According to Forrester’s Forrsights Combined Budgets and Business Decision-Makers Survey, Q4 2012, 61% of Asia Pacific (AP) organizations are currently using or actively planning to implement software-as-a-service (SaaS) for collaboration, which puts AP adoption ahead of both North America and Europe (see the figure below). I believe that the increased rate of adoption of cloud-based collaboration services is mainly due to three key factors:

  • The consumerization of IT, changing social behaviors, and AP end user communication preferences are compelling organizations to consider deploying enterprise collaboration solutions. To this end, cloud collaboration services are gaining traction among organizations seeking to extend collaboration capabilities to their employees, while also minimizing the costs associated with both hardware and operational expenditures.
  • The easy provisioning and simplified maintenance of cloud-based collaboration services allows organizations to quickly operationalize new sites and individual accounts with minimal IT effort.
  • The strong focus from service providers like Orange Business Services and Verizon Business in building and strengthening their regional capabilities in cloud collaboration services is leading to an abundance of service options for customers that are competitively priced and packaged to align with their requirements.

But adoption of cloud-based collaboration services does involve risks. Before proceeding, infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals should consider the following recommendations:

  • Design a holistic implementation plan that aligns with the existing infrastructure. I&O professionals must evaluate the communication priorities of the organization and come up with a blueprint that leverages existing on-premises infrastructure, maps out the deployment of cloud collaboration services, and addresses likely integration challenges.
  • Prioritize collaboration workloads to be deployed in the cloud. The AP region has a vast expanse of heterogeneous communication infrastructure; hence, organizations prefer hybrid deployments to safeguard their investments. In such cases, I&O pros must determine which collaboration workloads to move to the cloud based on specific parameters, including:
    • Cost. The cost/benefit ratio should favor cloud deployment and show a clear, quantifiable advantage over on-premises solutions in areas like cost savings and ROI timeframes.
    • Experience. The solution must enhance the quality of users’ communication experiences and the ease of peer collaboration.
    • Productivity. The deployment must drive overall communication process improvement in terms of ease of maintenance for IT and an increase in individual productivity.

I am currently working on a report to help I&O professionals identify their organization’s cloud collaboration service requirements and evaluate the feasibility of potential solutions within their organizations. Do you have experience in this area within your own organization, either as a planner or user of cloud collaboration services? If so, I’d love to hear from you. In return for sharing your experiences with me, you’ll receive a complimentary copy of the final report. Please reach out to me at