by Yogesh Gupta

CIOs should bake BCP/ DR in IT infrastructure ASAP: Keith Tilley, SunGard

Apr 14, 20146 mins
BusinessCloud ManagementComputers and Peripherals

“IT is so prevalent to run the risk of not being available while your competition is up and running. DR / BCP should never be just a tick in the box for CIOs,” says Keith Tilley, EVP EMEA & APAC, SunGard Availability Services.

Disaster Recovery and BCP feature on the list of essential technologies for organizations. “CIOs have to take business continuity seriously and it should never be just a tick in the box,” says Keith Tilley, EVP EMEA & APAC, SunGard Availability Services.

SunGard Availability Services provides DR services, managed IT services, information availability consulting services and business continuity management software.“IT is so prevalent to run the risk of not being available but your competition is up and running. If you are not on you are off,” he says.

Data flow is mutli- vendor today–tablets, social, cloud, virtualised datacentres. How much is too much for CIOs to back up and then maintain the growing data?

The amount of the information is tremendous to the tune of 2.5 quintillion bytes per day. The heart of our MRP (management recovery program) underneath recovery as a service is to actually monitor closely on what data needs back up. Surprisingly even good data is duplicated at several places in organisations. We offer services to reduce the cost by making sure to only back up what is needed and in an incremental manner through ‘pay as you grow’ model.

The amount of information is unbelievable that puts extra pressure on CIOs today. IT was more back office in the past but now IT has surfaced as a front office force that drives business forward. Regulation is often a forcing factor for business continuity or internal audit. BCP is also a good practice to be available at all times. No matter how big or small you need to leverage IT and not take the risk that something will happen at some time. Whatever we have thrown we have seen it before, we have recovered it and tested it. Hence we can design the best plan, optimise to business needs andreduce the cost for organisations.

Is India Inc. lagging on adoption of DR and BCP in their IT strategy?

It is surprising that DR is not top of agenda for many CIOs unless there is an incident. It is the cost of doing business and hence you need to protect yourselves.

DR/BCP will be driven hugely through supply chain and we see a huge switch in there. India is catching up as part of the global chain ecosystem. We see supply chain is being pushed to provide continuity and have a recovery plan in place. Global companies doing IT are now using our services. That continuity planning drives the availability all the way through supply chain. Small companies providing services /products to big companies also need to have business continuity. IT is so prevalent to run the risk of not being available while your competition is up and running. If you are not on, you are off. 

Forrester’s 17-criteria evaluation of disaster-recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) vendors, 12 most significant service providers including Axcient, Barracuda Networks, EVault, SunGard, Verizon Terremark. It’s a tough competition out there?

We are pretty high on that chart. We are very focused on core market – mid-tier and lower end of the higher end. We do have big customers too and every organisation looks for reliability, security and experience. At the time when the company is probably at its weakest in the recovery or about to enter recovery, then one wants bench strength that has been there before. And in past thirty six years we have not let anyone down with DRaaS.

We are good through tailor –made services at understanding that recovery is quite unique even though companies look similar but their business approach differs a bit. Some point solutions by other vendors is fine, but if you want the complete approach to business continuity including end user then we are probably only company in the world. True business continuity isn’t just back up or recovery but it is holistic approach to what you need to do.

And how you fight big boys like HP, IBM who can push DRaaS across their wide installed customer base?

They do not feature high on the analysts’ reports as DRaaS is probably not their core product. We respect the competitors and I actually would advise to compare the services they offer to ours, we are better. We are completely vendor agnostic – to have recovery solutions on say IBM or HP box. Large companies are usually in and out of the market. If – God forbid – they had an issue with the recovery at a customer, they (vendor) would still survive. It would however be a big blow on our reputation and on the expected service level to our customers at all times.

Besides failure and downtime, resilience is an increasingly critical priority on the overall infrastructure for CIOs moving into 2014. How does DRAAS result in more resilient organizations?

How much ever you are available and resilient , something will happen hence there is a move towards recovery and more continuity. Business continuity baked(built) in the business from the beginning gives great benefits to an organisation. Afterwards the deployment becomes quite expensive. BCP/DR are synonymous with each other. People still think DR is IT and BCS is business related though there is blurred line between the two. It is about end users and how data information flows and is backed up to get data recovery, application recovery and business continuity.

Many companies feel that they do not have the required in-house expertise to run their entire DR plan. Can Sungard come to the rescue?

It is another driver for more of it away from the internal team. Their IT skills have a huge pressure on costs as they want people to do IT on business outcome. Recovery is a need but it is not driving the business outcome. Through or best of breed solutions, they can free their staff. As part of MRP, we take over all planning, change control associated with recovery and make sure they can constantly be recovered. Companies could use that capex (saved on people costs) on other business aspects.

What checks and balances should CIOs consider before they bite DRaaS bullet?

Firstly, CIOs have to take business continuity seriously and it should never be just a tick in the box. If it is then you might not spend money on it because it will not work. CIOs have been pushed to give business more but do it cheap with maximum efficiency. At times cheaper is replaced with cost effective but we often discover with customers they do things in a way which are more expensive than they should do it.

The key role of modern day CIOs is to help drive business forward and hence they need to work with partner to provide services than you no longer want to provide yourself from that perspective. Whatever CIOs think today of technology will change tomorrow. To stay top of the game, they have to change in terms of technology, type of services and alliance partners.

Yogesh Gupta is associate editor at CIO India. He can be reached at