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How Cloud Innovation Enables Digital Business Growth

Like so many other innovators across the globe, forward-thinking organizations in the Asia-Pacific region are reinventing themselves with a goal to fuel renewed digital business growth. As economic activities return to pre-COVID pandemic levels, these savvy leaders are building technology-enabled business models.

Cloud computing has emerged as the core foundation of this renewed business technology focus, leading to Asia-Pacific public cloud services spending growth of over 38 percent to $36.4 billion in 2020, according to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC).

"Cloud services have addressed more than cost management challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cloud services and technologies have been the basis for the rapid introduction of new digital services to support remote workers and online customers, and it’s been the speed of implementation and low up-front costs that have enabled that," said Chris Morris, vice president at IDC.

Cloud Computing Market Development

Cloud Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) has been the top contributor to the overall public cloud spend during 2020, making up around 48 percent of the overall cloud investment -- and it is expected to remain the highest throughout the forecast period of 2021-2024.

IaaS spending across compute, storage, and networking will remain steady throughout the forecast with compute taking the major share of spending followed by storage. Software as a Service (SaaS) is positioned as the second largest in terms of spending on cloud computing with a share of around 40 percent, followed by Platform as a service (PaaS) with an 11 percent share in 2020.

The majority share of SaaS spending is coming from enterprises spending on cloud-hosted applications. Software Applications and System Infrastructure Software (SIS) is also contributing to SaaS spending. 

This is expected to further grow as enterprises leverage SaaS solutions that cover collaboration, productivity, and IT security to support 'remote working' and the 'hybrid workforce' phenomena. PaaS spending will be led by Data Management Software, which will record a five-year CAGR of 41.2 percent during 2019-2024.

IDC expects this trend to continue due to the focus on business scalability, increased performance, improved security, and optimizing IT operations to create business resiliency and cap on-premises infrastructure costs. Moreover, cloud-based security benefits are driving enterprises in the region to migrate to public cloud service offerings with new enthusiasm. 

Regarding industry growth projections, Professional Services (15 percent share), Banking and Discrete Manufacturing (around 10 percent share) are the top three industries accounting for one-third of the overall public cloud services spending throughout the forecast period of 2021-24.

However, Construction and Professional Services -- due to increased focus on external-facing interactions and customer experience -- will see the fastest growth in public cloud spending with a five-year CAGR of 39 percent and 35 percent respectively.

Regarding commercial segment growth, very large businesses will account for 37.1 percent, medium-sized businesses will deliver around 30.2 percent, and large businesses with 20.8 percent are the three segments that accounted for the Asia-Pacific total 2020 public cloud spending.

Both small and medium-size businesses show the fastest growth during the forecast period of around 34 percent in cloud investment. These segments were the hardest hit organizations during the global pandemic, and have an immediate need for business continuity, resiliency, and eventually new digital growth.

Outlook for Public Cloud Services Adoption

From a geographical perspective, China was the largest market for public cloud services in 2020 with its $19.4 billion investment that accounted for about 53.4 percent of the Asia-Pacific total. The openness of enterprises to adopt cloud technology, supplemented by government initiatives and the presence of home-grown cloud service providers, is boosting the continued adoption and growth.

Australia ($5.2 billion) and India ($3.5 billion) will be in second and third place respectively in terms of cloud infrastructure and service spending in the region, driven by fast adoption across enterprises and the presence of global hyperscale public cloud providers.

That said, I anticipate that cloud computing trends in this region will be reflected in other regions as a post-pandemic economic recovery emerges, and the thriving organizations accelerate their digital transformation agenda. Therefore, forward-thinking CIOs and CTOs will have a unique opportunity to further influence digital business growth strategies.

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