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State of Application Services: Opportunities for A/NZ organisations to scale and accelerate digital transformation

Organisations across New Zealand and Australia are starting to realise the benefits of increased scale and velocity of application deployment in their businesses.

This value, however, can bring significant complexity as organisations maintain legacy infrastructure while increasingly relying on multiple public and private clouds, implement modern application architectures and face an evolving and sophisticated threat landscape.

According to F5 Networks' 2020 State of Application Services: Asia Pacific Edition report, organisations are adopting more application services designed to accelerate deployment in public cloud and container-native environments, like service mesh and ingress control.

The survey data indicates this trend will accelerate as organisations become proficient in harnessing the data their application ecosystem delivers—creating advanced analytics capabilities and better business outcomes. Yet, most organisations are still struggling to implement a robust security framework for its applications, focusing on speed to market over security.

“Applications are the most valuable asset driving Australian and New Zealand economies today. Businesses are innovating at speed to deliver secure and frictionless digital experiences that are differentiated and personalised—yet these organisations are lacking the right resources to do so,” explains Jason Baden, vice president, Australia and New Zealand, at F5. 

“This year’s report shows that application services have become an increasingly critical component at each stage of the application lifecycle. From the code that makes up the business logic of an application to the experience on an end user’s device, application services ensure businesses can build, deploy, and manage applications across environments securely and at scale, and businesses need to find a trusted technology partner to support their vision," he says.

The survey shows that as companies manage legacy, multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud and modern architectures to deliver applications, their requirements for app services are also evolving. 

To address limited skill sets and integration challenges, organisations are choosing open ecosystems that offer standardisation. Respondents to the survey say they prefer application services that are both secure and easy to use.

The overall key findings for the Asia Pacific region shows that the region is on par with its global counterparts in digital transformation, but a deep dive into market findings highlighted nuances across organisations in the region.

Survey respondents from markets, such as Australia, New Zealand, ASEAN and India, reported initiating numerous digital transformation projects, which included incorporating emerging technologies in their operations. However, responses shared also highlighted that organisations in these markets are facing the challenge of business application sprawl.

The report offers an in-depth examination of five key findings:

  • Eighty two percent of organisations in Asia Pacific (global: 80%) are executing on digital transformation, with increasing emphasis on accelerating speed to market.

As organisations progress through digital transformation initiatives, IT and business process optimisation initiatives mature. Many organisations have moved beyond the basics of business process automation and are now scaling their digital footprint with cloud, containers, and orchestration. This in turn, is driving the creation of new ecosystems and massive growth in API call volumes. For 60% of Asia Pacific organisations applications are essential to the business; with 38% stating that applications support their business and provide competitive advantage.

  • Eighty six percent of organisations in Asia Pacific (global: 87%) are multi-cloud and most still struggle with security.

Organisations are leveraging the public cloud to participate in industry ecosystems, take advantage of cloud-native architectures and deliver applications at the speed of the business—evidenced by 36% of organisations in Australia and New Zealand who reported that they will have more than 50 percent of their applications in the cloud by the end of 2020 (global: 26%).

However, organisations are much less confident in their ability to withstand an application-layer attack in the public cloud versus an on-premises data centre. Across Asia Pacific, 76% of organisations reported the highest skills gap in security. This discrepancy illustrates a growing need for easy-to-deploy solutions that can ensure consistent security across multiple environments.

  • Seventy one percent of organisations in Asia Pacific (global: 73%) are automating the network to boost efficiency.

Unsurprisingly, given the primary drivers of digital transformation—IT and business process optimisation—the majority of organisations are automating the network. Despite challenges, organisations are gaining proficiency and moving toward continuous deployment with more consistent automation across all key pipeline components: app infrastructure, app services, network and security.

  • Sixty eight percent of organisations in Asia Pacific (global: 69%) are using 10 or more application services.

As newer cloud-native application architectures mature and scale, a higher percentage of organisations are deploying related app services such as ingress control and service discovery both on premises and in the public cloud. A modern application landscape requires modern app services to support scale, security and availability requirements.

In fact, 40% of organisations in Australia and New Zealand say they have more than 1,000 applications deployed today (global: 22%) — the highest among the Asia Pacific region.

  • Sixty three percent of Asia Pacific organisations (global: 63 percent) still place primary responsibility for app services with IT operations, yet more than half of those surveyed are also moving to DevOps-inspired teams.

Operations and infrastructure teams continue to shoulder primary responsibility for selecting and deploying application services. However, as organisations expand their cloud- and container-native app portfolios, DevOps groups are taking more responsibility for app services.