Avanade’s Malcolm Barske on the acceleration of digital transformation

14 May 2020

Malcolm Barske. Image: © Luke Maxwell/Siliconrepublic.com

In the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, Siliconrepublic.com spoke to Avanade’s Malcolm Barske about how digital transformation has accelerated.

Covid-19 has affected almost every industry in the world. Even the tech sector, generally seen as the one best equipped to work remotely, has had to implement changes at a much faster pace than anticipated.

Malcolm Barske, security lead for Avanade Ireland, said that Avanade has pivoted completely from what it was previously doing with clients to directly helping them respond to Covid-19.

“The last two months has been really trying to help our client base in Ireland and the UK to be able to work from home a lot more seamlessly and being able to do that in a secure and collaborative way across their businesses,” he said.

Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation massively. What was once spoken about as a very nebulous topic has now had to be implemented across many businesses at breakneck speed. Barske said that while companies in the UK had already adopted cloud computing to a certain extent, Ireland had lagged behind. But this has now changed.

“What we’re finding now is adoption into Azure and adoption into Office 365 is at front of mind for most clients at the moment.”

He added that while most people would be familiar with cloud tools that enable video calls and joining meetings, these kind of tools can also be used to collaborate on documents together and give teams that ability to work outside the office with ease, increasing efficiency and agility.

However, he also spoke about the dangers of ramping up so many changes at once. “A lot of the decisions being made at the moment are Covid-19-related and leaders are making choices and decisions on the fly to be able to get people to work remotely,” he said.

“I would say don’t inundate them with too many changes at the same time. Give them the tools that help them to work, but also consider that, in a month, maybe three months, we’ll be back in offices and we shouldn’t have switched on something that’s going to be difficult to support when we’re back in the office.”

While cloud computing is quickly becoming an essential part of many businesses, data must also continue to be protected.

Barske said when protecting data, it comes down to understanding what responsibilities everyone has, who has access to the data and from where. “Then we start to define the policies around what we want to happen to that data as it moves throughout the organisation and then externally as well.”

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic