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SPECIAL REPORT: Cloud in Phl, quo vadis?

Upgrade Magazine talks with IT experts to understand what continue to be challenges for a market like the Philippines, and what steps can be taken to continue pushing this forward.

In April, Canalys reported that – for Q1 alone – the global cloud infrastructure services market grew by 42%. Perhaps it is better understood in dollar terms, with AWS (still the market leader) reporting sales growth increasing by 41% (that’s $2.3 billion). Even Microsoft – a distant second-placer – registered a 75% growth (meaning, it was up by $1.5 billion). And Google, the fastest growing player, grew 83% (from $1.2 billion to $2.3 billion).

Not surprisingly, Canalys noted that 2019 will further stress the “battle for enterprise customers” as “leading cloud service providers seek to maintain high growth rates”.

“The cloud infrastructure market is moving into a new phase of hybrid IT adoption, with businesses demanding cloud services that can be more easily integrated with their on-premises environments,” said Canalys chief analyst Alastair Edwards. “As enterprises become more selective about which workloads are moved to the cloud, and which remain in their own data centers, cloud service providers must develop new strategies that ensure their continued relevance. Most cloud service providers are now looking at ways to enter customers’ existing data centers, either through their own products or via partnerships.”

Canalys is not the first – nor will it be the last – to note the inevitability of cloud dominance.

Even before Canalys – and just for instance – IDG reported in December 2018 that 73% of enterprises have at least one application, or a portion of their computing infrastructure, already in the cloud. For better or worse, IT departments are said to be feeling the pressure to migrate 100% to the cloud.

And even earlier than the IDG report – this time in May 2018 – F5 Networks released a report, “The State of Application Delivery 2018”, that revealed the growing trend among local organizations in the Philippines to already shifting to the multi-cloud to deploy or access services. Over 50% of IT professionals surveyed for the F5 report said they already utilize two to six cloud environments.

Here’s the thing, though: For all the continuing talks about cloud (and cloud adoption), why aren’t we fully “cloudified” yet?

It is worth noting that the private sector does not have monopoly on cloud (adoption, and even conversation), particularly since there is recognition that cloud adoption in the public sector increases access of citizens to services.

In an earlier interview, Microsoft Corporation regional lawyer Jarom Britton was quoted as saying: “Cloud computing enables the smallest government with the smallest budget to have access to the same IT resources as the largest governments in the world… Cloud-based technologies will drive much of the public sector’s future transformation by presenting a secure and cost-efficient model for delivering citizen-centric services.”

Here’s the thing, though: For all the continuing talks about cloud (and cloud adoption), why aren’t we fully “cloudified” yet?

Upgrade Magazine talks with IT experts to understand what continue to be challenges for a market like the Philippines, and what steps can be taken to continue pushing this forward.

Cloud-based security management makes sense – Kaspersky

While primarily a cybersecurity company, “we have observed that Internet speed has always been the top issue in terms of cloud adoption in the country,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, GM for Southeast Asia of Kaspersky Lab.

Tiong noted that cloud adoption has grown and continues to grow. In fact, “our local customers already understand the advantages and disadvantages of being in the cloud. They already know which application should go on premise and which should be on cloud. It’s a hybrid approach in most cases, no single entity is 100% on cloud.”

Tiong believes that this is because of the challenges presented when maintaining both on-premise and cloud.

And so Kaspersky offers “technologies and services that are powered by our over 20 years of threat hunting and a decade of experience in machine learning. And this, he believes, is relevant as companies still continue to find their footing in the cloud.

Unfamiliarity and perceived high risks affect cloud adoption – Infor’s Helen Masters

“Cloud adoption in the Philippines continues to grow and as companies move towards the cloud to expand and scale-up their operations, maintaining the integrity of the system becomes an increasingly difficult task. Companies are also constantly competing to recruit a limited talent pool to build a secure and seamless cloud environment for the company,” said Helen Masters, SVP and GM of Asia Pacific at Infor.

But there remain challenges, including: security concerns; data privacy and compliance; and the difficulty in understanding the breadth and complexity of cloud solutions.

In the case of Infor at least, having specialized offerings helps.

In the end, “by showing our customers’ successes in their implementations and thereafter improvements in their processes, sales and operations. We are also known to be specialized by industries that few other players are able to match in scale and depth as Infor,” Masters ended.

