- Solid fundamentals behind the phenomenal growth of e-commerce
- Same factors will play a similar role in the computing market
E-COMMERCE has been booming across Asia Pacific over the past few years. According to the Global B2C E-Commerce Report, Asia Pacific is not only the world’s biggest e-commerce market, but also the fastest growing.
Alibaba alone had record sales of US$14 billion during its China Singles’ Day shopping festival this year, testament to the strength of the regional e-commerce market.
There are solid fundamentals behind this phenomenal growth, factors which would play a similar role in driving growth in the regional cloud computing market.
E-commerce providers are experiencing rapid growth because they offer consumers ease of use, flexibility, reliability and security, all of which combine to create an unparalleled customer experience, resulting in a high level of customer loyalty and satisfaction.
And this is exactly the catalyst that will ignite growth in the Asia Pacific cloud market in 2016.
Making it easy
The savvy Asian consumer knows that the best e-commerce platforms are friction-free and easy to use.
Cloud computing providers are taking note and following suit by offering the seamless development and deployment of cloud platforms, thereby, making it simple and easy to adopt cloud services.
Cloud platforms bring together network, data centre infrastructure, and cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Salesforce.com and others to give enterprises a complete solution for supporting cloud services.
Enterprises in Asia Pacific which have limited experience in deploying cloud services due to a lack of infrastructure skills or technical expertise can benefit from a seamless cloud enablement platform.
This will help them to leapfrog from a fragmented cloud environment into an on-demand cloud ecosystem, where they can easily access a multitude of services and connectivity.
Enterprises want complete solutions where they no longer have to manage multiple technology partners. CIOs (chief information officers) want a seamless environment with single or dual provider strategy that provides flexibility, diversity as well as performance delivery.
That’s where I believe service providers in Asia Pacific can truly differentiate their business and compete for new enterprise revenue.
They have the network as a core foundation layer for the enablement of cloud platforms. The next step would be to develop platforms that remove friction from accessing cloud services and accelerate how enterprises adopt cloud at an economic cost.
This will accelerate local cloud adoption in Asia because it will give enterprises a predictable and reliable solution for managing and deploying multiple clouds, and is a real opportunity in a region that has such stark variations in infrastructure, development and market maturity.
A flexible environment
The second parallel I see with e-commerce is a new level of flexibility in the user experience.
Every time you visit an e-commerce site, the platform is flexing to your needs, adjusting to offer you rapid access to the products and services that you want.
In the same way, the simplicity of cloud enablement platforms needs to be supported by secure and flexible options for service delivery.
Security is driving the need for different service levels, and service providers that want to compete need to offer SLAs (service-level agreements) from the network to the application layer, end-to-end and with managed encryption services.
There is a deeper requirement for security and Quality of Experience (QoE) in the cloud and this is going to be a challenge.
This is particularly true in the hybrid cloud, where some applications sit in the private cloud while others reside in the public ones.
By offering a mix of public and private clouds with strict SLAs, service providers will be able to customise their solutions to a diverse range of customer needs.
Enterprises are looking for solutions that segregate consumer apps and content from business applications with the ability to prioritise business application traffic.
With such complex and diverse market environments across Asia, enterprises need the flexibility to decide which option best meets their needs – private, public, or hybrid. Cloud companies that are able to deliver on this will have a distinct advantage over their competitors.
It is up to each service provider to shape an offering that is secure, flexible and managed right to the end-user level.
The year ahead
Just as we’ve seen with Alibaba’s phenomenal growth, I see 2016 as a pivotal year for cloud platforms in Asia Pacific.
By delivering greater ease of use, security, seamlessness and flexibility, cloud platforms can offer local, regional and global enterprises operating in Asia, a tailored solution that will drive the adoption of cloud computing services – perhaps to the same level as the growth of e-commerce companies.
Conor Carroll is senior vice president of Sales for Europe, Asia, and the Americas, Tata Communications.
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