The headlines are clear: Recession is looming, and tech companies of all stripes are cutting thousands of employees from their rosters. Yet, despite these reductions, TOPdesk, an IT service desk software company, remains committed to growing its footprint as it continues to expand its internal teams and has no plans to change.

Why? Let’s start by addressing some of the reasons why there are currently so many tech layoffs:

Exponential growth in technology

Historically, the tech sector has long been one of explosive growth from responding to market drivers. One of the recent market drivers for most technology companies was the massive shift toward e-commerce spending and remote shopping during the pandemic lockdowns. This increase created an assumption of growth, and subsequent massive hiring initiatives.

When lockdown mandates eased and people began leaving their homes, big tech companies saw changes to spending and consumer behaviors, cutting into their revenue and projections. As a result, a common refrain from the sector emerged in late 2022: inflation, changing consumer behavior, and recession concerns mean taking a cautious approach to the days ahead. Businesses shifted to protect profits, revenue, and long-term sustainability. Investors applied pressure to scale back expenses to preserve profit margins, and organizational leadership responded.

According to World Economic Forum, chief economists expect the United States to experience 24% inflation growth and 91% weak economic gain. From large tech corporations to start-ups, workforce reductions have rippled through the tech industry as a result. Most of the major organizations cutting staff are not near bankruptcy or insolvency. Tech has always been a growth-oriented industry. Silicon Valley has always focused on high-flying innovations, unicorn startups, and massive growth. The sector has remained unusually resilient even during major economic downturns (think the Great Recession or COVID pandemic). When it’s down, it’s never down for long.

But when a potential recession threatens its profit margins, that doesn’t mean the industry takes it. One way to keep pace with a history of massive growth is to sell more products or raise prices. Another is to slash its workforce and reduce expenses. With a downturn on the horizon, many companies opt for the latter.

They need to pivot

Alongside its massive growth, tech is renowned for quick-paced innovation and industry disruption. But the constant shift in tech and strategies means that, inevitably, some teams need to catch up. Sometimes, even high-flying companies have to make cuts in some areas to ensure others receive essential R&D funding.

For firms facing cuts, channeling resources into new strategies could prove beneficial long term. But, unfortunately, that means tech layoffs are an unavoidable reality.

Tech companies copy each other

Many tech companies, like lemmings, follow each other blindly based on trends and what they see others doing. Layoffs are only sometimes good for a company’s financial health and may hurt it. Some do it only because other companies are doing it. Likewise, investors have a say in most tech organizations’ operations and their bottom lines. Future success determines many daily decisions, especially those firms that are publicly traded.

Another factor at play is that tech companies operate on margins, which affects their decisions to hire and fire. So, when an investor reads an earnings statement, those reserves aren’t what they’re thinking about; instead, they are measuring tech companies’ investment value per employee. When revenue is down, headcount follows. That doesn’t mean the organization is not making money or having trouble paying its bills; this only means employees are eating into profits. To rectify this, layoffs occur.

Software companies like Microsoft usually have $500,000 in revenue per employee or at least a minimum of $300,000. Of course, this can be higher, but headcount is evaluated when it descends below that threshold.

What TOPdesk does

TOPdesk is a tech company that does this differently. As a private company under the same leadership since it began in the early ’90s, our culture isn’t driven by quarterly forecasts or fears of recession or worse. So, for example, during the worst of the COVID pandemic, TOPdesk took a hard line on layoffs: there wouldn’t be any!

Adapt, respond, evolve, and change, but leave no one behind. To this day, years after that decision was made during the scariest of times, the leadership team agreed that no employees nor contractors would be asked to resign, take a furlough, or find work elsewhere.

We were, and are, in this together. As long as the individual wants to be here, contributes values, and wants to learn, grow and succeed, they can remain TOPdeskers.

Like every other organization, we had to adapt quickly to how we worked. But we never stopped hiring; we just changed the process. Online onboarding of newly hired employees, video and virtual interviews for open positions, freshly hired employees learned our culture virtually from their internet connection. Teams and teamwork operated in a virtual hub.

Annual performance reviews, standup meetings, coaching, sales team check-ins, technology implementations, and client-side relationship management became virtual, but we all stood together and became stronger. As fear of a recession rises, TOPdesk doesn’t change. Our philosophy is the same.

That’s the difference in our culture versus that of many other big tech companies.

Our team members are our team. They are not a number, nor are they seat fillers. This is only possible through a strong culture built on pillars of freedom, trust, and responsibility for employee outcomes. Our organizational leaders encourage team members to take the freedom needed while responding to challenges as they arrive.

Personal freedom is necessary for the health of the organization and its individuals. However, freedom and independence are built only upon trust and responsibility. Without trust and responsibility, there can be no freedom. They all function in tandem.

These three factors define our organization and its people, not revenue ups and downs; that’s how we differ. These factors set us apart, even during the wildness of an unpredictable economy. While counterintuitive and not always easy, how we respond to these and other stimuli determines our internal culture, even when facing external influence.

Ultimately and evermore, we must stand for our people; their well-being comes first, and positive results will follow. When the focus is on employee happiness and well-being, business results have been proven to follow. Discover more about TOPdesk and how we work with companies to improve their IT solutions here:

IT Leadership

With digital technology increasingly vital to business, the CIO role is quickly evolving, placing IT leaders under threat from business executives who offer the blend of business and technical savvy necessary to lead transformational strategies in the future.

A recent report by market intelligence firm IDC has placed IT leaders at a crossroads, predicting that, by 2026, 60% of APAC CIOs will find their roles challenged by LOB (line-of-business) counterparts who can better demonstrate the ability to align technology with the organization’s mission and customers.

Already under pressure to accelerate digital transformation, CIOs now often find their voices drowned out by LOB executives who are heavily involved in making technology decisions, according to the report. This trend could leave CIOs vulnerable to decreased influence over the corporate technical agenda, or pushed into a secondary C-suite role.

Narottam Sharma, who recently quit his role as global CIO of Indian multinational Mastek to advise enterprises on digital transformation, cuts to the heart of the issue: “Technology is getting democratization but the pace at which business is learning technology is faster than the pace at which technology is learning business. As a result, CIOs find their roles being challenged by LOB counterparts.”

Increasingly fragmented technology budgets and transformation strategies could accelerate this crisis, he says.

“The fallout of this is challenging for CEOs as it results in distribution of money in different pockets within an organization,” Sharma says. “Also, there is a lack of cohesive and holistic transformation in the company, which eventually hinders realization of collective value for the organization”

The growing stature of LOBs

Malaysia-based Ts Saiful Bakhtiar Osman, head of IT for Asia Pacific at financial services company The Ascent Group, has experienced this situation first hand, to damaging results.

