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Business leaders realising the cloud no longer domain of ‘techies’

Photo: Getty Images

Tim Howell shares unique insights into the drivers of cloud adoption and digital transformation in New Zealand, and the key barriers facing many local businesses  |  Content partnership

In the same way the pandemic accelerated digital technology adoption among retail businesses, Covid-19 is accelerating cloud adoption for big business. But there’s still a long way to go for New Zealand organisations to realise its potential for growth. At CCL, Spark’s cloud business, our purpose is to enable Aotearoa to adapt and thrive in a digital future. Cloud technologies are pivotal to this vision, especially in a post-pandemic world. We recently commissioned independent research for our State of New Zealand Cloud Transformation report, to uncover critical insights from more than 400 IT and business decision makers across New Zealand – from cloud adoption and digital transformation, to related areas such as sustainability, access to skills, and cybersecurity.

The report provides a range of insights and analysis. Cloud leaders – the businesses that are confident with their use of cloud – have a better understanding of the potential of the cloud. They see it as a tool to build agility, optimise the end-user experience, enable flexible work environments and access a range of other socioeconomic benefits.

Meanwhile, a raft of transformative technologies is on the radar. Data and Internet of Things (IoT) are top of the transformative agenda as organisations hone operational efficiency, work flexibility, insight and decision-making, and customer or user experience.

While the pandemic accelerated many businesses’ cloud adoption plans over the past two years, our report indicates that greater adoption is forecast: more than half the businesses who responded plan to invest even more in cloud services this year.

Skills shortages remain a constraint

Two out of five organisations cited a lack of skills when resourcing cloud projects as an impediment to their progress – this highlights a significant constraint for our industry (not just here in NZ, but globally), and more broadly across our business landscape when it comes to applying technology to improving business productivity and performance.

The organisations deemed more mature in their cloud journey are those that have focused on getting the right people and process foundations in place to help ensure the successful implementation of any technology. In other words, to maximise the value of cloud – and digital transformation generally – those who acknowledge and prioritise the value of people, process and technology are more likely to realise its value sooner. With business and technology teams working together, organisations can thrive.

Fostering digital skills for the future

As an industry, cloud providers (such as CCL) need to be part of the solution, supporting the development of talent pipelines into technology, and appreciating the value that diversity can provide organisations such as ours – particularly with a focus on under-represented groups, such as women, Māori and Pasifika.

This should be part of our wider commitment to empowering New Zealand’s digital future, alongside other upskilling initiatives such as immersive hands-on workshops, intern and graduate programmes to foster the next generation of talent, and equal opportunity employment. As the same time, initiatives such as these are only a small piece of the overall puzzle and any sustainable solution will require collaboration and long-term planning across the public and private sectors, including bringing in overseas talent to help address the tech skills shortage.

All businesses are digital businesses

For many of CCL’s clients, technology adoption is no longer the domain of the IT department. This has been the case for a while, particularly as we have seen SaaS applications emerge in the past decade or two – most organisations have experienced situations where staff sign up to cloud-based applications using a credit card, creating a “shadow IT” challenge.

But as organisations embrace digital technology, there is an increasing realisation that the value of technology can be applied across all domains; no one should have their proverbial ‘head in the sand.’

Leadership teams are recognising the need to engage and realise the potential of their organisation’s digital transformation, while boards are increasingly factoring technology considerations into their strategic planning and risk management.

For business decision makers, the need to better understand the cloud technology landscape, and determine the business value of cloud technology investment is becoming key to success – and sometimes longevity. And for technology leaders, it’s vital to provide clarity for the broader business on how areas ripe for cloud and digital technology investment can contribute to broader business goals and performance.

Our research shows cloud technologies can help New Zealand organisations achieve cost and operational efficiencies, workplace flexibility, sustainability gains and help drive innovation to take advantage of new market opportunities. By understanding our local landscape better, we can assess where we sit as organisations, and use these data points and insights to help make better decisions to drive our organisations – and the broader economy – forward.

You can view the full research report here: CCL’s State of New Zealand Cloud Transformation

CCL supports clients at every step in the management and modernisation of their business technology. From government departments, local government and DHBs to energy providers, insurers, and special projects, CCL’s end-to-end IT management, cloud platforms, and technology services are tested and proven by some of New Zealand’s most demanding organisations.

CCL is part of Spark Business Group, New Zealand’s largest digital services provider, helping New Zealand business win big in a digital world. Spark is a foundation supporter of Newsroom.co.nz