Five years ago, hybrid cloud was considered a half measure – an adoption for businesses that were not ready to go the extra mile in digitally transforming operations. The health crisis of 2020 accelerated digitalisation, and the inevitable happened – the cloud became the next big thing in enterprise infrastructure, and most organisations found that they could not abandon their mission-critical technologies.

By 2025, the value of cloud computing within Southeast Asia is expected to hit $40.32 billion with growing demand in the region. It is not surprising then, that countries like Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines have launched initiatives to support the innovation of cloud technologies. Malaysia, for instance, has committed to migrating 80% of government data to the cloud by the end of 2022. However, moving to the cloud does not solve all the challenges faced by the enterprise. 

How startups in Southeast Asia can leverage cloud ecosystems for growth in 2022

The reality is this – not every business gets to start with a clean slate with technology. Years and decades of legacy technology mean a hybrid cloud is a practical approach to leveraging the best of these existing technology layers. The hybrid cloud is the answer to a resilient business today and enables the best win-win scenario for the enterprise. 

Making the right hybrid cloud choice

Unlike the consumer, businesses cannot afford to rip and replace their technology with new ones. The enterprise has many customers to consider and must prioritise reliability, security and stability to keep their technology stacks operating efficiently and deliver their product or service well. Ripping and replacing technology is not realistic because of the methodical adoption curve that enterprises require. 

Making the right cloud choice for the enterprise will involve many considerations. According to a 2021 Gartner report, businesses are evaluating four key elements when choosing a cloud service: cloud ubiquity, regional cloud ecosystems, sustainability, and cloud infrastructure services. This means a poorly decided process could put businesses in the back seat, risk customer information as well as facing difficulties complying with regulations.   

The cost of rushing to the cloud

As businesses move to the cloud, the intellectual property (IP) in legacy systems can be lost in the rush to become cloud-native, meaning businesses lose their unique advantage and differentiation from competitors. Most businesses are specialised and, as a result, they have domain-specific data stored away from years of sharpening their business processes. Enterprises lose this edge when a third-party, commoditised cloud provider is managing its data and dictating how to run the business.

Determining how and where to connect legacy systems to the cloud is a critical part of the modernisation journey and mastering the right blend of hybrid cloud is unique to every business. While it is more efficient for employees to retrieve or access data from an off-site location, customers may have more than one channel, and such gaps in communication platforms can be optimised through a hybrid platform. 

In Malaysia, the Investment Development Authority (MIDA) noted that 97 percent of organisations have identified hybrid cloud services as the ideal operating model. Although data centres and mainframes may still host business functions and generations’ worth of data, maintaining control and access to these business insights through a hybrid model will remain crucial for every stakeholder.  

“Legacy” works and will continue to

While some businesses believe that the only path forward is a cloud-native approach, throwing away everything that has worked for the business is not strategic. Whether it is legacy or mission-critical, these systems that are tried, proven and work always result in enterprise-grade strength, reliability and IP protection. 

When it comes to digital transformation, even systems that are proven and effective need to evolve. Modernising the business to access new technologies also means relying on a foundation of legacy technology. This way, businesses can innovate faster, and bring the results in a shorter time-to-market window, while having data analytics to drive decision making. For example, Singapore Press Holdings has been using hybrid cloud technology to expand its online presence, and even personalising stories according to reader preference. 

At the end of the day, businesses need to maintain the tenets that have made them successful, regardless of cloud applications, tech stacks or digital environments. Governments may implement active policies for cloud adoption, but the real motivation and momentum would be vertical industry growth and increased business revenue. In the meantime, hybrid clouds will continue to flourish unfettered. 

Contributed by Praveen Kumar, Senior Vice President & General Manager, APAC, Rocket Software

About the author

Responsible mainly for sales and marketing, Kumar has been instrumental in growing Rocket’s business activity and presence in the region. With almost 20 years of experience in sales, service and software development, Kumar has developed his expertise in the industry through his stints at T-Systems (Asia Pacific), IBM for Asia, IBM Global Services and Nortel Networks. When not on the road (or in an airplane), Kumar is at the cinema, enjoying the latest movie with his family.