Australia picking up pace with digital transformation: Veeam

The co-CEO of Switzerland-based Veeam Software has told organisations if they're not paranoid their business is going to be disrupted, they will soon find themselves in trouble.

According to Peter McKay, co-CEO and president of backup, disaster recovery, and virtualisation management firm Veeam, companies have seen enough examples of how digital disruption can dramatically change businesses, and if an organisation hasn't yet taken the necessity for digital transformation seriously, they're going to find themselves in trouble.

"There isn't a company in the technology sector that isn't changing; the cloud is opening up either phenomenal opportunity, or disastrous for your business if you don't take advantage of it," he said, speaking with ZDNet while in Australia for the VeeamON forum in Sydney.

Over the last few years, Veeam has helped large enterprises such as Gatwick Airport, German port operator Niedersachsen Ports GmbH & Co. KG, vehicle manufacturer Scania, engineering firm Soletanche Freyssinet Group, and betting website William Hill through their respective digital transformations, in particular ensuring infrastructure and services to stay "always-on".

"Look at Amazon, which is changing everybody's view of the world. That saying, 'only the paranoid survive' -- if you're not paranoid that your business is going to be disrupted, then you're in trouble," McKay explained.

"If you're not moving and changing the way your business is evolving ... your users, your customers are changing, whether you know it or not, they're changing."

Amazon announced earlier this month that it's opening its first Australian fulfilment centre in Dandenong South, Victoria, and McKay hopes Australian organisations have prepared for the disruption the retail giant brought to the US many years ago.

In the US, McKay said organisations are "well down the path" of digital transformation, as a result of new players such as Amazon "killing as many companies as they can possibly kill along the way". He said CIOs and CEOs recognised they had to change.

In Australia, however, McKay said organisations are moving comparatively slower to their US counterparts.

"You're starting to see more and more happen [in Australia], and the conversations with CIOs that I've had, they're moving down a path of evolving their business," he explained.

"It's not just, 'Hey I'm going to spend 50 percent more in my IT spend to make this transition', they're looking at how do they leverage some of this legacy datacentre spend and evolve that spend into new channels and new opportunities such as automation.

"We're seeing a reshuffling of spend and investments that they're making to get to that digital transformation."

McKay said with some industries and geographies moving fast and others really slow, it may take an organisation getting severely impacted before the need to transform is taken seriously.

With "millennials" entering the workforce and increasingly having buying power behind them, McKay said organisations need to be aware that this generation has only used technology.

"That's the next round of buyers that are coming up in the market. If companies don't think that's going to have an impact on their business, they're not doing a very good job for their shareholders because it's happening," he said. "You've got to constantly evolve and stay relevant."

McKay said disruption should be a constant concern, conceding that vendors have been repeating that phrase ad nauseam. He noted that it is going to come from a place least expected.

Veeam made the move into the enterprise space a few years ago, and needed to move faster as a result, McKay said.

"We can't sit still while all of our customers are changing around us -- we have to change too, and we have to change faster.

"We talk about digital transformation and the impact that we have in helping companies transform -- we're no different."

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