In 2012, cloud computing is set to become mainstream in Asia Pacific. Indeed, about 30 percent of Asia Pacific organisations will have adopted some form of cloud computing by 2012.
Clearly, decision makers in most Asian organisations recognise the benefits of cloud computing, which are manifold. These benefits include the ability to offer greater business agility, cost reduction and a switch in IT spending from capital investment to operational expenditure. Basically, cloud computing is becoming critical as a means of gaining a competitive advantage for today’s organisations. It is now a strategic issue.
Against this background, the market for public cloud computing is set to reach US$5.8 billion by 2015, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39 percent between 2010 and 2015.
In 2012, the impact of the shift to cloud computing will become apparent. One of the first obvious effects of this type of technology is the cloud-driven transformation of whole industries. The IT industry itself is being transformed by cloud computing as consumers and businesses depend, to a greater extent, on smartphones and tablets. Increasingly, data resides remotely in data centres managed by third parties. This data is accessed by devices such as tablets and smartphones which require a comparatively small amount of data to reside locally.
Other industries such as the media are being transformed as media content is increasingly streamed from ‘personal clouds’ and the downloading of files becomes unnecessary. In addition to this, access to media content from physical sources such as books and DVDs is declining. Cloud computing is indeed impacting all major industries.
The channel is also being transformed by cloud computing. Businesses can source IT functionality by using a Web browser. In many cases, they can bypass the traditional channel. Channel players will need to re-focus their offerings to match the needs to organisations that are shifting their IT resources to the cloud, and away from the reselling of commoditised products and the provision of basic support services.
The new battleground
Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is set to be the new battleground in the cloud computing industry as PaaS vendors seek to attract developers to their platforms. Today, Force.com has a huge advantage over other platforms as a result of its early entry into the market. However, over the last 18 months or so, new platforms have come online, supported by major vendors such as Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Google and VMWare. Two or three platforms can be expected to dominate as a critical mass of applications is developed on each.
Cloud brokers will emerge en masse, as organisations seek partners that can customise cloud applications for them. These cloud brokers will typically affiliate themselves with a particular platform such as Force.com. In other words, many more applications will be available from the public cloud and these applications will be much more highly customised than most of today’s cloud applications. In turn, industry fragmentation will occur as many more software- as-a-service (SaaS) vendors emerge, many with industry-specific applications. Today’s SaaS offerings are predominantly horizontal.
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