Singapore claims highest understanding of cloud in APAC

According to a VMware study, Singapore companies rank highest for their confidence in cloud computing knowledge, partly driven by government's pro-cloud stance.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Companies in Singapore are the most confident of their knowledge about cloud computing across the Asia-Pacific region, thanks to the strong push and lead by the government for enterprise cloud adoption and national efforts to attract service providers to make datacenter investments in the country.

According to the VMware Cloud Index 2012 report, 82 percent of Singapore respondents said they believed they had a strong understanding of cloud computing, higher than the regional average of 75 percent, said Michael Barnes, vice president and research director of Forrester Research, which conducted the study.

Respondents who believe they strongly understand cloud
1. Singapore: 82%
2. Korea: 80%
3. India: 79%
4. Australia: 72%
5. Hong Kong: 74%
6. Taiwan: 72%
7. China: 72%
8. Thailand: 70%
9. Indonesia: 70%
10. Malaysia: 66%
Source: VMware Cloud Index 2012

This was also the first time Singapore came out tops in this category, edging out Australia which held the position over the last two years, he added during a media briefing here Wednesday to unveil the results of the online survey.

Commissioned by VMware, the annual study, now in its third run, was done in September this year. A total of 4, 954 senior IT practitioners in 10 economies across Asia-Pacific were surveyed: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. Japan was surveyed separately by another market research firm, ITR.

Singapore, along with Hong Kong, were also found to have the highest concerns in the region about data privacy and data residency, even though both their governments are consistently encouraging investments in local data centers, Barnes said.

It is possible, in Singapore's case, that companies here having such concerns is linked to them feeling that their awareness and understanding of cloud is adequate, he added.

At the same time, the influential effect of Singapore government's "pro-cloud" stance on companies should not be underestimated, the Forrester analyst emphasized, noting how data center services and facilities are both used and provided by various foreign companies.

"The [Singapore] government has done a remarkable job in luring datacenter investments to come into the country…whereas authorities in other countries or certain states could be discouraging cloud for various reasons, even jingoistic ones," Barnes pointed out.

Alvin Kok, head of infocomm services for business group at SingTel, who also sat in at the same briefing, said the national government cloud (G-Cloud) had helped pushed awareness within Singapore and abroad.

It indirectly nudged Singapore businesses to consider cloud, if they had not already done so, Kok noted. "If the government is going ahead with cloud, and the government is one organization which prioritizes security and handles a lot of sensitive e-citizen data, companies would think: Why can't I, as an enterprise, use cloud?"

Cloud use spotlights telcos' role
In terms of current cloud usage, the top three countries were Australia at 58 percent, Singapore at 51 percent and India at 50 percent, compared to the regional average of 42 percent.

Barnes highlighted that as cloud adoption grows across the region, enterprise perception of what constitutes cloud usage has incrementally matured from merely using SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications to datacenter transformation and IT operational optimization.

With that, the position and opportunity of the telco will grow in prominence, considering 69 percent of Singapore respondents expect cloud adoption to increase the critical role of telco or hosting service provider, he added. Across the region, the figure was 59 percent.

Kevin Pratesa, Asean director service providers and public cloud at VMware, also at the briefing, agreed, saying telcos increasingly have to innovate and "sell up the stack" beyond providing merely infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).

Telcos realize they cannot do so alone, and are hence acquiring or partnering with IT companies, Pratesa said, pointing to examples such as NTT Docomo's acquisition of Dimension Data and the partnership between VMware and SingTel. The agreement, announced two years ago, has VMware providing the cloud platform, management and security features for SingTel's IaaS offering called PowerON Compute.

SingTel executive Kok added that telcos have a major advantage in the cloud space, because "when it comes to cloud, connectively is a major issue", and telcos are the ones with the network access locally and across the regions they play in.

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