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Microsoft CTO Richard Koh explains the risks and opportunities of cloud adoption in APAC

Organizations across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region are resetting priorities and recalibrating their approach towards work in the post-pandemic world.

More companies are now looking to modernize their IT infrastructure. Both to create more robust and seamless ways of working. As well as to enhance operational and business efficiencies.

As Computer Weekly reports, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) was the top contributor to overall public cloud spending in 2020. It made up 48% of cloud market share in the APAC region. This includes spending on compute, storage, and networking – all of which will continue to have healthy demand between 2021 and 2024, according to the report.

This was followed by software-as-a-service (SaaS), the second largest contributor to overall cloud spending in APAC with a market share of roughly 40%.

According to Computer Weekly, APAC organizations spent the bulk of SaaS budgets on cloud hosted applications and are expected to increase spending on collaboration, productivity and security tools to support remote working and innovation.

In the meantime, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) made up for about 11% of cloud market share in 2020.

With cloud adoption, comes opportunities to optimize cost and workflows

Demand for cloud services due to rapid digital transformation is quickly changing the delivery of business solutions. At present, the market is undergoing a rapid shift that impacts entire supply chains.

In response to that, research from IDC highlights that across APAC, cloud providers are now offering a mix of new-and-improved services. They include new cloud infrastructure, application, and managed and professional cloud services to meet unprecedented customer demand.

Meanwhile for IT decision makers, cloud presents a force that is elevating their roles to that of innovators and catalysts of organizational growth.

According to Richard Koh, chief technology officer at Microsoft Singapore, “The shift to cloud enables organizations to rethink their digital transformation opportunities, reimagine their products and services, optimize their operations, engage customers in new ways, and empower their employees to achieve more. All this needs to be connected with a digital feedback loop.”

By leveraging the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge, hybrid cloud architectures and systems, organizations can take advantage of innovations in security and artificial intelligence, as they work seamlessly with in-house applications. This enables IT teams to focus on strategic and analytical tasks, and better use their skills to enhance operational and business efficiency.

However, knowledge gaps could threaten transformation

Often lacking is critical understanding of how digital transformation and cloud technologies can impact the business. There are also gaps in understanding how to effectively plan and deploy the critical skills needed to power the journey.

For Microsoft’s Koh, knowledge gaps are the “biggest risk” in cloud adoption. If not properly addressed, it could hamper or even derail an organization’s digital transformation in the long run.

“As a rule of thumb, technology decision makers must first assess the knowledge level and technical competency of their teams as they embark on any digital transformation initiatives. It’s become increasingly important especially with the accelerated digital transformation brought on by the pandemic,” he shares.

“Some organizations run with the assumption that their existing resources or people would readily know what the cloud is and what it does. This isn’t always true in reality,” says Koh.

Koh explains that without clear understanding, IT teams can end up making the wrong technological assumptions and subsequently, choices. Or architecting applications in ways that are not as efficient. Combined, these factors could result in what is known as “technical debt”.

Broadly, technical debt describes what happens when development teams expedite the delivery of a project or a functionality without due considerations of the trajectory of technology innovation – only to have to refactor it later. This could be due to a variety of reasons, including time-to-market considerations, or legacy way of architecting systems .

Koh elaborates, “For example, if you start building something with a legacy architecture approach but realize afterwards that it doesn’t align with your business objectives in agility, costs management, security and resiliency. Eventually, you go back and redo or reinvest in rearchitecting, or refactoring your applications. All of which will cost significant time, resources and money.”

Also read: What’s the cost of not digitally transforming?

Cloud solutions can improve organizational security

Another concern commonly associated with cloud adoption is cybersecurity risk. This comes especially as the APAC region experienced a higher-than-average rate of malware and ransomware attacks. At 1.6 and 1.7 times higher respectively than the rest of the world.

“However, these incidents are far and few in between,” says Koh, who likens security lapses to “shark attacks”. “If you add up the total number of shark attacks that happen around the world, there’s actually not a whole lot. The same goes for autonomous cars. But whenever you hear about one of such incidents, they get magnified.”

“Statistically, security risks such as data breaches also tend to happen more frequently with on-premise setups”, says Koh. This risk is amplified when teams have not modernized their security posture toward Zero Trust principles.

In that vein, Koh explains that because cloud technologies can provide threat detection and protection at scale, there is collective intelligence towards cybersecurity threats.

“Unfortunately, cyber-attacks are a lot more sophisticated today than what they used to be. To counter these, organizations must adapt, not just in terms of cloud platforms usage; but in their technical appreciation of how to approach cybersecurity in the modern digital age,” Koh concludes.

Ensuring a seamless cloud transition

For successful cloud adoption, you first need to align solutions to meet your business needs. This is possible with transformative training that delivers knowledge and expertise at every stage of your migration journey. As Microsoft’s 2019/2020 Intelligent Communications Partner of the Year, we can help you discover your options and best migration practices and strategies to help you achieve your target cloud environment.

Many businesses already understand the value of moving to Microsoft Teams. However, to realize its full potential and make the move a success, the right partnership and innovation is needed to support with what can be a complex transition. We have worked with many companies to ensure their smooth journey to Microsoft Teams, and we can help with yours too.

The world of work is now being re-worked. Let us help you create a dynamic and robust future, seamlessly.Get started on your cloud journey with Microsoft Teams today!

About the author

As Content Marketing and Campaigns Manager, Fiona oversees all marketing-related content initiatives within the APAC region. She has over a decade of collective experience in journalism, public relations and marketing communications across tech, finance and real estate industries.

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