Sunday, 12 August 2012

Cloud Computing Adoption in Asia

Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong are leading the adoption of Cloud hosted email and collaboration SaaS applications. However our observation is Singapore is now a head on the number of companies adopting Cloud.

Our observations come from direct enquiries to our company with most now coming from Singapore. We believe this increased demand is a direct result from the Singapore Government offering businesses based in Singapore a 400% tax deduction for all Cloud related services, including training. This incentive along with the cost savings associated with the Cloud has driven many small and mid-sized companies to consider and then adopt cloud computing.

In Hong Kong we believe the driving factors to adopting Cloud computing include:

  • reducing IT costs, including office space and salaries
  • reduce the reliance on 1-2 individuals in the IT department 
  • inability to attract or access quality staff

Other issues include using the latest technology in their business for competitive advantage as well as sharing data with China based staff without the traditional costs associated with private networks. 

While we do see some IT managers holding back their company's move to the Cloud, once we engage with business owners directly, there is no doubt their objects are in line with the benefits offered by the Cloud and we see the company quickly adopting Cloud.

With Hong Kong businesses having close ties to China it is important to work with a platform that can work in China. One Cloud suite that works is the Award Winning Business Suite from Zoho. This includes Zoho CRM, Zoho Database  Creator and Zoho Email.

While the Hong Kong office may benefit from full access to Google Apps and Google's mobile platform, the staff working in China may simply need to co-ordinate production with the factory or the sourcing process so simply having an email and chat enabled CRM application works and is all that is needed. This keeps everyone on the same page. Where large design or graphic files need to be shared a Cloud based file server such as Egnyte, allows files to be accessed from a central system or synchronized between several locations.

We have a number of clients now operating their Hong Kong and China offices in the Cloud. For the small business owner there has been no technology in the last 20 years, apart from the Internet, that has helped share information more cost effectively than Cloud Computing.

Where should a company start when adopting Cloud Computing?

This does depend on a number of factors and to some extent the size of your business. For example, a larger business may be able to adopt a Cloud based CRM system for their sales and marketing team without a lot of time or money.  Whereas the migration of Email would be a corporate wide issue and more planning and work may be required. For a small company, Email can normally be done quickly and requires minimal planning and re-training of staff.  On-line backup can also be added with no major impact on the organisation.

The key idea here is to identify the business application that makes your business better or more competitive. Focus your IT spend on this application. If you don't have one then it is time to think about getting one!

All the "need to have applications", like email, word processor, spreadsheet etc simply use SaaS apps. These applications do not make your business any better than the next company so spend the minimum on these but of course make sure they are reliable. So Google, Microsoft and Zoho are leading providers. 

Once you have sort this then look at moving all that data you currently have in Excel files to a database application like Zoho CRM. This will help you manage your leads and customer information and then automate much of your sales processes. Where you have developed a complex line-of-business application consider placing this in a private Cloud where all hardware and infrastructure is rented. Adopt on-line backup.

Finally consider moving your desktops to a virtualised private Cloud. Great benefits in reducing IT support and costs while improving overall security.

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