How Southeast Asia’s SMEs can benefit from digital transformation and cloud combined

how southeast asia’s smes can benefit from digital transformation and cloud combined

Enterprises across the Southeast Asia (SEA) region are no longer hesitant to adopt cloud technologies. In the wake of the pandemic, successful businesses have experienced the advantages of cloud migration, including scalability, reliability, flexibility, and cost savings. The total public cloud services market in SEA is expected to grow and reach US$11 billion by 2025 at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.5 percent between 2021 and 2025, as cloud migration continues to accelerate. Thailand leads the way in the cloud boost, with 92 percent of businesses surveyed by IDC admitting their plans to spend more on the cloud, followed by Malaysia (86%) and Indonesia (81%).

Cloud migration is a logical step for companies pursuing digital transformation. And while larger enterprises in SEA are already benefiting from the immense value that cloud adoption presents, it can be daunting for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).  Data migration, cost, security concerns, and a lack of internal IT expertise can feel like barriers to cloud migration for smaller businesses. Having said that, with careful planning and support from trusted technology partners, this process can be made easier and more fruitful for SMEs.

Embrace cloud-native transformation at your own pace

Cloud readiness is a key consideration for businesses eyeing a shift to the cloud, and a digital transformation should be the first step. What does this mean? A digital transformation starts by eliminating paper documents so that manual processes and workflows can be automated across the enterprise for greater efficiency and time savings. While taking everything digital is not necessary for moving to the cloud, doing so allows organizations to experience the greatest benefits of a cloud infrastructure. The combination of data digitalization and cloud can help address current organizational needs including remote work and cost reduction.

Cloud does not have to be an all-or-nothing venture. Instead, a mixed-environment hybrid cloud strategy allows for a gradual adoption that aligns with organizational needs. The key benefit of digitalization and the move towards cloud is agility, particularly for fast-growing SMEs that need to adapt and evolve rapidly to remain competitive. Luckily, their size makes adaptability easier, and they can effectively harness the benefits of digital transformation and cloud technology quickly.

Additionally, implementing digital transformation and adopting cloud technology offers significant value in many areas for SMEs.

Enhanced security and reliability 

In the era of data-driven enterprises, security stands as a paramount concern.

Cloud surpasses on-premise technology in safeguarding data by enabling the implementation of advanced security measures on a larger scale, exceeding the independent capabilities of most organizations, particularly SMEs that typically have few, if any, internal technical resources. With industry-standard security practices including proactive monitoring, security management, encrypted data transmissions, and scheduled backups, working with a trusted cloud provider (i.e. Microsoft and Google) ensures the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of critical data.

As enterprises fortify their cybersecurity endeavors, the risks associated with cloud migration diminish, paving the way for a smoother transition.

Increased flexibility and mobility

Choosing the right solutions to meet your organization’s needs in the digitalization journey will mitigate roadblocks in the shift to cloud.

Flexibility is key when transitioning to the cloud, and deploying solutions that seamlessly integrate with both legacy and cloud ERP systems can precisely offer that. By digitizing documents like invoices, purchase orders, contracts, and employee files and storing them in a digital repository, employees gain the ability to easily and quickly access and retrieve these documents from anywhere. Automation and streamlined workflows enhance productivity, collaboration, and accuracy by effectively managing the entire lifecycle of essential documents and data.

Cloud-based solutions empower SMEs to embrace flexible work environments. With the capacity to access applications and data from anywhere with an Internet connection, employees can work remotely or collaborate effortlessly across various offices or locations. Cloud-based tools facilitate real-time collaboration, enhancing productivity and allowing businesses to effectively respond to the evolving demands of their workforce.

Improved cost efficiency

Digital transformation and cloud adoption can lead to significant cost savings for SMEs.

By moving their infrastructure to the cloud, organizations can avoid the substantial upfront costs associated with purchasing and maintaining physical hardware. In addition, cloud services offer a pay-as-you-go model, allowing businesses to only pay for the resources they use.

Moreover, if hardware systems need upgrading or maintenance, then migrating to the cloud could alleviate these expenses as management is built in. Your cloud technology partners will step in to provide support, taking the burden away from your in-house IT team and overcoming the bandwidth bottleneck.

This scalability and cost-effective approach enable SMEs to allocate their financial resources more efficiently, invest in growth opportunities, and reduce IT-related expenses.

The path to successful cloud adoption extends far beyond the actual migration. In SEA, where markets are primed to tap into digitalization as a growth driver, the first step for organizations is to transform their legacy systems through digitizing and centralizing data, optimizing information flow, and streamlining operational processes. For enterprises with a forward-thinking mindset, new investments in technology can provide greater control over their data, content, and documents. And the next critical phase involves assessing and embracing the advantages offered by cloud. Digital transformation and cloud are a powerful combination that SMEs in this region need to harness for continued growth and success.

Don Howren is the President and COO, Beyond Limits-Altec, Inc.

TNGlobal INSIDER publishes contributions relevant to entrepreneurship and innovation. You may submit your own original or published contributions subject to editorial discretion.


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