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5 mission-critical functions that organisations in Asia should migrate to the cloud

Why more businesses are migrating their basic and critical operations to the cloud


The cloud migration journeys of most organisations start with basic non-critical functions, like email or remote team collaboration. On the other hand, organisations have been less eager to migrate heavier functions, such as finance management, enterprise resource planning, and customer relationship management. 

But, in an uncertain and complex post-pandemic business landscape, the cloud—which promotes operational resilience and improves information security—may be the best place to keep your most critical functions.

Companies who refuse to migrate to the cloud may continue to face the challenges associated with managing mission-critical functions on legacy systems. These include difficulties securing the infrastructure, high maintenance costs, and potentially disruptive updates and upgrades because the system may be too rigid and complex.

In contrast, organisations that have migrated, or are in the process of migrating, enjoy benefits such as improved security and data compliance, more efficient system performance with lower latency, enhanced business agility, decreased IT costs, and faster implementation overall.

Although what’s considered “mission-critical'' varies by industry and by organisation, one thing holds through across contexts: the infrastructure supporting mission-critical functions has to be reliable, fast, and secure.

Already, organisations around the world are beginning to understand what they stand to gain. A Forrester survey, commissioned by Microsoft, of over 400 IT decision makers found that 70% of respondents have either already moved some of their mission-critical functions to the cloud or are actively planning to do so. About 12% plan to go all in and migrate all their mission-critical  functions.

Businesswoman Analyzing Graph On Laptop

In the Asia-Pacific (APAC), businesses are realising that a cloud-first approach gives them a competitive advantage. Spending on cloud-based services in the region reached a record high in the first quarter of 2021, and the government of Singapore, through the Infocomm Media Development Authority, is even helping SMEs migrate legacy systems to the cloud, as well as develop cloud-native solutions, through its GoCloud initiative.

Thinking about which functions to start migrating? Here’s how businesses in APAC are doing it.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) for healthcare

emale doctor looking and speaking at laptop computer to help patient on digital telehealth telemedicine

Migrating legacy ERP systems to the cloud is a major undertaking, but the pay-off is worth it. Research by IDC suggests that organisations that started their ERP cloud migration pre-pandemic fared better than those that didn’t and were better able to build new products, disrupt their markets, and become market leaders.

Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara (THKD) in Malaysia needed a reliable, secure, and scalable infrastructure to make operations more efficient, improve the quality of patient care, and support their expansion. Previously, their data had been siloed, which made it difficult to glean actionable insights into the hospital’s operations and provide patients with accurate information and financial counselling.

The hospital turned to T-Systems to implement a single-platform solution powered by the Azure public cloud. T-Systems set up THKD’s SAP ERP, SAP Patient Management, and SAP Cerner i.s.h. med (a clinical information system) to house the management of clinical, revenue cycle, and operational functions on a single platform. 

Now, the hospital can see real-time data on medical records, the billing process, and order supplies and can distill insights from this data to inform their decision-making. It has also reduced administrative burdens and shortened waiting times for patients. Overall, THKD’s migration to the cloud resulted in more effective and efficient operations.

Poor financial inclusion is a serious issue in APAC. Over a billion people in the region lack access to financial services. This is even more glaring in Southeast Asia, where about 75% of the population remains “unbanked” or “underbanked.”

Cloud banking, through cloud-based financial products from banks and fintech companies, offers some hope of making financial services more accessible. Cloud banking’s agility and cost-efficiency allows banks to offer their services at a lower cost. Making core banking functions accessible through a smartphone also lets them reach more people, including those historically disenfranchised from traditional financial services. 

Even financial institutions themselves will benefit from migrating their systems to the cloud. Bank of Asia, for example, has moved most of its critical functions to the Amazon Web Service (AWS) Cloud. These include know your customer (KYC) processes, account opening activities, and transaction processing.

It began its migration in 2019, with the goal of reducing costs and speeding up transactions. These cost savings are then passed on to their customers. The move also improved the bank’s flexibility: by allowing for API-enabled architecture in its core banking functions, Bank of Asia made their offerings available to the open banking system. This led to collaborations with international payment platforms and more transfer options for its customers.

Inventory management for retail

Two asian engineers in helmets checking goods and supplies on shelves with goods background in warehouse

According to the Digital Pulse of Asia Pacific Retail report, most retailers in Asia (80%) believe that digitalisation is essential for success. In 2020, amidst the COVID-19 crisis, digital technologies helped protect revenues: 43% said it helped them increase revenues, 31% said it helped maintain earnings, and 27% said it helped them mitigate declines.

Inventory management is a key function in retail that, if migrated to the cloud, could help retailers achieve omnichannel success. This addresses a significant pain point: the lack of visibility across online and offline channels. If POS and inventory systems don’t update in real-time, e-commerce channels may show an item as “available” at a particular branch when, in fact, that store doesn’t have it anymore. But with cloud-based inventory management systems, retailers have an always-up-to-date single source of truth across channels and for all users.

Machine control and monitoring for manufacturing

Manager in intelligent factory uses tablet for real time monitoring

In APAC, manufacturing remains a significant contributor to the economy and is expected to grow by 7.5% from 2021 to 2026. Further driving growth by transforming the industry is smart manufacturing, which incorporates cloud, IoT, AI, and big data. These technologies are boosting the speed, accuracy, precision, and overall efficiency of production.

In Indonesia, whose export-oriented manufacturing sector is larger than that of the UK, Russia, and Mexico, smart manufacturing is critical in the journey towards digital transformation and a more resilient industry. 

Several companies are already experimenting with ways to make their operations more intelligent. The Schneider Electric factory in Batam, Indonesia, for instance, integrates cloud, data, and industrial internet of things (IIoT) to get real-time information on the performance of its operations and machines. Since deploying these technologies, the company has seen a 17% reduction in hours spent on maintenance tasks and a 46% reduction in waste materials produced. Digitalising planning and scheduling management has also improved on-time delivery by 40%.

Operations management in airports

passenger in the airport

Disruptions of any kind can significantly impact an airport’s operations. Leveraging the cloud can help make it more resilient to shocks and stresses.

One such organisation that has made this bold move is the Beijing Daxing International Airport, which is undergoing expansions and, once completed, will serve 130 million passengers, occupy 700,000 sqm of terminal space, and operate seven runways and a high-speed train.

To fully support its growing operations, the airport turned to the cloud and T-System’s comprehensive Airport Management System (AMS). Its AMS incorporates an Operational Database with the following features:

  • Storage for all flight-related data to facilitate planning and management; 
  • A Resource Management System that automatically assigns resources, such as aircraft parking positions and baggage reclaim, using information from the database; 
  • A Flight Information Display System made up of over 3,000 displays across the facility; 
  • A collaborative communication platform that provides real-time status of activities; and 
  • An Enterprise Service Bus that connects all these components together.

This powerful cloud-based infrastructure will allow the airport to operate seamlessly and efficiently.

A smooth and secure cloud migration is possible with the right partner

As organisations deploy various workloads to the cloud, they will look for partners with the right capabilities. Migrating mission-critical functions may seem daunting at first, but, with the right tools and partners, it need not be turbulent. 

T-Systems can lead organisations towards a safe and efficient migration of their mission-critical functions to the cloud. To learn more about our diverse cloud solutions and how we can work together to make your organisation more resilient, visit the T-Systems website.

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