By Oscar Visaya
In Asia, the application economy is an unstoppable juggernaut advancing at full speed. Wielding the power to make or break the customer-brand relationship, applications that fail to deliver a positive user experience risk losing about a third of their customer base.
Recognizing the potential of this digital strategy, F5 has found that organizations across this region depend on about 200 applications each, to streamline and introduce efficiencies in functionalities ranging from enterprise productivity, IT deployment to supply chain management.
This number is however set to rise as digital workplaces become commonplace. More employees want to, and are given the autonomy of choosing the apps and processes to work with to maintain a high intensity of corporate functionality anytime, anywhere, across any device.
In spite of its diverse and uniquely fragmented economies where technology maturity is polarized across developed and developing nations from Singapore to Myanmar, one common technology denominator stands out in Asia: mobile.
The strong growth of mobile is ubiquitous across countries in the region, further driving the demand for applications and creating a level playing field for businesses in this heightening app-centric landscape.
With the surging demand for applications, IT departments are facing increasing pressure to deploy them more rapidly, leading to increasing complexity of their infrastructures, and more worryingly, increasing the number of new attack vectors for malicious actors.
What businesses need today are therefore solutions that enable them to deploy, scale and manage the growth of their application population – quickly and securely – while creating a seamless experience between the application and the end-user.
Asia’s cloud-y outlook
The industry has come a long way from the time when security and performance concerns hindered companies from migrating even basic applications to the cloud.
Today, the cloud acceleration is tangible as CIOs are already prioritizing the move of business critical applications, such as ERP and HR functions, to the cloud as their top agenda.
The cloud is transforming the way businesses deploy and manage applications, by improving agility, automating processes and increase speed to market in ways traditional IT infrastructure cannot touch. Key value points include:
• Flexibility: Cloud provides organizations the flexibility to scale up or down its cloud capacity on-demand. This level of elasticity enables businesses to be more agile and higher performing.
• Improved mobility: Applications are available to employees anytime, and anywhere. Employees can access apps across smart phones and tablets – catering to the demands of the increasingly mobile-savvy population.
• Cost savings: As companies do not have to purchase equipment and operate a data center, they have reduced expenses on hardware, facilities, and other operational aspects. Cloud enables organizations to reduce operational costs while increasing IT effectiveness.
To cloud or not to cloud?
However, Asian businesses still remain cautious. A survey by F5 Networks revealed that the Asia Pacific market lags behind the rest of the world in tapping the cloud for application development and operations.
The study also revealed that businesses in Asia remain hesitant about deploying cloud projects that are mission-critical and production grade, and instead only deploy non-critical low-risk applications, such as email, collaboration and websites.
The inherent challenges in cloud migration – such as, determining which workloads are suitable for the cloud, the lack of control and visibility, the application delivery and security capabilities of the cloud provider, and the real possibility of rewriting your entire application to take advantage of the capabilities provided by the cloud provider – can give pause to even the most digitally mature businesses.
In Asia Pacific in particular, integration between a provider’s cloud technology and on-premises systems stands out as a key factor in weighing the adoption of the service.
In addressing these challenges, organizations need advanced and programmable application delivery services which span across data centers and cloud providers, and provide business flexibility to enable a smooth and successful cloud migration.
Organizations require a unified platform that enables them to deliver and manage application services consistently across different application environments for existing applications as well as new cloud native applications.
Companies cannot ignore the rise of cloud. However, what they can do, is to ensure that their individual journeys to the cloud are secure and successful, by ensuring that the application delivery service that they choose provides the following three key considerations for every app regardless of deployment model:
• Availability – Especially for mission critical workloads, businesses need to ensure that application delivery services can provide persistent app availability across disparate environments.
• Performance – With the increased urgency to deliver on-demand content to a variety of devices, app delivery needs to be optimized regardless of the deployment model in order to enhance end-user experience.
• Security – The increasing frequency with which organizations experience attacks and vulnerabilities, drive security needs as one of the core app services necessary to ensure the survival of apps and business today.
Imagine application developers and IT coming together to rapidly develop and launch an application on the cloud that helps scale a line of business from hundreds to millions of customers – all with the same reliability, security and control of a traditional datacenter deployment.
Every company has a cloud journey unique to its own needs. As a leading provider of application delivery services, F5 is enabling this future today, without compromises, empowering organizations to power their digital transitions without challenges.
The author is the country manager of F5 Networks