Cloud adoption is on the rise in Asia and tipped to be a major business priority for 2023, with our latest survey showing that 84 percent of Asian businesses expect to fully migrate to the cloud within the next two years.
As a concept, the cloud has been around for a while but, for the uninitiated, putting a cloud strategy in place can still be a daunting prospect and it can be hard to know where to start.
Explaining why businesses need the cloud and how they can get started, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence’s General Manager of Singapore, South Asia and Thailand, Derek Wang, noted that the cloud is a way of storing data on Internet servers instead of your computer’s hard drive.
This, Wang said, provides a range of benefits:
- Increasing accessibility across regions: Businesses with stored data on the cloud are able to access data and applications across multiple regions. In recent years, the pandemic shone a light on the importance of being able to access data from any location when lockdowns occurred, and remote working took over.
- Bolstering data security: A recent survey commissioned by Alibaba Cloud, The Next Generation Cloud Strategy in Asia, found that security is the top consideration for Asian businesses when choosing their cloud strategy and cloud vendors. In choosing their cloud vendors, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of all respondents stated that security is the most important consideration, outweighing other factors such as availability (58 precent) and cost (55 percent).
- Opportunity to scale: Scaling up can be done quickly and easily on cloud and resources can be automatically allocated to certain aspects of websites or applications. For example, during last year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, Alibaba Cloud’s upgraded infrastructure system successfully supported the event by significantly improving efficiency through automatically changing needs within the Taobao app by growing or shrinking resources based on actual usage. Cloud also helps to provide fewer delays to ensure smoother in-app experiences for users.
- Strong data mining capabilities: Companies are increasingly accelerating their adoption of deep technologies from artificial intelligence (AI) to the metaverse, and cloud technologies help them to access and analyse statistics around their business operations, allowing companies to better understand how they can make their business run more efficiently. Companies can also use these insights to understand their customers’ needs and wants, which allows them to make their operations more targeted.
- Achieving more sustainable business operations: Using the cloud can also help businesses to meet their carbon reduction targets. For example, our Energy Expert, Alibaba Cloud’s software-as-a-service sustainability solution, calculates carbon emissions and helps businesses to plan and implement energy-saving and carbon-reduction strategies. This solution is used to analyse carbon emissions at Lightwave: Turning the Tide, an immersive light display coming under the umbrella of i Light Singapore 2023 being held at Marina Bay from June 1 to 25, 2023. The sustainability solution also provides actionable insights and energy-saving recommendations for future editions of the event.
Choosing the right cloud for your business
Wang added that once businesses are convinced of the need to have a cloud strategy, the next step is to choose the model that is right for the business and there are several options to consider.
- Public cloud: While convenient, anyone in the company can access services and applications on public cloud. The cloud infrastructure is owned by the cloud provider and not the end-users.
- Private cloud: Being compatible with legacy systems, a private cloud does not require a complete overhaul to adopt. Only one user can access the hardware and software involved and unauthorized users are prevented from accessing data and resources due to a protective firewall.
- Hybrid cloud: This combines both public and private cloud, allowing companies to enjoy the best of both. Companies are also able to transfer their data and applications from one cloud to the other.
- Multi-cloud: More than using multiple forms of public cloud, this method also utilizes multiple cloud providers. This provides companies with consistent reliability as there is less likelihood of separate clouds failing at the same time.
Once you have decided on the type of cloud model that is right for your business, how do you get started?
Wang notes that Alibaba Cloud's latest survey, The Next Generation Cloud Strategy in Asia, revealed “insufficient training for employees” to be one of the top three barriers to cloud adoption across all types of cloud strategy, so adequate training is essential to make sure your team is set up for success when it comes to deployment.
In addition to this, businesses need to find the right partner, and this starts with knowing your business’ needs while understanding the priorities and conducting proper research into public, private and hybrid clouds to find out which works better. Businesses also need to have a long-term view to set themselves up for long-term success; they should be forecasting the business’ future as well as what is needed right now.
As more and more companies large and small embrace the cloud, Alibaba Cloud is proud to be a partner on the journey with them, drawing on our decades of experience across more than 200 countries and thousands of customers, to offer best-in-class support and solutions that help the organizations we work with to grow, improve, and stay competitive in the digital age, Wang said.
He provided some examples of how Alibaba Cloud has worked with customers to help them on their cloud journey.
To meet the demands of an increasingly digital-native consumer audience today, financial service institutions need to adopt solutions that are catered to improve speeds, flexibility, bandwidth, and operational efficiency – all while ensuring a secure operational infrastructure.
For Singapore-based online and brokerage platform Tiger Brokers, time and security were the two main goals they were looking to fulfil when choosing Alibaba Cloud as their cloud provider.
Tiger Brokers Singapore's CEO Thiam Choon Eng said: “We’ve managed to reinforce security at various points of our infrastructure – at the network, systems, database, monitoring and mailing layers. Enhancing network performance and availability was how we saw us having a more stable, reliable, and scalable database infrastructure.
"In addition, we were able to make more informed business decisions with the introduction of the log service. Most importantly, it provided us with robust functions to communicate with our users effectively and instantaneously through notifications across multiple channels including the marketing channel,"
Going forward, Tiger Brokers will be working with Alibaba Cloud to develop big data analytics solutions delivered on mobile platforms to provide customers with better and more immediate visualisations of market behaviour.
Alibaba Cloud has helped future-proof Singapore's status as a global logistics hub.
To help Singapore hold onto its crown as one of the world’s leading logistics hubs, Alibaba Cloud works with many logistics providers to digitalize and streamline their logistics networks.
For example, they have been working with JUSTI Pte Ltd, a homegrown investment holdings company specialising in last-mile delivery operations to improve their real-time field dispatch capabilities.
Adopting Alibaba Cloud’s cloud technologies have provided them with better visibility and control across the entire delivery chain, from parcel status tracking to real-time AI route designing and task scheduling. This has enabled them to significantly cut down on manpower costs and overall has seen a higher customer satisfaction rate.
Earlier this year, Alibaba Cloud launched it's first International Product Innovation Centre and Partner Management Centre in Singapore to better serve our customers here and globally by developing market-specific solutions and enabling local collaborations amongst partners.
For more information about the future of the cloud in the region, download our latest survey report here, or visit Alibaba Cloud to find out how our suite of solutions and expert local consultants could help your business today.