Cloud computing levels play field for ASEAN SMBs
By Damian Crotty, ViFX 09-Feb-2011
According to Springboard Research, cloud adoption has accelerated sharply across all countries in the Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ). The same report also revealed that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are the most aggressive adopters, with 54% currently using or actively planning to adopt cloud-based solutions.
There are many reasons why the cloud is most attractive to SMBs. In addition to reduced costs of ownership, taking enterprise services to the cloud allows SMBs to eliminate the need to maintain in-house expertise to manage these applications. The flexibility that public cloud offers is also an appealing proposition for SMBs. By engaging a cloud service provider, SMBs have access to resources only when they need it, eliminating the need to maintain expensive equipment on-premise.
More importantly, the cloud significantly reduces geographical barriers related to application provision. A company in Indonesia can easily leverage cloud services made available from a server in Singapore. This, in reality, extends the reach of cloud services across the region, leveling the field for companies, regardless of where they are physically located.
Varying adoption levels
Across Southeast Asia, a majority of SMBs are comfortable using cloud services in conjunction with their existing applications and services. Software-as-a-Service is the most common form of cloud adoption. Additionally, a small but growing number of SMBs are also using the cloud to replace their on-premise infrastructure.
|"Across Southeast Asia, a majority of SMBs are comfortable using cloud services in conjunction with their existing applications and services."|
-- Damian Crotty, ViFX
Key applications running in the cloud today include email, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, database applications and business intelligence systems. This is expected to gain speed over the next four to eight quarters, as more companies begin to warm up to the cloud concept.
However, the level of adoption within each country may differ greatly, reflecting varying levels of comfort and among SMBs with the new paradigm. Several factors contribute to this.
1. Connectivity and reliability
The reliability and availability of services are important issues with most SMBs. Because they rely on service providers for key business functions such as CRM and ERP, the availability of reliable Internet connection and bandwidth do affect cloud adoption across ASEAN countries.
Another factor is the level of technology used in the businesses. In some Southeast Asian countries, SMBs either do not have a clear understanding of how cloud technology can benefit them or do not use the computer and Internet much in their business activities. There is thus less impetus for these companies to consider the cloud.