Author: Ron Goh is President, Southeast Asia and Korea at VMware
Back when the Asean Economic Community (AEC) unveiled its 2015 targets, it was music to all of us. Free flow of services and skilled labor, free flow of investment and freer flow of capital throughout all 10 Asean member states – it sounded like a dream for any company operating in this highly diverse and fragmented region. Since then the deadline has been pushed to 2025, after the economic bloc fell short of its ambitious goals when 2015 came and went.
As we wait out the next eight years for the realization of this economic integration scenario, the more real question businesses are needing to address is, how do we continue to compete in an increasingly digitalized economy amidst the backdrop of a shrinking workforce and tightening regulations on data?
The answer lies in the hybrid cloud. Why wait for the environment to change when we can leverage technology to adapt to existing conditions and leapfrog growth cycles?
Hybrid cloud will become the definitive model for businesses moving forward. Hybrid cloud allows businesses to keep the core of their operations on premise, yet have the flexibility to extend into the cloud when the need arises. Such a strategy can be supported by a hyper-converged infrastructure stack that allows businesses to build a modern, service-oriented and responsive data center that has the agility to keep pace with changing business demands, without compromising on security or overhauling existing operations extensively.
Suffice to say, it has brought about a paradigm shift in speed and flexibility of business technology. Companies that are moving workloads to hybrid cloud are realizing their growth goals without waiting for environmental and economic conditions to turn favorable.
Let’s take a look at a real-life example, Ambank. Having grown its customer base to more than six million individual and corporate customers across Malaysia and the region, the bank needed to move fast in catering to spikes in customer demands. How does it do that with existing manpower and resources? It did so, by moving into a completely virtual environment, where it reduced server footprint from six servers to two, cut infrastructure costs by 25 times and freed up its I.T team to focus on handling more complex requests. Today, Ambank can provision new services in under a week, making them more agile and responsive to consumer demands, a bonus for any business in today’s highly competitive landscape.
This was also the case for Telkom Indonesia, the country’s largest telecommunications provider which consolidated its IT resources and legacy systems into a virtualized environment. This saved them a significant amount of manpower hours and also allowed them to provision new services and applications to their 100 million customers in 30 minutes instead of eight hours previously. The business can also securely store and manage seven years’ worth of data, a critical function for regulatory compliance.
Businesses in Asean need to move to a hybrid cloud strategy. This next stage will definitely have its own challenges, but the pay-offs are unparalleled. Companies that can run, manage, connect, and secure their applications across clouds and devices in a common operating environment will be well-positioned for success.