This article is part of our Essential Guide: Essential Guide: How APAC firms can ride out the pandemic

Singapore tops cloud adoption in ASEAN

Nearly nine in 10 organisations in Singapore are using cloud services, but cost and security concerns remain

Singapore is the most prolific adopter of cloud computing in Southeast Asia, with nearly nine in 10 IT decision-makers saying their companies are already using cloud-based services, a new survey has found.

According to Alibaba Cloud’s Cloud in Asia survey conducted in November 2020, seven in 10 respondents in Singapore also said the hybrid cloud approach was key to their company’s disaster recovery and business continuity efforts amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

When it comes to top concerns about cloud adoption, Singapore respondents were more concerned with cost and security (57%) and availability (49%), while their regional counterparts said integrating cloud services into existing IT infrastructure was one of the key issues.

The acceleration of digital transformation across the region has increased the rate of cloud adoption. In Singapore, over 70% of respondents said their company was using more cloud services than before, with 72% noting that the cloud could help to tackle a sudden and devastating event such as Covid-19.

Derek Wang, Singapore general manager at Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, said the maturity of IT and cloud infrastructure and attitudes in Singapore meant it was no longer a question of creating more clouds, but how to use existing ones more effectively.

“Having realised much of the immediate benefits of moving to the cloud, the challenge for businesses here is to create new cloud-based solutions to avoid the diminishing returns trap,” he said.

In Singapore, 15% of respondents said cloud and other digitisation efforts did not help their company cope with the pandemic – the highest figure in all markets surveyed. About one-third also said their companies worked independently to develop new solutions to mitigate pandemic-driven needs, such as remote working.

“Technology implementation in Singapore can be costly and time-consuming, especially for SMEs,” said Wang. “Many of them are lacking the right talent and resources to take full advantage of the cloud. This is one of the major sources of dissatisfaction based on our observation.

“As a global trusted cloud service provider, we are here to help businesses address their pain-points and reduce their learning curve effectively.”

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During Singapore’s lockdown period last year, Alibaba Cloud reported an increase of more than 50% in demand for its cloud computing technologies from companies in industries such as retail, education and logistics.

These included local technology firm SCash, which has been working with Alibaba since the Covid-19 outbreak to help local enterprises embark on digital transformation.

SCash technical director Edric Khoo said: “Working with a hyperscale cloud service provider enables us to pass on the benefits from economies of scale to our customers, and with our local expertise, we can customise the best-fit solutions for our customers in order to help them achieve the most from cloud computing technologies.”

During the third quarter of its 2021 fiscal year, Alibaba’s cloud computing revenue grew by 50% year on year to RMB16.115bn ($2.47bn), primarily driven by demand from internet, retail and public sector customers.

For the first time, Alibaba Cloud also achieved positive adjusted Ebita (earnings before interest, taxes, and amortisation) during the quarter, thanks to economies of scale.

Alibaba migrated its e-commerce businesses to its public cloud a year ago, and the move has enabled it to cope with peak periods such as Singles’ Day, when peak orders hit 583,000 per second last year.

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