This post is the fifth and final part of a series exploring the cloud in Asia Pacific. It covers the current cloud situation across the region, how is the cloud being used, what is holding back further adoption, and how the cloud can be used for innovation. It will also examine the cloud in the FSI sector.

In previous posts we’ve looked the cloud environment in APAC (here), barriers holding back widespread adoption (here) and the cloud strategy being adopted (insert link). It also looked specifically at the FSI industry (here and here). In this post we will look at how the cloud can and should be being used for innovation.

Innovation has become a strategic consideration for many. In the past, operational effectiveness has been the main focus for large businesses. However with IT flattening the playing field, innovation has become the key focus. Clouds can be great engines of innovation.

Clouds automate deployment

In a constantly evolving organization, deployment can be a serious drain on resources. A cloud solution that uses of pre-packaged integration, standards-based application programming interfaces and unique application delivery templates can alleviate this headache. The result: Higher efficiency and lower risks because CIOs no longer have to orchestrate these complex operational processes. Vendors like F5 Networks have taken a step beyond by integrating network management capabilities to server virtualization. This reduces deployment complexity and increases efficiency and productivity.

Clouds remove administration burden

With clouds onboard, CIOs can look to further reduce their operational burden by outsourcing part of their infrastructure. Some organizations have even outsourced their entire infrastructure, alleviating worries about talent shortage or managing the infrastructure. All CIOs have to do is manage these outsourcing relationships, so that they are constantly aligned with your business goals. This unshackles their IT teams from administration tasks, allowing them to focus on enabling innovation.

Clouds enables collaboration

Innovation often is a result of collaboration. According to the Forbes Insight survey, a majority of cloud proponents have experienced great opportunities for innovation due to better collaboration. By enabling collaboration across various devices and locations, clouds improve innovation by several folds.

Clouds blurs the line between CIO and other CXOs

By democratizing IT, clouds have allowed the IT burden to be shared among different departments. CIOs are no longer the only IT experts, with CMOs and COOs now able to subscribe to new cloud services. This has changed the way CXOs work with CIOs, and has enabled IT innovation to occur across the organization. It has also allowed CIOs to become forward-thinking IT strategists who focus on core processes and competitive differentiators that align with long-term business goals.

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The private cloud has so far seen the most adoption in APAC and these initial moves to the cloud have started to make Asian CIOs more strategic in their IT investments. But there is even greater opportunity for CIOs and the IT team by looking at the public cloud for existing and new workloads and applications - it has the potential to reduce the resource allocated for day-to-day management.

Going strategic offers the right direction. After all, IT are uniquely placed to offer technology advice as businesses increasingly rely on IT innovation to leapfrog their rivals. But they need to find a way to rid their thankless tasks of deploying, maintaining and streamlining the business architecture so that they can transform into engines of innovation. The answer can be found in clouds.