Companies in Asia have been talking about the cloud for a while now. But the transition to the cloud has not happened yet. What's holding them back?
The move to cloud computing is a journey for most companies. Today, cloud is still in an early adoption stage but we see more organisations increasingly looking to implement the cloud in 2010. It is the same cycle we've seen in previous technologies such as the e-mail and the Internet which have permeated businesses and form key components today.
It's not an all-or-nothing proposition. The drivers for the cloud are the same globally. However, the slower adoption rate in Asia can be attributed to education, concerns around security and customer references of a successful cloud strategy. Every technology has an adoption cycle and it accelerates when people understand it and 'tell a friend' about it.
Do you think the situation in Asia vis-a-vis adoption of the cloud will improve in the near future?
Our customers and research strongly indicate that from 2010 onwards, most companies will embrace cloud computing by using a combination of the cloud and internally deployed and managed systems. We are beginning to see changes and increased interest in Asia with the cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS), and we believe that cloud computing models will take a faster trajectory than other technologies that have emerged as enterprise resources.
What are the bottlenecks companies could face while implementing the cloud as part of their IT infrastructure?
The main impediment is knowledge and realising what can and cannot be achieved by cloud computing. While we're only now seeing discussion around cloud computing coming into the mainstream, the technologies have been around for some time. It is the way they are now coming together that makes this a viable platform for businesses. Businesses are recognising and assessing the potential business value the cloud offers and the challenges it involves.
The best approach to addressing concerns while realising the benefits is to begin experimenting and developing proof-of-concepts using cloud solutions. This achieves many goals:
1. Establishes confidence in the cloud provider
2. Creates an understanding of service levels and limitations
3. And, if successful, becomes a stepping stone to larger cloud-based solution deployment.
It's important to choose a user case or scenario that will address concerns such as privacy and security, but also illustrates potential business value benefits.
What's Avanade's approach to cloud uptake?
We see that a majority of companies are taking a hybrid approach to adoption - using a mix of internal and cloud-based systems. For most customers today, that includes technologies such as messaging, portals and customer relationship management (CRM).
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