New appetite for digital disruption

One of the by-products of the current lockdown is brands like Zoom slipping into the vernacular as a generic noun.

In a mere three months, the video conferencing tool has seen daily active users massively spike from 10 million to 200 million.

Necessity is the mother of all invention and people have found creative ways to stay connected in the wake of radical social distancing measures.

In a recent report, The Australian noted that despite staying indoors, people were still hosting house parties, visiting museums and zoos, attending dinner parties and playing board games – all online.

Having to work at home or remotely due to self-quarantine measures has forced organisations to embrace the cloud overnight in order to scale for the increased demand for their digital services.

According to LinkedIn Australia’s Workforce Confidence Index released this week, 66 per cent of respondents said they have been given the opportunity to work remotely.

LinkedIn polled more than 1,000 professionals in Australia. More than three in five workers (63 per cent) expressed confidence that the new way of working would extend beyond the pandemic.

It shows that a significant proportion of Australia’s workforce expect to be able to work from any location in a post-COVID world, and organisations (and indeed government agencies) must have a viable digital infrastructure.

Digital disruption will be de rigueur in boardrooms

A study of more than (150) chief information officers from Australia’s largest organisations supports this trend. The research – commissioned by New Relic and conducted by ADAPT – identified five core business priorities over the next 12 months.

They were: improving operational effectiveness, creating a data-driven organisation, reducing costs/operational expenditure, acquiring and retaining customers, and digitisation of workflow and processes.

Operating successfully in the cloud and ensuring the right digital tools are in place strongly underpins these goals.

Woolworths’ CEO Brad Banducci said the supermarket giant’s app usage was up 320 per cent driven by views to its digital catalogue, planning a physical shop and online shopping. It has 1.2 million active app users.

“Traffic to our website has more than doubled, especially those looking for a recipe inspiration,” Banducci said in a public update on April 17.

Earlier this month, NSW Health purchased 2,000 iPads to remotely monitor COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms.

Organisations are loosening the purse strings for the right reasons and cloud-related investment is a key priority despite (and driven by) the pandemic. Market research firm Gartner says the global public cloud services market is set to grow 17 per cent in 2020 to US$266 billion (up from $228 billion in 2019).

Customers we have spoken to concur with Gartner and say they will accelerate their spending while those who haven’t have adopted a laser-like focus on transforming their business to adopt the cloud.

In the past, some have found transforming their business to become “software-driven” was in the “too hard” basket. Changing the culture and thinking within an organisation required the buy-in of a myriad of stakeholders and too many complex, legacy system upgrades.

It seemed like an insurmountable challenge and was far too difficult … until COVID-19.

There is no greater need than now for Australian organisations to start breaking the mould of traditional business ideas, approaches, and strategies.

Today’s products and services will not be relevant tomorrow, and thinking like technology companies with an outcome or experience first approach is essential.

Being “cloud first” was once perceived as a hindrance. Now, Australian business leaders must foster and embrace new mindsets and approaches that recognise the cloud as a solution to many problems – especially in a post-pandemic world.

Dmitri Chen is executive vice president and general manager, Asia-Pacific and Japan at New Relic. With over 25 years of leadership in the technology industry, Dmitri has experience in the arenas of software, hardware, and services.

This article was first published by The Australian