5 ways Managed Azure Services support your CEO’s priorities

Mark Kelly Cloud Services Manager
5 ways Managed Azure Services support your CEO’s priorities

Managing a growing business in the current climate poses a raft of challenges – many of which were very nicely summarised by IDC in their 2022 CEO Outlook by IDC. Not unsurprisingly, technology is a recurring theme, with many CEO’s challenged by unlocking digital transformation, finding digitally-skilled employees, protecting the organisation from cyber-attack, and more.

Shifting workloads and applications to the public cloud, and engaging the services of a trusted technology partner, can go a long way toward addressing these challenges. However, when your IT team is already time-poor and under pressure, justifying spend on a new service, and finding a reliable partner, can be a time-consuming overhead.

So, to help, here is the evidence and research you need to showcase how the right approach to the cloud can help your organisation meet the top CEO pain points, as highlighted by IDC, in the year ahead.

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Priority #1: Digital transformation and optimisation and extracting organisational value from it

In the current environment, organisations that don’t digitalise their infrastructure will soon get left behind. IDC predicts that by 2025, companies with a focus on digital innovation driven by a ‘digital dream team’ will enjoy faster rates of innovation, higher market share gains, and greater operational efficiencies than their contemporaries.1

Yet at the same time, effective digital transformation is very hard to get right. In fact, 87% of programs fail to meet their original expectations, and the odds aren’t great for several reasons: underestimating the effort involved, making the wrong technology choices, and management misalignment.2

How to meet your CEO’s priorities:

  • Ensure your organisation’s technology and business strategies are closely aligned. Knowing exactly what the business is trying to achieve, and how much it expects from its technology, is vital.
  • When embarking on a new project – such as a cloud migration – ensure that the goals and strategy are clearly defined and easy to summarise to your executive team. Also, ensure you have a clear view of how much work is required to get from A to B so you can set realistic expectations in terms of ROI and deliverables.
  • Align the technical project with any organisational changes that need to happen to support the new model.
  • Create an enablement plan so that any new technology initiative is adopted properly and utilised, so it can deliver the most value.
  • Engage a reliable partner to ensure your cloud is correctly configured from the outset, so you’re not overpaying for features or services you don’t need. Among the top cloud-specific challenges organisations face, managing cloud spending ranks number three overall at 83%. 3

Priority #2: Talent acquisition, retention, and re/upskilling to meet a more digitised future

Technology also plays a key role in helping organisations attract and retain quality talent – especially with a significant number of people now working in a remote or hybrid capacity. In a recent survey, 75% of business leaders said creating a positive employee experience, and helping employees stay productive, were top technology drivers.4

Acquiring, retaining and up-skilling talent requires having modern, cloud-based tools and infrastructure which can be accessed reliably and securely from any location. Dated, clunky, hard-to-access technology can very quickly deter potential employees or frustrate existing ones.

At the same time, organisations need to ensure a positive experience for the IT teams who are responsible for maintaining this infrastructure. IT environments are becoming increasingly complex, and many IT professionals are now responsible for managing a disparate mix of hybrid infrastructure that includes both cloud and on-premises assets. The drain of this day-to-day management is detracting from more valuable IT work and is de-motivating for IT staff. For your CEO, this translates to a lack of productivity and potentially high and costly staff turnover.

How to meet your CEO’s priorities:

  • If you haven’t already, put a solid plan in place for transitioning from on-premise infrastructure to cloud-based solutions which can deliver essential flexibility and agility for remote/hybrid workers.
  • Have firm processes in place regarding technology support, with SLAs around response and resolution times – to ensure if employees have any technology issues they are addressed quickly and effectively, optimising productivity and the employee experience.
  • Consider outsourcing your support and ongoing maintenance to a managed services partner that can offer specialised knowledge and expertise, to free up your team for more strategic work.
  • Consider centralising your HR functions and enabling as much self-service as possible so onboarding is smooth and efficient, and employees can find a rapid resolution to day-to-day problems.

Priority #3: Identifying and growing future market segments and/or innovation opportunities for growth

To grow effectively, and respond quickly to opportunities in the market, having cloud-based infrastructure is becoming increasingly vital.

