The analyst explained that enterprises face increasing urgency to execute digital initiatives. In 2022, successful IT leaders will pursue cloud-native platforms and practices to build and transform application portfolios in support of digital competitiveness at a pace.
“Organisations are advancing their timelines on digital business initiatives and moving rapidly to the cloud in an effort to modernize environments, improve system reliability, support hybrid work models and address other new realities compelled by the pandemic,” said Brandon Medford, senior principal analyst at Gartner.
Full disclosure: Poh confirmed that CLDY offers web-hosting services for businesses that don’t have the capabilities to make use of Cloud-services provided by AWS, Azure, Google Cloud or any of the other public Clouds.
“We help bridge that gap,” he started.
Why would you classify an enterprise as a business that will not be able to use the services from hyperescalers likes of AWS, Azure, Google cloud – why would they not be able to use them directly?
Alvin Poh: It's the same reason why so many people don't have direct relationships with many other infrastructures or suppliers. Not a matter of size or business – it is really a matter of focusing on what the businesses’ core functions are. Any business needs more than just infrastructure, they need managed services. That is why there’s a whole industry around it.
Before the 2020 pandemic, how would you characterise the digital systems at that time?
Alvin Poh: One word I’d use to describe digital systems or the mentality that people have with regards to digital systems in the past is that of ‘cost-savings’. Most of the time, businesses treat technology and digital systems to cut costs – that's been the general trend.
COVID has been a great tech accelerator, putting tech at the forefront of being able to deliver change, being able to deliver results, being able to connect with your customers, more than just saving money or cutting costs.
How different are digital systems from 2020 onwards?
Alvin Poh: The whole perspective of how businesses treat digital systems has fundamentally shifted. COVID has accelerated things like physical intimacy, community building, customer-centricity, and questioned a lot of norms that we believe to be true in the past.
That's why the work from home trend has greatly upset the world, together with a lot of economic changes. When we look at investments in digital systems these days, it's about empowering enterprises to go into the next generation, making sure that they can embrace the needs of their own customers, employees, and end-users.
Can you describe how the IT leadership directions may have changed before COVID and during COVID?
Alvin Poh: In the past, the core theme was cost savings. When we look at changing trends, especially after COVID, we are looking at things that are driven by the customers – the customers' needs and expectations that have changed.
Businesses have recognised this. It's no longer the case where companies can stick with what used to work in the past and expect it to still work in the future. The more experimental and the more forward-thinking companies have embraced this and have come out stronger because of this behaviour.
That's not to say that it's all rosy though, it's just the start of what is to come. As a cloud provider, we've seen an increasing need for things like security, stability, and the general sense of investment into this new trend.
When people embrace things like work from home technologies – cloud-based solutions for storage and for collaboration, or tech-based solutions for the fulfilment and even logistics – these things bring about important issues that the CIO or the tech team needs to handle.
This includes security – what is going to happen when your whole company is working from home and you suddenly have so many unknown devices in your enterprise, especially when employees use their home devices to log onto your corporate networks? What happens when your storage is on the cloud and you are suddenly faced with attackers or unknown actors? How would you manage that?
CIOs, tech teams – it's going to be a rough journey, even more so than in the past. Now you're looking at what happens when something goes wrong. How do you have a company that embraces technology and manages security, attacks, downtime, stability, and your core infrastructure? That’s a shift that the IT teams and CIOs now must embrace.
Do you anticipate work from home/work from anywhere to continue into 2022-2023, and if there are any changes, what sort of changes are you expecting?
Alvin Poh: These changes are largely social: employees now see that there is a possibility that they can manage the demands of life and still have a career that they can focus on at the same time. In the past, with the team I ran, there was always the problem of having to be physically at a location that hinders a lot of responsibilities you must take care of.
With work-from-home, people have seen that it is a viable way of working. What is still unknown is the policies that surround this because companies are still figuring out ways to conduct team building, collaboration, brainstorming that used to be possible and simple in a physical setting – now it needs to be explored in a virtual environment.
Work-From-Home is a trend that is likely to continue. More likely than not, it will be a hybrid model where people must go to the office one or two times a week while spending most of their time online connecting with teams remotely.
That’s been the increasing trend: teams are no longer based in Singapore, they are remote, or wherever talent is.
How should businesses decide which technologies to consider – in terms of deploying it in-house or having it managed by a third-party?
Alvin Poh: While technology is being embraced now, the danger comes when companies embrace technologies for technology’s sake. The one key metric that businesses should focus on is customer-centricity - what the customer’s needs and demands are, before crafting processes, and systems around that.
Technology is an enabler and an accelerator rather than something that is core to what people are doing. Once businesses have that, it’s a lot easier to understand what digital systems they need to plug in.
One of the key differences between successful and unsuccessful businesses, especially during COVID, is the willingness to experiment, really trying something brand new – maybe investing in innovative products, investing in people, processes and having the budget to experiment.