Asia's accelerating cloud app-vancement

Mohan Veloo, Vice President, Technology, APAC, F5 Networks In Asia, the application economy is an unstoppable juggernaut advancing at full speed. Wielding the power to make or break the customer-brand relationship, applications that fail to deliver a positive user experience risk losing about a third of their customer base. Recognizing the potential of this digital strategy, today, F5 has found that organizations across this region depend on about 200 applications each, to streamline and introduce efficiencies in functionalities ranging from enterprise productivity, IT deployment to supply chain management.

This number is however set to rise as digital workplaces become commonplace. More employees want to, and are given the autonomy of choosing the apps and processes to work with to maintain a high intensity of corporate functionality anytime, anywhere, across any device.

In spite of its diverse and uniquely fragmented economies where technology maturity is polarized across developed and developing nations from Singapore to Myanmar, one common technology denominator stands out in Asia: mobile. Based on the recent statistics, Hong Kong has the highest rate of smartphone usage among all Asian countries, with 96% of people using their smartphones to go online on a daily basis. At the same time, the number of mobile subscribers in Hong Kong has reached 16.7 million in 2016, representing one of the highest penetration rates in the world. Among these smartphone users, 84% reported that they use their device for internet browsing, 80% for sending and receiving emails, and 72% for using mobile applications. This strong growth of mobile is ubiquitous across the region, further driving the demand for applications and creating a level playing field for businesses in this heightening app-centric landscape.

With the surging demand for applications, IT departments are facing increasing pressure to deploy them more rapidly, leading to increasing complexity of their infrastructures, and more worryingly, increasing the number of new attack vectors for malicious actors. What businesses need today are therefore solutions that enable them to deploy, scale and manage the growth of their application population -- quickly and securely -- while creating a seamless experience between the application and the end user!

Asia's cloud-y outlook

The industry has come a long way from the time when security and performance concerns hindered companies from migrating even basic applications to the cloud. Today, the cloud acceleration is tangible as CIOs are already prioritizing the move of business critical applications, such as ERP and HR functions, to the cloud as their top agenda.

The cloud is transforming the way businesses deploy and manage applications, by improving agility, automating processes and increase speed to market in ways traditional IT infrastructure cannot touch. Key value points include:

- Flexibility: Cloud provides organizations the flexibility to scale up or down its cloud capacity on-demand. This level of elasticity enables businesses to be more agile and higher performing.

- Improved mobility: Applications are available to employees anytime, and anywhere. Employees can access apps across smart phones and tablets -- catering to the demands of the increasingly mobile-savvy population.

- Cost savings: As companies do not have to purchase equipment and operate a data center, they have reduced expenses on hardware, facilities, and other operational aspects. Cloud enables organizations to reduce operational costs while increasing IT effectiveness.