Salesforce confident in Australia's cloud uptake

Australia's uptake of Salesforce's newly announced Wave analytics cloud is likely to follow a similar pattern of how other cloud technologies have been adopted in the past.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Salesforce announced on Monday the global launch of its analytics cloud, Wave, but what exactly does that mean for the customers in Australia?

Speaking with ZDNet at Dreamforce '14 in San Francisco, Dan Bognar, Salesforce Asia-Pacific vice president of sales engineering, referred to the Australian cloud market as "very mature and innovative", hinting that uptake of the company's sixth cloud platform by Australian customers will occur in coming weeks.

Bognar continued, saying that existing Salesforce customers including NAB, Australia Post, and CGU Insurance are likely to be some of the first adopters of Wave in Australia.

The first release of Wave will be available in English, and multi-language capabilities will be introduced to the platform over several releases.

"What I've always found fascinating about Australia, in particular, is how it has always been a very progressive economy," he said. "Even though a lot of the innovation comes out from the US, we see that in Australia, in terms of broad scale adoption, it is significant."

Bognar drew on St George Bank as an example of one local customer that is leading in the innovation space with its recent announcement of enabling its customers to bank via wearable devices.

Bognar also said that the Australian government is leading in cloud adoptions based on recent regulatory changes it has made. For example, the Australian government announced a cloud-first policy and dropped the requirement for dual minister cloud approval.

Meanwhile, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has released outsourcing guidelines for cloud adoption.

"That's allowed organisations to feel confident that their investments they are making in cloud are within the regulatory guidelines," he said.

But by comparison as a whole region, Asia-Pacific is more of a "lagger", according to Bognar. He said it's mainly due to the quality of the telecom networks that exists in emerging markets.

"If you look at Australia, with the amount of competition in the 4G networks, mobile device proliferation is rampant. But if you go to a country like Malaysia or Philippines, it's a little bit patchy," he said.

Despite this, Bognar believes that over the next few years, there'll be wider cloud adoption across APAC, and not just in Australia. This has been exemplified by Salesforce recently securing Singapore's Changi Airport and Thailand's Siam Commercial Bank as recent customers.

Additionally, on the topic of wearables, Bognar said that side of the business continues to be a "very strategic" one for the company, with the belief that it will be an ongoing theme in the industry and not one that will dissipate.

Earlier this year, during the Salesforce1 Tour in Melbourne, the company announced the launch of Salesforce Wear, a developer pack targeted at app developers to create enterprise apps for all major wearable devices in the market.

The first release of the platform supported Google Glass, Android Wear, and health devices such as Fitbit and Jawbone. This has now been extended to include virtual-reality devices such as Oculus, and a range of competing Google Glass devices.

"We firmly believe it is an ongoing theme. If you look at the growth rate in wearables compared to mobile, wearables is growing like 200 times faster, and we're going along on wearables," he said, noting that wearables will be complimentary to mobile channels, not a replacement.

Aimee Chanthadavong travelled to Dreamforce '14 as a guest of Salesforce.

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