How Collaboration and a Multi-Cloud Strategy Can Accelerate Your Digital Transformation

It’s amazing to think that within my lifetime I will travel to work in a self-driving car; I’ll have conversations with my fridge about what’s for dinner; and I’ll receive customer service from Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered chat bots. Developments in technology are taking these once-fictional scenarios and planting them in our very near future.

As we innovate tirelessly to bring these solutions to life, we will fundamentally change the way we interact with machines. In fact, our recent study, ’Realizing 2030: A Divided Vision of the Future’, shows that most business leaders (80 percent) in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) believe humans and machines will work together as integrated teams within five years.

APJ organizations are embracing new technologies as they digitally transform, and these new technologies create the path to more human-machine partnerships. Take AI for example – the research showed that 81 percent of business leaders expect to use AI to pre-empt customer demands within five years. This is encouraging, but for organizations to fully realize the value of emerging technology it’s essential they make the right IT transformation decisions around their cloud computing approach.

As I meet with business and IT leaders from around the region, I realize many of them still live with the baggage of past decisions; with cloud adoption having often been a tick in the box rather than part of a wider strategy. Over the years, we’ve seen high public cloud adoption but are now also witnessing a shift to private or hybrid clouds and partnerships with cloud service providers to meet varied business requirements and workloads. In fact, we’ll see more than 70 percent of enterprises in APJ turning to a multi-cloud strategy by 2018, according to IDC.

So, although it is clear that the future is multi-cloud, organizations are facing significant challenges managing the complexity and demands that this multi-cloud world brings.

Managing this complexity to truly realize the value of emerging technologies requires a strong focus on collaboration. Let me explain why, and share some thoughts on building the right collaborative approach in your organization:

Put the customer at the centre

Customer experience is a key competitive differentiator in today’s market and multi-cloud environments are increasingly being used to transition to new customer engagement models. In fact, making customer experience a boardroom concern is a priority amongst almost 9 in 10 businesses in APJ, according to our Realizing 2030 research. With IT departments and CIOs taking on more strategic roles as facilitators between various internal and external partners, keeping all parties focused on delivering an exceptional customer experience will help foster collaboration and partnership.

Recognize it’s all about the data

Cloud native apps are key to delivering innovation, an enhanced customer experience, and driving differentiation across all industries. No wonder 45 percent of APJ leaders are already investing in technology to bring apps into the cloud, whether public or private (e.g. hybrid cloud) – with another 47 percent planning to invest over the next five years.

However, it’s not just about technology, it’s also about investing in the right talent and skills, and in this multi-cloud world we are seeing the need for DevOps to evolve beyond just delivering cloud native apps. With data volumes increasing thanks to emerging technologies, it will be the organizations that recognize the arrival of DataOps and find effective ways to collaborate to manage data that will accelerate their digital transformations.

Form future-focused partnerships

Multi-cloud is just the beginning. As our CTO John Roese shared in his 2018 predictions, the future is the mega cloud, where a system of clouds collaborate and interwork. This is the next generation of IT infrastructure and it will require even closer collaboration between IT and the business; with a strong focus on building true strategic partnerships internally.

For IT leadership, Hemal Shah, our APJ CIO, nicely sums up how he is seeing this partnership approach evolve in a recent IDG ‘The Connected CIO’ eBook sponsored by Dell: ‘Smaller, self-sufficient, dedicated teams are emerging in larger enterprises and are focused on innovation and providing opportunities for application developers, data scientists and others in IT to partner with senior executives in identifying new opportunities.’

By focusing on building strong collaboration foundations today, organizations will be able to accelerate their transition to mega cloud in the years ahead.

Emerging technologies will bring many incredible transformations to our lives, and the cloud will play a vital role in making this future a reality. The way we use cloud infrastructure is changing – and quickly – and this evolution needs to be paired with the right culture in order to realize the true value of these new technologies. By focusing on collaboration, APJ leaders will put their organization on a smoother and faster path to digital transformation.

About the Author: David Webster