“I have been in this situation in the past when frustrated LOB managers resorted to lobbying, by using speed-to-market as an excuse, with the top management for allowing them to proceed with their own initiatives,” Osman says. “Such bulldozing without proper planning and IT best practices in place led to the initiative backfiring. IT was later dragged in to clean up the mess.”

“This not only added unnecessary workload to IT but also exposed the organization to unnecessary incompliance audit findings and threat vulnerabilities. Had IT been consulted from the beginning, it would have saved the company time and cost to combat all the bugs and security issues. The IT security governance standard is put there for a reason,” he says.

Still, Osman agrees that active participation from LOBs can have positive impact as well, provided proper controls are in place. Business would be able to grow rapidly with LOB executives leading initiatives in their area of expertise. And nurturing ownership from business executives can also mitigate pushback. “In the absence of control, the enterprise would be at risk due to shadow IT and the IT department can turn into a convenient scapegoat to be blamed for any failed initiatives,” he says.

Naren Gangavarapu, CIO and digital officer at Northern Beaches Council, a local government organisation in Sydney, is all for this trend, seeing the shift not as a “passing fad that is temporary” but as something CIOs should expect will become the new normal.

“This is the direction businesses should be heading to,” he says. “Right now, most organisations have multiple strategies such as digital strategy, IT strategy, security strategy, business strategy, and corporate strategy. To get these to work in a harmonious way is a challenge and they end up collecting dust and reviewed once a year or more thus losing relevancy in a fast-changing world. There should be only one strategy and that is ‘strategy for the digital world.’ Advances in AI and quantum computing will further put LOBs in the driver’s seat.”

In his previous role, Gangavarapu was embedded in business where he was responsible for delivering efficiencies, which involved leading digital transformation initiatives within the LOB (Department of Planning). He was able to “halve assessment timeframes for state significant projects resulting in $18 billion dollars of investment into New South Wales creating 59,000 jobs during FY 18/19.”

How CIOs can remain relevant

Even as LOB executives get more tech savvy, the past few years have proven how critical the CIO role is for businesses to stay resilient and execute on their digital transformation strategies.  

To ward off LOB heads from their turf, Linus Lai, chief analyst and digital business research lead at IDC A/NZ, says CIOs must be able to demonstrate to other members of the C-suite how their actions and decisions directly boost the bottom and top lines. CIOs should also build stakeholder relationships within LOBs and leverage business relationship managers to better serve customer-facing organizations.

“CIOs will have to ensure effective joint business outcomes from IT and LOBs by delivering strategic digital business advice and enabling effective upwards communication. They must initiate a critical review of sourcing practices to manage the supplier ecosystem to maintain architectural goals and spending targets. Also, IT leaders will need to manage technical debt across the application portfolio with agile portfolio management and value stream mapping,” he says.

For CIOs to hold their own, Sharma says IT leaders can’t stop at business acumen, but instead must develop great interpersonal skills and be able to lead people in a cross-functional and cross-geographical environment. They should also be able to leverage emerging technologies to lend business a competitive edge.

To do this in his former roles as CIO, Sharma created a cross-functional decision committee comprising functional leaders, such as the CFO and CHRO, and technical leaders, such as the CIO or head of applications. “That helped in democratizing the process and enabling a smooth sale though and execution of any project,” he says.

Gangavarapu says such efforts are vital for addressing this trend, which includes “a shift in technology resources’ mindset to a new direction by preparing them to blend into the LOBs through awareness, training, and a culture shift. Besides recruiting a digital-savvy workforce for the future that is aligned to customer expectations, CIOs should themselves gear up to become an advisory function,” he says.

To do this, Gangavarapu has established a digital council at Northern Beaches Council to get the board, which consists of 15 Councillors who are elected by the community, to buy into his vision and direction. He is updating the workforce strategy and capability framework, which outlines the digital skills expected of each new hire based on their role.

“We are decentralizing budget from IT back to individual business units where they have ownership and drive the lifecycle of the contract and services. We also embed skills into LOB resources on an ongoing basis so that they are equipped to handle technology changes, compliance, and regulatory shifts around technology,” he says. “Here IT is taking an advisory role and LOBs are taking the lead. By connecting LOBs to market innovators in respective areas, with IT support, we encourage innovation.”

According to Gangavarapu, these initiatives have resulted in quite a few LOBs being self-sufficient and running their own digital initiatives with centralized coordination from IT.

Measuring progress during this journey, he shares that “employee engagement went up by 9%, wellbeing up by 13%, progress up by 18%, and customer satisfaction score shift from 71% in 2019 to 88% in 2022.”

What the future CIO role could look like

It is a given that CIOs in the future will perform beyond their IT functions. With the recent pandemic and the increasing push for digital transformation, CIOs are already wearing multiple hats to help evolve the business. “CIOs are now required to become a marketing strategist, a business analyst, a finance advisor, and an operation expert while delivering their core expertise as an IT champion. This is the way ahead and CIOs need to keep on upgrading, reskilling, and upskilling to stay relevant,” Osman says.

Going forward, there will be opportunities for CIOs to step into other CXO functions to add value and stay relevant, and this imperative will apply to all other technology resources who will realise that they cannot work siloed in a standalone IT business unit anymore but must be embedded in the LOB, understand context, and be able to add value.

As Gangavarapu says, “Digital and technology function will get embedded into LOBs driving strategies and offering products and services for the digital world. The function of information technology teams will reduce as quite a few will move to the LOBs and IT will end up running the plumbing works such as infrastructure, communications, and cybersecurity. [Cross-functional teams] will become a core ingredient of a succeeding in a digital world.”

And this shift to embedded IT will further transform the CIO role, Gangavarapu says.

“Driving digital adoption in business is easier being a part of business rather than driving from IT, as it is seen as external — someone is doing this to us — instead, ‘We are driving this’; hence, CIOs must start picking up roles in LOBs with various titles such as chief translation officer, chief digital advisory officer, or chief innovation officer,” he says.

IT leaders not willing to change may soon be out of luck, Sharma says, as he sees the CIO role getting replaced, unless they acquire the necessary skills to remain relevant, by that of a chief transformation officer, who would work closely with the CEO and act as a bridge between the CIO office and LOBs.

“The chief transformation officers will identify business transformation opportunities within the enterprise and will work closely with the business. The arrangement would be such that the ownership of the project will lie with the respective LOBs while the company-level value creation and competitive edge will be jointly shared between them,” he says, adding that the CIO could become the chief custodian or chief architect, and if unable to add any value to the board, the CIO may end up reporting to the chief transformation officer.

