What do Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and India have in common? Well for a start, the ZDNet IT Priorities team recently visited all five countries to learn about the different challenges faced by local CIOs.
As expected, buzz words such as Cloud and Green Computing were
present in all the discussions, but it was fascinating to hear the same
issues being dissected from so many different perspectives — depending
on the relative maturity of each country's ICT industry.
For example, in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, panel members were
keen to explore cloud computing but they said the country's comms
infrastructure was not
yet ready to support reliable deployment.
Singapore is a relatively tiny country with a mature comms
infrastructure, and although cloud technologies are already being
deployed, panel members were very concerned
by the increasing costs of running ever more dense and
power-hungry datacentres, especially in a tropical climate.
Another interesting point was made by an admin from the Singapore
Ministry of Defence, who wanted to explore cloud computing but was held back from
experimenting with the technology due to a lack of skills. Singapore
imports a large proportion of its workforce, but for an organisation
charged with protecting the country's state secrets, foreign
contractors are not the preferred solution.
In sunny Sydney, the panel agreed that although they all want to be
using "cloud" in some shape or form, defining the technology still
causes great confusion.
Panellists in Melbourne suggested that much of this confusion
arises from vendor marketing, where companies conveniently use the
term "cloud" to sell almost anything in their product portfolio.
This was a flashback to the roundtable in Singapore, where vendors
were accused of over-using the term "green", which confuses CIOs when
trying to develop an environmentally-friendly chapter to their IT
Next stop was India where, for the vast majority of the population,
life is simply about survival. So it was no surprise that panel
members were obsessed with saving money and thoroughly discussed the merits of
Source versus proprietary software. However, a significant portion of
the roundtable was spent raving about the financial merits of
deploying Google's cloud service.
Last stop on the tour was Taiwan, where the panel was very keen to
get its cloud projects up and running. Backed by a top-quality comms
infrastructure and strong economy, Taiwanese CIOs were at an advanced stage in
and testing their cloud projects. If you want to see the cloud in
action, keep a close eye on Ilha Formosa.
All five countries hope that eventually their systems will evolve to a
similar level of cloud ubiquity, but the speed at which this journey
unfolds will depend on the relative maturity of each region's ICT