Casino management organisation Echo Entertainment has dipped its toes into the cloud, and is now hooked on the feeling, with the company's CTO Rob James foreshadowing that in around five years, his company will have its whole IT environment in the cloud.
After de-merging from Tabcorp in mid-2011, Echo Entertainment, which manages casinos including The Star in Sydney, had a small window of time to rationalise its IT environment. It decided to use IT service management (ITSM) software- as-a-service (SaaS) provider ServiceNow to help with the transition. ServiceNow's platform supported and automated Echo's service desk operations at first, and was then used to automated other processes across the business.
James is a big supporter of moving what can be moved into the cloud. The next step for Echo is to see what other applications can be migrated to the cloud and managed by an external party, he said at the Gartner Infrastructure Operations and Data Center Summit in Sydney.
"In five years — 10 years maximum — we'll see most of our stuff end up in the cloud," James said. "We're going to worry less about managing datacentres, and will just worry about managing services.
"We're in the casino business — we're not in the business of running datacentres, websites, or uninterrupted power supplies."
Echo Entertainment is currently trying to optimise its IT operations. With pressures to become more efficient and to cut costs, the company is looking at ways to push those commodity systems out of the business and into the hands of experts who know how to manage them.
"We had to ask ourselves just want kind of IT shop we wanted to be," James said. "Do we want to focus on supporting emails, service management, all the kinds of functions that would typically be commodity, or do we want to manage casino systems?"
Another advantage he saw coming from the cloud was that he could redistribute resources that were once dedicated to managing IT environments into more important functions.
"Focus them on what matters most, not on things that have become commodity driven," James said. "We don't employ electrical engineers just to ensure we have power running to our physical properties. We pay service companies and the grids to help get that service delivered.
"I think IT as a commodity is going down that path."
Echo Entertainments appetite for cloud is growing as it puts more application and functions into it, according to James.
"I'm seeing this in my organisation and from talking to my peers," he said. "We've dipped our toes into this environment, learning from our mistakes, but we are putting more and more in there — and we don't want to go back."