Photo: David Dzienciol, Parallels Asia Pacific.
In 2012, we witnessed how the BYOD phenomenon, social media explosion and unprecedented data growth dramatically changed the business landscape for small and medium-sized business in Asia-Pacific.
Bigger opportunities lie ahead in 2013. For one, IT personnel in SMBs will continue to face the onslaught of personal devices that are operating and accessing applications and data from behind the firewall, from across a widening array of devices and platforms. While this is not a new problem, it is poised to become more challenging as we continue to make the transition from PC to tablet and other portable devices.
Social media will continue to proliferate. Today, Asia alone has 236 million Facebook users. In fact, some analysts predict that by the end of 2013 there will be 1.3 billion to 1.5 billion people using Facebook. By the end of 2012, up to 80 percent of SMBs would have some sort of social media presence, and by the end of 2013, SMBs are forecasted to spend US$3.9 billion in this area to increase their visibility and engage their target audiences.
There is no denying the impact of mobility and social media, and how these will further create big data that needs to be mined to truly produce insights for businesses to leverage. As data sources extend to sensors, asset intelligence, mobile devices and streams of unstructured communication, we will see an even bigger explosion of big data that companies must try to decipher to navigate future business opportunities. Ultimately, the SMB that can best harness data wins.
Opportunities in the cloud
Cloud is rapidly becoming the delivery model of choice for many companies. With significant upfront savings and low or zero maintenance costs, the commercial case for any business to adopt cloud is strong. Cloud computing enables every business, particularly SMBs, access to computing resources, including applications and services, previously only available to large enterprises.
However, despite the benefits of cloud, some SMBs are still reluctant to move with common barriers including perceived loss of control, data sovereignty and security concerns when they move their workload and infrastructure to cloud. This explains why for those with concerns, hosted IT services will be the primary vehicles upon which SMBs will create new markets and business opportunities.
SMBs in this region will continue to move forward in cloud adoption as Internet infrastructure improves, particularly in the developing countries. Cloud computing is being accepted as the leverage small businesses need to help them compete on better footing against much larger organisations. Parallels recently released the key findings of Parallels Asia-Pacific SMB Cloud Insights, a detailed report illustrating how service providers can profit by delivering cloud services to SMBs. The report estimates that SMB Asia Pacific cloud services market opportunity in 2012 is worth US$7.6 billion, and will grow 38 percent annually (CAGR), reaching US$19.8 billion in 2015.
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