In October 2018, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that the government will begin to use commercial cloud services: “The question for the government is not whether we do it, but to what extent we can use the cloud.” By setting an example, the government hopes to push Singapore businesses to be more ready for cloud.
“As technologies advance and policies change, systems must be modified, built upon, brought up to date, fixed. This is an endless task,” he noted. Many government systems can “in principle” run on the commercial cloud, and Singapore intends to migrate some systems in the next few years, he said.
According to Adroit Market Research’s report, cloud computing market revenue in Southeast Asia is estimated to reach US$40.32 billion by 2025 and Singapore is expected to lead the market. A recent example is seen where Google invested US$850 million in 2018 to build its new data centre in Singapore.
However, much of Singapore’s infrastructure is built on legacy systems designed before cloud technology proliferated. While Singapore is one of the most advanced countries in the region, emerging economies such as Philippines and Thailand which do not have legacy infrastructure, can pick up faster, and more easily adapt to and integrate into the cloud. Singapore needs to “speed up the transition to public cloud platforms in order to enable a digital economy…the ability to innovate quickly with the right agility” according to Mark Diekmann, General Manager for Cloud in Asia at DXC Technology.
To grow the digital economy, Singapore outlined the importance of Cloud Native Architecture to enable future services to be end-to-end, frictionless, anticipatory and empathic. This architecture will provide “easier access to emerging technologies that make it more cost-effective and scalable for companies, and meet customers’ needs in a more agile manner”, says Jane Lim, Assistant Chief Executive, Sectoral Transformation at the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA). IndSights Research found that 2 in 5 companies had at least some awareness of the initiative, also known as Services 4.0. Read more in our report HERE.
Singapore also announced several initiatives such as creating the Singapore Government Technology Stack, a suite of common software components used in application development that will allow agencies to develop websites and services faster, without worrying about the nuts and bolts. In November 2018, IMDA launched the GoCloud programme to help ICT SME. Businesses will be able to train their workers in emerging technologies, helping them to upskill. The training will target different levels and functions of the organisation, and this alignment in mindset will be required in the transformation.
Singapore is already seeing increasing signs of take up. Monster, an online recruitment service, reported in their Employment Index Q1 2019 that cloud computing is the most demanded skill in Singapore, followed by data scientists.
Migrating the nation onto cloud may present a compelling opportunity for private sector to lend its expertise and experience to government and businesses. However, many Singapore firms cannot keep up with cloud adoption. In the Cloud Security Threat Report 2019 by Symantec, almost 63% of companies in Singapore believe their cyber-security practices are unable to mature fast enough to keep up with the rapid expansion of cloud applications. Threats are exacerbated by overtaxed IT staff and risky end-user behaviour. Oversharing is another problem, with about 93% of global respondents estimating that more than a third of their files in the cloud should not be there.
Each agency can create a clear cloud transition roadmap, and areas they can start in, since cloud allows for step by step adoption. We propose 7 areas Singapore companies might want to consider in getting cloud-ready, assuming that going on cloud is suitable for you.
Make sure that your vendor has the right controls and documentation to show that they have been tested by a reputable auditing firm.
While you have the option to disable some features you may not want, and to test before roll-out, you will not be able to control when there is an upgrade or system change.
The cost model for cloud computing deployments are different. Cloud expense is usually a subscription model without large up-front costs and is usually pay-per-use, and some organizations prefer capital costs versus operating costs. Additionally, some companies plan to refresh their technology every 3-5 years. With licensing cloud models, you lose this option.
Cloud changes quickly. Are you ready to deal with a rapid change? Not all companies are ready to learn new things at a rapid pace. Going cloud may require you to commit to extensive training, employee skill upgrade, or prepare for some turnover.
Everything on cloud hinges on your connectivity. Evaluate your cloud provider’s network architecture to study the traffic patterns and aggregation points as you will need good internet access.
Besides data security, are you ready to tightly manage accounts and accesses of your own staff?
If your company does not allow the use of mobile devices like smart phones or tablets, you may not be optimising the flexible nature of using cloud.
As Singapore embarks on her ambitious undertaking to enable a more agile, innovative and responsive nation, cloud will be the technology that underpins this effort. Businesses will do well to prepare to ride on the wave of digital transformation.