Cloud Computing is anticipated to reap potential revenue of USD 800 billion and the industry is being hailed by analysts as one of the most pervasive technologies to businesses since the widespread adoption of the internet.
China is seeking to capture around 19 percent of this market with anticipated revenues of USD 154 billion (or RMB 1 trillion). The Chinese government views Cloud Computing as a great enabler for the future and has cited it as a ‘Strategic Emerging Industry’ within the 12th Five Year Plan. Across China, the level of investment from both state-owned and private enterprises is far outstripping the investments being made across the world. Cloud becomes an enabler for “virtualising a nation”.
China is not the only country within the region where the government is actively supporting and investing in order to promote the Cloud and obtain a share in anticipated revenues. The Singapore government has been developing standards for Cloud since 2010. Led by the Singapore Information Technology Standards Committee (ITSC) and in conjunction with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, they have been combining the thoughts of users, the government and service providers in order to define standards, which address business concerns such as the security of the Cloud and Service Level Agreements.
So why is there so much interest in the Cloud in the region? What does it mean to businesses in the region? What can it really do to provide true benefits and help achieve business targets?
Cloud is a business discussion
The term “Cloud” has been used by many strategists, evangelists and futurists and has been received with mixed response. The question of whether it is a real and worthwhile investment is something that has concerned many industry leaders.
The market has been flooded with technology providers re-branding their service offerings as Cloud solutions and software and hardware manufacturers recombining and re-badging their products into Cloud suites. This has focused initial discussions in the office of the Chief Information Officer.
However, the Cloud is actually one of the most disruptive forces that have hit businesses within the last 20 years. It offers the opportunity for organisations to reconsider their model for using technology with its impact reaching into how technology is funded, consumed and governed.
Cloud can actively transform business
The Cloud is impacting many areas of business and is here to stay. It will be a significant force in shaping the way business and consumers use technology in the future across the Asia Pacific region. These are the areas we expect to see the Cloud supporting in this evolving market:
· Mobile payments - high volume, low value payments are only achievable if the infrastructure supporting them is efficient from both a capability and a cost profile perspective.
· Online entertainment - virtual media libraries, larger and more complex gaming environments, globalised social networking expectations and a constantly connected mobile life will drive the need for mega shared environments providing storage, functionality and a social interactive experience.
· Virtualised desktop - with workers commonly having a laptop, tablet, BlackBerry and smart phone, the need for information synchronisation across devices and platforms becomes increasingly complex. By establishing information and applications independent of the device itself and delivering on-the-fly connectivity to online, platform-agnostic applications, a truly mobile environment can be provided.
· Business continuity - the recent spate of natural disasters and infrastructure failures across the region has brought business continuity concerns to the forefront. Maintaining a redundant environment is costly, so finding better ways for technology to be used to deliver alternative operating environments which are geographically, and potentially socio-politically remote, can provide a significant advantage.
· Business-as-a-service - Asia’s aggressive growth is driving organisations to consider new and innovative solutions to aid the rapid expansion in the region. In response, many service providers are offering business solutions designed to provide unconventional business processes to their customers. The combination of technology, industry knowledge and regulatory awareness allows new start-ups and expanding organisations to attain the benefits of good practice at an accelerated rate.
· Virtualisation of a Nation – as Asia continues to grow and investment in the region expands, the Cloud becomes an enabler for achieving the desires of Governments and investors. A prime example is China’s continued investment in pilot Cloud programmes in five major cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Wuxi.
A strategy for the future
The Cloud is an enabler, which can address the key business drivers that currently exist in the region: expansion, service improvement and effective cost management. The discussion and decisions around Cloud investment, now and for the future, belong in the boardroom, not just in the operational offices. By combining the latest technology solutions with a variety of sourcing models, organisations have the chance to transform the way they budget, operate and deliver services to their customers and clients.
By merging the Cloud’s features into the right custom recipe, the business will finally be able to focus on their core revenue-generating activities rather than worrying about their supporting infrastructure.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Asian Banking & Finance. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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