The future of cloud computing in Asian governments looks bright. According to a recent survey conducted by Microsoft and CityNet, 47 percent of Asian cities will adopt cloud computing over the next three years.
"Most Asian governments are currently cloud-ready, with the more advanced markets such as Singapore and Hong Kong experimenting or implementing government-wide cloud infrastructure," said Pavel Ershov, Vice President and General Manager for Asia Pacific, Japan and Russia at Odin. "Emerging economies are expected to embrace cloud in future too as their information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructures mature."
"As citizens today prefer interacting with others online, governments can no longer rely on legacy systems to digitally connect with citizens in near real-time," said Peter Moore, Managing Director of Global Public Sector (APAC) at Amazon Web Services (AWS). "Asian governments are thus increasingly looking to leverage cloud to better connect with citizens and serve their needs."
Since governments are increasingly told to do more with reduced budgets, cloud is an attractive proposition since it promises to help reduce operating costs while enabling an organisation to be agile. "Traditionally, organisations will need to acquire new hardware to increase their computing power. This approach is costly especially if the spike in demand for computing resource is only required at certain times of the year — you can't afford to have the biggest system available just to fulfill those spikes. Moreover, procurement can be time-consuming, which means that it can take years for a problem to be solved. Cloud can help to overcome this as it enables computing resources to quickly scale up and down as required," said Moore.
"Government CIOs in Asia are turning to cloud as a cost-effective, scalable, and efficient way for them to increase the computing power and resources they need to improve public service delivery, in the face of tight IT budgets," said Ershov. For instance, Hong Kong uses GovCloud to host common e-government services for shared use by bureaus and departments, as opposed to having separate dedicated IT resources for each department, he added. "This consolidated IT footprint is more streamlined, more scalable, and more flexible, reaping benefits of not only cost savings, but also greater agility in responding to the dynamic demand for IT resources from the various bureaus and departments."
Cloud also enables governments to experiment and launch software applications. "Governments can use the cloud to quickly build a prototype app and evaluate it. If it works, they can scale it up by bringing in more resources. If not, they can turn off the cloud resources used for experiment. This fail fast method is increasingly accepted today as cloud enables experiments to quickly take off, and doesn't require a massive upfront investment — customers only need to pay for what they've used," said Moore.
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