Asia's first "Cloud Readiness Index," prepared and published by the Asia Cloud Computing Association, shows a mixed picture in terms of harnessing the power and economic benefits of cloud computing.
The league table, which analyses 10 key attributes critical to the successful deployment and use of cloud computing technology in 14 countries across the region, shows that Japan is in the lead, with Hong Kong second and South Korea and Singapore following close behind in joint third place.
China, and the fellow economic giant, India are in 8th and 9th place respectively – reflecting the challenges these economies must overcome in order to speed adoption and enjoy a brighter, more prosperous digital future.
"Technology has always been a great enabler of opportunity for business, communities and citizens. Cloud technologies offer the potential for lowering technology costs and creating time to market advantages. Additionally, cloud technologies promise to securely democratize data access – and in doing so, creatie a myriad of value-add possibilities across Asia," said Bernie Trudel, Chairman of the Asia Cloud Computing Association and Cloud CTO at Cisco APAC.
Per Dahlberg, founder and CEO of the Association believes that to realise this potential in Asia, the region needs to harmonise policy and regulatory frameworks to promote effective trade in digital information and services.
"Achieving that requires an active debate with an Asia focus. This is exactly what the new Cloud Readiness Index aims to stimulate," he says.
The "Cloud Readiness Index" is designed to track Asia's progress toward a complete spectrum of cloud computing-based infrastructures and services. By mapping the conditions and criteria required for successful implementation and uptake, the Association aims to identify potential bottlenecks that could slow adoption and threaten Asia's digital future.
The Index helps identify the gaps between policy, legal and commercial cloud drivers. This is achieved by leveraging the works of other trade associations, NGOs and publicly available sources in order to provide a tool for businesses, and even policy makers to look at the cloud in a more holistic manner.
The index considers regulatory conditions; international connectivity; data protection policy; broadband quality; government prioritisation; power grid quality; Internet filtering; business efficiency index; global risk; and ICT development.
Countries and the Cloud
Despite some concerns around global risk due to earthquake fault lines and the efficiency of doing business, Japan, the world's third largest economy, has proven itself well and truly ready to maximise the opportunities from cloud computing.
A mature IT market, it has established itself with a set of known regulations and conditions that encourage cloud computing within Japan and is therefore posed for significant growth in the future.
At No. 2, Hong Kong is increasingly becoming the North Asia data hub with many cloud service providers setting up data centres in the SAR. World leading broadband penetration and excellent international connectivity, coupled with good policy governance, provides a strong platform for cloud adoption by HK government and local businesses.
South Korea and Singapore share No. 3 spot.
South Korea has an ambitious cloud strategy, with the government investing US$500 million to incubate the cloud for both public and private sector cloud initiatives, and raising their investment to US$2 billion by 2014. Their aim is to capture 10 per cent of the global cloud market by 2014 and achieve a 50 percent reduction in IT infrastructure op-ex in the public sector by 2015.
In Singapore, it is apparent that the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and other government agencies understand the significance of the cloud to economic competitiveness.
While Singapore scored well in most categories, the development of its data protection law will be an important accelerator to its regional data hosting ambitions.
China, at No. 8, is an emerging economic powerhouse with the world's largest online population and with an increasing rate of growth in Cloud Computing.
Restrictive data protection laws currently prevent the building of a global Cloud Computing industry in China. However, recent announcements by the government to invest US$154.5 billion to develop cloud computing hubs may well see China improve its index rating in the near future.
India (No. 9), like its economy, is forecast to enjoy spectacular cloud growth. However, there are significant challenges at present for India taking on a leading role across the region for Cloud Computing including the quality of its network, broadband and power grid capabilities.
An improved and clearer regulatory situation in India would also make India more attractive to Cloud Computing customers and service providers.
"I believe Asia's cloud computing potential is poised to grow faster on both sides of the market: as cloud consumers and cloud providers," says says John Galligan, Vice Chairman of the working group and Regional Director, Internet Policy at Microsoft.
Gallian notes that because Asia is experiencing such rapid economic growth, it is crucial for all Asian economies to begin to look beyond the opportunities for the cloud for their individual economies and instead begin to analyze how the cloud can help drive greater economic value to the broader region.
"The knowledge economy will fuel Asia's future and we think that cloud computing is the next great 'leveler' for the region, poised to help accelerate the momentum around trade," he adds.
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