as a service economy in Canada. We’re using our partnership with VCE to launch a cloud solution in Canada in the first quarter of 2012. And the interesting thing is that we do not have our own data center facility here.
Previously, that might be seen as a problem — we don’t have a data center so we can’t offer some services. That’s no longer the case. The as a service economy is about partnerships. And our new data center partner in Canada is working closely with our global data center strategy and implementation teams to ensure the facility is certified to CSC’s world-class standards.
We’re setting up a platform that will allow us to deliver public cloud services to clients as well as the direct capability to implement BizCloud on a client’s premises. I’m very excited because our ability to deploy a BizCloud on a client site is a huge opportunity.
For clients, it’s like dipping your toe into the cloud. You get all the benefits of cloud in terms of scalability, and you buy it on a unit basis. There’s no up-front capital commitment, and you’re able to put it in your own physical data center.
With BizCloud, the client has the asset within their network, where they can apply their own security protocols while taking advantage of the embedded security that CSC puts into the physical cloud itself.
CHRIS SAPARDANIS is editor of CSC World magazine.