Home Digital Transformation SolarWinds CEO on navigating APAC’s digitalisation maze

SolarWinds CEO on navigating APAC’s digitalisation maze

Sudhakar Ramakrishna, President and Chief Executive Officer, SolarWinds. Image courtesy of SolarWinds.

The road to effective digital transformation is fraught with complexities. While organisations strive to adapt to these challenges, the strategies that work in one region may not necessarily be effective in another, particularly in the diverse landscape of the Asia-Pacific.

SolarWinds, a company specialising in IT management software, focuses on such complexities. Emphasising on end-to-end observability, it seeks to equip enterprises in the region with the tools they need to digitalise successfully.

In this exclusive interview, Frontier Enterprise sits down with Sudhakar Ramakrishna, President and CEO of SolarWinds, to explore the intricacies of digitalisation in APAC. Ramakrishna discusses effective digital transformation strategies in APAC’s public sector and financial services industry, the ongoing shift to hybrid and multi-cloud environments, the emerging trends shaping the technology ecosystem in the region, and more.

What are the most effective digital transformation strategies you’ve seen in APAC’s public sector and financial services industry? How do these strategies differ from those used in other regions?

Defining the “most effective” digital transformation strategy is difficult because every organisation has its own unique advantages, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as different issues to resolve and goals to achieve. What works well for one organisation may not work at all for another.

A common challenge for organisations embarking on a digital transformation journey is the increasingly complex IT environment. This complexity arises from an overwhelming number of networks, servers, and applications. Thus, any effective digital transformation strategy should first aim for comprehensive, end-to-end visibility of the IT environment. This allows the organisation to identify and address issues before they escalate into full-blown outages.

In the public sector, government agencies manage a wide array of applications and infrastructure across complex, multi-cloud environments. They also need to respond to public emergencies swiftly, meaning any delay in identifying IT issues could have significant real-world ramifications for the services provided by the government.

In industries like financial services, companies are increasingly processing vast amounts of data daily across various databases. This creates new challenges in ensuring databases are working efficiently.

A noteworthy trend in both the public sector and financial services in the APAC region is the customer-centric approach to digital transformation. This is driven by the region’s high smartphone penetration rate and the growing presence of digital natives. As a result, both sectors are transitioning to digital and mobile platforms, exemplified by the emergence of government super apps for functions like tax payments and the rise of fintech platforms. The latter is particularly prevalent in Southeast Asia, where fintech platforms are crucial for financial inclusion of the unbanked and underbanked population. Effective digital transformation strategies in this region, therefore, must prioritise the end-user experience to make sure it remains seamless and user-friendly.

What are the main challenges that you see for enterprises in APAC with the ongoing shift to hybrid and multi-cloud environments? How are they overcoming these challenges?

The increased complexity associated with hybrid and multi-cloud environments typically necessitates additional time and expenses to ensure successful implementation and management. This complexity spans various technological areas, including networking, automation, data services, recoverability, and security. Furthermore, the prevalence of multi-cloud approaches may result in increased costs due to the need to retain individuals with specific knowledge about each cloud provider.

The challenge is not solely technical; it’s also human in nature. Often, IT staff may lack the necessary skills to facilitate their organisation’s transition to a multi-cloud setting. A recent Forrester survey found that 36% of APAC cloud decision-makers lacked the in-house skills or service providers to meet their multi-cloud deployment objectives. This figure stood at 32% for multi-cloud migration.

Rather than implementing a plethora of solutions that contribute to complexity and tool sprawl, organisations should be selective about the multi-management tools they employ. These tools should offer a holistic overview of their end-to-end systems and possess the ability to derive actionable performance insights, enabling proactive troubleshooting within IT environments.

How are companies in APAC adapting to the trend of full stack observability? What difficulties are unique to this region?

While there’s a clear appetite among organisations to adopt full-stack observability, its implementation is still in its infancy. The recurring challenge of complexity arises, as the rapid pace of technological change outpaces the rate at which tech teams can adapt. Likewise, a skills gap within IT teams hinders organisations’ efforts to adopt observability. Our latest IT Trends Report indicates that 51% of surveyed companies reported poor retention of IT observability staff due to burnout.

What emerging trends are shaping APAC’s technology ecosystem in areas such as network, applications, systems, and database management? How does APAC’s unique landscape influence these developments?

One trend to watch is the adoption of edge computing. While many modern enterprises are accelerating their cloud migration, this has led to latency issues in data transmission. Edge computing provides a solution by allowing data to be processed closer to where it’s needed, rather than sending it back to a central server in the cloud—reducing latency and lowering bandwidth usage. In this region, where diverse geographies and markets coexist, businesses are leveraging edge computing to reduce latency and improve the performance of applications and services. This trend is particularly relevant for industries like healthcare, where real-time data processing at the edge is critical.

Another noteworthy trend is the growing prominence of AI in IT management. As AI technology continues to advance, particularly in areas like generative AI (such as ChatGPT), enterprises are actively exploring ways to incorporate AI capabilities into their IT operations. AIOps stands out for its potential to streamline root cause analysis through automated log and metric analysis. AI is increasingly playing a significant role in addressing issues within IT environments as they arise.While the adoption of AIOps in APAC is still in its early stages, there’s growing interest among enterprises to integrate AI into their IT operations.

What’s one topic or area in enterprise technology that is often overlooked but deserves more attention, particularly within the context of the APAC region?

One area that is often overlooked, particularly in APAC, is the localisation and cultural adaptation of technology. Given the region’s diverse and multilingual nature, enterprise technology solutions must be tailored accordingly to meet these unique conditions. They should possess a high level of adaptability and flexibility to address the requirements of various stakeholders and the diverse needs of customers.