With IT budgets cut for many APAC organisations this year, companies had to walk a difficult tightrope between managing business continuity and investing in innovation for growth. Will this continue to be the case in 2022 and what are some lessons we can learn? What will be the new business priorities in tech spending and transformation in the months ahead?
iTNews Asia sits with Josep Garcia, Vice President & GM, Asian Growth & Emerging Markets, Red Hat Asia-Pacific to hear his thoughts on what the APAC market and landscape is likely to look like.
iTNews Asia: Not every APAC organisation were able to successfully go digital or use the cloud this year. What did you see as factors impeding their digital transformation?
2021 saw businesses having to adapt to new business requirements, such as the rise of remote working and the increased appetite for digital customer engagement. In response, many APAC organisations focused heavily on ensuring that their IT infrastructure could support these changes to achieve business continuity. However, this meant that they had less IT budget and time to spend on innovation, which is crucial for future business growth.
This is one of the biggest challenges for organisations – balancing between business continuity to keep the lights on while looking forward and speeding up innovation efforts for growth. Organisations often struggle to do so, as they usually don’t have the right IT architecture in place, limiting their ability to build, run, and integrate new applications into their existing systems or leverage new technology coming out of the cloud.
In addition, APAC organisations also faced an increasing pressure to innovate faster to keep up with growing customer demands as customers too changed their consumption and social behaviours.
iTNews Asia: How can businesses be able to overcome these challenges?
The approach organisational leaders take toward transformation will affect their success or failure. Laying the foundation for continual transformation is the key to success. This calls for a culture of collaboration, which is not inherent to every organisation and must go beyond the adoption of new technologies.
Businesses should embrace an open culture – one that encourages collaboration, inclusivity, adaptability, and transparency. They must understand and accept that the best ideas don’t necessarily come from the top, so they should empower everyone in their organisation to initiate and iterate change rapidly, if they want to speed up innovation.
Collaborative cultures, open processes, and industry-tested, open tools provide the agility and security needed to support transformation – now or into the future.
iTNews Asia: Do you see priorities shifting between the different stages of digital transformation initiatives?
Embracing digital is a long and continuous journey, which is why organisations and businesses are all at different stages of digital transformation. According to Red Hat’s 2022 Global Tech Outlook, an annual report which surveys IT leaders and decision makers to learn their technology goals and priorities, 14% have not started or are in early stages, 19% are in an emerging stage, 31% in a transforming stage, and 36% are in an accelerating or leading stage.
Despite being at different stages, businesses shared that security, cloud management and cloud infrastructure are the top IT priorities for 2022 for them. In fact, security was top of mind across the board when asked about their top priorities for cloud infrastructure, IT operations automation, and big data and analytics.
We also see IT automation continuing to rise year over year. For 2022, 38% of respondents said automating IT operations is their second most important funding priority for optimising legacy IT. Compared to 32% in 2021, it saw the biggest increase from the prior year.
Many APAC organisations focused heavily on ensuring that their IT infrastructure could support these changes to achieve business continuity. However, this meant that they had less IT budget and time to spend on innovation, which is crucial for future business growth.
- Josep Garcia, Vice President & GM, Asian Growth & Emerging Markets, Red Hat Asia-Pacific
iTNews Asia: Many businesses see hybrid cloud as their IT strategy moving froward, particularly for more traditional organisations. What are the key factors for companies to consider when transitioning from legacy IT and migrating to the cloud?
A hybrid approach often becomes a necessity as organisations grow. Consider a cloud migration for applications that benefit from a more flexible and scalable infrastructure with finer-grained security controls. A migration provides an opportunity to analyse the application for its operational challenges and to make improvements.
As a start when transiting from legacy IT and migrating to the cloud, companies could use on-premises infrastructure to store sensitive data, public cloud for application development and delivery, or multiple public clouds to meet local regulations in different markets. This requires a hybrid cloud setup.
iTNews Asia: Typically, which applications should be moved first and what kept on-premise? How can businesses continue to stay in control and secure, yet be flexible and adaptive?
While the various environments that make up a hybrid cloud remain unique and separate entities, migrating between them is facilitated by containers or encrypted application programming interfaces (APIs) that help transmit resources and workloads.
This separate —yet connected— architecture is what allows enterprises to run critical workloads in the private cloud and less sensitive workloads in the public cloud. It’s an arrangement that minimises data exposure and allows enterprises to customise a flexible IT portfolio.
While shifting to Cloud might initially seem like a costly and complex move, it offers plenty of services that reduce operational burden. The sheer number of cloud services often overwhelms newcomers, but building a solid plan with collaborative touch points and good communication ensures the best possible result.
In the long run, the efficiencies and innovation gained from using the cloud will enable organisations to see a better return on investment and make better use of their budgets across their businesses.
iTNews Asia: Looking ahead into 2022, what do you see as the key factors for companies to consider when migrating to the cloud?
There are many aspects that should be considered when digitally transforming and adopting an open hybrid cloud. Central to this are people, culture, process, and technology. Changing how you work with technology tomorrow depends entirely on how you work with technology today.
This must involve lasting cultural and technological change in order to bring lasting organisational and business success. It doesn’t have to be revolutionary or disruptive; evolutionary, incremental, and iterative progress is still progress.
Organisations should therefore focus on driving small, incremental changes. By rapidly prototyping and reiterating, organisations can continuously improve their solutions and keep up with the accelerating pace of business. This goes beyond adopting new technologies – it calls for a culture that allows employees to be part of agile teams that are empowered to innovate and deliver more value to the company.
It is difficult for organisations to try to embrace all of this, and they can also look outside their business for additional support because there’s no one way to do this. This is why we started our Open Innovation Labs residency to help organisations get hands-on experience on building their digital muscle to gain business agility.
During their residency, they work collaboratively alongside Red Hat experts to help speed modern app development. The ultimate goal should be to get comfortable with change before the market demands it, because the market will demand it.