APAC digital transformation won't succeed without hybrid cloud

Businesses in Asia-Pacific will likely fail in their digital transformation efforts if they do so without a hybrid cloud infrastructure, which is necessary to deliver enterprise agility and efficiency.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Businesses in Asia-Pacific will need to adopt a hybrid cloud model to ensure their digital transformation efforts are realized and achieve agility and efficiency.

Digital transformation increasingly was at the forefront of enterprise priorities in the region, with 60 percent of top 1000 companies in Asia-Pacific to focus on such efforts as the core of their corporate strategy by the end of 2017, according to IDC. Most also would create a standalone role to drive their company's digital transformation strategy implementation, the research firm said.

Enterprises, however, would likely fail if they did so without also adopting a hybrid cloud model to support their journey, said Chris Morris, IDC's Asia-Pacific vice president of cloud services. This underlying infrastructure was necessary to deliver the components and services businesses would need to support their digital transformation, including mobile, social, big data analytics, and Internet of Things.

"Without the use of hybrid cloud, digital transformation isn't going to work or be successful," said Morris, who was speaking Wednesday at Singtel's Cloud Vision 2016 conference.

He added that Asia-Pacific enterprises were taking heed, with more than 65 percent expected to commit to hybrid cloud architectures by 2017, driving the pace of digital transformation in the region.

Even traditional outsourcing was moving to a cloud model, he said, noting that this meant both IT and business operations would have to evolve to better support hybrid cloud environments. IT, for instance, needed to be driven by policy-based automation and services-oriented delivery. Integration also should be a key focus to ensure applications between cloud platforms and legacy systems could run smoothly.

In addition, businesses would need to invest in IT acumen since having a broader choice of services could offer higher business value, but meant selection and implementation would be more challenging, Morris explained. Existing processes in procurement, for instance, also would have to change to make way for agile processes, he said.

"Digital transformation is impacting IT's use of cloud...and business needs are changing how services are delivered. It has brought with it the need for different ways of sourcing, integrating, and managing the necessary supporting enterprise IT," he noted. "Service and resource sourcing have become key skills."

He added that CIOs would need technology optimized for efficiencies and the ability to react rapidly to market changes would affect their sourcing choices.

Singtel's vice president or cloud business and digital enterprise, Sandip Gupta, also pointed to applications and infrastructure as the two key factors in an organization's digital transformation. He said IT environments were evolving into server-less computing environments, with software architectures moving towards "smaller units of work" or microservices. This enabled developers to write software that could scale without having to work the underlying infrastructure.

Gupta noted that cloud adoption in Asia past the "euphoria" phase of hype, and into its second phase where it was yielding actual IT value and performance optimization. Businesses now needed to move into the stage of maturity to generate real business value from their cloud deployment, enabling both business innovation and cost optimization, he added.

Singtel unveils hybrid cloud management platform

Hoping to tap the growing demand and help businesses manage their cloud environments, Singtel today unveiled its Liquid Sky hybrid cloud management platform. It would enable organizations to orchestrate the setup and operations of their hybrid cloud environments, with access to tabs such as provisioning, governance, spend management, and configuration.

The new offering also included the Data Center and Cloud Connect Service, touted to allow businesses to access and move their data between public and private clouds across more than 20 data centers supported on the Singtel platform, including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Through Liquid Sky, businesses would be able to view and manage their cloud spending as well as allocate and identify teams and team members accountable for segmented cloud budgets. The Singtel platform also supports Slack integration, allowing business users to query Liquid Sky bots via the collaboration tool to pull data on their cloud expenditure as well as receive alerts.

Gupta noted that enterprises faced increased challenges in their adoption of hybrid cloud including security, which would need to evolve beyond perimeter defense to support cloud's distributed environment.

The networking fabric also needed to support application agility and speed, application integration was essential, and an added layer of automation would have to be built. Organizations also would need a different set of tooling and skills, he said, adding that the new Singtel cloud management platform was built to help companies address these challenges.

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