Harnessing the cloud to accelerate digital transformation

More enterprises worldwide have embarked on the digital transformation journey as they see it vital to their success in the digital economy. To drive digital transformation and accelerate innovations, cloud computing has become a prerequisite.

By 2021, at least 50% of global GDP will be digitized, with growth in every industry driven by digitally enhanced offerings, operations, and relationships, according to an IDC report.  Besides C-level executives, IDC noted investors are another source of pressure to accelerate enterprises’ digital innovation pace. Digital success is now a new metric of an enterprise valuation and hence its stock price.

State of digital transformation

To this end, organizations around the world are striving to become digital-native enterprises. By 2020, 60% of enterprises worldwide will have fully articulated an organization-wide digital transformation platform strategy and will be in the process of implementing that strategy as the new IT core for competing in the digital economy, as stated in the same IDC report.

Like other markets worldwide, digital transformation is gaining traction in Hong Kong. Companies of all sizes have already begun their digital transformation journey but the majority is yet to reach digital maturity.

According to a recent Forrester Research report, the vast majority of Hong Kong companies remain in the early stages of digital maturity. Forrester’s survey is based on the research firm’s digital transformation assessment, which evaluates the maturity level of participating executives based on how they perform in five areas of competency—strategy, structure, culture, talent, and technology.

The Economist Intelligence Unit shared a similar sentiment. Its survey revealed that the business confidence in Hong Kong’s digital transformation is low when compared to other cities.

Cloud data centers support digital initiatives

The geographical location of Hong Kong has enabled it as an international gateway connecting businesses between China and global markets. Hong Kong is connected to 10 submarine cable systems and 20 overland cable systems for external communications. This puts Hong Kong in a strong position as a regional hub of global connections. The growing number of cloud data centers in Hong Kong further helps local and international enterprises to power their business globally and carry out digital initiatives.

Huawei Cloud is one of the global cloud service providers that see the importance of Hong Kong to bolster digital transformation. The company has extended its global cloud infrastructure with the recent addition of their data centers in Hong Kong.

“The Hong Kong data centers help local enterprises to expand into China or companies in China to grow their business globally via Hong Kong,” said Zheng Yelai, president of Huawei Cloud BU. “More than 100 cloud services will be available to the Hong Kong data centers.”  These cloud services include e-commerce, IoT, high-performance computing and AI for various verticals such as education, finance, government, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.

Hybrid cloud ramping up

For startups and tech companies, most of their applications are cloud-native – designed and optimized for the cloud environment. They can leverage cloud to rapidly deploy new digital capabilities.  This is in stark contrast to most large enterprises and governments that have legacy systems as part of their traditional IT architectures. Migrating their businesses to the cloud presents a big challenge to them.

“To migrate legacy systems to the cloud, large and medium-sized enterprises, as well as governments, need to reconstruct their infrastructures using cloud, big data, and AI technologies,” said Zheng. “Hybrid cloud offers a more realistic solution,” he suggested.

IDC sees hybrid cloud key to digital transformation projects in Asia Pacific. The research firm said the ability of enterprises to move to a hybrid architecture will determine the pace and depth of adoption of digital transformation projects.

With its key benefits of flexibility and scalability, hybrid cloud has become the preferred model for digital transformation initiatives. Enterprises can move workloads and data across mixed cloud environments whenever necessary.

Choosing the right cloud service provider

Given the many cloud platforms available in the market today, enterprises have to take into account some key factors in selecting a cloud platform. These include open architecture, global network, security, and future proofing.

Open architecture provides scalability, interoperability, and portability to users and service providers. “We are the number one private cloud provider in China. We also became the first Asian platinum member of the OpenStack Foundation in 2017,” said Zheng. “Our open hybrid cloud solutions are trusted by customers in the public sector, financial services and insurance, and retail industries, to name a few.”

With an open hybrid cloud architecture based on OpenStack and Open APIs, Huawei Cloud enables a seamless connection between various cloud platforms and accelerates application development and services rollout. Huawei Cloud is also committed to building an open ecosystem by collaborating with different partners to develop innovative solutions to meet diverse customer requirements.

Global network coverage helps enterprises move their workloads to the cloud faster. Huawei’s global service network has local support teams in 170 countries and regions. Besides its own staff, Huawei provides local support through service partners worldwide. With over 12,000 channel partners worldwide, Zheng aims to recruit 30 local partners in Hong Kong this year.

Security and trustworthiness are essential for cloud services. Huawei Cloud works with global partners to provide multi-tier security measures, ranging from chip-level hardware security, software security to enterprise-level security services. These measures meet global regulatory requirements, security and privacy protection standards such as ISO 27000-series, PCI DSS certifications, and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Enterprises no doubt want to ensure that their cloud investments can address both current needs and future requirements. It is important for them to build a future-proof infrastructure that will enable their investments to stand the test of time.

Zheng noted that Huawei has continuously invested in R&D over the past two decades to keep the company at the forefront of innovation. In the last 10 years, the company has injected US$45 billion in R&D. Among the 18,000 employees at Huawei, 45% of them are R&D personnel. The company has also set up 15 research institutes and 36 joint innovation centers worldwide to develop new and innovative offerings with industry partners to cater for the ever-changing needs of customers.

Leveraging a broad portfolio of ICT infrastructure products and FusionSphere, Huawei’s cloud computing products provide the reliability, agility, and price-performance needed to deliver cutting-edge applications and services quickly, safely, and securely: unified, highly virtualized O&M systems simplify provisioning and management of network and computing resources; innovative FusionInsight platform enables Big Data analytics for enterprises; and Huawei’s FusionCloud Desktop solution provides seamless migration to cloud-based IT infrastructure and applications.

This article was created in collaboration with the sponsoring company and our sales and marketing team. The editorial team does not contribute.