Controlled innovation at speed should be the goal for Kiwi organisations as we emerge from the mad scramble of digital transformation that was spurred on by the global pandemic, IBM New Zealand CTO Tony Buswell told CRN.
While the period of global lockdowns was an accelerator for digital transformation, he said that the next step is to find a tenable way to sustain it.
“The challenge is how to keep your foot down, how do we maintain – not that pace because it has been frenetic at times for some clients, perhaps in the government space, particularly, it's been quite frantic – but how do we keep it up? How do we maintain that culture and mindset of innovation at speed with control?”
Buswell’s advice is to utilise technology solutions that are not locked into any one place and can be responsive to business needs.
“Having that ability means that that organisation now can pivot and change so they can innovate at speed. They're not locked into anyone or anything. It's the ability to move and change as you go forward as your business needs evolve or change over time.”
The importance of automation is going to continue to grow in order to ensure that ‘innovation at speed with control’ can continue, particularly as the baby boomer generation that makes up 40 percent of IT workers are entering retirement age, Buswell said.
“That's a huge evacuation of knowledge and IP so how do you mitigate for it? … It's this emergence of AIOps and driving DevSecOps outcomes with an AI-based platform that allows you to lifecycle your assets, that allows you to detect and have observability and all those things that we need to automate the operation of our infrastructures going forward – and to do that with that single pane of glass.”
Buswell highlighted that as transformation continues at pace, security will remain of paramount importance. He stated that in recent IBM-conducted research, APAC topped the global charts for most attacked geography, with Japan, Korea and Australia the top three in the region.
“Businesses in NZ should be looking across the Tasman and be conscious of what's happening over there – and perhaps take that as a shot across the bow and think about their own business continuity,” he said.
“From an MSPs perspective, embedding security into the DNA of everything that they offer from a service offering perspective is probably where they want to start, to think about and consider, how do they bake it into their offerings into their portfolio?”
He reiterated the trend that with the rise in awareness of major attacks, such as the recent attack on the Waikato District Health Board, business executives are more open to discussions about security solutions and partners should continue to learn how to engage with them.
“Clients are looking for more of a platform, more outcome-based. They may not be quite ready to contract outcomes commercially, a lot of clients, but they're certainly looking to move towards that stance, and that sort of outcome is achievable when you think about platforms with embedded security from a zero-trust perspective, threat mitigation perspective.”
In general, the message was for MSPs and other IT services providers to innovate along with their clients and continue to support transformation in an outcome-focused way, while ensuring stability and security.
For those who do choose IBM as a vendor, Buswell pointed to the US$1 billion that IBM CEO Arvind Krishna earmarked for Big Blue’s cloud partners to help partners who are wanting to “build, consume and become certified in and capable with our technology platform.”