IDC’s Lai agrees.

“I believe the role of the CIO will evolve to being a chief business technology officer role, which many CIOs may find challenging, but is one where they are partners to the business to deliver on the promise of new digital business and operating models,” he says.

“C-level executives are increasing their focus on profitability and improved operational efficiency by concentrating on enhancing employee productivity, innovation, and time to market,” he says. “If CIOs are to play a technology/business orchestration role in the leadership team, part of that effort will involve building or strengthening relationships with business counterparts.”


The potential for generative AI systems such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard to transform how businesses work is being realized. Hype still surrounds some predictions, but change is here, and one of the first product categories to be impacted is CRM systems. 

Software-based services are the low-hanging fruit when it comes to this emerging revolution. AI can be plugged into existing software more easily than using it to build services from scratch. CRM systems are a particularly attractive target for this since when implemented effectively, they can have a rapid impact on a company’s bottom line. Nudging sales up a couple of points by better targeting profitable customers is a realistic strategy for a CRM deployment.

Segmenting customers more effectively

A well-integrated CRM system should be able to produce reports on customer segments, spending patterns, and spend history. From this, marketing campaigns can be tailored to reach specific customer groups or direct sales approaches made by a sales team. However, depending on the CRM and its configuration, these reports can be difficult to run and be delayed reaching the right people. Microsoft’s integration of ChatGPT into its Power Platform is enabling businesses to quickly build their own workflows that incorporate a user-friendly chat interface. Rather than running often complex report requests, users from across the marketing and sales team can use natural language to identify prospects instantly.

Transforming the sales funnel

Building on the capability above, sales funnels and customer journeys can be modified on the fly to adapt to changing variables such as economic conditions, competitor activity, and evolving tastes. What worked last month, for instance, may not work this month and AI offers the potential for a more dynamic process of changing prospects into customers. 

Repurposing corporate information assets

Companies are drowning in data, with IDC predicting there will be more than a five-fold increase in the data generated by organizations between 2018 and 2025. Bearing in mind that only about 2% of the data generated in 2020 was retained and used in 2021, many businesses are not effectively leveraging their information assets. Generative AI offers the potential to quickly and cost-effectively repurpose corporate data assets as marketing materials, whether in text or image formats.   

Creating personalized marketing content

To further help leverage information assets, marketing content and messages can be tailored on a personalized basis to suit the needs and desires of individual customers and prospects. It’s not too far-fetched to imagine generative AI systems showing customers wearing or using a company’s products in a variety of scenarios. Clearly there are privacy issues, and any implementations would need to be managed very carefully but, with appropriate customer opt-ins, it’s easily within the realms of possibility.

Incorporating the power of platforms

The CRM vendors set to dominate this emerging landscape will be those who build platforms that draw in third-party developers to extend their product offerings, and this year, we’re already seeing this with announcements from Salesforce and Microsoft. Many of the winners of the last 20 years of technological innovation have been companies that built platforms. Both software and hardware products are improved by complementary services built by outside specialists, and creating a thriving ecosystem of apps and add-ons mutually benefits the platform host, its users, and developers. Smaller CRM vendors will struggle to achieve this, however, as they may not have the critical mass of a large user-base needed to attract developers. 

Just as the internet and the Web have changed how we communicate, find information, and shop, so to will generative AI change the dynamics of competition for most businesses. The technological infrastructure is in place for this new generation of AI systems to sweep away many established ways of working. CRM will be just one part of this revolution, but its impact will be felt across all sectors of the economy.

Artificial Intelligence, Channel Sales, CRM Systems

Throughout her more than 30-year career in the tech industry, Jacqueline Guichelaar has been a staunch advocate for leaning in and genuinely listening to customers in order to provide them with better experiences.

It’s one of the many attributes that led her to eventually becoming global CIO with Cisco, where she charted a path that combined leading the company’s strategy for digital transformation – including migrating 140,000 staff to remote working during COVID – focussed on ‘simplification’, while consulting on actual product design and development.

Yet after four “amazing” years in the role, Guichelaar has taken up the position of SVP and general manager, customer experience overseeing APAC, Japan and Greater China.

The Australian bred – albeit Uruguayan-born – executive has also moved slightly closer to home, relocating from California to Singapore.

Speaking exclusively to CIO Australia, she recalls how her earliest roles working in technology, be it for IBM Global Services Australia or one of several systems integrators, saw her assume a central role in liaising with and managing customers, including some of Australia’s biggest companies.

“I’ve always been about putting myself in customer’s shoes, so now it feels right to be moving from CIO to a CX role.”

CIOs can’t build everything

While she may well be best remembered for leading Cisco’s response to COVID – including leading a WFH exodus that would crush many a CIO – Guichelaar hopes that her legacy as the company’s CIO will be seen more in terms of her work in massively simplifying technology, and of course helping to lift user and customer experiences.

During her four-year tenure, Guichelaar and her team managed to slash IT spend by a whopping $US200 million. This was achieved largely by shifting the tech department’s mindset to one of ‘buy before you build’.

“We didn’t need all these homegrown applications, so we rationalised them,” she explains. “In some business units, we had 11 legacy apps. We replaced them with one out-of-the-box SAS application”. Finance. Legal and HR were three departments that were slimmed down the most in terms of applications.

This also meant dealing with less vendors, which helped to further reduce costs, with Cisco now limited to dealing with a handful of ‘strategic partners’.

Data centres, networks and other tech infrastructure were all rationalised on Guichelaar’s watch. “We were very clear and intentional about what workloads would sit where”.

She stresses that all companies have things that they excel at, and that during her time as Cisco CIO she argued that if the company was to build anything, it should be where its strengths are.

“Focus on the areas that matter the most, the areas where you have competitive advantage and / or the areas where maybe there is no solution in the market where you believe that if you build something you will help your company move forward”.

She’s seen many inhouse built applications that have delivered enormous value to the company. “But companies move and industries change”.

“In this new world, it is not possible for a CIO to build everything,” she says.

“There’s just not enough money. There’s just not enough time. It’s just not possible”. Systems engineers can also become heavily invested in applications they’ve developed, meaning that scuttling them often presents certain “cultural challenges”.

Guichelaar stresses that being able to “pull back” from such a place requires “experience, foresight and governance”.

“You have to put some frameworks in place, otherwise you just end up with a flavour of everything and high complexity and no one wants that.”

She says it’s something many CIOs still get wrong, investing large amounts of time, energy and money building things they could easily buy for vastly cheaper and greater overall value.

