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

Where does NZ sit on the digital transformation journey?

By Shannon Williams
Tue 15 Mar 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Digital is no longer just about keeping the lights on and keeping the network running.

That’s the word of Jonathan Stern, regional vice president of Australia and New Zealand at MuleSoft, who says IT isn’t about delivering projects for the business; it needs to be an enabler to the business.

This is just one of the many big changes that every CIO has to accept in the new world of digital.

“Digital transformation is happening to every industry and right now the companies that are effectively managing digital transformation are winning in the market,” he says.

We sat down with Jonathan and picked his brain about the role of digital transformation within organisation, the challenges it brings, and how New Zealand stacks up in the new digital world.

What do you think has led to digital transformation being the hot topic in the IT industry right now?

Digital transformation matters because organisations, across a range of industries (commercial and government), are undergoing a fundamental change in the way they operate.

They are rethinking the way they meet their customers’ needs, engage with their customers and understand their customers.

We are moving through an era where almost everything will be digital. If everything is digital, from the way a motorist purchases car insurance to the way viewers consume a movie, then in the background there is an IT architecture of thousands of connections to deliver those experiences.

This is the crux of what about digital transformation that has caught IT’s attention.

To make these richer interactions with customers happen, companies need access to relevant, actionable data. This is the challenge for every organisation. They have these raw assets, that is: data collected over decades, ranging from product information to consumer buying behaviour.

The hard task every CIO is facing right now is how these raw data assets be leveraged and converted from what a seemingly maintenance nightmare today into a competitive advantage tomorrow.

Organisations are also increasingly adopting new technology (often digital technology), but responsibility for this extends beyond central IT into the rest of the business.

There is a mounting need for technology in every area of the business, whether it’s marketing, sales, finance, or customer service.

This is creating additional endpoints that need to be connected with all the rest of the data locked up in organisations for a full view of the business and customers. And, everyone in the organisation wants access to the data assets.

What is it about DX that makes it essential for businesses to remain competitive? Digital transformation enables businesses to get closer to their customers and understand them better. If they don’t, their competitors will. Customer demands have changed, and will continue to change, dramatically.

There are increasingly large numbers of customers and consumers who expect to engage via a digital channel of choice, most commonly mobile.

It isn’t just the flexibility of channel that’s important. It’s also the speed. It wasn’t that long ago that waiting for 20 minutes for a taxi, or allowing a day for a cheque to clear, was acceptable.  

To deliver customer expectations, businesses that are embracing digital transformation need to bridge the divide between systems of record at the back-end with systems of engagement, which extract information from customers and bring it to life as a rich and personal experience.

We see our customers embarking on transformation for three main outcomes: to change the customer experience, optimise internal processes and transform their business models. It’s becoming clear that being good at connecting different technologies together to enable these changes is critical.

What are the main challenges businesses are facing right now? What has lead to these challenges? As I’ve mentioned, consumer expectations have changed. Consumers want more data at their fingertips and at the right time. Employees, partners and direct customers want to work with their vendors through their smart phones.

This creates a new enterprise landscape that becomes highly fragmented. There are now thousands of new end points that you need to connect to. Everything from different apps that don’t live in your data center to developing APIs to create new digital channels and deliver better customer service through mobile interactions. Everything needs to connect.

In digital transformation, distribution channels and engagement channels are digital. The challenge or opportunity of this is that everything moves a lot faster. Digital products can be created in days if not weeks, new digital business units can be spun up in emerging markets within weeks, business processes can be more organic and change with the business.

To do this well, companies need to have a good strategy for connecting their digital assets to compose and recompose them as the needs of the business change.

How can they overcome these challenges? More and more, businesses large and small are recognising the important opportunities being created by establishing an open approach to data.

The best way to accomplish this is through APIs, which allow for the fluid exchange of information between internal systems and those belonging to third parties. When APIs can be more easily aggregated and delivered to developers on demand, the move to the new “connected enterprise” – an enterprise that lives outside its own four walls – can accelerate.

In a MuleSoft survey of IT professionals in Australia and New Zealand, the findings showed 87% of respondents have an API strategy in place. Almost half of respondents said that their API strategy is helping them to grow their business by creating new revenue streams. More than a third said their API strategy is supporting business growth by enabling them to plug into digital value chains for extended market reach.

Businesses can create new revenue opportunities by leveraging APIs to make the most of digital technologies.

To advance CRM capabilities, APIs enable the flow of information from crucial SaaS applications such as Salesforce to legacy systems and mobile applications.

There are so many vendors across the various touch points around the customer, from social and advertising to structured marketing, selling and service. We are seeing an emerging trend that these application vendors are competing on the simplicity and power of their API, which defines their ability to connect to as many other new technologies or vendors as possible, giving their customers maximum flexibility. 

APIs also play a significant role in Internet of Things initiatives by providing an interface to hub devices that connect sensors or devices.

All businesses will eventually deliver services through APIs, both to their external customers and partners and to their internal teams. This is creating a change in the way we think about how to manage a business. With an API-led approach, companies can say goodbye to conformity and make the digital transformation they need.

