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A new report, recently unveiled in Kuala Lumpur, confirms the continuing decentralisation of IT in the ASEAN region, which is opening up concerns about security and widening skills gaps.
Speaking to media on the side-lines of an annual customer and partner vForum gathering in Malaysia, Alex Loh, country manager, VMware Malaysia & Brunei, said the report, called VMware State of Cloud 2016, showed cloud adoption in Malaysia has risen sharply in the last 12 months.
However, the purchasing and management of cloud computing has continued to spread beyond IT departments to other business units, said Loh.
The report draws a picture of marketing teams purchasing cloud services to store and manage customer data for engagement, while finance and operations use ERP systems and applications to automate billings and manage supply chains, he said. "Sales teams are using SaaS to manage their salesforce, track performances and so on."
At least 80 percent respondents globally agree that the purchase and management of IT has become more decentralised in the last three years, Loh said, adding that more than 85 percent of Malaysian respondents confirmed the decentralisation of IT within their own organisations.
Business shifts and security gaps
"This business shift from traditional silos to more integration between units to a "digital business" is in line with the race to a digital economy in Malaysia," he said, adding that 18 million users in Malaysia were now going online with an emphasis on using mobile devices for internet access.
Cloud adoption has increased in the last year, he said. "Local business leaders need to innovate faster [47 percent] and keep up with competitors [44 percent], which has fuelled the drive to decentralisation and multi-cloud adoption. Local companies are purchasing an average of six additional cloud services without consulting their IT departments."
Alex Loh, Country Manager, Malaysia & Brunei, VMware
"Shadow IT is one symptom of decentralisation," said Loh. "More than three quarters of local respondents said this decentralised approach does increase business responsiveness to market changes [76 percent], helps them bring new products to market more quickly [76 percent] and to drive more innovation [73 percent]."
"However, many in Malaysia said the decentralised approach also opened various issues such as a duplication of IT services spending [76 percent], which is the highest in the region," he said.
"Also, decentralisation increased their firms' vulnerability to hacking and cyber attacks [85 percent] in the light of 67 percent confirming that their LoBs have been purchasing non-secure solutions," said Loh. "Interestingly, 84 percent of respondents now also believe the IT department should be responsible for helping other lines of business to drive innovation and must set the strategic direction and be accountable for security."
He said the report also confirmed that the region has a widening skills gap. "More than 8 in 10 respondents reported that decentralisation has caused IT's job to become more challenging by introducing a shift in expectations on how it should be supporting the business. More than seven in 10 respondents believe that decentralisation makes it more difficult for IT departments to integrate different data sources for deeper analysis that could benefit the business."
Malaysia's transformation has been driven from the launch in 1996 of its national IT agenda right throwing to national IoT strategic roadmap in 2015, said Loh. "Malaysian companies are racing to compete in the global digital economy and the country's still on course with its vision of becoming a digital, developed economy by 2020."
"In conclusion, this study confirms what we've been hearing from our customers in Malaysia and across the region,' he said. "Most organisations have a hybrid cloud environment, with workloads and applications across different platforms. The challenge for most Malaysian CIOs is to continue enabling their companies to innovate and meet growth objectives while effectively managing and securing applications across multiple cloud environments."
The VMware State of Cloud 2016 research is drawn from two different surveys commissioned by VMware. The first was conducted in March 2016 by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and targeted 726 people distributed equally across the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and EMEA. The Vanson Bourne survey, conducted September 2016, targeted 3300 people from 20 countries split across the Americas (24 percent), Asia-Pacific (39 percent). And EMEA (36 percent). The respondents represent 20 industries with average company revenue of US$3.7 billion. Half of those surveyed were business decision makers and half IT decision makers.
This article was first published in Computerworld Malaysia 28 November 2016.
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