14 economies assessed across 10 indicators, including public policy
Japan still tops list, Singapore and Malaysia retain 4th and 8th spots
THE Asia Cloud Computing Association’s Cloud Readiness Index 2014 (CRI 2014) finds Asia Pacific divided into three development groups.
The Index, now in its third iteration, assessed 14 countries against 10 indicators which contribute to the infrastructural and regulatory preparedness for cloud computing adoption in the region, the association said in a statement.
While Japan maintained its lead at the top of the Index for the third time running, the big improvers were New Zealand, Australia and Thailand, all whom moved up four places, and the Philippines, moving up two places.
Between 2011 and 2014, the Philippines has now moved from bottom of the table to 10th, the Asia Cloud Computing Association said.
Common to all of the improvers seems to be the presence of an overarching ICT and cloud policy plan, it added.
New Zealand is particularly noteworthy for its all-of-government ‘cloud first’ policy – a position the association strongly champions and calls on other regional governments to study and subsequently adapt and adopt.
“Government has generally been tentative in its adoption of cloud computing, sending conflicting signals to the market,” said Lim May-Ann (pic), executive director of the Asia Cloud Computing Association.
“A proactive government-led cloud first policy will have profound and productive implications right across the economy – as we are now seeing from the policies adopted by the successful economies,” she added.
The Ready, Dedi and Steady
The 10 indicators used in the assessment were privacy, data sovereignty, international connectivity, broadband quality, government regulatory environment and usage, power grid and green policy, intellectual property protection, business sophistication, data centre risk, and freedom of information access.
Ranked against these criteria, Asia Cloud Computing Association said it now sees Asia Pacific economies separating out into three distinct groups.
At the top, the Ready Leaders comprise Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea.
These countries have retained, and in some cases extended, their lead by fostering innovation and fresh approaches towards next generation and cloud computing services.
South Korea and Hong Kong have been consistently delivering excellent broadband quality in their countries; Singapore and Japan have impressive scores in protecting intellectual property, and Australia and New Zealand have developed whole-of-government cloud computing policies, the association said.
A clear middle band of economies, the Dedicated Improvers, includes Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.
The Philippines leads in terms of freedom of information access; Taiwan in international connectivity and business sophistication; Thailand in green policy and power grids; and Malaysia with a low data centre risk index.
The final collection of economies, the Steady Developing group, encompasses China, Indonesia, India, and Vietnam.
This group of countries are not standing still in terms of cloud readiness; all have been developing, steadily, particularly in terms of tech policies and physical infrastructure.
China’s ‘Broadband China’ policy is expected to provide nationwide coverage by 2020; various cities in Vietnam have been forming public-private partnerships (PPP) to roll-out city-wide free WiFi services; India has a nascent national cloud e-government initiative called ‘Meghraj;’ and Indonesia has been seeing good traction, for example, with its tax e-billing system.
Changes in the Index League Ladder
South Korea and India recorded the largest falls in the latest Index, tumbling four spots, followed by Hong Kong and Taiwan, dropping two places, and China, Indonesia and Vietnam, which fell by one place.
This is not indicative of declining ‘cloud readiness’ but is rather, a demonstration of the speed at which Asia is developing, the association said.
“In a region where you have to run just to keep pace, these countries will need to keep their eyes on the goalposts to stay the course,” said Bernie Trudel (pic), chairman of the Asia Cloud Computing Association.
In addition to league leader Japan, other economies which maintained their position were Singapore also at 4th place, and Malaysia in 8th position.
Key country shout-outs
Australia: Jumped four places and finished as one of the biggest improvers in cloud readiness, and boasts a mature legal and investment climate for cloud operations. Should work to improve business sophistication and a more pro-business IT environment.
China: Recent government programmes have been pro-cloud, although infrastructure build-out remains behind the curve. Cloud adoption is expected to accelerate dramatically in the next few years as mobile devices enable wireless access.
Hong Kong: Fell two places from previous Index, but excellent fibre connectivity and a forward-looking administration reviewing the Digital 21 Strategy and setup of the Innovation and Technology Bureau looks set to reverse the trend.
India: One of the largest declines in Cloud Readiness in Asia Pacific, falling four positions to 13th. It must address its weak data risk profile and IPR (intellectual property rights) protection, and focus regulatory reform on creating a stable, pro-ICT business environment.
Indonesia: Fell by one place in the Index, but in a region developing at a breakneck pace, any slide is not a good thing. While infrastructure remains a challenge, Internet access via mobile devices provide opportunities for cloud market acceleration – provided that recent data localisation legislation does not hamper development of international and regional trade and business opportunities.
Japan: The top-ranked country, Japan must not rest on its laurels but continue to innovate to stay ahead of the curve.
Malaysia: Maintaining its 8th position in cloud readiness, recent government efforts to develop Malaysia’s data management policies such as its Personal Data Protection Act and a Big Data Analytics pilot prepare Malaysia to be one of the most cloud-friendly markets in Asia Pacific.
New Zealand: A top gainer in this year’s Cloud Readiness Index, New Zealand’s government focus on building out its ICT Strategy and Action Plan 2017 will be key to creating a pro-cloud environment for businesses.
Philippines: Gained another two places again from the previous index, the Philippines proves to be a steady improver in cloud readiness. A core strategy for success seems to be its focus on developing strong cloud-friendly industries such business process outsourcing.
Singapore: Maintaining its position at 4th place, it may now need to look beyond infrastructural excellence and develop its ‘soft infrastructure’ such as data privacy and management capacities in order to maintain its lead as one of the most pro-cloud economies in Asia Pacific.
South Korea: Always a strong leader in technology, Korea surprisingly slipped to its lowest ever ranking, falling four places from its previous rank – a cautionary tale demonstrating the speed which Asia Pacific is developing. South Korea must work on a focused effort to build and enable cloud computing if it is to regain its position as a technological leader in Asia Pacific.
Taiwan: Its economic policies have always been pro-business, but it is falling behind in the quality of its domestic broadband and data centre risk.
Thailand: The country is one of the top improvers in cloud readiness, jumping four places ahead of its previous rank, especially in its data risk profile. However, the recent announcement of military rule may quickly erode its gains as investors stay away due to the political uncertainty.
Vietnam: Will have to make considerable improvements before cloud providers will invest and host information within its borders. But the rollout of free WiFi in cities like Hoi An, Danang, Ha Long, Hue and Haiphong could stimulate demand for cloud services.
The Asia Cloud Computing Association was established in 2010 as an industry association comprising the stakeholders of the cloud computing ecosystem in Asia.
It works to ensure that the interests of the cloud computing community are effectively represented in the public policy debate. Its primary mission is to accelerate the growth of the cloud market in Asia, where it promotes the growth and development of cloud computing in Asia Pacific through dialogue, training, and public education.
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