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SMEs to fuel cloud computing

Group addresses a requirement for common platforms in the region



Cloud computing is expected to be the next big move in the Infor-mation and Communications Technology (ICT) industry in Thailand and across the Asian region.

It is expected that the global market for cloud computing will grow at a compounded annual rate of 28 per cent. Spending on cloud services will generate nearly 14 million jobs worldwide by 2015 and information technology (IT) innovation created by cloud computing could produce US$1.1 trillion (Bt33 trillion) a year in new business revenues. Cloud computing has been a new and major trend and is expected to be a major game-changer for businesses.

Gartner Inc, a technology research firm, forecasts public cloud services will be worth $109 billion this year, while the European Union expects the cloud to add as much as $206 billion to annual gross domestic product (GDP) between now and 2020. And, at the end of 2016, more than 50 per cent of the top 1,000 global companies will have stored customer-sensitive data in the public cloud.

Asia-Pacific remains poised for continued economic growth. Key to this has been the performance and positioning of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which represent over 95 per cent of businesses in the region, generate over half of all employment and anywhere from 30-60 per cent of GDP.

The Asia Cloud Computing Association, Founded in September 2010, is actively involved in making cloud computing a reality by addressing the need for common platforms. The board of directors of the Asia Cloud Computing Association last week held a roundtable meeting in Bangkok to discuss current trends and future directions of cloud computing in Thailand and in the Asia-Pacific.

Asia-Pacific faces unique challenges to the adoption of cloud computing. The association's mission is to accelerate adoption of cloud computing in the region. Its membership includes a diverse profile of very influential cloud providers, cloud consumers and government cloud stakeholders, working together to provide thought leadership for cloud computing in Asia and to remove obstacles to adoption.

The mission of the association is to establish collaboration among cloud stakeholders in Asia and to accelerate the growth of the cloud market. It is to provide a platform for the members to debate growth strategies, share ideas and establish policies and best practices relating to the cloud-computing ecosystem, in order to ensure that the interests of the cloud-computing community are effectively represented in the public policy debate. It also provides certification and training services to define and support requirements that promote the cloud-computing ecosystem. It also aims to encourage the rapid adoption of cloud standards and to educate the business and consumer communities as to the value of cloud-based products and services.

At the country level, last month, Cloud Security Alliance's Thailand Chapter was officially established. It is a non-profit body under the Cloud Security Alliance with a mission of promoting the adoption and application of cloud computing in Thailand. It major role is to introduce best practices for security assurance for cloud computing, provide education and certification on cloud computing, and facilitate the adoption of CSA research and guidance by the Thai market.

Further, Thailand's e-Government Cloud scheme is a part of the ICT Ministry's Smart Thailand 2020 Strategy, which is actually part of the "Smart Government" pillar. There are three main pillars: Smart Government, Smart Network and Smart Province.

Attaphon Satidkanitkul, IDC Asia/Pacific's research manager for cross products and consulting said that organisations in the government sector are expected to continue rolling out initiatives to connect with the Government Cloud (G-cloud) and Government Information Network (GIN) in order to align with the Smart Thailand Master Plan. However, questions remain as to whether or not enterprises can make the best use of emerging technologies such as "big data" and analytics as well as cloud technology.

Thanachart Numnonda, the director of the IMC Institute, said cloud computing is also an opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), claiming that they can use ICT for their businesses with low investment, since there is no capital expenditures (CAPEX), while customers pay as they use. Therefore, they can focus on their business and maintain business continuity.

Cloud computing is one of four main "mega-technology" focuses of the IMC Institute: cloud computing, mobile technology, social technology and big data. These trends have impact on the IT industry, particularly on the software industry. IMC's mission is to conduct market and policy research on IT human capital and usage of emerging technologies in Thailand. It will provide training on emerging technologies for both IT and non-IT people. The training courses will focus on both executives and IT professionals. It also supports business matching for start-up companies, especially those with emerging technologies, to go global and become ready for the Asean Economic Community in 2015.

There are many computing opportunities in Thailand. With the increase in the use of smart devices, both smart phones and tablets, large enterprises are starting to invest in private clouds. Public cloud services, especially Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), are in high demand, as data centres in Thailand start to offer IaaS and independent software vendors explore the Software as a Service (SaaS) model.

However, Thannachart said there are problems facing cloud services for SMEs. They include a lack of awareness and misunderstanding about cloud computing, security concerns, low penetration of broadband and Internet access, the data protection law, and the limited number of local cloud service providers, both SaaS (application) and IaaS (data centre).


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