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Balancing Technology-Led Innovation and Business Risk

It's Time To Get Practical

· TRA Blog

Welcome to my first ever TRA blog. After a few weeks of settling in, I figured it’s well past time to get stuck into it. What better way than by gauging the pulse of local technology decision makers. How? By attending the recent Red Hat Summit: Connect 2023 event at the Royal Randwick Racecourse (which is a very cool event venue by the way).

Enzo Compagnoni, Red Hat’s Regional VP & GM for Australia and New Zealand, kicked things off. Not surprisingly, he mainly focused on how organizations can better align IT and business operations to successfully meet business objectives.

But the bigger issue Enzo (and other speakers) touched on was how tech decision-makers can effectively balance budgetary pressures against the never-ending drive for technology-enabled business innovation, reflected in firms’ ongoing investments in areas like cloud, data and analytics, and emerging technology (including AI).

IT organizations are used to being under steady (some might say relentless) pressure to evolve from being a business enabler to a critical driver of sustainable growth and innovation. But just because the pressure isn’t new, that doesn’t mean tech decision-makers can ignore current business reality. A recent TRA study, commissioned by Red Hat, clearly illustrates how economic uncertainty has driven ANZ firms to focus on margins (specifically profitability and operational excellence), as the key driver of business growth.


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Embrace a practical approach to incremental value delivery

Business growth through geographic expansion, new products and services, and customer acquisition are all still critical, of course, but in the current economic climate, ensuring ongoing profit margins is the priority for most firms. So what does this mean for the IT function? Red Hat customers ANZ Bank and Southern Cross Health Society provided the answers.

Peter Tsatsaronis, Product Area Lead, Digital Channels - Institutional Technology at ANZ, highlighted his teams primary focus when it comes to digital initiatives; breaking down the bank’s monolithic applications into more modular services using APIs and a micro-services architecture. Peter identified several key benefits his team has delivered:

• Improved customer experience (CX) by reducing incidents overall and improving availability of services to customers, so that even if parts of a system are down, customers can still access other services that aren’t affected, something that simply wasn’t possible in their traditionally monolithic systems.

• Improved employee experience (EX) by enabling and empowering developers and development teams to work on multiple services in parallel, keeping these teams fully engaged and able to deliver incremental improvements – and value.

Sam Koo, Head of Platforms at Southern Cross Health Society, a NZ-based not-for-profit healthcare provider, echoed Peter’s points. In Sam’s case, digital transformation is all about breaking up monolithic systems while retaining the business benefits provided by the still highly functioning back-end systems. For Sam, embracing micro-services and automation has also delivered multiple benefits:

• Empowered developers and enabled incremental value delivery to the business.

• Enabled a culture of continuous learning, not only for developers but business staff as well, by allowing different groups to take more risks and iterate more quickly.

So back to my title… delivering value is (and in reality has always been), a balancing act. As Peter from ANZ and Sam from Southern Cross both made clear, the key is to ensure all your tech investments are made with a clear eye on business value. APIs and micro-services mean little or nothing to business decision-makers. But in the current economic climate, the benefits they provide – increased efficiency, incremental value delivery, and improved customer and employee experience – means everything.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and continue this discussion. You can reach me at