“I’ve seen it time and time again in my career, in financial services, in telecommunications, even in banking”.

Yet getting it right is key to delivering better experiences, whether for customers or staff, Guichelaar notes, as it all comes down to “simplicity”.

It’s one of the many lessons she’s bringing from Cisco’s top tech job to charting her new course in CX in Singapore.

One of her customers there is a large American bank struggling with sprawling legacy systems across its entire international operations.

“It might sound basic but it’s difficult, and something many companies around the world are grappling with.”

“I feel for the team, because it’s really hard when you’ve got to figure out how to refresh. How do you get the investment? How do you support, how do you get the change window time? How do you get enough engineers?”

Technology needs to deliver value in the form of outcomes

When Guichelaar and her team went in and met with executives in the network space they soon discovered – much to the bank’s surprise – that it wasn’t utilising much of the value it had actually bought from Cisco. This prompted her to send in a “bunch” of CX engineers to help get everything back on track.

Another major bank Guichelaar is working with is transitioning to a hybrid cloud environment.

“They’re wanting to move out of their own data centres because it’s too costly and to figure out what workloads do [they want to] put on public cloud versus their own private data centre versus SaaS,” she says, adding that challenges like these are where great CX teams can really shine.

Ultimately, today perhaps more so than any time before, the raison d’etre of all technology projects – be they customer or staff facing – has to be delivering value in the form of ‘outcomes’.

“I was a customer of Cisco for decades so I know also what it feels to be on the other side,” Guichelaar says.

“And one of the things our [Cisco] customers are saying to us is ‘we want to see value from the hardware we buy, we want to know that the software is making an impact’.

“We want to be happy and we want to have a long term relationship with you”.

With decades of senior technology leadership under her belt, Guichelaar understands as well as any CIO that this is often simply a pipe dream, though, especially once the realities of deploying large-scale solutions set in.

Yet with competition in the tech sector as fierce as ever, and with the cloud driving prices and margins down to new lows, Guichelaar understands that her new CX role may end up being as challenging– if not more – than her four years as Cisco’s top tech executive.

“Time will tell the impact I will have with customers, but does it feel right?”

“It definitely feels like the right move for me and I’m glad I’ve taken all my tech background and experience and am doing something for our customers. And I do like to be with customers.”

Careers, IT Leadership

First and foremost, on behalf of SAP, we would like to thank all the SAP Innovation Awards 2023 participants for their hard work showcasing the many ways they are delivering impact within their businesses! We are truly grateful for and inspired by all the incredible submissions received this year. This is the perfect opportunity to share an inside look at the judging process, announce our esteemed finalists, and provide a preview for what is next!

Judging process

This year’s awards represent our greatest yet, as we are celebrating our 10th anniversary with 10 categories:

10th Anniversary SuperstarSustainability HeroIndustry LeaderPartner ParagonTransformation TitanCutting-Edge GeniusBusiness InnovatorExperience WizardAdoption ChampionServices Supernova

Being selected as a finalist in the SAP Innovation Awards is an incredible accomplishment on its own—it takes a wealth of ingenuity and perseverance. Entries are evaluated based on three main criteria:

Use Case Creativity: how compelling or disruptive the use case isTangible Outcomes: the magnitude of the outcome, impact on individuals and society, and significance of the quantified resultsIntelligent Enterprise: how well the entry demonstrates the company’s journey to becoming an intelligent enterprise

What makes being selected as a finalist even more remarkable is how competitive it is. In total, we published 227 submissions, now visible on the Awards website, and of those only 70 were selected as finalists.

Celebrating the Finalists


On that note, I would like to give a very well-deserved “Congratulations!” to all the finalists celebrated above! I encourage everyone to check out their submissions here. I must say, these are truly among the most impressive entries we have received over the years. As I’ve said before, but it’s worth restating, their stories have inspired us. Once you read their stories, I know you will draw inspiration from them too.

The winners announcement is rapidly approaching!

The winners will be announced on April 12, 2023! Out of the 70 finalists, the winners’ judging panel will narrow it down to 30 entries to be crowned as winners of the 2023 Innovation Awards.

The winners will be globally recognized as innovators, earn bragging rights, and be featured in numerous promotional opportunities such as podcasts, media interviews, blogs, speaking opportunities, and a whole lot more! They will also receive a Sapphire Orlando 2023 pass or a $1,000 SAP4Good Voucher for a charitable donation.

You can always check out the SAP Innovation Awards website for more information. Once again, a big thank you to all the Innovation Awards participants, and we wish all our finalists the best of luck. Stay tuned for the big announcement coming in April!

Digital Transformation

Over the past few years, more organizations have gone all in with migrations to the public cloud. But for some “without a concrete strategy, it has led to some obvious challenges with respect to measuring the real value from their cloud investments,” says Ricky Sundrani, a partner in the pricing assurance practice at Everest Group.

Cut to one of the most significant concerns across enterprises today: rising cloud costs.

“Many enterprises are getting some unwelcome sticker shock surprises for their cloud services that are coming in much higher than estimated and blowing up the business cases they used to justify their program in the first place,” says Andy Sealock, senior partner in the advisory and transformation practice at West Monroe.

While inadequate planning at the start of the cloud journey is a major driver of this disconnect, there are plenty of others: limited visibility into cloud consumption and patterns, unchecked cost leakage, cloud sprawl, lack of workload optimization, and weak demand management policies, to name a few. More than two-thirds of organizations are not realizing the full value of their cloud investments, according to an Everest Group survey of CIOs.

The business case for cloud remains the same: greater scalability, increased efficiency, better data security, increased reliability and resilience — and, potentially, lower costs. But realizing those benefits requires deliberate and active management of cloud deals.

There are a number of actions IT leaders can take to maximize the value of their current and future cloud investments, from well before partners are narrowed down to long after the contracts have been signed. The following dozen tips are worth adopting.

Assemble a cross-functional cloud team

One of the biggest missteps when pursuing cloud opportunities is failing to make these cross-functional efforts from the top down.

“When cloud transformation is driven by a CXO office without close involvement of business units and development teams, finer nuances are missed, leading to ineffective cloud adoption from a cost and efficiency perspective,” says Mukesh Ranjan, vice president of IT services at Everest Group.

IT leaders should assemble a team with representatives of all key stakeholder groups during the planning stages of the cloud transformation journey, Ranjan says. A 2022 PwC survey found that companies that were achieving transformational benefits from the cloud and reporting fewer barriers to value typically involved five or more functions at the start of their cloud projects. Doing so later on in migration, though less ideal, is still an option to ensure that 360 degree view of enterprise cloud requirements and usage.

