From almost nowhere, cloud computing (remotely run and expandable data processing and storage provided as a service) has become an essential service for many businesses. It offers not just flexibility and cost-effectiveness but also capabilities that non-cloud-based ways of operating just cannot offer.
A region of fast adopters
Southeast Asia was quick to adopt the cloud. Data centres offering cloud services rapidly sprang up in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia as early as 2010. Singapore was quick to offer incentives to businesses for embracing the cloud and soon became the Southeast Asian cloud epicentre, accounting for half of the region’s data centre capacity by 2012.
The popularity of Amazon Web Services cemented the importance of the cloud in the region, while Alibaba’s Aliyun data center in Singapore, which opened in 2015, added to the competition for cloud services serving businesses of all sizes throughout the region. This was bolstered in April 2016 by Alibaba’s announcement of alliances with global consulting firm Accenture and software giant SAP China to enhance the potential of cloud services.
Room for cloud sector to expand
In less than half a decade the cloud has become an increasingly popular option for businesses to access software and applications as well as to store much of their data. Many businesses have used it, perhaps to cut IT overheads, reduce capital expenditure in computing hardware or free their people to work and stay in touch while on the road. However, as of 2015, businesses in the region only spent about 10 per cent of their IT budgets on cloud computing, according to Tech in Asia.
Tapping into the cloud
Such a figure hints at the fact that businesses have hardly started to harness the ultimate potential of the cloud. Using processing power combined with smart algorithms to make sense of vast data sets, develop machine learning and promote artificial intelligence are all possibilities in the cloud.
Businesses can move all their data onto the cloud too, such as their contacts. Innovative contact management solutions can help companies create a centralised business network and database offering enhanced contact information and more useful insights that can help grow the business.
These will enable businesses to extract greater financial and operational value from the customer information in their database as well as to make their own processes easier.