Are You Ready for the Cloud?

As I am sure you have noticed, cloud computing is steadily permeating throughout businesses across the world. The adoption of cloud computing is so widespread that IDC predicts worldwide spending on public cloud services will grow at almost six times the rate of overall IT spending growth – from nearly $70 billion in 2015 to more than $141 billion in 2019. And, according to recent Odin research, SMBs (small and medium business) are rapidly riding the cloud wave, and implementing new cloud based business applications such as file sharing, backup and storage, and online accounting.

This is all positive news for both the businesses that already realize the numerous benefits of cloud, and want to implement their own solutions, and the cloud service providers and vendors who make this happen.  However, in order to get the ‘rubber to hit the road’ we need the right regulatory environment, infrastructure, and economic conditions. Wouldn’t it be great to have a report that showed us by country how ready we are to adopt and implement the cloud?

The Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA) has done just that. Since 2011 the ACCA have published their annual Cloud Readiness Index (CRI) report. The study measures the cloud readiness of Asia Pacific (APAC) countries along 10 parameters, including broadband quality, cyber security and privacy, the government regulatory environment and freedom of information.  It’s a fascinating and informative read, and this year’s index presented some interesting findings, as well as a few upsets. Here are some key highlights from this year’s CRI:

  1. Hong Kong leads the APAC region in cloud readiness. This year, Hong Kong jumped 4 spots on the index to bump Japan from top rank. According to the CRI, addressing data privacy matters was the single most important factor in moving Hong Kong up the ranks. This is particularly relevant because we know many SMBs are reluctant to move their information and data to the cloud until they are confident it is safe and secure.
  2. Australia has lost its edge as a low risk location for data centers. The CRI shows that while economic stability, world-leading freedom of information and cyber security continue to make Australia an efficient and low-risk market for data centers and cloud services, Australia has struggled to keep pace with its peers in the Asia Pacific region. Broadband quality is below average for the region, and while the Australian government is rolling out a national broadband network, it will take some time for businesses and consumers to see the benefits.
  3. Singapore moved up 2 spots on the Cloud Readiness Index this year to become the second most ‘cloud ready’ country in APAC. Investments made in hard infrastructure such as cables, power and broadband combined with a farsighted and pro-business regulatory environment has made Singapore a preferred destination for cloud business and data centers. This demonstrates that a committed Government creating the right environment for cloud adoption is critical.
  4. The APAC region leads the world in cloud readiness. When ranked against their international counterparts, and if the APAC region was considered a country, Germany and the UK would rank 3rd, the US 5th; and Brazil, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would tie at 8th.

It’s clear that many businesses see the benefits of cloud, and will increasingly spend more of their IT budget on cloud services. However, what the CRI study illustrates is that businesses and the IT industry cannot achieve this alone. A country’s success in moving to the new cloud world is heavily dependent on a committed government, strong infrastructure, and a business environment that embraces the digital economy.

This study also raises another key question: Why aren’t other regions such as North America and Europe doing their own cloud readiness studies? Often research like this becomes a strong change merchant and may provide the catalyst for countries to really ask themselves the question ‘are we ready for the cloud?’.

 

Posted on April 20, 2016 .