Define baselines and (realistic) expectations

Too many organizations lack a full understanding of the benefits they expect to gain from the cloud vis-à-vis their existing environment. That requires assessing the value of the current environment, the value they seek from cloud adoption, and timelines for achieving that value.  Only then can they select the providers, solutions, and expertise that best align with their cloud goals, says Ranjan.

It’s important to take off the rose-colored glasses during this process. “IT leaders must be realistic in how much of their premise-based compute footprint can be migrated to the cloud and how quickly this can happen,” says Sealock.

Build a full business case

During the pandemic, many organizations rushed to the cloud — and for obvious reasons. But migrating to the cloud without a well-thought-out business case is not an optimal strategy. A hurried lift-and-shift approach typically results in increased costs over the long term. During a migration frenzy, companies can take shortcuts that result in technical debt that dilutes the impact cloud transformation can have.

“Think of cloud as a modernization journey and not just a migration,” Ranjan advises. “Undertake application modernization initiatives such as refactoring, rearchitecting, replatforming, and replacing as needed to optimize applications running on cloud.”

Analyze (and negotiate) cloud contract terms upfront

Many IT leaders lack the relevant market data required to conduct informed negotiations with cloud vendors.

“This could be pertaining to expected discounts, more favorable terms and conditions offered to certain buyers, and better transformation timelines, among other things,” says Sundrani.

Marina Aronchik, a  partner in the law firm Mayer Brown’s technology and IP transactions practice, recommends accounting for the terms in cloud agreements as part of the broader evaluation of potential cloud solutions and providers. 

“In the current economic environment, customers may have a unique opportunity to secure more flexible and favorable contractual terms,” Aronchik says. “To do so, IT organizations should build time into the process for reasonable engagement with several cloud providers on a competitive basis, or a single cloud provider with a reasonable opportunity to pivot to an alternative solution if needed.”

Read the fine print

The value of a cloud contract is not fully represented in the fee schedule. What the customer may assume to be “permitted use,” the cloud provider may deem “excess use” or an “overage.”

“To maximize total value of a cloud contract, IT leaders should look for contractual and technical clarity on the metrics that are used to calculate relevant fees, reliable tools for monitoring consumption, and the methodology for addressing actual or potential excess use,” says Aronchik.

Beware of minimum commitments

It can be tempting to agree to certain volume or spending levels to secure deeper discounts for ongoing cloud usage. But it’s one of the leading causes of stranded value in cloud contracts.

“It’s important to not overcommit on the minimum commitments,” Sealock warns. “This often depends on an enterprise being able to accurately predict how much of their premise-based footprint they can actually migrate to the cloud and at what rate.”

If an IT organization runs into issues that delay or prevent moving on-premises systems to the cloud, and thus miss a minimum commitment, there will be costs involved. “Longer term commitments, use of ‘sticky’ native services may drive larger contract discounts but also impact your technology plans,” says Sealock.

Leave no cloud stones unturned

There are a number of internal factors that can impact cloud value realization. “Challenge your IT department to pull all levers for efficient cloud usage,” advises Sealock. There may be an opportunity to refactor applications to make them more efficient users of cloud resources, adopt cloud native services instead of lifting and shifting existing system to IaaS, or move to SaaS options as part of ongoing application rationalization.

Increasing the focus on application modernization is crucial to extracting the full value of cloud, says Ranjan.

Invest in a cloud management platform

Real-time visibility across the cloud environment goes a long way in preventing unexpectedly huge bills from cloud providers. But “cloud pricing and ordering options are at a sufficient level of complexity that it is beyond the capacity of a ‘smart person with a spreadsheet’ to manage effectively,” says Sealock.

There are numerous cloud cost management tools on the market from established players and startups alike. These tools should have real-time interfaces to the cloud service providers’ pricing engines and be able to automatically match the enterprise’s cloud usage patterns with the right cloud services (e.g., IaaS, PaaS, native) and configurations (e.g., service instance type/size, storage tier). Sealock advises evaluating multiple platforms, looking for the following attributes:

Financial (in addition to technical and operational) management capabilitiesIntegration with automation tools for orchestrating technical deploymentsCapacity to pull usage from both cloud and on-premises environmentsAbility to model what on-premises environments would look like (and cost) on multiple cloudsEngineering support to ensure the tools remain properly configured over time

Secure scarce cloud management talent

“Cloud pricing can be very complex and dynamic and is highly dependent on usage,” says Sealock. Without the proper governance, unnecessary costs can quickly accumulate. Adopting a cloud management platform is step one, but these tools are themselves complex. IT leaders must also recruit technology professionals who know how to use cloud management platforms to continually refine cloud service usage to meet enterprise SLAs at the lowest costs.

Enterprises  are seeing premiums for cloud skills outpacing those for standard IT infrastructure skills, according to research by Everest Group.

“Cloud expertise is in short supply, but without in-house experience it is difficult to avoid the wasteful pitfalls,” Sealock says. “Invest in the people to use the cloud tools properly who can also design the policies, processes, and procedures of a cloud governance framework.”

In some cases, IT leaders will create a cloud center of excellence that can be leveraged across multiple lines of business. 

Get serious about demand management

Ease of use and self-provisioning are two of the big benefits of using the cloud, but they also open the door to unmitigated (and sometimes invisible) cloud sprawl. IT organizations must create and communicate clear policies and processes for cloud demand management.

“Training can be used to increase the socialization of the policies and processes to users, but good compliance also requires those policies to be enforced within the programmed workflow of the tools,” says Sealock, who suggests putting some teeth into demand management. “Communicate top down that there will be smart constraints on cloud usage that will be reinforced via training but also codified in the workflow of their systems.”

Address overruns right away

Some IT organizations may view cost overruns as inevitable. But ignoring them is a mistake. “They do not get better on their own,” says Sealock. “It takes action to change the dynamic.”

Unexpected — or worse, inexplicable — cloud costs are a red flag. Understanding the root cause of the usage and addressing it as soon as possible is important. “You do not want to discourage cloud usage, but you must insist that the usage be smart, deliberate, and cost-effective,” Sealock says.

Continuously monitor and measure cloud value

Having clearly defined SLAs to measure performance against expected value is crucial. “Unless enterprises have a well-built process to continuously monitor and measure value against their stated goals, they will slip off in their transformation journey,” says Ranjan.

Cloud vendors, consultants, and other partners are likely to keep pushing more cloud, but its critical for IT leaders to periodically re-evaluate the cloud march to ensure the organization can achieve the intended value. 

