Demand for partner expertise is expected to heighten in the months ahead as businesses build out digital transformation blueprints across Australia and New Zealand, underpinned by increased investment in cloud, security, edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, data management and 5G.
Billed as the “six strategic technologies” shaping customer agendas, organisations are building on early pandemic resiliency plans amid boardroom ambitions to drive innovation and return to growth.
According to recent McKinsey & Company findings, the Covid-19 crisis has generated “years of change” within a matter of weeks and months, evident through a surge of digital deployments.
“In terms of how Covid-19 is reshaping what organisations are trying to achieve, they’re walking the same path, they’re just walking it faster,” observed Angela Fox, senior vice president and managing director of Australia and New Zealand at Dell Technologies. “It’s a testament to our belief that a successful digital transformation is built on these six strategic technologies.
“Many of these technologies were embraced rapidly in the first months of the pandemic, so now it’s a period of fine-tuning to see what works and what could work better.”
As a result, Fox said organisations have moved from the ‘do it light’ phase to ‘do it right’, with security and data protection cited as leading CIOs priorities in the short- to medium-term.
“As always, security is the pillar that’s the biggest focus, or at least it should be,” Fox added. “And while security always ranks high on our Digital Transformation Index, it’s in the spotlight now.”
Addressing more than 500 technology executives during EDGE 2020 - an invite-only virtual experience housing partners, distributors and vendors - Fox outlined that strengthening cyber security defences within the context of digital transformation is an area most likely to be fast-tracked in the year ahead.
“We all know that if an employee loses a laptop, that’s one thing,” Fox explained. “If they lose the data on it, that’s a different conversation. It’s not the infrastructure it’s the digital assets.
“At Dell Technologies, we’re building new models of security and trust to reflect this. Ones underpinned by intrinsic security, zero trust models and leveraging AI to outpace or predict threats. And in terms of data protection, it’s creating an environment that secures not just the data but the risk management no matter where data is in the organisation.”
Within the next two years, Gartner predicts that half the data generated in an organisation will be created and processed outside the data centre or cloud. Most of this data will be “unstructured” however, with the analyst firm estimating this to make up 80 per cent of an organisation’s data footprint.
“To meet these business requirements, partners need capabilities covering edge, private cloud and public cloud environments,” Fox advised. “And the cloud operating model needs to be consistent across all these environments otherwise organisations are staring down the barrel of a growing, complex and increasingly siloed data landscape that must be managed.”
Citing Digital Transformation Index findings, Fox said CIOs remain hampered by an inability to extract insights from data with “information overload” labelled as third biggest barrier to digital transformation.
“Organisations must address this, many with relatively flat IT budgets,” she added. “But the organisations that innovate are the ones who are most likely to adapt to what lies ahead and they’ll be looking for partners who can balance that act.
“At Dell Technologies, we support the entire data lifecycle with a consistent and scalable ecosystem to extract value from data in real-time no matter where it resides.”
Due to the economic impact of the pandemic - locally, regionally and globally - IT spending is naturally being managed carefully during the interim, with investments forecast to decline by eight per cent in 2020, according to Gartner.
But despite decreasing budgets, Fox said the majority of customers are ensuring strategic plans remain unchanged, instead preferring to re-evaluate investment priorities rather than postpone altogether.
“There is also recognition that digital and corporate strategies are now the same thing,” Fox said. “If digital transformation is your lifeboat, that’s a worthwhile investment. This creates tremendous opportunities for partners to deliver high value solutions to customers.
“Partners can support customers in their move to multi-cloud, edge, data management, networking, security, 5G, AI and machine learning solutions.”
From a channel perspective, Fox said Dell Technologies remains committed to delivering on the promise of a “simple, predictable and profitable” program for partners, evident through the recent unveiling of Project APEX.
Rolled out during Dell Technologies World, the offering is designed to simplify how customers and partners access technology on-demand, spanning storage, servers, networking, hyper-converged infrastructure, PCs and broader solutions.
“Locally, we have already been working closely with solution provider partners and Dell Financial Services to deliver as-a-service [aaS] projects to customers,” Fox said. “We also have a strong ecosystem of Cloud Service Provider partners who take to market a number of aaS offerings that are underpinned by Dell Technologies.
“This means partners can give customers agile IT, supported by hybrid cloud operating models that provide data visibility and management everywhere that data exists. And Dell Technologies Cloud Console will provide customers and partners with a single pane of glass to manage cloud journeys all the way from browsing a catalogue of services through to deployment and support.”
As outlined by Fox, plans are also in place to “build choice” into consumption models to allow customers the agility and flexibility to solve immediate problems while still aligning to larger strategic ambitions.
“We also know that the edge will be an area of investment for customers,” advised Fox, projecting that 75 per cent of IT leaders will create a “solid edge strategy” within the next 12 months, according to the Digital Transformation Index. “We know they are looking for partners who can deliver agile IT and so we’ve introduced a new certification for Dell Technologies Cloud to ensure that’s our partners."
Likewise and according to IDC, three quarters of infrastructure at the edge locations will be consumed as-a-service by 2024, in addition to half of all data centre infrastructure.
To view Dell Technologies’ on-demand session at EDGE 2020 - How partners can build digital foundations - click here.
To watch on-demand EDGE 2020 sessions - click here.