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The View from Hong Kong: Launching Cloud Offerings in Asia

Since co-founding AppDirect in 2009, I’ve criss-crossed the globe to spread the word about using technology to empower businesses. To that end, the AppDirect team and I recently traveled to Hong Kong for the Cloud World Series Asia conference, the premier cloud event in the APAC region. It was exciting to see so many people interested in exploring the cloud opportunity in one place.

But what exactly does it take to launch a successful cloud offering in APAC? At the conference, I had the pleasure of leading a pre-conference workshop on just that topic. I also had the honor of chairing the Telco Cloud stream where we highlighted some key points that service providers need to consider before going full-speed ahead with cloud initiatives in the APAC region. Here are just a few:

  • Mobility: In the United States and Europe, the Internet is the leading driver for business connectivity. In Asia, wireless dominates the business landscape and many businesses only have wireless subscriptions and no connected Internet. This means bundling strategies that work well in the US and Europe, such as bundling cloud services with broadband, are non-starters in Asia.
     
  • Price: There is sufficient demand for cloud software in Asia. However, most businesses that choose to deploy it will be first-time applications users, and there is limited, or perhaps zero, budget available to put toward this effort. To overcome this, it is critical to focus on articulating the cost-saving benefits and total cost of ownership for cloud software.
     
  • Service Assurance: Quality connectivity depends on the country and the leading service providers in the region. Hong Kong and Singapore have some of the best Internet coverage in the world, whereas Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia struggle to offer high service assurance around cloud connectivity. This, too, could prove to be a barrier to cloud adoption, so communicating to customers about service assurance is critical.

As a continent, Asia lags significantly behind the United States and Europe in service provider cloud adoption. However, specific markets are bringing highly innovative and targeted solutions to market. For example, YTL Communications has taken an innovative approach in Malaysia by focusing on the tourism industry. The company is aggregating local applications that make back-office management easier for companies in this vertical. I anticipate other service providers to follow suit and offer more applications and services via marketplaces.

Clearly, APAC is a region that is ripe with opportunities in the cloud, especially when it comes to delivering cloud-based services. I look forward to seeing how the cloud adoption grows and changes in the coming years, both in Asia and beyond.

Photo of Daniel Saks Posted by Daniel Saks on Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

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