How important is innovation in today’s digital economy? It’s a matter of staying relevant or disappearing completely from the market.

Today’s consumers demand more from vendors, service providers and brands, expecting everything to be always on, always mobile, on demand and most of all – fast, in today’s digital economy. Customers are demanding new experiences, partners want greater access, and employees want greater convenience and to be able to access systems from wherever they are.

Business who choose not to take on digital transformation and innovate put themselves at a distinct disadvantage.

Having a connectivity platform strategy will enable the company to unlock the value of their data assets internally and externally through APIs, allowing business units and partners to build innovative products and applications. A good connectivity platform will also allow the company to adopt new technology quickly and integrate it into existing processes reducing friction on the workforce thus driving better stickiness.

How do NZ businesses stack up in regards to innovation? As innovation and digital transformation are key priorities for the Government to drive diversification of New Zealand’s economy, we’re seeing New Zealand businesses step up to the digital transformation challenge and proving real success in innovation.

A great example from our customer base is New Zealand Post. They are harnessing the digital forces that threaten to disrupt them.

The organisation developed an API strategy as a key enabler to its business, helping process digital impact on its traditional mail business while keeping pace with the rapid growth in parcel delivery through eCommerce.

Powering growth through APIs, the organisation realised the business value of API-led design. New Zealand Post recognised that APIs had a much more strategic role to play, bringing the organisation closer to its customers, as well as development communities.

With this transformation and innovation, New Zealand Post’s core competency isn’t just mailing things; it’s knowing where anything is at any time. This data can be packaged and monetised, creating additional revenue streams for the company.

Where does New Zealand sit on the digital transformation journey? With the New Zealand government focused on its ICT strategy and action plan to use technology to deliver better services, the country is setting the foundation for digital transformation to happen across industries.

According to the recent IDC New Zealand FutureScape: Top Ten Predictions 2016, 60% of New Zealand enterprises will have digital transformation at the centre of their corporate strategy by the end of 2017.

A challenge for New Zealand businesses will be balancing growth and structure with digital transformation, innovation and agility. Organisational culture needs to be able to nurture and embrace innovation, and re-enforce this regularly to keep everyone on track. There needs to be a strong leadership in place which allows people to push back on some day-to-day tasks in order to facilitate the longer term cultural change of the company. 

