If you were to approach U.S. executives at Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile in 2005 with a cloud computing-like offering, they would have been shocked at the potential improvement in capabilities over the era’s tools.
Less than 10 years later, “nobody even questions anything (cloud-related) in Latin and North America anymore,” says Rajesh Sabari, vice president of international sales at Razorsight, a maker of cloud-based analytics software for communications firms.
Many of Sabari’s target telecommunications customers reside in Asia, where varying cultures, regulatory environments and infrastructures help frame a different technology landscape.
“Asia is so diverse, it’s a mosaic of cultures,” Sabari says. “From Japan to Australia, there is often little in common and there’s different market segments that vary based upon how mature they are in cloud infrastructure, connectivity, compliance bodies and other institutions.”
The ability and willingness of individual countries, regions and localities to implement the latest in cloud computing technologies and platforms, particularly through international firms, is therefore variable.
One thing that is relatively constant, Sabari says, is the enthusiasm for what cloud computing can offer.
“It is one of the hot topics down here in Asia-Pacific and in the international market. It has certainly captured the imagination of a lot of key enterprises, whereas probably a couple of years ago they were not that receptive.”
Sabari says that over the past decade “tier-1” Telco firms from across the region focused on BSS / OSS transformation projects as the industry ran on silos where most employers offered, hosted, ran and managed data via a license-based model.
There were significant downsides.
“Over time, it has been shown that this is not necessarily a scalable model when it comes to license costs, maintenance, operational issues, training, upgrades and different points of integration,” Sabari says.
“Operators realized the success rate was so low, not necessarily because of the technical competency, but just the scalability factor, maintenance and these other issues.”
“The ROI wasn’t there.”
Operators and nations alike place an incredibly high emphasis on data security. Storing and managing data within internal networks and “on the premises,” as Sabari puts it, is reassuring.
“The single biggest issue (for cloud providers) will always be ‘how are you going to address your data residing outside my premises, my control, my network?’”
Helping spur the willingness to adopt cloud computing platforms and services are the effects of the proliferation of mobile technologies. These and the exponential growth of sources and amount of data have changed the nature and economics of the Telcos market.
“The whole thing with big data is there are dozens of data sources consolidating and arranging data in your platform,” Sabari says. “(The operators) realized it’s no longer feasible to have it all and maintain and manage it within your premises.”
“Enterprises want to reduce operational costs, they want to leverage economies of scales and are constantly looking for more innovative ways and moving away from the traditional paradigm.”
Software-as-a-Service vendors generally do not operate Telcos’ traditional license model, but rather a subscription-based model that Sabari says represents another paradigm shift in the industry.
“People like the optics and pay-per-view of a subscription base. When it comes to time-to-market and maintenance upgrades, the cloud has a definite edge over traditionally hosted-in-the-premises and life-and-space solutions.”
“The next couple of years in Asia are very exciting for anything related to cloud, particularly where there are huge amounts of data and mobile-related projects. For big data moving forward, cloud is the most economically viable model for technical complexity.”
Click here to continue reading Sabari’s insights into the challenges and opportunities to bring cloud computing solutions to market across Asia.