Getting from first principles to becoming ‘cloud-right’

Everything starts with a first step, and in digital transformation that means ensuring your network and data are in order

John Murphy, Presidio: ‘When it comes to AI, there are absolutely use cases that we see coming up time and time again’

Digital transformation can take on any number of forms and, indeed, almost every one looks different. After all, a manufacturer will have different processes – and goals – from a retailer.

Nevertheless, successful digital transformations all share some key attributes, said John Murphy, avp sales gtm at Presidio: firstly, they start by assessing what the business needs to achieve. Secondly, they take a careful look at how the company’s infrastructure and processes work.

Only then do questions of technology, from artificial intelligence (AI) to cloud, come up.

Company Details


Year founded: 1979 as Arkphire, merging with Presidio in 2020, which was founded in 2003

Number of employees: Over 3,500 globally

Why it is in the news: With generative AI rising up the agenda, Presidio is helping more clients to ensure they approach it in a compliant and safe manner

Indeed, said Murphy, Presidio works to help companies digitally transform regardless of their choice of particular infrastructure, such as cloud, or on-premise.

“We do feel we are uniquely positioned, due to our network heritage and also having moved out into the cloud, devops and AI/ML [machine learning] world. We feel we can bridge the two worlds. Also, we are able to offer both managed services and professional services,” he said.

“The term we use is ‘cloud-right’. There is no benefit to moving to the cloud without a reason, and there are cases for on-premise,” he said.

Based on Presidio’s global experience, Irish businesses do slightly lag their overseas competition in digital transformation, but there is a real appetite for change, Murphy said.

“Typically, we’re [as a nation] six to 12 months behind the US market and six to 12 months behind the British market,” he said.

When it comes to AI, there are absolutely use cases that we see coming up time and time again

When choosing which technological route to go down, Presidio assesses a company’s needs and then proposes processes, technologies and methodologies.

“We start with a focus on the data: do you have good governance? For instance, how do you protect it in a remote-first world,” he said.

Traditional concerns, such as security, should not be forgotten. In fact, as the traditional perimeter-based security cannot support remote work, modernising security is a must.

“Modernising your network and your security is the first step. You have to start looking at SASE [secure access service edge], bringing the security closer to the user,” he said.

Presidio, which has its own security operations centre (SOC) and network operations centre (NOC), can assist with this, as well as other projects including data centre modernisation.

Organisations that want a more progressive approach to technology can also get it, Murphy said, including robotic process automation (RPA) and completely updating an application stack.

“We also have devops, application modernisation, data mining, all of which is geared toward delivering an outcome,” he said.

Front and centre of many digital transformations today, of course, is AI, and this is only going to grow as time passes.

“When it comes to AI, there are absolutely use cases that we see coming up time and time again,” Murphy said.

However, AI also brings risks, such as how you protect yourself from data being put into unauthorised third-party tools not a part of the corporate network. Indeed, the dilemma of so-called ‘shadow IT’ is not new, but the likes of ChatGPT are even more appealing to staff than other popular unauthorised tools for tasks such as file sharing have been.

The answer, Murphy said, is two-fold: firstly, businesses can provide staff with legitimate access to generative AI tools. Secondly, they can do it under a rigorous data governance framework, ensuring that organisational data is not used to train the model.

In the end, digital transformation should pay for itself, though, with Presidio seeing typical savings of 10 to 15 per cent.

“A typical engagement with a customer tends to start with cost-optimisation, or finops. Our ask on that is that we then use some of that freed-up budget for innovation,” he said.