The gravitational pull of the Operate Forum

The Royal Society isn’t the standard corporate London conference venue. These ornate rooms in Carlton House Terrace overlook The Mall and have hosted the world’s most eminent scientists, and history’s greatest innovators, since 1660.

The Operate Forum was all about the future of IT – and this venue understands computing. I saw artefacts from Alan Turing, and Charles Babbage (1791 – 1871); his famous Engines predated modern computers. Upcoming Society events include The Internet of Things: Opportunities and Threats and a neighbouring room hosted a scientific meeting on gravitational waves. So what pulled in more than 30 people to this illustrious venue on a fine, autumn morning?

What does Operate mean?

In a nutshell, doing things better, more efficiently, more cost-effectively – or all of them. Micro Focus products are currently arranged under three overarching principles – build, operate, and secure. An ‘operate’ solution will help an IT organization deliver reliable IT services, while simplifying the cost of managing the underlying technologies, applications, and platforms that deliver them.

The Micro Focus Operate Forum was planned before our recent merger with HPE so delegates signed up with their hosts as the 26th largest software company in the world, and when they arrived, we were the seventh. So, many were wondering, what does that mean to us?

Life after the merger

Part of my role for the day was to explain the new benefits of working with the UK’s largest software company; about how our expanded portfolio of products and solutions – which now included Big Data and Analytics – could help our customers succeed in the future with what they already have.

Top of the list is our new capabilities to deliver on the promise of Hybrid IT, the technologies that live between the legacy IT our customers already have, and the cloud-based innovation they want for the future. Efficiency is key because as I pointed out, I have met precisely zero IT managers who have had their budgets expanded to meet the demand for added functionality.

I could assure Micro Focus customers that we would not be sundowning their products. Indeed, running solutions with parallel capabilities often meant mutual improvements, as cross-pollination improves the performance of both. And they now have access to many more products than before.

Getting ready for the GDPR

My colleague Eduardo Helering, Lead IAS Solutions Consultant, mentioned the GDPR as a good example in his presentation on Identity Powered Security. As our Guide explains, the GDPR involves people, products and processes, and since 1 September our customers can now access more expertise and a hugely-expanded security portfolio.

As Eduardo said, effective security gives employees the data access they need, while maintaining its integrity. The data masking capabilities of Data Express in testing, for example. His key message? Work is what you do, not where you are, and the customers who understand this shift will embrace the requirements, and technology, most effectively.

Kevin Leslie joined us from HPE and as Director of Operational Management he was the first to offer a perspective on the new ITOM portfolio, interesting when so much of Micro Focus’ pre-merger work was in Enterprise DevOps.

His presentation touched on containerization, which encapsulates an application with its own operating environment and requires no special configuration when placed on a host machine. I suspect we will revisit the ‘containerization versus virtualization’ debate in the coming months.

Flexi-Stack: A more adaptable future

Flexi-Stack is a great example of Micro Focus innovation, and as Neil Harrison explained, this purchasing model enables customers the opportunity to buy the credits that secure the technology they need today, and the flexibility to swap technologies as requirements change.

While Flexi-Stack is currently only available to NHS clients – some of whom were in attendance – I’d be surprised if it was not rolled out to other verticals in the future.

Robin Redgrave could read out pages from the phone book and still keep the audience engaged. The Operate Forum was a great platform for him to discuss the importance of secure file sharing in a mobile world. Presenting with Chris Radband, Robin described and demonstrated, how Filr can help overcome the challenge of accessing, or securely sharing, files when on the move.

Similarly, Jason Blackett focused on the need for secure mobility, this time in the context of the ZENworks Mobile Workspace. He was clear that maintaining control of the data, and in some cases, the device, was a business imperative. Because this solution containerizes the data, the user remains mobile and the data uncompromised.

We wound up with an enjoyable drinks reception. Surrounded by exhibits that tracked the evolution of computer technology, our customers were able to quiz our product and solutions managers for details about the roadmaps that marked the future for their technologies. Thanks to everyone who attended – and here’s to next year’s event.

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