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
Zscaler, AWS accelerate onramp to the cloud with zero trust
Zscaler has announced an extension to its relationship with Amazon Web Services, as well as innovations built on Zscaler's Zero Trust architecture.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Aqua Security, CIS create software supply chain security guide
Aqua Securityand the Center for Internet Security have together released the industry’s first formal guidelines for software supply chain security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Threat actors ramp up their social engineering attacks
As people get better at identifying potential threats in their inbox, threat actors must evolve their methods. Their new M.O? Social engineering.
Story image
Commerce Commission
ComCom puts electronics sector on notice over resale price maintenance
The Commerce Commission has concluded an investigation into allegations that television manufacturers were engaging in illegal resale price maintenance.
Story image
Secure access service edge / SASE
Cloudflare adds new capabilities to zero trust SASE platform
New features for Cloudflare One include email security protection, data loss prevention tools, cloud access security broker, and private network discovery.
Story image
Infrastructure
Lenovo announces launch of Retail Solutions portfolio in A/NZ
Lenovo has announced the launch of its Lenovo Retail Solutions portfolio across the A/NZ region, which they say will help retailers transform their business and face future retail demands.
Story image
Ransomware
Rapid7 report examines use of double extortion ransomware attacks
New insight into how attackers think when carrying out cyber attacks, along with further analysis of the disclosure layer of double extortion ransomware attacks, has come to light.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Boomi, Limepay, Thales, VMware & Zoom
We round up all job appointments from June 6-16, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
API
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Greater API usage raises concerns for protection - report
Radware has released its 2022 State of API Security report, which shows a rise in APIs, with 92% of the organisations surveyed significantly or somewhat increasing their usage.
Story image
Open source
DataStax secures US$115 million to fund database expansion
DataStax has secured US$115 million in funding, which it will use to develop and expand its Astra DB multi-cloud database and Astra Streaming service globally.
Story image
SaaS
Sealord partners with Infor to improve sustainability
Sealord has chosen Infor as a strategic partner to implement an operational cloud-based platform that provides day-one functionality and sustainability gains.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Cybersecurity priorities for digital leaders navigating digital transformation
In recent years, Asia-Pacific has especially been a hotspot for cyberattacks, and as we continue into 2022, it’s evident that the problem is becoming more significant.
Story image
Hybrid workforce
Why hybrid working is here to stay and how to ace it
Citrix's new report reveals hybrid workers are more productive and engaged at work than their office and completely remote counterparts.
Story image
CRM
Microsoft launches app for modern selling experience
The new release is designed to enhance CRM systems with customer engagement data from Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams.
Story image
PagerDuty
Ready for anything with the PagerDuty Operations Cloud
In a world of digital everything, teams face increasing complexity. Ever-growing dependencies across systems and processes put customer and employee experience, not to mention revenue, at risk.
Story image
Disaster Recovery
Eaton provides business continuity with disaster avoidance application
Many SMBs often struggle with problems relating to UPS and IT assets due to the sheer amount of time and resources required to run effectively. 
Story image
Training
Employers look to hire inexperienced coders due to skills shortage
"Even inexperienced workers without prior qualifications or experience had managed to pivot to new roles in coding as long as they are willing to upskill."
Story image
Government
Cyclone selected as NZ MOE software licensing partner
Following a recent Request for Proposal (RFP), Christchurch-based company Cyclone Computer Company Ltd (Cyclone) has been selected as The Ministry of Education’s software licensing partner.
Story image
N4L
N4L, Spark, Chorus partner for Hyperfibre school upgrade
Networks for Learning (N4L) has partnered with Spark and Chorus to upgrade Wellington College to Hyperfibre, fostering stronger outcomes for students and teachers.
Story image
Testing
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Tricentis
Tricentis provides software testing automation, and software quality assurance products for enterprise software.
Story image
Collaboration
IT and security team collaboration crucial to data security
Many IT and security decision makers are not collaborating as effectively as possible to address growing cyber threats.
Story image
Microsoft
Volpara, Microsoft project to detect cardiovascular issues
Volpara Health Technologies is working with Microsoft on a research and development project to speed up creating a product that detects and quantifies breast arterial calcifications (BACs).
Story image
Cybersecurity
Why is NZ lagging behind the world in cybersecurity?
A recent report by TUANZ has revealed that we are ranked 56th in the world when it comes to cybersecurity - a look into why we're so behind and what needs to be done.
Story image
DNS
DigiCert acquires DNS Made Easy and affiliated brands
Greg Clark comments, says, "This combination enhances the security of certificate validation and enables the automation of future validations."
Story image
INTERPOL
Hundreds arrested, millions seized in global INTERPOL investigation
A two-month-long investigation by INTERPOL this year involved 76 countries and clamped down on organised crime groups behind telecommunications and social engineering scams.
Story image
F5 Networks
Telstra, F5 team up to bolster services and solutions
“This partnership demonstrates our ongoing investment into APAC as we continue delivering high value services and solutions to our partners and customers."
Story image
Healthcare
Workday winning on culture and family focus
This family-first approach sees all employees receive access to family-wide private healthcare cover, as well as income protection and life insurance policies.
Story image
B2B
Corpay partners with supply chain platform PracBiz Exchange
Corpay's new partnership with PracBiz’s allows more than 4000 B2B suppliers on the latter's platform to use Corpay's global payments services.
Story image
Electricity
Canstar finds Flick Electric NZ’s favourite provider
Canstar’s annual research to find New Zealand’s favourite electricity provider reveals Flick Electric has come out on top.
Story image
eInvoicing
Airwallex, Xero extend partnership with easier invoice payments
Airwallex has extended its long-term partnership with Xero by releasing a new payment link integration for Xero invoices that will make receiving them easier and faster for Australian businesses.
Story image
Network Security
Netskope announces zero trust network access updates
Customers can now apply zero trust principles across a range of hybrid work security needs, including SaaS, IaaS, private applications, and endpoint devices.
Story image
SaaS
Varonis strengthens security capabilities for AWS and S3
Varonis has strengthened and expanded its cloud and security capabilities, with a critical aim of improving safety and boosting data visibility in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3).
Story image
Manufacturing
Sternum joins NXP, collaborates on IoT security and observability
Sternum has announced it has joined the software partner community of NXP Semiconductors, a manufacturer of and large marketplace for embedded controllers.
Story image
10 Minute IT Jams
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Rimini Street
Today we welcome back Daniel Benad, who is the GVP & regional GM for Oceania at Rimini Street.
Story image
Entelar
How TruSens air purifiers can create healthier workspaces
The pandemic has heightened our awareness of our own and others’ health, and made us all much more conscious of the environments we work in.
Story image
trust
Consumers want personalisation, but don't trust brands with their data
Customers expect personalisation during every brand interaction but they don't trust brands to keep their personal data secure and to use it responsibly. 
Story image
Robotic Process Automation / RPA
rapidMATION helps Coates achieve success with landmark RPA solution
A strong Robotic Process Automation solution (RPA) can help solve many complex issues that businesses face daily. 
Story image
Apple
Jamf updates healthcare IT to protect data on Apple devices
Jamf has rolled out new functionality to help healthcare and IT teams protect patient data and streamline clinical access for their Apple fleet.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Salesforce harnesses automated solutions with new developments
Salesforce has launched Sales Cloud Unlimited, a new feature to help accelerate productivity with AI and automation.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Apptio adds portfolio enhancements to promote digital strategy
"While digitalisation creates opportunities, it also makes budgeting far more complex, leading many companies to waste substantial funds."
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
Citrix
The best ways to attract young talent during labour shortages
New research from Citrix reveals hybrid working and ventures into the metaverse are top of mind for Gen Z workers.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Significant security concerns resulting from open source software ubiquity
"The risk is real, and the industry must work closely together in order to move away from poor open source or software supply chain security practices."