Southeast Asian consumers are generally excited to embrace a tech-filled future, notes the Digital Frontiers 4.0 study by VMware, a provider of multi-cloud services.
For instance, 51% of consumers in the region say they are ready for robot-enabled healthcare and emergencies, with a quarter eager to allow a qualified doctor to conduct an invasive surgery via remote robotics rather than a less qualified one doing it in person.
Additionally, 40% strongly believe the metaverse will be favourable for society. More than a third (36%) are keen to spend an extra hour every day exploring the metaverse than the physical world.
However, Southeast Asian consumers also have high expectations for businesses and their digitalisation. Nearly half (49%) will choose a different service provider if an existing one requires them to visit a physical branch for routine paperwork like forms. Six in 10 expect providers to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to help protect personal data.
So how can businesses address these requirements of Southeast Asian consumers? VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram believes this calls for a shift from cloud-first to cloud smart.
“Every organisation is racing to become a digital smart business, and being cloud smart can provide the foundation for that. [A cloud smart organisation is one that] deploys the right cloud for the right application to accelerate app development, [provides a] consistent enterprise infrastructure, and delivers frictionless experience,” Raghuram says at the recent VMware Explore event in San Francisco.
VMware says there are three distinct phases in a typical cloud journey:
- Phase 1: Cloud first, which is the initial embrace of the public cloud, with a big focus on building customer-facing mobile apps in a single cloud.
- Phase 2: Cloud chaos, as organisations increasingly adopt multiple clouds (multi-cloud) for greater flexibility and to take advantage of the innovative tools provided by each cloud. But this multi-cloud reality has made it complex and costly to manage their apps sitting on the different, siloed cloud platforms, and it could even slow down app development.
- Phase 3: Cloud intelligent, a more sophisticated, mature approach that gives organisations the freedom to select the right cloud for the right app based on the needs of the individual app.
Speaking on the sidelines of the VMware Explore event, the company’s vice president and managing director for Southeast Asia and Korea Paul Simos says that most businesses in Southeast Asia are in the cloud-first phase.
“But given customers’ expectations of digital businesses, organisations will have to move to become cloud smart to innovate at greater speed, be agile and provide a frictionless experience. It will also enable them free up resources and take advantage of emerging technologies, [which could ultimately help them to continue innovating] and scale without increasing their overall IT costs.
Improving developer productivity
Since organisations today are defined by their digital services, modern apps are not just the backbone of digital transformation but also the currency of this digital economy.
How quickly these developers can securely build and push out new apps and features is crucial to a business. Still, developers are finding it challenging to be productive as they are also responsible for the performance of their company’s apps.
“Currently, the onus of ensuring the quality and services of apps [is on] developers. [This means] development teams spend more time keeping apps running and patching them than [developing new features or apps]. So how can organisations enable their developers to be more productive without burdening them [with the need to look after the performance and security of those apps]?” says Ajay Patel, senior vice president and general manager for VMware’s modern applications and management business group.
The VMware Tanzu portfolio, he adds, can help organisations unlock developer productivity, deliver end-to-end security from build to production, and enable secure multi-cloud operations at scale. This is exemplified in the case of Fiserv, a provider of financial technology services.
Its chief technology officer for digital transformation, Ganesh Venkataraman, says: “Tanzu Application Platform gives us the flexibility to leverage new tools from a broad ecosystem of cloud-native services while still allowing us to gain value from our existing investments — all within a single, secure, modular platform.
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“It enables us to focus on delivering customer value without worrying about application dependencies or changing code to deliver on our multi-cloud strategy and application portability requirements.
“This keeps our teams agile and lets us quickly adapt to customer needs. We’re just scratching the surface with the Tanzu Application Platform and look forward to adopting Application Accelerator and customising our secure software supply chain as our needs evolve.”
Taming the cloud chaos
A VMware survey published in July reveals that 75% of organisations globally are now relying on two or more public clouds. Managing apps and infrastructure in a multi-cloud — especially public clouds — and multi-technology environment can be complex. Besides controlling costs, IT teams must also ensure performance and manage consistent security policies across those diverse and distributed environments.
One way of reducing multi-cloud complexity is by utilising VMware Aria. Powering VMware Aria is VMware Aria Graph, a graph-based data store technology that captures the resources and relationships of a multi-cloud environment. It provides a single source of truth that is updated in near-real time, making it ideal for supporting cloud-native operations.
VMware Aria’s graph data store and API services enable it to seamlessly integrate with third-party solutions such as observability and application performance management tools. As such, application-aware management can be on private or hybrid clouds in addition to native public clouds.
“Enterprises face unprecedented threat and complexity as they operate in today’s multi-cloud world. VMware is radically transforming how our customers consume networking and security, allowing them to realise the agility and efficiencies of the cloud operating model through a cloud-smart approach,” says Tom Gillis, senior vice president and general manager of VMware’s Networking and Advanced Security business group.
Project Northstar, for instance, will deliver multi-cloud networking, security, workload mobility and end-to-end threat detection and response with a centralised cloud-console for consistent and simplified software-as-a-service consumption.
This family of services includes network and security policy management, network detection and response, network visibility and analytics, advanced load balancing, and workload mobility for private cloud environments and VMware Cloud deployments.
Strengthening multi-cloud security
VMware also believes that examining traffic through network taps is insufficient and that modern distributed cloud architectures can further exacerbate blind spots. It has strengthened its lateral security capabilities by embedding network detection and visibility into Carbon Black Cloud’s endpoint protection platform.
This extended detection and response telemetry adds network detection and visibility to endpoints with no changes to infrastructure or endpoints. As such, customers gain comprehensive visibility into their environment across endpoints and networks leaving attackers nowhere to hide.
In the July survey, VMware found that innovative cloud organisations say their approach to multi-cloud has made it easier to manage their data wherever they reside (92%), leading to improvements in their revenue growth (97%) and profitability (96%). It is thus crucial for Southeast Asian organisations to become cloud smart as they embrace multi-cloud. Doing so will future-proof their ability to deliver good customer experiences that will result in business growth.