Senior executives in Asia face mounting pressure to cut costs while adopting cloud computing technologies, reports a group of chief information officers in Malaysia.

The findings arose from a panel session ‘Making the Most of the Cloud’ at CIO Leaders Summit in Malaysia.

MISC Corp is a leading Malaysian shipping organisation, listed on the Bursa Malaysia bourse. Panellist and general manager Hood Abu Bakar acknowledged internal pressures, but mostly stressed:  “The pressure I get comes typically from vendors and consultants.

More with less

“We are all constantly asked to do more with less. Vendors and consultants also keep promising us lower total cost of ownership, operating cost, saying that this is the way we should go.

“But at the same time, management also pushes us by asking us to lower cost. We are pressuring ourselves to try new technologies, and so it’s a two-prong thing.

“A CIO will have to judge for himself, based on the proof of concept, whether the total cost of ownership is really there – and based on his own internal experience whether the case is doable or not. Once you do that, you can make a judgement on which way is better for you to go.

“CIOs can get all the assistance from the vendors but at the end of the day, it’s incumbent on you to bear the responsibility to decide whether you should go for it, or to postpone the investment to a later time, when it is perhaps more widely accepted and proven.”

Cost savings not obvious

Deputy CIO of the Sunway Group – a large Kuala Lumpur-based construction and property developer – Jonathan Lim said: “We do see the benefit of going to the cloud in terms of cost, scalability and agility. But sometimes, when you actually present the solution, the costs savings may not be so obvious.

From my perspective, I think we should ignore vendors. Whatever pressure they put on you as CIOs, you should view it as a form of communication of what’s available in the market. In the end, vendors can’t force their customers to do things they don’t want to do.

“Another thing to note is culture: Even if you can go ahead and give your company leading-edge technology, ask yourself if your company is ready for it or not.

“Talking about people who have spent 30 or more years in the company: would they be able to quickly accept new technology?

How fast can you move?

“Knowing what is available is quite critical and this is where we have to thank the vendors for being so aggressive. But you must also ask how fast can you and your people move as a company? Ascertain that, and then only look at what is available and what the vendors are presenting to you.

“I would say that it’s a choice whether to adopt the cloud or not. The cloud is diverse so it depends on a company’s risk appetite and where you want to start.

“For us, we have part of our infrastructure in the cloud. We also practise ‘two-speed,’ IT; our shared services group is more traditional but our group IT is more forward-thinking and is involved in product development and new ideas.”

The panel also included head of strategic business for VMware Inc. Matthew Hardman, who said: “It becomes easier to create infrastructure on demand… and things will only get better for customers.”

It is clear that due to the myriad benefits, not least the flexible nature of licensing fees, cloud computing is here to stay in Malaysia and the East.

Source:  Digital News Asia