Cloud computing entering new stage of evolution in Asia-Pacific

Businesses in Asia-Pacific are forecasting business growth and see cloud computing as an integral part of their strategy, according to the 3rd annual VMware Cloud Index, a commissioned study conducted across the region by Forrester Consulting and ITR.

Despite global economic concerns, nearly 80% of respondents in Asia-Pacific indicated that their companies’ business outlooks for 2012 and 2013 include some growth or expansion.

The study finds there is an increased readiness for cloud and indication that it can provide competitive advantage, with 67% of organizations in the region believing that they currently have the skills and infrastructure necessary to manage a private cloud, and 68% stating that without pursuing cloud initiatives, they could fall behind the competition.

 

Surprisingly, Singaporean businesses have overtaken markets like Australia to rank highest for their confidence in cloud computing knowledge. Michael Barnes, vice president and research director of Forrester Research said that this could be due in part to the Singapore Government’s push to increase cloud awareness. 
 
Alvin Kok, head of infocomm services for business group at SingTel, said the national government cloud (G-Cloud) had helped pushed awareness within Singapore and driven Singapore businesses to consider cloud.
 
But, data security and residency concerns also ranked highest among cloud concerns for Singapore and Hong Kong based businesses. This despite attempts by both Governments to encourage local data center establishment.

With 83% of organizations stating that cloud can empower their businesses by simplifying access to IT resources, companies are looking to leverage cloud computing as a business enabler. This signals a new level of cloud maturity in the region.

 

What was encouraging, was that perception of what constitutes cloud usage has incrementally matured from merely using SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications to datacenter transformation and IT operational optimization, Barnes added.
 

Cloud computing is seen by respondents as enabling the business to optimize IT (85%), reduce costs (80%) and supporting a more mobile and flexible workforce (81%).

The study also highlights the top barriers to cloud adoption, which are data privacy, residency or �?loss of control’ (69%); security (64%); and cost (62%).

The rising influence of the CIO

CEOs continue to be the main decision maker for cloud purchase decisions in the company (52%), but this is down 6% from the year before. Forty-four percent of respondents cite the CIO as the final decision maker in cloud purchase decisions, up from 39% in 2011 and 35% in 2010. This shift highlights the increasing need for CIOs to step in to bridge the gap between business and IT functions.

More than ever, as cloud usage surges forward and creates increased management requirements, CIOs have an increasingly important role to play. They need to understand and integrate cloud into business strategies, and understand technical issues from a business standpoint, instead of treating it simply as a technology innovation.

Moving forward: Managing IT as a business

Although a majority (71%) of respondents stated that cloud computing has made their job less complex, IT today is struggling to impose governance, control, access and self-service over heterogeneous cloud services. VMware is working to solve this challenge for IT, with the introduction of the software defined datacenter.

“There is a transformation taking place in the industry and the datacenter has become a more automated place,” Andrew Dutton, Senior Vice President and General Manager, VMware Asia Pacific and Japan added. “VMware’s software defined approach to the datacenter not only helps organizations address concerns about integration, hybrid management and security, but also allows business leaders to leverage cloud computing in a way that aligns to their business needs.”

From its role as a builder of services, IT has become a broker of services and infrastructure capacity. In the era of the enterprise hybrid cloud, there are new and increased responsibilities for IT, and CIOs will need to be at the helm to bridge the gap between business and IT and manage this transformation.