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Is your business ready for a “cloud-first” approach?

Find out if “cloud-first” can give your business a major competitive edge in today's increasingly complex business landscape.

29 July 2021

Is your business ready for a “cloud-first” approach?

Doing business in Asia is uniquely challenging because of the high degree of fragmentation in markets. To better maintain services, develop new products, and run regional operations on a day-to-day basis, organisations require infrastructure that can accommodate better business continuity, increased collaboration, and higher levels of automation all without drastically increasing capital expenditures or payroll costs. 

The cloud emerged as an ideal solution for addressing all of these needs. 

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms, infrastructure such as remote datacentres, and cloud-based collaboration tools now form the backbone of many modern organisations; their adoption has been accelerated by the exigencies of the pandemic. Businesses have increased their spending on SaaS year-on-year; Asia-Pacific (APAC)  cloud spending was up by 38% in 2020. 

Cloud-based operations are no longer at the periphery –they now underpin many essential operations that keep Asia’s biggest concerns in business. Many businesses, in fact, now adopt a “cloud-first” strategy for the long term.

But what does it mean to be “cloud-first” and is your business ready for it?

What is a cloud-first approach?

Group of asian business people meeting online on desk workplace

A cloud-first approach is based on operations strategies where teams move all or most of their infrastructure to cloud-computing platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure. Rather than relying on physical resources like on-site centres, businesses house their mission-critical infrastructure and sensitive data online.

These businesses have found that, beyond automating and simplifying business processes, cloud-based platforms are also much better than legacy systems at deriving actionable insights from large amounts of data.

In practice, this means using mostly (or only) cloud-based payroll systems, which are better able to integrate and process payroll data from countries; connecting remote offices over cloud-based communication and collaboration tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams; and analysing customer information on cloud-based platforms for a better understanding of customer behavior; to name a few.

Furthermore, given the pandemic and its impact on the economy, many companies have accelerated their shift to a more digital approach—one based on wholesale cloud adoption, enabling them to more easily respond to changing circumstances. 

As more companies acquired competence over their cloud operations, they found that a cloud-first approach translates to greater resource accessibility, better products and services, and lower costs.

Why are APAC businesses adopting a cloud-first approach?

Asian businessman at work on a desk using a laptop computer

Modern business is complex, and for many, “cloud-first” has become a major competitive advantage. After all, the Internet is increasing commercial activity and innovation in Asian countries, and to succeed in these growing markets, companies need stronger, more powerful infrastructure – larger than they can provide on their own.

To keep pace with regional growth, public cloud adoption in APAC has consistently outpaced that of US and European markets. To meet the growing enterprise demand, Amazon Web Services is investing $2.8 billion in a second cloud region in APAC, and other providers are dedicating large portions of their own resources into APAC cloud facilities.

Every business has its own reason for taking a cloud-first approach; let’s look at the most common ones.

Less hassle. Companies that want to construct their own sprawling servers and data centres encounter highly variable costs and language barriers between countries. Additionally, each country has its own building and construction regulations. Centralised cloud providers eliminate this hassle.

Not limited by geography. With cloud infrastructure, organisations can seamlessly deploy whole business services in multiple markets and make changes on-the-go.

Customized infrastructure. Cloud-based infrastructure gives enterprise users the freedom of tailoring virtual machines, storage capacity, applications, and functions according to their own unique needs. Companies can customise the best solution without being locked down to a single provider—and they’ll only pay for what they use.

Ideal for APAC markets. Fragmented markets and geographies are a hallmark of APAC and ASEAN regions. Cloud resources are ideal because they can be accessed at any time and from any location.

Enable critical functions. Modern businesses frequently perform resource-intensive analytics and run AI algorithms to spot complex patterns in data. Additionally, companies are relying more on sensors and machines linked by the Internet-of-Things. Cloud enables these core functions to be completed more efficiently and quickly.

Transitioning to the cloud is easier said than done

Though the cloud brings tremendous benefits for business, many face a dilemma in actually transitioning to the cloud from offline.

Businesses in 2021 juggle about 80 IT-sanctioned SaaS apps, a fivefold increase in just three years. It’s true that cloud infrastructure can be bulky, overwhelming, and difficult to manage—but only if implemented without a decisive top-down strategy. In fact, a third of businesses fail their cloud transitions because they did not centralize the cloud within their overarching business plans.

The ability to make the most of cloud technology is a skill—one that needs time and training to perfect. It’s natural for traditional businesses to experience challenges, delays, and frustrations during the transition.

Fortunately, many modern cloud providers are committed to the dual roles of education and implementation of cloud tech. You can learn from and consult with experienced industry partners such as T-Systems, which has decades of experience at the forefront of the global transition to I4.0. 

What does cloud readiness look like?

Asian man using mobile phone during online working on laptop computer from home office

Before any cloud project, the organisation must assess its available resources and the current state of its IT environment. This helps determine if it is ready to migrate. You might develop your own readiness framework or work in tandem with your cloud provider to develop a full-fledged IT plan. Here are some questions we can help you answer:

  • What is the extent of my company’s current IT use?
  • How soon do I want/need to transition to the cloud? How will it benefit me?
  • Do we understand the differences between the models and types of cloud platforms?
  • What are the gaps in my organization that can be filled with cloud services?
  • Who will be leading the transition?
  • How will I store sensitive data? How do I transfer data securely?

A transition to the cloud is fundamentally a project, and it follows the same steps as any other major project or undertaking. You should collect resources and crucial information at the beginning, and the initiative should be clearly linked back to the business’ direction as a whole.

Ready to start your journey to the cloud?

Moving to the cloud may be a piecemeal process, but companies ultimately need to follow a centralized and unified strategy that’s developed in partnership with the right business partners and experts. With the right help, you’ll be able to responsibly manage tools, make data-driven decisions, and accurately tools and platforms are no longer useful—all valuable steps in the transition to the cloud.

The cloud offers undeniable advantages over using co-located hardware and in-house servers—and digital experts can help businesses realize the potential and manage specific risks. Come and consult with T-Systems today to learn how cloud might be best applied to your business.

Ensure your company's full potential is realised

Let us help you assess your cloud readiness—we'll review your available resources and the current state of your IT environment as your first step to your “cloud-first” approach.

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