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Thursday, 18 August 2022 11:18

Companies migrating to cloud need a trusted service provider

By Luke McLean, senior director Australia, Xtremax

GUEST OPINION: In this exclusive iTWire Q&A, Xtremax senior director Luke McLean gives readers an overview of Xtremax, reveals insights on market trends and how Australian organisations have adopted cloud-based services, and offers a smart advice for companies that are considering migrating to cloud.

1. Please give us an overview on Xtremax – company history, what solutions do you provide?

Xtremax is a leading cloud technology service provider, founded and headquartered in Singapore. We started in 2003 and since then, our company has grown to a team of over 600 employees across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia. We are one of the few cloud players in Asia with unique experience in multi-agency cloud platforms, managing more than 70 government agencies and launching over 700 applications on a single platform. Today, our suite of services has expanded to comprise five core solutions — cloud-managed services, app modernisation, data/ML, digital workspace, digital consultancy (UI/UX design), and four SaaS products — Cloud Primus (a CMP for multi-cloud environments), Nimbus Stream (cloud cost monitoring and optimisation), Nimvio (headless CMS) and SentryPage (our award-winning web defacement monitoring tool).

2. What is your market model like here – are you active in the channel or do you sell direct to customers?

Xtremax predominantly leverages a direct client engagement model, to ensure we comprehensively capture our clients’ unique business requirements and plans and understand their unique business landscape. We also collaborate and engage jointly with our vendor partners (AWS, Microsoft, Google for example), particularly around emerging vendor products and technologies.

Xtremax takes a vendor agnostic approach and leverages appropriate developed frameworks (such as our Cloud Maturity Model) to simplify the complexities for our clients.

3. What are you seeing in the market at present – where is the greatest demand for your services?

Globally, we are seeing an accelerated push for digitalisation and in particular, Asia Pacific is experiencing exponential growth in cloud adoption. There is a strong demand for cloud in the finance and healthcare sectors, across enterprises and SMEs alike. We are also seeing an increased need for enhanced cybersecurity within hybrid cloud infrastructures.

The pandemic forced businesses to operate remotely, and this has led to a disorderly transition to the cloud, where many new adopters overlooked cloud security, especially for companies moving out of legacy environments. According to a report jointly published by Marsh and Microsoft, more than 60% of companies in Asia experienced cyberattacks, citing privacy breaches as the top concern. With that in mind, many companies are demanding a “zero-trust” approach, particularly in cybersecurity within the financial services, healthcare, and public sectors where we see the greatest demand for our services. We help our clients put frameworks in place to help manage security, compliance, governance and costs, as they navigate the different phases of their cloud adoption journey.

4. Have business conditions settled down post-pandemic or is there still something of an evolution at play?

Businesses have evolved rapidly during the pandemic – according to Australia’s Digital Economy, 90% of Australian companies adopted new technology to support business continuity and a third expanded their online presence in the first three weeks of the pandemic. In many cases, these changes involved adding new online, customer-facing services such as websites and portals for better interaction. While the rate of change and transformation may have slowed slightly, many companies are seeking to continue the momentum they built to continue to evolve to meet changing customer needs.

5. I imagine there was a lot of restructuring in organisations, with digital workplaces becoming standard – has this shift now become widely accepted, and how have companies – and people – adapted?

Yes, the adoption of remote workplaces was rapid and seems to be here to stay – at least to some extent. In one case, a large organisation in the insurance space managed to equip 60,000 employees for remote work within the space of two weeks. There have been many reports and research into this matter, and all seem to indicate that most Australians are keen to maintain at least some element of remote work, moving forward. Therefore, the ‘hybrid’ workplace seems destined to be a permanent fixture. This means that companies need to provide a seamless experience for employees regardless of where they are based – services between the home and office need to work just as well for employees wherever they happen to be. Applications need to be available; all content needs to be delivered instantaneously and security measures need to be of the same standard.

6. Is it fair to say that Australian organisations have adopted cloud-based services relatively fast? Is there still a way to go in terms of cloud maturity here or are most organisations a fair way down the line?

We see both ends of the spectrum, with innovators and early adopters, as well as laggards. While there is a strong acceptance in Australia that the cloud is a great way of streamlining a business, and can have rapid benefits, there are many companies which may be reluctant to make the transition – for a variety of reasons. For some, on-premises software systems may still be working well for the organisation, or there might be a whole lot of legacy data tied up in older systems that are putting people off the idea.

However, it is fair to say that companies in Australia have embraced change more readily than in many other parts of the world, and that has led to the broad acceptance of cloud-based services and applications. The shift to post-pandemic business conditions – again, with remote work at the centre of that change – is going to drive more companies to the cloud, as they realise the flexibility of having applications and storage available wherever they might be needed.

7. What plans does Xtremax have for the Australian region?

Given Australia’s market size relative to our Singapore operations, Xtremax views Australia as the next step to further expanding our business. We are excited to assist Australian businesses in their cloud maturity journey, leveraging our extensive intellectual property and expertise. The launch of our two offices in Australia, along with our strong record in developing and managing large complex cloud infrastructure and application projects in Southeast Asia, makes us well-positioned to help address the gaps in the Australian market.

We are also looking to launch our Cloud Primus and Nimbus Stream products in Australia, which will help our clients with multi-vendor cloud management and cloud spend optimisation and monitoring. Over time, we expect to build out the Australian business from our initial presence in both NSW and VIC.

8. In conclusion, what words of wisdom can you share with companies who might be considering a move to the cloud, or the digitisation of their workplace. What might give them the best possible platform for success?

The cloud journey is a complex one. Companies have a multitude of factors to consider, including their business needs, cloud maturity levels, cost, security, and compliance — just to name a few. Companies need a technology partner who can help them cut through the complexity to focus on their end goals; one that has the technical knowledge and expertise, a deep understanding of customers’ needs at the different phases of cloud maturity, and the drive to constantly innovate and push the boundaries of cloud technology.

Deriving maximum business value from the cloud is not a one-off endeavour, but instead an ongoing effort that requires regular evaluation and continuous optimisation. For companies on the digitalisation or cloud migration journey, having a trusted service provider at your side will be crucial to alleviating cloud pitfalls, and for you to reap the full benefits of cloud migration.

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