Thai businesses are barely scratching the surface of the cloud's vast potential, according to PwC Thailand.
Despite cloud adoption expected to grow over the next three years to accelerate digital transformation, most executives see the cloud merely as a storage platform. This mindset needs to change, it says.
Vilaiporn Taweelappontong, Lead Consulting Partner and Financial Services Leader at PwC Thailand, said that companies around the world are adopting more cloud technology. The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the use of the cloud, but most Thai companies aren't using it to its full potential.
"We expect to see more cloud adoption from Thai organisations over the next three years. Some of Thailand's leading companies have already embedded cloud-first or mobile-first business strategies.
"But what we're still seeing is that most organisations look at the cloud only from an IT perspective, rather than looking at the big picture," Vilaiporn said.
According to the findings of PwC's Strategy& Reaching your full cloud potential, despite the acceleration of cloud adoption across the business landscape, most companies are not fully realising the cloud's potential. They see the cloud as a way of slashing IT infrastructure costs by shifting data and operating systems into the cloud.
Cloud adoption is also hindered by the fact that many organisations don't have a working environment that supports using the cloud to its full potential. On top of that, most employees still lack the understanding and skills needed to really tap into its power.
The study also reveals that as the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered economies, businesses quickly discovered they needed the cloud's web-based computing services. The cloud made it possible for employees to work remotely, it helped shore up fractured supply chains, and it provided new digital services to consumers who couldn't leave their homes.
"Leaders need to change their mindset on cloud adoption. They need to understand it's not just about moving data to the cloud or IT infrastructure and hardware investment. They need to embrace cloud adoption as part of their corporate strategy to develop new products and services, as well as create a better client experience," Vilaiporn said.
Reaping the rewards of the cloud
Vilaiporn said that the benefits of using the cloud are significant. Cloud adoption lowers admin costs, simplifies IT infrastructure and frees up time for employees to work on other tasks.
It also allows staff to install new platforms more quickly, create better customer experience and achieve business goals more easily. In the medium to long term, the cloud also reduces overall IT costs, especially for hardware maintenance and resources.
She added that business can embrace the potential of the cloud by adopting cloud services such as AI, machine learning and deep learning.
Mitigating cloud risks
"Going forward, the cloud will become a part of every organisation, which means that risk management will be critical, especially for information security, for data in the cloud, and the way we work with data during cloud deployment or data usage.
"So it's important for organisations to understand their systems' architecture, touchpoints with the cloud and what kind of data can be brought into the cloud," Vilaiporn said.
Other cloud risks include regulations such as personal data protection laws. There are also potential security threats posed by application programming interfaces and improper settings that lead to data leaks or malware.
Businesses need to be ready for possible system crashes as well, or access issues. So it's crucial to have a business continuity plan in place, especially to deal with the possibility of cloud systems going down.
"For a safe cloud deployment, not only does the organisation need to select a reliable and experienced cloud provider, but risk assessment, account management control and putting appropriate system access rights in place are also important.
"If organisations can manage these risks, they'll quickly succeed in their digital transformation journey," she said.
Seven steps to success
There are seven factors PwC says business leaders can use to change up their gameplan and make the most of the cloud's potential:
- Establish clear objectives for value creation: Avoid the temptation to see the cloud only as a cost-saving IT project - view it as a catalyst for business value creation.
- Reimagine your challenges with a cloud-centred mindset: Seeing business challenges through a 'pre-cloud' lens can blind a company to potential business opportunities in cloud-based platforms.
- Let your people lead the cloud journey: Rather than pushing employees to embrace what the cloud offers, make them part of the broader strategic change.
- Seize the opportunity to solve your IT and data challenges: One key to success lies in resolving underlying data and IT issues before you invest heavily in cloud technologies.
- Prioritise cybersecurity and compliance needs: Despite knowing the cloud makes security more complex, compliance more expensive and data more vulnerable, many companies underinvest in cloud security services.
- Reframe problems as opportunities for bold innovation: Adept cloud operators feed innovation by experimenting, measuring results in real time, and shifting to other areas without regret.
- Celebrate your wins, but don't declare victory too early: The cloud requires continuous updating and refining, and it rewards revisiting agreed-upon paths to determine if better options are available.
Source: PwC Thailand