The Region’s Cloud Opportunity Begins Now

NaimGuest written by Mohamed Naim, Regional Sales Manager – Gulf, TechAccess. 

The region’s channel needs to stay optimistic about cloud adoption, says Mohamed Naim.

On a global level the Cloud has gone from concept to reality for thousands of SMBs and enterprises, and it’s easy to see why. Cloud-based business models have enabled organisations to reduce capital expenses, while increasing productivity and collaboration. Of course there were also challenges that had to be addressed such as concerns about data theft, loss of control of data, governance issues and privacy laws but having addressed these, organisations around the world have been reaping the benefits of the Cloud.

In the Middle East however, we are still at a nascent stage with regards to cloud adoption. Generally speaking, decision makers are aware of the vast benefits that the Cloud can offer, but for many organisations, questions about implementation and security, as well as concerns about being able to access their applications and data at all times, have been stumbling blocks. Costs are also a concern for those that want to host their own data centres, and this is especially relevant now, as regional markets have cooled in the last few months.

Vendors and their partners in the channel have to keep these market dynamics in mind, along with the concerns potential customers have, if they wish to develop the regional market. But before they approach the market, they have to ensure that they have the talent and skills to not only sell solutions, but to properly deploy and support customers in the long run. It’s also important for vendors and partners to engage and educate potential customers – there are always cases where information is out-of-date or incorrect.

From a TechAccess point of view, we invested in our own Cloud solution centre to help partners sell solutions. Presently, we offer IaaS and partners can use the facility to conduct demonstrations, and benchmarks. DBaaS Cloud services are also functional within the facility, and we are now working on deploying our SaaS service and PaaS, to provide partners with a complete cloud environment. We’re also giving partners market awareness sessions to help them understand where opportunities exist.

Within the region, large enterprises in sectors such as BFSI, oil & gas and the government, could benefit from a Cloud-based model. Here, it’s important to understand that these organisations generate and store massive volumes of sensitive data. The nature of the data generated, access to this data, its security and where it resides, may deter organisations from adopting a cloud-only based model. However, a hybrid Cloud might be the ideal way forward but, generally speaking, for these organisations the ultimate goal would be to host data centres within their own premises to ease access and security concerns. It is here that channel partners have the opportunity to sell complementary solutions, while also offering technical services to support the customer in the long term.

The next solution for large organisations is to turn to off-site data centres and here, the lack of local facilities comes into play – these business entities will be unwilling to host their data in facilities that fully comply with US or European regulations. Thankfully, in the not too distant future, regional data centres and hosting services will become a reality, and will help these organisations embrace the Cloud. And although there will still be concerns about loss of control of their data, the fact that the data centre is within the region, and will abide by regional laws and security guidelines, will help address a lot of concerns.

The regional market for cloud solutions is still in its infancy, and has to be nurtured by vendors, distributors and their partners. It’s also important that they offer tailor-made solutions that demonstrate tangible value to their customers because one thing is for certain, the cloud is here to stay.