Meet David Sharpe, Associate Director of Managed Services

David recently joined ARQ Group as Associate Director of Managed Services, bringing with him a wealth of AWS and Azure Managed Service expertise.  

We spoke to him about his key priorities in his new role.

In your view, what sets ARQ Group apart from its competitors?

ARQ is well known for its exceptional work in digital and data; something that really attracted me to the business.

It weaves design through its offering and focuses on making a lasting, positive impact on its people, clients and society. An example is the Fires Near Me application that was developed in collaboration with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) – a project that literally helped save lives.

It’s an extremely impressive app which has an entirely cloud-native architecture. Meaning, it provided value to the client by being:

  • Cost-effective
  • Scalable
  • Resilient

ARQ’s design focus encompassed front and back-end development – the heart of where the differentiating work happens.

What are your immediate goals in this new role and where do you see the opportunities in this space?

Evolving cloud services for digital and data. I believe that’s where we can move the needle in high impact outcomes. A critical part of our strategy is continuing to ask ourselves how we maintain that high impact work every day, of every month.

New services in digital and data will require a more flexible approach from ARQ, both in terms of our style of engagement and client agreements.  If we get this right, we’ll solidify our position with our clients as a highly valued long-term partner in cloud.

What is the value that external consultants can bring, versus a sole reliance on in-house teams?

I am a big advocate of the concept of co-piloting within a Managed Services engagement.  By co-piloting I mean finding the sweet spot between in-sourcing and outsourcing. It’s where you have an operations function that is composed of both ARQ and client team members, but acts entirely under the client’s direction, with the teams working towards common goals, rather than defined outputs in a contract.  In essence we’re providing our experience as a service. I see co-piloting as the next evolution of Managed Services and ARQ is going to lead the industry in championing for this change.

Another key point to make in support of co-piloting, particularly in today’s tech employment market, is that a tech company like ARQ has access to the talent that can jump onto projects quickly and deliver services very efficiently. This allows teams to flex up and flex down as needed which isn’t something that is possible with solely in-house teams.

What do you think is holding businesses back from adopting cloud and what’s your message for them?

The size of the challenge is probably something that holds people back.

In the case of the work we do in cloud adoption, we have deep experience in migration and the subsequent run of the environment post-migration. The run can be the more complex component as you are shifting mindsets, processes, workloads and forming new partnerships all at once.

Businesses that have taken that leap to cloud and continue to innovate have realised that as you apply automation, further transform legacy workloads and drive cultural change within the business, everything becomes a lot more efficient.  Conversely, organisations that do not continue to innovate on cloud can end up paying more and, in some cases, choose to go backwards and repatriate workloads.  This is where selecting the right partner is critical.

Though the partner eco-system is at the point where there is an expertise constraint globally, the depth and maturity in Australia and New Zealand is world-leading and can facilitate a smooth journey to cloud.

We are fortunate that expertise and experience is not a barrier in Australia and New Zealand. Businesses need to do their research and identify the right partner to give them the confidence to take on the cost of action.

The eventual return on investment is worth it, and that’s something we constantly seek to provide our clients at ARQ.

David Sharpe started as an operations engineer with a seemingly unending number of break-fix events at a Managed Service provider. Later moving into a leading consultancy, advising business on service management, operating models and technology strategies. David brings operational and consulting expertise to ARQ, creating the best in breed Managed Service team in Australia. David believes in the simplification of cloud, affording his customers measurable competitive edge.

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