Cloud enables companies to be agile and flexible in ways they could not before. You can use cloud to deliver new features and services in much shorter timeframes or change business models to meet different demands.
The benefits of cloud, such as rapid scalability and elasticity and the flexibility to meet changing business demands while minimizing costs, is perfectly suited to the challenge posed by COVID-19. In Asia Pacific, for example, restaurants leverage third-party cloud apps to deliver food to diners locked down at home. This has created the concept of a “cloud kitchen,” which have no restaurant presence and often operate out of warehouses. They can use data to determine demand and offer delivery-only services from another mobile app.
Picking your type of cloud
Public cloud has grown in Asia Pacific, with IDC reporting that APAC spending on public cloud will reach $34.5 billion by the end of 2020, up from $26 billion in 2019. Public and hybrid cloud can help companies to set up fast marketing, selling and implementation functions to better handle emergency situations like the pandemic, fast-reaction types of projects. This agility in IT and application-driven projects will remain vital moving forward.
In Hong Kong, we have many financial services companies, for whom private cloud is often the most appropriate choice. Our customers’ private clouds are built in local Equinix data centers, which gives them benefits in terms of interconnect to Orange.
One Orange customer, an independent private equity house, opted for a hybrid cloud approach using the Equinix data center. This gives them the benefits of flexibility, scalability and security, plus simplified management and operational support from Orange. It helps them ensure the necessary business continuity and resilience they need underpinned by minimized risk. For financial services companies, hybrid cloud can be a smart way forward. It gives them the ability to make very fast deployments but gives them direct control over regulatory compliance and data privacy, something that financial services companies must always address as a priority.
The new ways of working factor
Cloud has been a revelation for Hong Kong companies in enabling rapid working from home (WFH) in the face of the pandemic. Hong Kong was among the first wave of cities that made the shift to use the cloud to work from home and curb the spread of the virus, but the trend has evolved now.
Companies are seeking ways to return some staff to the office environment and allow others to continue working remotely. “Working from home” perhaps understates what cloud makes possible. It enables workers to work from anywhere: that might be your home, or if you prefer a change of scenery, it might be a café or a co-working space. Cloud, underpinned by SSL VPN technology, can give your workers a secure connection to company apps, so it’s a trend we may see taking hold.
Cloud helping manage an unpredictable future
The COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong remains uncertain. We did however experience a third peak of the virus, and a fourth one looks to be on the horizon – this unpredictability makes it difficult to organize and make plans.
One thing we do have in our favor is that we now have practice: during the first wave of the virus, enterprises were reacting without any plans or experience and focused on rolling out remote working as fast as possible. We now have the opportunity to plan ahead, predict what capacity of remote workers cloud will need to support and strategize better.
Cloud is a powerful ally in this uncertain world and can give companies the innovative platform they need to remain resilient. Hong Kong was recently named the strongest cloud-ready nation in APAC, and 82% of Hong Kong businesses plan to keep remote working post COVID-19. Cloud will be essential to business success.
Read more about how Orange can help your organization leverage the power of multicloud to remain resilient.
Edmund Yick is General Manager of Orange Business Services in Hong Kong and Taiwan. He is responsible for developing and managing the Orange Business Services portfolio of business solutions for multinational enterprises.
He has over 30 years of sales and management experience and is a Commerce and Business Administration graduate of the University of Toronto.