Security issues can be solved by right products and solutions – Zebra Technologies

According to Tracy Yeo, Zebra Technologies country lead in the Philippines, the top three issues that are hindering the widespread adoption of cloud technology in the Philippines are: fear of security breaches, lack of IT knowledge, and the lack of internet infrastructure in the country.

As it is, “enterprises in the Philippines consider cloud technology to be a powerful tool that can improve business operations and services. In fact, about 30% of the total workload in the country are already in the cloud,” Yeo said. “However, while businesses are open to adopting cloud technology, most of them are wary about the security of the platform. This is especially after several high-profile security breaches that have taken place in recent years. The general perception in the country is that transitioning to the cloud makes users more vulnerable to security breaches.”

But Yeo said that there are companies – such as Zebra Technologies – that “has been empowering” businesses to achieve “performance edge.”

In Zebra Technology’s case, in particular, “for the past 50 years, (we have) a wide range of solutions and products including mobile computers, printers, scanners, RFID solutions, locating systems hardware and software, among others, to cater to the varying needs of its end-customers.”

‘Still a long way ahead for Phl to become fully cloud ready’ – Vertiv Phl

“There is still a long road ahead for the Philippines to become fully cloud ready.” This is according to Jason Lim, country manager of Vertiv Philippines. But “improvements are being made across the industry… thanks to government support and its adoption of a ‘cloud first’ policy.”

When it comes to the challenges faced by the country (that affect its cloud-readiness), the three concerns faced by customers are: security, infrastructure readiness and resources.

But in the end, “concerns regarding security, infrastructure readiness and resources are causing many companies to be hesitant to shift to a cloud-first policy. In addition, bandwidth concerns, such as slow internet speeds, remain a concern. Many companies here, however, are slowly but surely transitioning to a cloud-based approach, but there is still much to be done.”

Hesitance present due to uncertainty of how to start with cloud journey – MIS & IT Group

“In today’s digital shift, decision-makers are now taking on steps to embark on a cloud adoption journey,” said Mauch Franco, group head for cloud, online and data center services at MIS & IT Group. “Organizations believe cloud can help them thrive in the ever-changing digital environment as they seek new revenue streams and business models. With cloud, businesses can deliver their products and services faster, optimize their performance, and improve the reliability of their services.”

However, and unfortunately, “many organizations are hesitant due to the uncertainty of how to start with their cloud journey as well as the uncertainty of what benefits cloud will actually deliver to the business.”

And this uncertainty is one of the key issues about cloud adoption that MIS & IT Group has encountered in offering services with clients in the Philippines.

For Franco, to make the journey to the cloud as smooth as possible, a hybrid cloud approach will be a good strategy. “Hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment that uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud and third-party, public cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are only a few local cloud providers that may have the necessary experience, expertise and appropriate cloud infrastructure to effectively assist companies in their cloud journey.”

To respond to these challenges, VST ECS Philippines, Inc is launching the first and only Azure Stack in the Philippines, offered on a subscription basis.

Companies using cloud should rethink how they manage, optimize core business processes – IBM Cloud

“Some still perceive cloud only as an Infrastructure as a Services (IaaS) rather than a Platform as a Service (PaaS), where vendors can provide most of the cloud services that clients still need to manage in IaaS environments.”

This is according to Catherine Palma, Country Manager for IBM Cloud.

In the experience of IBM Cloud, the top three specific issues about cloud adoption encountered in offering services in clients in the Philippines are: 1) Industry regulations and compliance requirements around the protection of their client’s personal data when being processed; 2) Their applications are not cloud-ready and will require a massive rebuild to move to the cloud; and 3) Their data is sensitive, they are unsure about the level of security cloud provides.

“Most companies are in the very early stages of their journey to the cloud. Indeed, less than 20% of enterprise workloads have moved to the cloud. Why? Because the initial focus has been on the low-end infrastructure-as-a-service opportunity. While this segment of the cloud market is rapidly becoming the new dial tone of IT, a commodity service, most companies are starting to turn their attention to leveraging the cloud to rethink how they manage and optimize core business processes,” Palma said.

And so the company offers “customer-based or industry-based cloud discovery sessions that present relevant use cases that our clients can learn from and assess their own cloud adoption readiness.  We offer a combination of consulting, technology and services package-models for prioritized use cases for their business.”

SPECIAL REPORT: Cloud in Phl, quo vadis?
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