IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Story image

Cloud applications and continuous business transformation

By Heather Wright
Wed 20 Sep 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Moving to the cloud should be about more than plugging in a solution. To realise the full benefits, it needs to be part of a full business transformation. But when organisations talk about implementing cloud solutions for their corporate functions (finance, HR, IT, procurement), they are often eluding the word ‘transformation’.

Instead, they insist on business drivers which are related to the obsolescence of their existing systems. The end-of-life of their software licences, or the need for modern user interfaces. But there is more to it.

Why is the term ‘business transformation’ often absent from EOI, RFP/RFI? Is it because the concept of transformation has been so overused that it has become meaningless? Or because the benefits of previous transformation programmes have rarely been realised?

Perhaps it is because organisations which are embracing cloud solutions think that it will be easy to implement, with no change impact.  

Over the last decade, it made sense that the goal of every major system change should support a business transformation imperative. Software vendors were claiming that new technology would let you do things in new ways, to deliver services more effectively and efficiently, to unlock potential value.

We have seen this time and time again over the last 10 to 15 years. Most organisations have been through multiple transformations, business process re-engineering embedded in large ERP programmes.

But more often than not, they have struggled to realise the expected return on investment.

They have centralised and put in shared services for finance, HR and other business functions. In some cases, they have outsourced or relocated entire functions offshore.

They have genuinely tried to simplify and standardise processes and cut costs. But few have delivered the intended benefits.

The Cloud and customisation

What is really different with Cloud? One of the main benefits can be summed up in a single word: customisation.

Organisations’ business processes are still too complex because despite trying, they haven’t really standardised. Previous transformations, typically supported by major on premise ERP software, allowed for too much customisation. The result was idiosyncratic, carrying complexity due to the inability of the organisation to challenge the status-quo. This led to highly expensive processes and systems to maintain.

Nevertheless, in a world of constant disruption, there is a renewed pressure to change coming from within the organisation, from the board or from shareholders to further optimise corporate functions.

It has become easier to quantify organisational performance in relation to peers. Within this context, it is apparent that organisations still need to optimise their corporate functions or, in other words, complete their transformation.

Here, we could talk about a third wave of transformation after a first wave of ERP on premise implementations, and a second wave of introduction of shared service centres or BPO deals. But a better way to talk about it is ‘continuous transformation’.

The good news is that the cost of continuing the transformation job adopting cloud solutions for corporate functions is now only a fraction – as little as one fifth – of earlier projects which could cost $100 million or more. And when systems are configured – not customised – starting with preconfigured prototypes, implementation time is less than a year, compared to lengthy previous transformation programmes (two to three years).

The role of change management

But it's about more than just technology. The ongoing challenge many organisations face is change management.

Overcoming that is about the conversations to have, about who is in the workshop discussing the E2E solution. There is a crucial need for people with the knowledge, experience and courage to push for standardisation within the organisation and on the implementation partner side.

Because there are changes in multiple dimensions, there is an also important need for people who understand the business function involved, as well as people who can implement a system, and people who can drive change in the organisation.

Because of cloud and a ‘zero-tolerance’ for customisation, organisations don’t need a system integrator. They need a business integrator, a partner who can say: "This is best practice, this is what others are doing, these are the roles and responsibilities that should be in place for your target operating model." Or: "Tell me why you can’t do things in a standard way?"

Many earlier transformations failed precisely because the people involved lacked the credibility or maturity to effectively challenge process owners and change the culture. 

Finally, as most organisations started to simplify and standardise their corporate functions 15 years ago, the transformation job today might seem to be easier. But adopting cloud doesn’t mean an easy road for continuous transformation. It will require a total rethink of operating models. And when people are involved there is always complexity.

By Gerard Vigneron, who is a partner focused on technology enablement at KPMG Australia

