How four key digital transformation trends have evolved post-pandemic

Article content

Every organisation in the world has experienced some form of transformational impact over the last 18 months.

Each businesses’ strategic response to the pandemic has been entirely unique, however one key theme to have emerged is that technological innovation is critical in times of crisis.

Back in April, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella commented, “We have seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months”, as many organisations funnelled millions into digital services to support pivoting business strategies.

While these investments have made organisations stronger, they also raise questions about how businesses will continue this momentum going forward.

Organisations have changed the way they approach just about every ‘core’ aspect of the technological landscape, from data centres and cloud to security and managed services.

This has been especially prudent as staff move to hybrid ways of working, with organisations required to craft permanent strategies that support a new normal of in-office and remote-based working and collaboration.

Here are some of the ways key trends have been impacted as we enter a ‘new normal’ of prolonged uncertainty.

Private data centres don’t seem to be going anywhere

With public cloud and edge computing dominating many trade show conversations, it might seem logical that private, on-premises datacentres would become a thing of the past.

That’s not reality. In fact, we’re seeing a lot of organisations scale up their private workloads and even repatriate (i.e. bring back) some services from the public cloud in rare cases.

The reasons behind this are complicated, but come down to risk, complexity, and cost of moving business-critical workloads.  They may also include the businesses benefits that alternatives such as colocation offer.

That doesn’t mean we’re reverting to on-premises – far from it – but it does suggest that private datacentres aren’t going anywhere just yet.

The best security culture is fused with business objectives and embedded throughout the organisation

The pandemic has been a breeding ground for cybercrime. As offices around the world began to close down and remote working became a necessity, businesses had to make strategic decisions around how they could continue to operate, whilst managing security on the fly.

Businesses must now face the challenge of how to more permanently transition their security posture to a mature state that address the future of the modern workplace. This includes fostering a positive security culture that’s embedded across the entire business.

Although organisations must keep in mind that culture isn’t something to be forced on people. Organisations must instead look at the existing culture of the business and work out how to make security an intrinsic part of that.

Accomplishing this involves aligning security strategy with key business objectives, ensuring that the two are inherently linked as part of one framework that’s embedded into everything the organisation does.

The cloud vs edge debate continues to heat up

Cloud – especially public cloud – has had a significant 18 months. Revenues are skyrocketing for public cloud providers and organisations are putting more workloads into the hands of the major providers. 

However, edge computing – the concept of hosting more compute power closer to the source of data ‘at the edge’ on network or IoT devices – has also experienced a lot of uptake, as it offers advantages such as reduced network bandwidth and lower latency for certain applications.

This has escalated conversations about how the two models will be placed in the foreseeable future, amid promises that edge will decentralise IT infrastructure and pave the way for “fog computing”, where even more processing power is placed at the edge. 

While edge investments will be important, cloud remains an increasingly pivotal part of IT infrastructure and is uptake is understandably showing no signs of slowing down. The real value is utilising a balanced approach, with both cloud and edge serving as pivotal parts of an effective IT strategy.

This will allow organisations to reap the best of both worlds, taking pressure off their centralised cloud infrastructure with edge deployments, while still taking advantage of the billions of dollars of annual R&D investment spent by public cloud providers.

Managed services are pivotal for alleviating the skills gap

It’s safe to say that many of the challenges we’ve experienced over the last 18 months would be at least partially alleviated with access to more skills.

A recent report suggested that Singapore’s reputation as a regional technology hub is being threatened by a widening tech skills gap, with a top-ranking central bank authority calling for more foreign immigration to address the jobs crunch.

These challenges aren’t likely to get easier over time. Especially considering organisations are leaning on technology and cloud services to support their hybrid working arrangements. As these strategies solidify in 2021, having the right tech skills on board is becoming more essential, yet increasingly difficult.

However, organisations across the region are finding managed and professional services an effective way to plug this gap.

According to Gartner, "Managed Service Providers bring skills, experience, process maturity, and established toolsets to accelerate and improve public cloud results for clients."

This skills boost will be vital as organisations look to scale their public, hybrid, and multi-cloud strategies, as hybrid working persists through 2021.

Taking a closer look at these issues

We’ll be exploring these four topics in greater detail as part of a five-part blog series, featured in each issue of the Austcham Singapore August newsletter. We’ll provide additional context and reasoning behind why some of these trends are occurring and how organisations make proactive changes to prepare.

We’ll also relate it back to the challenges that organisations are experiencing in the APAC region, with guidance on what actions to take now that we’re beginning to find post-pandemic business stability, albeit with some uncertainty still on the horizon.

This article is part of a 5-part series, first appearing on the Australian Chamber of Singapore’s weekly newsletter in August 2021.  Look out for the next upcoming articles on:

Article 1 - Four key digital transformation trends have evolved

Article 2 - Why the private data centre is persisting in 2021

Article 3 - Cyber Business Risk is the next Frontier

Article 4 - Edge vs cloud? It’s the wrong question for best-practice ICT strategy

Article 5 - Managed services are pivotal for alleviating the skills gap