As software-defined networking continues to rise the New Zealand channel is well-positioned to capitalise on the need for data centre innovation as Kiwi organisations become more “digitally aware.”
That’s the view of Adam Dodds, Research Manager for IT Services, IDC New Zealand, who when speaking at Westcon’s LEAP into the Data Centre event in Auckland today, believes the channel market is “right on point” when capitalising on the growing momentum within the data centre network space.
“At present, 75 percent of New Zealand businesses believe they are underway with their digital transformation,” says Dodds, addressing a room full of vendors, resellers and service providers in Auckland.
“That could be as simple as having a website but it doesn’t matter, it’s that sense of belief that makes it real. Subsequently this gives the channel the opportunity to talk to the wider organisation about what is possible.”
In arrowing down into the crux of the New Zealand ICT industry, Dodds admits that in 2015, CXOs are challenged, as organisations undergo “massive amounts of change” both locally and globally.
“Don’t be surprised if your project is stop start, stop start,” he explains. “Data centre and applications still offer the largest opportunity for on scale for anyone in the marketplace today and the real budget lies within that continuum of hybrid.”
The key insight for the market to know, according to Dodds, is that crucially, New Zealand organisations “are open to innovation”, placing the onus on the channel to maximise upcoming opportunities to ride the crest of the software-defined networking wave approaching the industry.
“There’s lots of money to be had but you’ve got to come with the right language,” says Dodds, speaking as a local analyst and industry veteran. “Software-defined networking, automation for the data centre network is right on point and for the channel, a lot more awareness and interest will be coming within the next 18 months.
“And perhaps crucially, people are now willing to listen.”
While biomodal management means that different parts of the business are going to be running at different speeds, meaning the decision ultimately comes back to the CIO, Dodds believes the channel can offer the most amount of value by “sticking close to the CIO” as organisations seek new ways to innovate in the modern-day.
Yes there’s lots of change within the industry, Dodds explains, but in keeping with the country’s reputation as early adopters and trend setters, New Zealand is “doing okay.”
A lukewarm sentiment maybe, but for Dodds, organisations nationwide are now “thinking about the right things and are tackling the right problems.”
In adopting a customer orientated approach, coupled with the influx of tools such as cloud, mobile and the like, Dodds believes the industry has now reached a point where the opportunity to leverage technology within companies is increasing.
“You have lines of business and stakeholders all wanting to look at how to evolve applications that allow them to be more insightful about their customers and equally retain IP about their business,” he explains.
“For example, CIOs are challenged by the fact that they are now trying to understand what they are.
"Are they now just a service that is like every other input service that comes into the business, or are they a gatekeeper, an enabler or in fact the thought leader and the new seat at the table from a CXO point of view?
For Dodds, these are the big problems to tackle.
“If lines of business are trying to tackle a whole ranges of problems, and CIOs are trying to define what they do from a transformational perspective and if Human Resources are trying to figure out how they can connect better with their employees, not forgetting the finance people trying to understand how they are trying to manage the business, it is clear that inside an organisation right now there is a lot of challenges going on,” he explains, providing a macro view of the industry.
New Zealand boards
Yet Dodds accepts that for Kiwi resellers, it can at times be a frustrating experience trying to sell into service providers and likewise, service providers are no doubt struggling to sell into customers on occasions.
But contextually, and by drilling down into the New Zealand specifics, here’s why that is.
“Firstly, there are very few boards in New Zealand,” he explains. “There are only around five percent of boards across the country that I would argue are ‘digitally aware’, i.e. they have set-up a governance model to be able to manage the concept of the value of information inside their business and they understand how technology is changing the way in which they value their business.
“Why is this important? Because the goal of a board is to obviously maximise the value of the business and the return to shareholders.
“So if they are not ready, how is it that the rest of the business can execute well when it is the board who holds the final say?”