E-commerce has been booming in economies across the globe for the past few years. While online sales around Black Friday and Thanksgiving in the US neared $US4.5 billion, according to the Global B2C E-commerce Report, Asia Pacific is the world’s biggest and fastest growing e-commerce market. Alibaba alone had record sales of US$14 billion during its China Singles’ Day shopping festival last year. This is testament to the strength of the regional e-commerce market.
There are factors behind the growth of e-commerce that are also driving increasing adoption of cloud computing services. E-commerce providers are experiencing rapid growth because they offer consumers ease of use, flexibility, reliability and security, all of which combine to create an unparalleled customer experience, resulting in a high level of customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Making it easy to adopt cloud services
Savvy consumers know that the best e-commerce platforms are frictionless and easy to use. Cloud computing providers are taking note and following suit by offering the seamless development and deployment of cloud platforms, thereby, making it simple and easy to adopt cloud services.
Cloud platforms bring together network, data centre infrastructure and cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Salesforce.com and others to give enterprises a complete solution for supporting cloud services.
Enterprises with limited experience in deploying cloud services due to a lack of infrastructure skills or technical expertise can benefit from a seamless cloud enablement platform. This will help them to leapfrog from a fragmented cloud environment into an on-demand cloud ecosystem, where they can easily access a multitude of services and connectivity.
Enterprises want complete solutions where they no longer have to manage multiple technology partners. CIOs want a seamless environment with single or dual provider strategy that provides flexibility, diversity as well as performance delivery.
That’s where service providers can truly differentiate their business and compete for new enterprise revenue. They have the network as a core foundation layer for the enablement of cloud platforms. The next step would be to develop platforms that remove friction from accessing cloud services and accelerate how enterprises adopt cloud at an economic cost.
This will accelerate local cloud adoption, particularly in fast-growing markets such as Asia, because it will give enterprises a predictable and reliable solution for managing and deploying multiple clouds. This is a real opportunity in a region that has such stark variations in infrastructure, development and market maturity.
A flexible environment
The second parallel I see with e-commerce is a new level of flexibility in the user experience. Every time you visit an e-commerce site, the platform is adapting to your needs, adjusting to offer you rapid access to the products and services that you want.
In the same way, the simplicity of cloud enablement platforms needs to be supported by secure and flexible options for service delivery. Security is driving the need for different service levels and service providers that want to compete need to offer SLAs from the network to the application layer end-to-end and with managed encryption services.
There is a deeper requirement for security and Quality of Experience (QoE) in the cloud and this is going to be a challenge. This is particularly true in hybrid cloud, where some applications sit in the private cloud while others reside in the public ones. By offering a mix of public and private clouds with strict SLAs, service providers can customise their solutions to a diverse range of customer needs.
Enterprises are looking for solutions that segregate consumer apps and content from business applications with the ability to prioritise business application traffic. With such complex and diverse market environments across Asia, enterprises need the flexibility to decide which option best meets their needs – private, public, or hybrid. Cloud companies that are able to deliver on this will have a distinct advantage over their competitors.
It is up to each service provider to shape an offering that is secure, flexible and managed right to the end user level.
The year ahead
As with e-commerce, 2016 is a pivotal year for the growth of cloud platforms across the globe. By delivering greater ease of use, security, seamlessness and flexibility, cloud platforms can offer local, regional and global enterprises a tailored solution that will drive the adoption of cloud computing services.
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