F5 reveals trade-offs of accelerating digital transformation in ANZ

Jason Baden, Regional Vice President, ANZ for F5 Networks

F5 has announced the findings of its 2022 State of Application Strategy Report. Now in its eighth iteration, this year’s report shows the challenges ANZ firms face as they transform IT infrastructures to deliver and secure digital services now inseparable from people’s daily lives, such as performing job functions or consulting a doctor as telehealth becomes permanent.

Why is digital transformation becoming the norm?

With highly distributed architectures and a broader threat landscape resulting from an ongoing digitisation of previously physical experiences, organisations are turning to a variety of solutions to help manage complexity and address widening IT skills gaps, a key issue as Australia and New Zealand strive to train or retrain 7.5 million workers by 2025.

However, survey results indicate pitfalls ahead that, if ignored, will inhibit progress toward making business more responsive and agile and the region’s position as a digital leader.

“Organisations across ANZ are facing the challenges of delivering distributed modern digital services given the dramatic uptake in digital transformation in the last two years. IT and business objectives are converging to elevate technology from a supporting role to a driving role,” said Jason Baden, Regional Vice President, Australia and New Zealand for F5 Networks.

“We’ve seen a dramatic acceleration of firms moving into the cloud – single, multi-cloud, and hybrid cloud. As firms’ portfolios grow larger and more distributed, they require consistent security, end-to-end visibility, and greater automation in app deployments to battle increasing complexity, streamline operations, and respond to threats while adding value for customers.”

ANZ respondents rank determining cost efficiency across different environments as the top challenge for those deploying applications in multiple clouds, followed by consistent security.

90% of firms across all industries plan to implement AI to surface valuable insights. Effective AI requires better data transparency, integration, and governance than is currently available.

Similarly, the survey identifies site reliability engineering (SRE) as a key piece of the puzzle, with 90% of ANZ respondents pursuing SRE approaches for their applications and systems, but enterprise architecture must evolve in parallel to support distributed, application-centric models and further advance organisations’ digital transformation efforts.

What were the key insights of F5’s report?

The top findings of 2022 State of Application Strategy Report include:

Developments in WAAP and 5G excite Australia and New Zealand

Respondents in Australia and New Zealand rate Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) and 5G as the two most exciting development trends over the next few years.

More than 50% of respondents ranked WAAP as the front-runner. As applications and APIs continue to proliferate – along with the threats to each – identity-based security is quickly becoming as important as more traditional approaches to threat defences, while the continuing push for greater performance makes 5G a close number two.

The value of customer experience

When asked to rank the primary business outcomes they want to achieve using edge computing, A/NZ respondents listed customer experience (CX) as number one.

Edge deployments are gaining popularity and can improve application performance and the CX, but can also increase the efficiency of security and delivery tech that support applications.

Complexity is becoming untenable

With most using cloud-based as-a-service offerings and 97% planning moves to the edge, associated challenges range from overlapping security policies and fragmented data to the deployment of point solutions that add complexity, increase fragility, or inhibit performance.

Broader distribution throughout the infrastructure means app security and delivery services are no longer tethered to the deployment model or location of the applications they serve, which allows businesses flexibility but impacts consistency and can degrade the UX.

Security is evolving to risk management on a global scale

Even as complexity has increased the number of potential failure points, performance remains paramount, with over half (52%) of Australia and New Zealand respondents admitting that—given a choice—they’d turn off security measures to improve performance.

Managing a spectrum of risks with real-world objectives demonstrates businesses are taking a modified approach to risk management, contributing to identity-based security surpassing traditional app security and delivery technologies in terms of prevalence.

Repatriation is on the rise

Today’s organisations manage everything from a growing collection of container-native and mobile applications to legacy monoliths that are fundamental to business operations.

Significantly, the vast majority of A/NZ organisations (85%) are currently repatriating applications—moving them back to an on-premises data centre environment from the cloud—or planning to in the next 12 months. This is higher than the global average (67%).

What conclusions can we draw from F5’s report?

Taken together, the research survey results indicate that Australia and New Zealand IT decision makers are still coming to grips with limitations tied to modernisation, business imperatives, and deployment methods as they reap the benefits of digital transformation.

Firms face a continuous balancing act between controls, costs, customer and employee experiences, and an extended set of application and API protections, resulting in heightened interest in sophisticated behavioural analysis and AI-based solutions that can better assess context to deliver the security, performance, and insights required for adaptive applications.

To satisfy growing demand in Australia and New Zealand, F5 expanded its global footprint in 2019 by deploying a regional point of presence (PoP) in Sydney, and over the past several years, F5 has transformed its business and expanded its software and cloud offerings to deliver a broad portfolio of solutions to help customers address complexity and risk.

F5’s 2022 State of Application Strategy Report represents nearly 1,500 IT decision-makers worldwide, including ANZ, from a breadth of industries, firm sizes, and professional roles.

The 2022 State of Application Strategy Report focused on respondents’ priorities, challenges, and expectations to form a compelling perspective of how organisations are evolving application strategies to better serve customers’ current and anticipated needs.

Here is the full F5 2022 State of Application Strategy Report.