Interview: Lee Thompson, Nutanix


Tuesday, 08 December, 2020

Interview: Lee Thompson, Nutanix

In our annual Leaders in Technology series, we ask the experts what the year ahead holds. Today we talk cloud and change with Nutanix’s Lee Thompson.

How have Australian workplaces coped with COVID? Will things go back to normal?

Australia was ahead of the curve when the pandemic forced large swathes of the population to work from home almost overnight. In our recent Enterprise Cloud Index (ECI) report, we surveyed thousands of IT technology leaders from across the globe and found Australian organisations were better prepared than most. Consider this: a year before the pandemic, only 8% of Australian organisations had no employees regularly working from home compared to the global average of 27%.

Looking toward 2021 and beyond, it is clear that working from home is here to stay. While there will be some workers returning to the office, regular remote work will be a prominent feature of the new normal. In fact, our ECI report found only 1% of local organisations expected they would cease offering regular working-from-home arrangements next year.

Which new technologies will reach critical mass in 2021?

One side-effect of COVID-19 was a rapid acceleration in cloud investment. Our 2020 ECI report found that as a direct result of the pandemic, 54% of Australian organisations increased their investment in public cloud, 41% increased hybrid cloud investment and 36% invested in additional private cloud capabilities. As a result, 38% of Australian organisations will be using two or more public clouds — in addition to their private cloud or on-premises infrastructure — in 2021.

After the dust settles on 2020, IT leaders will need to gain control over these complex environments and seek technologies that allow them to manage applications and infrastructure in private and multiple public clouds as a single cloud from a single management plane. Operating these disparate environments as a unified multi-cloud architecture will enable seamless application mobility and unlock flexibility, simplicity and cost efficiencies.

How will IT improve operational efficiency in 2021, and who should lead the charge?

Another finding from our ECI report was that the pandemic had raised the profile of IT within organisations across the country. More than three-quarters of Australian respondents said COVID-19 had caused IT to be viewed more strategically. CIOs must leverage this new-found respect and buy-in from senior decision makers to continue to drive change into 2021 and beyond.

With the critical role IT teams across the nation played in ensuring their organisations could continue operating throughout one of the most turbulent years in living memory, CIOs have more influence than ever and should use this clout to drive additional transformation initiatives.

What’s on your wish list from government, industry and innovators?

I hope that the importance placed on digital infrastructure is not just a short-term love affair. While there has been recognition from the highest levels of government of the critical role digital transformation and digital technologies will play in our nation’s post-pandemic recovery, this embrace of next-generation technologies should guide our thinking for decades to come.

Rather than see 2020 as a lost year, we should consider it a watershed, a clean slate to seize the opportunity and reject a ‘business as usual’ resumption of the economy. Instead, Australia must develop a long-term, data-led, digital economy for the future.

Lee Thompson is Managing Director, ANZ, at cloud and hyperconverged infrastructure leader Nutanix. With more than 20 years of sales leadership, and over a decade of cloud computing experience, Thompson intimately understands the challenges facing modern businesses. He has held leadership positions in high-tech companies including Oracle/NetSuite, Salesforce and TechnologyOne.

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