According to Flexera’s 2022 State of the Cloud report, 63% of businesses now run more than 25% of their workloads in the cloud, and “the consumption of cloud – whether public, private or a hybrid approach – continues to expand across all industry verticals and disrupt the ways in which IT provisions, manages and orchestrates resources.”5

Having infrastructure in the cloud, provided on an as-a-service basis, has a raft of benefits when it comes to an organisation’s potential for growth and scalability. Cloud services can be paid for as an operational expense, which avoids a significant up-front investment, and they can be scaled up or down according to trends in the market or seasonal demand. Having services in the cloud allows a business to easily expand its geographic reach without any new hardware or server infrastructure. A cloud-based infrastructure also supports the capture and analysis of real-time data that can help the organisation make very informed, evidence-based decisions regarding its growth.

How to meet your CEO’s priorities:

  • Model the cost difference between scaling your on-premises infrastructure versus investing in cloud services.
  • Explain the ease with which cloud-based infrastructure supports remote /hybrid working and the establishment of new sites or locations.
  • Showcase how your business can extract and use real-time analytics/insight when a workload is based in the cloud.

Priority #4: Emerging technologies and the ethics and issues that arise when implementing

A key advantage of cloud is that it allows progressive organisations to adopt new, innovative technologies – like artificial intelligence and machine learning – for distinct competitive advantage.

AI alone has been proven to enhance an organisation’s productivity by 40%, and by 2025, the global AI market is expected to be worth almost $60 billion.6

“Cloud services are changing business models, facilitating a more innovative and dynamic way of working, and are a foundational technology unlocking the next wave of technologies, from artificial intelligence to the Internet of things and robotics,” says a recent Deloitte report on the economic value of cloud in Australia.7

However – despite the advantages, embracing these technologies comes with some significant challenges. Firstly, there’s the importance of ensuring technology isn’t just adopted for ‘technology’s sake, but in a way that has a clear, measurable, and strategic benefit for the business. For many organisations, there are also ongoing challenges around ethics, compliance, and governance – especially with regards to how data on customers and employees is captured, stored, used, and maintained. Also, ensuring that the organisation has the skills in-house to effectively implement and manage new and ever-evolving technology – especially given the current IT skills shortage – is a major difficulty.

“Creating a sophisticated AI solution from scratch requires considerable time and skill. Businesses may have an innovative idea that requires AI, but not enough programmers to bring that idea to reality,” says the Deloitte report.8

How to meet your CEO’s priorities:

  • Before implementing any new technology, create a solid strategic plan that indicates how the technology maps to the business’s overall objectives and how it will enable innovation in relevant ways.
  • Leverage cloud services to fast-track innovation by utilising work that’s already been done in areas such as AI, rather than developing applications from scratch.
  • Seek expert guidance regarding specific compliance and governance requirements for your industry and location.
  • Consider an outsourced partner that can provide specific skills and insights relating to particular technologies and their adoption.

Priority #5: Dealing with cyber-vulnerability

Security is an ongoing challenge and risk for businesses of all sizes. Without the right approach, the adoption of new and innovative technologies can also exacerbate security risks – which is increasingly difficult for IT teams to manage.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) received more than 67,500 reports of cybercrime last financial year – or one every eight minutes.9

The impact of any kind of security incident can be very significant and many businesses don’t survive a single attack. As such, according to the Allianz Risk Barometer, “the threat of ransomware attacks, data breaches or major IT outages worries companies even more than business and supply chain disruption, natural disasters or the Covid-19 pandemic.”10

Gartner predicts that by 2025, 35% of organisations worldwide will have experienced attacks on their software supply chains, and Forbes reports that in the first quarter of 2021, businesses globally suffered 50% more cyber-attacks per week.11

How to meet your CEO’s priorities:

  • Create a security plan outlining which precautions, processes, and steps you are taking.
  • Avoid a ‘set and forget’ mentality – show how security monitoring is part of your ongoing set of responsibilities.
  • Seek the help of a trusted partner who can provide security services from the ground up, as well as proactive advice on governance and compliance.
  • 1 Flexera, State of the Cloud report, Link
    1 IDC, Digital Transformation Investments to Represent More Than Half of All ICT Investment by 2024, Link
  • 2 Forbes, Funding digital transformation growth in 2022, Link
  • 3 Flexera, State of the Cloud Report, Link
  • 4 VultureBeat, Survey finds EX is driving investment in technology, Link
  • 5 Flexera, State of the Cloud report, Link
  • 6 TechJury, AI Statistics, Link
  • 7 Deloitte, The economic value of cloud services in Australia, Link
  • 8 Deloitte, The economic value of cloud services in Australia, Link
  • 9 The Guardian, Significant threat: cyberattacks increasingly targeting Australia’s critical infrastructure, Link
  • 10 Security Magazine, Top global security business risks in the next year, Link
  • 11 Micron 21, Dangerous cyber threats to look out for leading into 2023, Link

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