Budgeting, Cloud Computing, Managed Cloud Services

As IT leader of self-regulatory body Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO), Doria Manico-Daka continues to build on her 16 years in tech, the last five of which has seen her heavily involved in leading digital transformation and modernization. Throughout her career, industries and company sizes have varied, but there’s been one constant: environments have largely been male dominated. And as a Black woman, she’s had some unique experiences as a double minority. Against the odds, however, she’s excelled not only for herself but toward collective efforts to elevate the conversation of diversity, opportunity, and sourcing talent in, and for, the workplace.

“One needs to be resilient and determined to pursue the passion and paths they’ve chosen,” she says. “There’s very little precedent or example to rely on, and it can be both challenging and rewarding at the same time. Challenging in the sense that it can be lonely sometimes. It can feel like an uphill battle when you’re in the minority, and especially if you have conscious and unconscious bias fighting against you. But at the same time, it can be rewarding just knowing you helped change the status quo, and change minds and environments for people to consider it’s normal to have women at all levels of the tech space. Early in my career, I had a role that included helping clients over the phone. I’d take calls and after introducing myself, the person on the other end would think it was a mistake and ask to be transferred to the technical team. But I was the technical team, so I’m glad that we’re past that in 2023 for the most part.”  

It can be difficult for women to have a sense of belonging facing these challenges. Speaking of the senior tech leader at the leadership table, there’s underrepresentation of women and even more underrepresentation of Black women. So resilience, fuelled by self reliance and confidence, helps to navigate a career path.

“Being in a minority can bring self-doubt, especially if you’re in an environment that isn’t supportive or causes doubts,” she says. “So know the value you bring to the table and the difference you’re making. Some environments are going to appreciate this more than others, but it’s important you don’t let others minimize your contributions. For example, if you work hard and lead your team to launch a tech solution that positively impacts the organization’s bottom line, that is value you can quantify. Having said that, we still have a ways to go about women in tech still being overlooked and passed over for promotions. The numbers are getting better, but we’re still there.”

CIO Leadership Live’s Rennick recently spoke with Manico-Daka about elevating standards of diversity to help achieve organizational goals and win the search for talent. Watch the full video below for more insights.

On Black women in tech: Breaking the glass ceiling for women in minority groups is still a business goal every organization should strive to achieve. And for Black women, the ceiling is made of concrete, so the organizations that are going to break through are the ones with talent at all levels. We’ve seen great improvements in lowers ranks in terms of inclusiveness, but the senior leadership roles in the boardroom still have a ways to go. I think soon it’ll no longer be acceptable to have non-diverse leadership teams. And we’re already seeing mandates on this, especially from forward thinking organizations that are intentional about diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels, not just the lower ranks. This is inclusive leadership that taps into a wider pool of talent, especially as we see the shortage of talent in tech. So organizations that lead with purpose, intention and empathy, and reflect the communities they serve, are the ones that are going to retain top talent, especially regarding women. One step organizations can take to raise equity is to be aware of unconscious bias and manage it through education or training. Just acknowledging we all have it and sometimes it gets in the way of making decisions in how we treat other people is progress. And again, that purposeful, intentional, empathetic leader is the one who is going to win in this case. Another is you need to create targets for equity and ensure those targets are measured and communicating progress of those targets. We know that only what’s measured can be improved.

On a clear approach to talent: For me, clarity of vision, purpose and meaningful work is a bare minimum in today’s world of talent. Any organizational leader who wants to attract talent today must have that focus on the greater good and the difference they’re going to make. What the COVID years have shown is that people are now starting to want to find meaning; they want to rediscover themselves and ask what really matters. So it’s important that what matters in business gets tied to a mission, vision and value system, and gets clearly communicated to the entire organization. And if you do that, you’ll have a chance of winning the talent pool.

On teamwork: Throughout my career, what I’ve found is a positive environment inspires creativity, motivation and delivery. So I always try to create that same thing for my team. We’re an environment that fosters positive work where achievements are rewarded and respect is given. And if somebody drops the ball, you pick it up and score. There’s no room for blame. That’s an environment that has inspired me to be very creative and innovative. So I figure if I create the same for my team, I’ll see results. And with our rapidly changing tech landscape, you also need to promote continuous learning and upskilling. Today, the shelf life of tech skills is about three years and it keeps shrinking. So as leaders, you need to ensure your team is in continuous learning mode. One thing I’ve done for my team is to create a space where they can use new technologies to implement ideas without affecting the digital services we offer. And that’s really helped us improve the tech skills, close the gaps, and foster that sense of innovation and knowing that it’s a safe space where they can try out their ideas.

On strategic leadership: The strategy in all aspects of the organization is key. So for me, what first comes into play is you need to care and act like an owner. Business owners look at the long-term success of the whole business. So in my experience, it’s important that a clear vision, mission, and goals are articulated at every level throughout the organization. When everyone understands and owns that, and begins to act like an owner of the business, then you have a recipe for success. Second, you need to play using the whole team by encouraging women to get in the tech sector and stay in tech, but also by encouraging diversity in general. By now, everyone knows it’s been proven that diversity of thought is good for business. When you have a diverse team, you simply have more ideas to work with and a greater talent pool to tap into. And that makes for very superior business solutions. So I would encourage any leader or any organization to focus on diversity at every level. And with this war on talent, this is the recipe that’s going to make you win.

Diversity and Inclusion, IT Leadership, Women in IT

After moving resources and applications to the cloud, pioneering enterprises in the finance and telecommunications sectors have been stepping up efforts to dive into the cloud. They are trying to leverage innovation on the cloud to drive exponential business growth.

Huawei Cloud has suggested three ways for enterprises to dive into cloud: tapping into more cloud-native technologies, developing more application innovation on cloud, and drawing on state-of-the-art expertise and experience.

Enterprises have encountered many challenges as they seek to dive into cloud:

Difficult technologies: Cloud native comes with a wide range of tech stacks. There are a range of different infrastructure, applications, data, AI, and IoT technologies to be mastered, which can be challenging for many enterprises.Complex scenarios: As digital transformation continues, enterprises have to deal with more and more scenarios where different business needs are involved, where there are no unified standards, and where successful experience is hard to share. This hinders innovation.Challenges acquiring state-of-the-art experience: There have been no platforms available to consolidate and replicate state-of-the-art expertise and experience from industry pioneers.

How Huawei Cloud Helps Enterprises Dive into Cloud with Three Approaches

Huawei Cloud Stack is a cloud solution provided by Huawei Cloud to help large enterprises dive into cloud. Deployed on-premises, Huawei Cloud Stack enables enterprises to establish a secure, reliable, and efficient hybrid cloud with improved security and compliance and continuous service innovation.

