I am currently in the process of wrapping up a report on implementing cloud collaboration solutions in Asia Pacific. For this report, I interacted with technology vendors, collaboration service providers, and customer organizations to understand the current state of cloud collaboration adoption in Asia Pacific and the drivers and key criteria that organizations need to consider when evaluating a solution and service provider. Three distinct business scenarios emerged as the most appropriate for cloud collaboration services deployment:

  • To reduce the total cost of ownership. Compared with an on-premises infrastructure, public cloud deployments offer a lower total cost of ownership to individual companies, as multiple customers share the service provider’s infrastructure and associated costs such as hardware, software upgrades, and IT maintenance. While it’s beneficial for organizations across all segments, it’s especially advantageous for small and medium-size businesses with limited IT budgets and small IT teams.
  • Implementation in greenfield projects. Existing legacy communications infrastructure investments discourage customers from adopting cloud solutions. But this works well for newly established companies, as it offers better flexibility and efficiency at a lower operating cost — a critical business requirement, especially during the first few years of operation. Furthermore, lower upfront expenses help customers boost business agility and utilize funds for functions that are critical to operations and help them gain a strategic advantage in the marketplace.
  • When refreshing the infrastructure of existing on-premises systems. Companies need to upgrade any on-premises communications equipment reaching its end of life or end of service, as they face the risk that the vendor will no longer provide technical support services. Forrester survey data shows that IT infrastructure refreshes are a key business priority for Asia Pacific firms in 2014 — higher than in North America and Europe (see the figure below). For business, such scenarios translate into increased periodic capital expenditures, something that they can avoid by deploying cloud collaboration solutions.


Figure: Infrastructure Refresh Will Be A Key Priority For Asia Pacific Organizations In 2014


Infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals need to assess the business drivers for cloud transition and compare the long-term financial feasibility of cloud versus on-premises solutions. When migrating collaboration workloads to the cloud, I&O pros must evaluate the provider’s network and service capabilities to ensure business continuity and work closely with them to develop a detailed deployment road map — one that addresses integration-related challenges at workload and infrastructure level. Keep an eye out for my report, which will be released this month, for insights into the dynamics of the cloud collaboration market in Asia Pacific and to get recommendations on points that I&O pros must consider when deploying collaboration services at their organizations.