ASEAN countries betting on adoption of cloud services

October 27, 2022 | 11:58
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As ASEAN nations are quickening digital transformation to achieve their new missions for the digital age, various agencies and tech titans are building new plans to meet regional growing needs.

“Going onto the cloud is like a young person leaving home for the first time. It is full of freedom, excitement and anxiety. It is also full of risks, fear and uncertainties.” The words came from Chan Cheow Hoe, chief digital technology officer at the Government Technology Agency of Singapore, at the AWS Public Sector Summit earlier this month.

ASEAN countries betting on adoption of cloud services
Expanded cloud services are set to lead the way for digital transformation in ASEAN, Photo: Shutterstock

Hoe was at the summit to talk about the government’s cloud exploration journey over the past decade.

He said there are a number of useful lessons to learn from. “The first is to know the risks and explicitly accept them. Others include going cloud-native and navigating multiple complex cloud options. Building is easy, but maintaining is so much more difficult because the cloud is always moving. So the advice here is to be cloud-native,” he added.

At present, about 60 per cent of the government workload is put into the commercial cloud in Singapore, Hoe added, and it targets 70 per cent by the third quarter of next year.

Singapore chose AWS (Amazon Web Services) as a partner in this cloud transformation journey due to its secure, reliable, and scalable cloud computing environment with the highest-quality network performance. And this decision has brought about fruitful results. In Singapore, AWS has trained over 200,000 individuals in Singapore with cloud skills since 2017. Following the launch of the AWS Asia-Pacific in 2010, AWS has invested over $6.5 billion in local infrastructure and jobs across Singapore. By the end of the year, Amazon and AWS will collectively create 1,000 jobs in the city-state.

Like Singapore, many countries in ASEAN have witnessed their public sector organisations deliver new services for citizens with the support of the cloud. Peter Moore, regional managing director for AWS’ Worldwide Public Sector, said, “The recent pandemic has accelerated digital transformation across industries with 3G to 5G. The way in which we now work, learn, and interact has changed.”

Public sector organisations in ASEAN are seeing the opportunities to drive digital transformation to deliver faster and more modernised citizen-based services, Moore added.

Elsewhere, Malaysia is accelerating cloud adoption with its Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU). With the cloud, Malaysian government agencies and departments now can access a streamlined procurement model to drive innovation and digitalise government services for citizens.

Over in Thailand, public organisations now can easily move to the cloud as the country’s current budget disbursement regulations there can be easily managed on-demand. Recent data from global tech research firm Gartner indicated that cloud spending in Thailand could grow 28.2 per cent to $1.1 billion by the end of the year.

Dr. Sak Segkhoonthod, digital transformation advisor at Thailand’s Electronic Transaction Development Agency, said that over the past 10 years, Thailand has played a major role in driving cloud adoption across ASEAN. “Several in-country cloud standards have been put in place during past years by the Cloud Security Alliance, such as its Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge. It is a mandatory requirement for engineers engaged in cloud computing and/or security responsibility within participating cloud services providers and has helped accelerate cloud adoption among public organisations in Thailand,” Segkhoonthod added.

Similarly, in Indonesia, the cloud has enabled the government to provide better services such as the Cash-for-Training programme, as well as online learning initiatives from the Ministry of Education. Moreover, Indonesia’s planned National Data Centre initiative, part of the legal framework for e-government services, is an ambitious project intended to be a shared infrastructure/managed service to ensure efficiency among central and local governments. It is slated for completion in 2024.

In anticipation of the inevitable cloud trends, AWS this month announced plans for 24 more Availability Zones and eight more AWS Regions in the future. The AWS Cloud currently spans 84 Availability Zones over 26 geographic regions.

It has been a busy year for AWS. In February, it signed an MoU with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society in Thailand to support the country’s digital transformation. The following month, it set up the aforementioned MAMPU in Malaysia and, in September, it announced the AWS Smart City Competency programme. The scheme curates and develops a community of advanced and rising AWS Partners with scalable smart city offerings.

In Indonesia, AWS partner Elitery has developed SiPANDU, an integrated report information system, and SiPANON, a machine learning-enabled CCTV solution to monitor and improve road traffic flow.

In Vietnam, AWS has worked with several educational institutions, including Vietnam National University and others on language training; and plans to continue to build out meaningful engagements in Vietnam to tap into growth in the country. This month, AWS also awarded its first contract with the Department of Polytechnic and Community College, a department within Malaysia’s Ministry of Higher Education. At the same time, the firm said that Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University in Thailand has gone all-in on AWS to support the university’s vision of going digital.

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