Computerworld Malaysia has invited some of Malaysia's leading ICT industry practitioners to talk about key challenges and opportunities faced by the industry during 2015 as well as offer some predictions for 2016. This is the second part of the interview feature, which brings together comments from industry leaders such as Acronis, Avanade, Citrix Systems, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), Veeam Software and Brocade.
The first part of this series includes overviews from PIKOM, Outsourcing Malaysia, IDC, F-Secure, Allied Telesis and Barracuda Networks. Digital Transformation continues to be a common CIO theme along with Cybersecurity, which remains the common platform for industry threads such as national Enterprise & Talent Development, Cloud, Big Data Analytics and the Internet of Things.
A companion feature 'ICT industry comments on Malaysia Budget 2016' led by national ICT agency Multimedia Development Corporation, MDeC, also includes forecasts for 2016 from many other industry leaders and commentators.
CD Goh, Malaysia Country manager (pic above) from next-generation data protection provider Acronis, said: The growth of Malaysia's ICT economy in 2015 was affected by the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the weakening of Malaysian Ringgit, causing service providers to redirect available resources on establishing GST compliance and delaying non-urgent projects.
Small and medium service providers and IT vendors, forming the bulk of Acronis partner community, were affected the most, having to restructure their own accounting systems as well as deal with the effects of GST introduction on their customers, who paused their purchasing activities until the new taxation system is fully understood.
However, despite the slowdown, 2015 has been a successful year for Malaysia ICT industry, which turned the corner from conceptual to the practical stage of cloud adoption. The 14.2 percent industry growth, projected by the PIKOM (The National ICT Associating of Malaysia) by the then chairman Cheah Kok Hoong early in 2015, was supported by the government's commitment to ICT and a series of infrastructure development projects such as a new data hub in Iskandar, traffic exchange in Cyberjaya, and international data connectivity gateways in Cherating and Mersin.
These projects increase cloud awareness and create fertile ground for service providers. Cloud-enabled services are gaining momentum. Commodity infrastructure, government's support, and data protection technology from companies like Acronis create the foundation for a wider cloud adoption in the years to come. Malaysia has strict data sovereignty regulations requiring sensitive data to be kept onshore within Malaysian datacentres. To promote cloud adoption, there needs to be a carefully designed educational campaign on how to enjoy the benefits of the cloud while keeping the data on Malaysian servers.
In 2016, the cloud industry will continue to grow at a steady pace in 2016. It will be another year of infrastructure development and public education, and only after that there will be a period of accelerated growth and widespread adoption of cloud-enabled services across all sectors of the Malaysian economy.
There are three prerequisites for a successful cloud adoption in the country - fast Internet speed, local datacentres, and consumer readiness.
Within the framework of Budget 2016, the national regulator Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is planning to take steps to improve the Internet speeds from the current average of 5Mbps to 20Mbps, as part of the 11th Malaysia's infrastructure development plans, which includes High-Speed Broadband 2 and Sub-Urban Broadband programs designed to bring affordable Internet to 95 percent of populated areas of the country. Broadband availability will have a direct effect on how soon the cloud becomes mainstream in Malaysia.
Better Internet speed means there will be more businesses considering the cloud as a viable alternative to tape backup and in-house data storage. And availability of local cloud datacentres will improve consumer confidence that their data is secure and is compliant with the country's data sovereignty regulations.
In the coming years there will be major advances from key cloud industry players such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon, as part of their Asian expansion. However, local cloud adoption will be driven by services providers leveraging computing power of these vendors with turnkey data protection and data management services from companies like Acronis, adjusted for the local market.
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