To help enterprises rise to the challenges, and in response to the shift from cloud migration to a dive into cloud, Huawei Cloud Stack provides three key approaches to simplify technologies, develop easier specific-scenario solutions, and share experience.

Setting Up a Preferred Digital Foundation

Over the past two years, Huawei has set up teams dedicated to serving customers in different industries. Huawei Cloud Stack has established a preferred digital foundation to enable these dedicated teams to cooperate with Huawei’s internal ICT solution organizations, so they can jointly help customers speed up digital transformation.

We enhanced coordination with ICT products and helped adopt different technologies to provide product portfolios tailored to more customer needs.

We developed cloud-native disaster recovery and security protection capabilities to free customers from having to spend time maintain infrastructure, so they can better focused on innovation.

Plus, we standardized and visualized the processes of AI development, application integration, and data governance, and harnessed aPaaS capabilities to offer industry-specific expertise as APIs that can be called with ease.

Providing Standardized Scenario-specific Solutions

To accommodate the diverse needs of enterprises in different industries, Huawei Cloud Stack aims to provide scenario-specific solutions by tapping into continuous operations and cooperating with ecosystem partners.

We identify consistent customer needs in similar scenarios and integrate hardware, cloud service offerings, networking, configurations, and applications into a standard solution that can easily meet those needs.

We work with our ecosystem partners to pre-test the industry applications included in the solution and update them continuously to keep up to date with the most current customer needs. Only proven solutions are launched to market.

We also consolidate helpful procedures and tools such as an application migration procedure consisting of 12 steps in four stages and an automated migration tool. This helps standardize the process of continuous operations.

Distilling Experience into Professional Services

Huawei Cloud Stack provides over 70 professional services in 8 categories to distill Huawei’s own experience in digital transformation and their experience enabling digital transformation for customers in diverse industries. We provide the services for customers in numerous industries, services that help them build, move to, use, and manage cloud. Additionally, in the Huawei Cloud Stack zone of Huawei’s KooGallery, an online store, there are more than 500 popular applications available for enterprises to use. It is expected to act as an important application distribution platform for enterprises in the future. At HUAWEI CONNECT 2022, Huawei worked with Financial Information Technology Institute (FITI) to release the Modern Financial Core System White Paper, aiming to share the experience and expertise of developing modern core systems in the finance sector with customers across all sectors.

Huawei Cloud Stack has helped many customers dive into the cloud to unleash digital power. For the government of Foshan, a prefecture-level city in China, Huawei Cloud Stack’s Astro low-code development platform helped government application developers use iteration and visual orchestration to quickly create and roll out applications. Thanks to its low skill requirements, the platform also allows officers who want to use applications to develop applications by themselves. This means much higher efficiency. Huawei Cloud Stack’s mining industrial Internet solution integrates big data, application governance, IoT, ecosystem setup, and other technological advances. It has helped many mining companies, like Hongliulin Coal Mine of Shaanxi Coal and Chemical Industry Group, transform their mining operations. Also, using Huawei Cloud Stack’s professional data governance service, HydroLancang, a subsidiary of the China Huaneng Group, set up a data governance system that unifies data standards and lets data empower operations in the energy sector.

New Huawei Cloud Stack Version Unveiled to Unleash Digital Power

Over the next decade, more enterprises will dive into the cloud to reap more benefits and positive outcomes. As a trusted partner of enterprises in their cloud journey, Huawei Cloud has adopted two strategies:

Think cloud native and act cloud native in composable delivery, data-driven operations, DevOps development, service architecture design, and security and trustworthiness assurance to help enterprises promote application modernization.Explore a new model for industrial-scale AI development to operationalize AI in core applications of enterprises in diverse sectors.

Huawei Cloud Stack 8.2 was launched in line with Huawei Cloud’s strategies. This new version has been improved in many ways:

We have reinforced the infrastructure’s capabilities, including cloud-edge synergy and all-scenario disaster recovery. The cloud-native architecture they are built on provides a solid, resilient foundation for digital transformation. We developed a new security protection system consisting of Cloud Security Brain and seven layers of protection. Cloud Security Brain is a cloud-native security operations center backed by Huawei Cloud’s international security operations experience. It accesses more than 200 kinds of security data and provides over 100 security event response plans to offer actionable insights into risks and help close 99% of security events in minutes. The seven-layer system of protection provides comprehensive protection for physical machines, cloud servers, applications, and data.AI training, AI Cortex, and industrial Internet solutions have been put in place to drive cloud innovation and intelligent upgrade. The CityCore solution and Pangu mining model infuse AI into city governance and industrial development, at scale, and with continuous iteration and optimization.We have launched scenario-specific solutions such as industrial Internet for mining, a new financial distributed core, integrated finance management, and digital twins for cities. We also worked with third parties to release Modern Financial Core System White Paper, Financial Digital Transformation Best Practice White Paper, and Introduction to City Digital Twins. This way, we have distilled expertise and suited core needs of customers in the industry-specific scenarios.

Huawei Cloud Stack 8.2 helps enterprises in more sectors to reap more benefits from modernization and smart transformation:

Shenzhen’s Futian District leveraged Huawei Cloud Stack’s AI-powered CityCore solution to enable automated allocation of service tickets. Ticket allocation that took 4 minutes now needs just 50 seconds, and the accuracy reaches over 90%.Hongliulin Coal Mine of Shaanxi Coal and Chemical Industry Group worked in tandem with Huawei Cloud Stack to set up an intelligent integrated management and control platform with an industrial Internet architecture for mining. The platform centrally captures huge volumes of device data, provides over 100 device models and 400 operational models, and offers data insights into mining operations. This means distilled mining expertise, less manpower, and more secure and efficient operations.

Huawei Cloud Stack is now used to accelerate digital transformation for more than 4,800 customers across 150 countries around the world, customers including more than 800 e-Government cloud customers and 300 financial institutions. We have released more than 30 scenario-specific solutions tailored to multiple sectors, such as government, finance, transportation, energy, and manufacturing. The solutions include unified government affair management, financial intelligent data lake, and smart airport solutions.

In the future, Huawei Cloud Stack will continue to innovate to lay a more powerful foundation for digital transformation of every sector while joining hands with more customers to dive into cloud and unleash digital power.

Digital Transformation

Value Stream Management (VSM) is a powerful methodology that not only streamlines value streams and optimizes processes but also promotes sustainability and creates positive impact. As today’s great leaders recognize, true success is not solely measured by the bottom line but also by the impact a business has on its stakeholders, including employees, partners, and the environment. Sustainable leaders understand that making near-term profits at the expense of these other stakeholders and concerns is not sustainable. It’s not sustainable for the business, nor the environment, nor the beings (human and otherwise) that depend on this environment.

Sustainable leaders are clear on a very key reality: they know they have the power to influence the long-term trajectory of the business and much more. Their decisions and actions can shape more than the organization’s future stock price. They can make an outsized impact on the state of the planet that is passed to future generations. They understand this is an opportunity and a responsibility, and they take that responsibility seriously.

A sustainable leader doesn’t just talk a good game; they play one. Through their actions, strategies, and decisions, they make strides in important areas, whether that’s reducing energy consumption, shrinking their carbon footprint, or reducing waste. They make tangible progress and through their words and examples, they inspire others to join the cause.

Here are some ways leadership and sustainability can go hand in hand:

 Setting a vision

A sustainable leader can set a vision for sustainability and ensure that it is integrated into the organization’s top-level strategies and at every level of operations. An effective vision statement sets the direction for an organization and serves as a source of inspiration and motivation for employees. It provides a shared understanding of the company’s purpose, goals, and aspirations and helps align the efforts of all stakeholders around a common objective.

Encouraging employee engagement

Sustainable leaders can create a culture of sustainability by involving employees and promoting eco-friendly practices. In a business context, encouraging employee engagement is about the creation of a workplace culture that fosters motivation, involvement, and commitment among employees. Engaged employees are more productive, innovative, and customer focused, and they contribute to a positive workplace culture. Here are some ways to encourage employee engagement:

Communication. Encourage open, two-way communication between employees and management to foster a sense of transparency and trust.Sustainability ambassadors. Provide employees with the tools and training they need to promote sustainability within the organization and beyond.Set sustainability challenges. Encourage employees to participate in sustainability challenges, such as reducing waste or improving energy efficiency, to spur new ideas and innovative solutions.Recognition and rewards. Acknowledge and reward employees for their contributions, whether it be through bonuses, promotions, or public recognition.Work-life balance. Create a supportive work environment that values employees as people, and helps them maintain a healthy balance between their personal and professional lives.Inclusiveness. Foster an inclusive workplace culture that values diversity, equity, and respect for all employees.

Cultivating innovation

A sustainable leader can encourage and invest in innovative technologies and processes that promote sustainability. Innovation is a critical driver of business success, and leaders play a crucial role in fostering a culture of innovation within their organizations. Here are some ways leaders can cultivate innovation:

Build a culture of experimentation. Create a culture of experimentation and continuous improvement by giving employees the freedom to test new ideas and approaches to sustainability.Invest in technology. Invest in technology and innovation to improve sustainability and reduce the organization’s environmental impact.Provide training and education. Provide training and education to employees on sustainability issues. Encourage individuals to become sustainability experts within the organization.Celebrate successes. Recognize and celebrate sustainability successes, and use them to inspire continued innovation and progress.

Collaborating with stakeholders

Sustainable leaders can engage with stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, and community members, to collaborate and find holistic solutions to sustainability challenges. Here are some ways to effectively collaborate with stakeholders on sustainability:

Foster partnerships. Collaborate with stakeholders to create innovative sustainability solutions.Set shared sustainability goals. Work with stakeholders to set shared sustainability goals and create a joint plan for achieving them.Encourage stakeholder feedback. Encourage stakeholder feedback and engage in regular dialogue to ensure that their concerns and needs are being met.Use data and metrics. Use data and metrics to measure and communicate the progress and impact of sustainability initiatives, and to engage stakeholders in continuous improvement.


In conclusion, leaders can play a crucial role in advancing sustainability and ensuring a vibrant, healthy future for the business, and for all. Let’s follow the lead of those who are sustainability champions. Let’s all be eco-warriors and work together to make our world a better place for future generations. Registration is now open for the 2023 Value Stream Management Summit – True North: Achieve Digital Transformation Success with VSM. Join transformation experts from Tyson, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Forrester, and more on April 26, 2023.  Register today.

IT Leadership

By: Larry Lunetta, VP Portfolio Solutions Marketing at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

As customer-centric innovators, we’re constantly looking at how we can better help businesses reach their goals by leveraging technology. That’s why hearing from them first-hand is so valuable.

This year, we kicked off our quest for insights with a survey run by Sapio Research.

Targeting 200 international business decision makers from organizations of 500 employees or more, its purpose was to gauge the C-suite’s understanding of where and how a network can deliver against modern business needs.

And what a set of needs businesses are facing in 2023—from enabling more immersive omnichannel customer journeys to creating bespoke data-led experiences, innovating to secure new revenue streams, weaving sustainability into operations, and much, much more.

The survey findings are telling: one in four business leaders have only a functional or limited understanding of the enterprise network’s true potential.

And this snapshot aligns with a far bigger trend we’re noticing across industries—business leaders need expert partners (both from within their IT teams and from vendors like HPE Aruba Networking) to help them leverage their network to produce innovative business outcomes, aligned to their specific, strategic digital transformation goals.

While business leaders want to innovate, other key findings reaffirm that the value of the network to help them do so is not well-understood:

While 93% agree their business’ technology needs have increased post-pandemic, 73% are concerned about their organization’s ability to keep up with the latest requirements.71% acknowledge that technology and enhanced digitalization are crucial to employees doing their jobs, however only 61% see the link between staff productivity and network advancements.Half of respondents believe access to data is fundamental to unlocking new revenue streams in the year ahead, but 53% aren’t aware of how the network could help drive this innovation.

High levels of digital transformation and innovation will define business success in 2023, which 81% of surveyed business leaders recognize. But almost a third anticipate moderate transformation at best. As the network is the proverbial on-ramp to the digital transformation freeway that stretches from edge to cloud, we believe that a more innovative, agile, optimized offering on this front will make all the difference.

With our results showing that only a quarter of respondents are planning to put budget behind their network infrastructure this year, there is clearly more to be done in demonstrating the network’s value as a business-driving asset in its own right.

Part of this is lies in how IT leaders frame their networking discussions—talking in terms of business outcomes versus technical specs. But it might also require a different approach to networking entirely.

Agile Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) can offer business leaders the flexibility and resilience to battle through the prevailing headwinds faced across industries—from budget and resource constraints, to the need to match network capacity to the ever changing business needs. While these leaders can’t be expected to have all the answers around networking, working with their IT teams to understand how NaaS can help them meet their business goals is the right first step. With the correct NaaS strategy (from acquisition to deployment and management) that fits their unique requirements, businesses can then fast-track a successful digital transformation.

Want to learn more? Check out our infographic.

IT Leadership