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Manhattan Associates
Shortening the click-to-customer cycle through smart technologies
Speed of delivery without accuracy is a dealbreaker for consumers. How can retailers operating in an omnichannel environment overcome the challenge of click-to-customer cycle times.
Story image
Vectra AI
Vectra’s inaugural Partner of the Year Awards revealed
APAC companies Baidam, Firmus, ShellSoft and Macnica have been recognised in Vectra AI's inaugural Partner of the Year Awards.
Story image
Cybersecurity prompts upgrade for 1.3 billion electricity meters
ABI Research finds Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and cybersecurity concerns are prompting the upgrade of 1.3 billion electricity meters by 2027.
Story image
Women in Technology
Huawei webinar emphasises the importance of women in tech
Industry findings by Coursera discussed as part of a webinar jointly organised by Huawei and Reuters Events found 6% more women enrolled in tech courses this year than in 2021.
Story image
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Fastly acquires Glitch, enables faster developer innovation
"This acquisition brings together two of the worlds best ecosystems for application development into a single, seamless developer experience."
Story image
Digital Transformation
Pluralsight and Ingram Micro Cloud team up on cloud initiative
Pluralsight has teamed with Ingram Micro Cloud to build upon cloud competence and maturity internally, and externally support partners’ capabilities.
Story image
New Relic enters multi-year partnership with Microsoft Azure
New Relic has announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft to help enterprises accelerate cloud migration and multi-cloud initiatives. 
Story image
Alarming surge in Conti Ransomware Group activity - report
A new report has identified a 7.6 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities tied to ransomware in Q1 2022.
Story image
Vectra AI
Understanding the weight on security leader’s shoulders, and how to shift it
Millions of dollars of government funding and internal budgets are being funnelled into cybersecurity to build resilience against sophisticated threats, indicating how serious this issue has become.
Story image
Remote Working
Australia’s remote workers face connectivity and security issues
SOTI's new report finds better video conferencing technology and improved security measures are top concerns for remote workers in Australia.
Story image
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
RedShield leverages AWS to scale cybersecurity services
"Working with AWS gives RedShield the ability to mitigate significant application layer DDoS attacks, helping leaders adopt best practices and security architectures."
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Cradlepoint expands its Cellular Intelligence capabilities
Cradlepoint has announced additional Cellular Intelligence capabilities with its NetCloud service.
Story image
Trojan cyber attacks hitting SMBs harder than ever - Kaspersky
In 2022 the number of Trojan-PSW detections increased by almost a quarter compared to the same period in 2021 to reach 4,003,323.
Story image
The most common online scams in Australia
No one is safe from online scammers, and many of these scammers have capitalised on the pandemic, using this confusing time to attack more people than ever.
Story image
Equinix announces milestones on sustainability commitments
Equinix has released its 2021 Sustainability Report which outlines progress, innovation and accomplishments on key ESG commitments.
Story image
New Relic
New Relic launches vulnerability management platform
New Relic has introduced New Relic Vulnerability Management to help organisations find and address security risks faster and with greater precision.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
HINDSITE wins Aerospace Xelerated Pitch Challenge with solution to support Boeing
Brisbane-based startup HINDSITE was the winner of the first ever Pitch Challenge organised by Aerospace Xelerated in partnership with Queensland XR Hub. 
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Trading up: It's time to swap core systems for flexible digital applications
This year will see more oranisations planning and commencing high tech renovations that will shake up the way they operate.
Story image
Customer experience
Research unveils precarious customer loyalty for retailers
New research has found customers are reassessing established brand loyalties as their priorities and behaviours shift.
Story image
ChildFund launches new campaign to protect children online
ChildFund says WEB Safe & Wise aims to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse online while also empowering them to become digitally savvy. 
Story image
Digital Transformation
The Huawei APAC conference kicks off with digital transformation
More than 1500 people from across APAC have gathered for the Huawei APAC Digital Innovation Congress to explore the future of digital innovation.
Story image
Legrand unveils Nexpand, a data center cabinet platform
Legrand has unveiled a new data center cabinet platform, Nexpand, to offer the necessary scalability and future-proof architecture for digital transformation.
Story image
Infoblox's State of Security Report spotlights Australian remote work hazards
Attackers exploit weak WiFi, remote endpoints, and the cloud, costing 50% of organisations over $1.3 million in breach damages.
Story image
Digital Transformation
The impact of COVID-19 on healthcare environments and care delivery
The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionised the healthcare industry while overcoming staff shortages, social distancing requirements, and lockdowns.
Story image
New vulnerabilities found in Nuspire’s Q1 2022 Threat Report
“Threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics and these exploits tend to get industry attention, but the threat posed by older and attacks still persists."
Story image
Could your Excel practices be harming your business?
While Excel has been the de-facto standard for budgeting, planning, and forecasting, is it alone, enough to support organisations in the global marketplace that’s facing rapid changes due to digital transformation?
Story image
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
Revenue operations is taking centre stage
As the business world continues to evolve, new demands need to be met to keep up with the ever-changing landscape. 
Story image
Data and analytics could be key to higher selling prices in APAC
Sisense's latest report has found that almost half of data professionals in APAC think customised data and analytics can create better selling prices for their products.
Story image
Telstra enters into new RSP agreement with Opticomm
Telstra has entered into an RSP agreement with Opticomm (A Uniti Group Limited subsidiary) to provide network fibre services to customers.
Story image
Data backup plans inadequate, data still at risk - study
The Apricorn 2022 Global IT Security Survey revealed that while the majority organisations have data backup plans in place, data for many are at risk.
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Cloud Security
Aqua Security createa unified scanner for cloud native security
“By integrating more cloud native scanning targets into Trivy, such as Kubernetes, we are simplifying cloud native security."
Story image
Data Protection
Barracuda launches new capabilities for API Protection
"Every business needs this type of critical protection against API vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks," Barracuda says.