Sydney, Australia 10th November – IT leaders in Asia Pacific are taking firm steps towards transforming their approaches to their organisation’s digital transformation requirements despite having to also manage legacy IT infrastructure. Forty-nine per cent of IT leaders in the region are prioritising hybrid cloud over public only or private only cloud solutions for their organisations in the near future. These are some of the key findings in the Microsoft Asia Pacific survey of 1,200 IT leaders, across 12 markets to understand how they are evolving their IT infrastructure strategies to meet the needs of a digital business.
The next few years will be critical to all IT leaders as they execute on plans for a transition to a modern cloud-based IT infrastructure needed to serve their digital business needs. According to IDC, 60% of the top 1,000 Asia Pacific organisations will have digital transformation at the centre of their corporate strategy by the end of 2017.
Digital Now or Digital Mess
IT leaders are struggling to balance legacy IT needs, budget demands and the need to modernise to meet the demands for a digital future. The survey found that currently, approximately 40% of respondents in Australia are already on the hybrid cloud journey which is expected to increase to 49% in the next 12 – 18 months. Forty-three per cent are still only using private cloud and 17% are using purely public cloud solutions. The study showed that respondents are not likely to increase their investments in private or public only cloud solutions, reinforcing the demand for a more integrated, hybrid approach.
IT leaders are facing increasingly complex IT environments to manage and crave simplicity:
- IT leaders are still having to manage traditional IT assets to support legacy applications and compliance needs.
- The innovation in cloud is causing the usage of cloud apps to explode. On average, it is estimated that there are 370 apps being used per organisation in Australia (compared to 340 in Asia Pacific) and they need robust tools to manage them.
- IT leaders are being pulled in many directions, spending about: 53% of their time on maintenance, compliance and operational issues; 24% on developing next generation digital capabilities; and 23% of their time working with business leadership on digital transformation initiatives.
- They are concerned about the skills gap in their organisations, citing the top three skills most needed in their organisations are in security (63%), data analytics (58%) and cloud app management (50%).
- Security continues to be a concern in a world facing increasing cyber threats every day. The top three reasons driving their concerns:
- Malware and data theft by cyber criminals
- Employees connecting their personal devices into the organisations’ networks
- Shadow IT
- Organisations in Asia Pacific already use an average of 40 security products.
o In Australia, 67% of respondents in agree that there is a need to invest more in IT security solutions and services and 62% agree on the need to reduce complexity of managing the increasing portfolio of IT security solutions and services.
Transforming IT with the Hybrid Cloud
Adopting a hybrid cloud strategy is the next step in the journey for organisations looking to take advantage of modern cloud computing capabilities while continuing to manage their traditional assets.
Of the 49% of IT leaders prioritising the hybrid cloud, 9 out of 10 said they would prioritise an integrated hybrid cloud, with common management tools across both public and private cloud.
However, the study also showed that most IT leaders in Australia have traditional views of the cloud. While 74% said they would be comfortable hosting all their business applications on the public cloud in the future, more than half of respondents are only using it for basic applications such as email & customer facing online assets (websites). Only 38% of respondents are using the cloud for application development and operations.
Mike Heald, Hybrid Cloud (Azure) Product Manager, Microsoft Australia said: “Hybrid cloud is a natural progression for all organisations, regardless of size to reach their digital ambitions. It’s a tough balancing act for IT to manage both current and future digital needs of the business. The cloud holds rich new applications which will enable better management tools, intelligent applications and advanced analytics to not just reduce cost and increase efficiency but to also innovate and enable faster time to market. As such, it can’t be ignored but it needs to be managed.”
A number of customers in Australia are already validating Microsoft’s commitment to security and hybrid to meet their modern IT needs, including Capital SMART, Port Authority of New South Wales and Victorian Institute of Teaching.
In combination with System Center Operations Manager, Operations Management Suite enables comprehensive oversight of the Port Authority’s hybrid cloud environment. “Operations Management Suite gives us a greater level of visibility over our entire infrastructure in a user-friendly format. The transition to Microsoft Azure is about moving from a model based on capital expenditure to a system based on operational expenditure. That’s what a lot of the industry is doing: moving from a ‘we own’ to a ‘we subscribe’ model,” said Ian Chilton, Senior Manager, Solutions Development and Services, Port Authority of New South Wales.
Bruce Lawrence, Technical Project Manager, Business Services, Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) adds, “No business ever wants to have to boot up its disaster recovery solutions, but VIT is safe in the knowledge our systems can be running again in a matter of minutes with Azure Site Recovery. The frequency at which data is backed up – twice a day – and the fact it can be hosted in Australia are key differentiators for us considering the sensitive and critical information we handle and compliance we must meet. Bringing these features together allows us to rapidly recover the complete VIT IT infrastructure to ensure business is running as usual in the unfortunate event we would need to.”
John Bajan, Chief Information Officer at Capital S.M.A.R.T said: “Investing in cutting edge technology is critical to our business and our customers. We needed to implement a platform that gave us the flexibility and scalability during our growth phase. It was important for us to find a solution that allowed us to scale up when needed. The accessibility of the Microsoft Azure platform was a massive benefit for us and has given us the ability to re-think our whole network as we continue to grow and develop our customer services. It has also reduced incremental costs and given us the required flexibility and scalability.”
Microsoft Introduces Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 to accelerate move to Hybrid Cloud
By bringing a cloud model to the business, IT leaders can add scalability and flexibility to their current model, without sacrificing control or security.
Mike Heald explained, ”IT leaders need to start planning their organisations’ digital transformation journey today, and it starts with a clear hybrid cloud strategy. The transition to a digital business can be a jarring one for most businesses due to legacy systems and processes but if organisations don’t kick start this digital journey today, they risk being disrupted. Microsoft is committed to helping enterprise customers in their digital journey, regardless of size and budgets. It’s more a question of when, rather than why.”
Microsoft has uniquely built-in security to all its cloud and hybrid infrastructure services in an integrated way and at all levels– devices, applications & infrastructure. A firm milestone in Microsoft’s commitment to enabling digital transformation is the General Availability of Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 in Australia.
- Windows Server 2016 is the cloud-ready operating system that supports organisation’s current workloads while introducing new technologies that make it easier and safer to transition to cloud needed for digital businesses. It delivers powerful innovations including advanced multi-layer security to prevent cyber-attacks and detect suspicious activities; software-defined compute, storage and network features inspired by Azure; and a cloud-ready application platform to deploy and run existing and cloud-native applications.
- System Center 2016 makes it easy for organisations to deploy, configure and manage virtualized, software-defined datacenter and hybrid cloud infrastructure. The latest release of System Center offers an array of new capabilities that amplify the ability to meet the most demanding business requirements, providing support for everything from provisioning the physical and virtual infrastructure to IT process and service management. When complemented with Operations Management Suite, organisations will be able to effectively simplify and manage multiple cloud solutions from a single console.
 Breakdown of respondents: 55.5% of respondents make IT decisions. 44.5% of respondents influence IT decisions.
 Size of organisations: 41% of respondents are working in organisations with 250 to 499 PCs; 59% work in organisations with 500 and more PCs.
 Markets involved in survey are: Australia, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam