2020 was the year of COVID-19. However, it could also be seen as a year of change and opportunities. The way that people conducted their day-to-day activities saw a massive shift as a result of various movement restrictions placed on them and this was consistent across countries, albeit over different periods. Businesses had to quickly pivot from having employees work from the office to working from home and with that, the importance of having processes, systems and platforms that would facilitate collaborative virtual transactions and interactions quickly rose to prominence.

As businesses rush to stay ahead in a recovering global economy, one key area that will continue to dominate discussions over digital transformation is cloud computing with network functions virtualisation (NFVi) capable infrastructure. In order to stay agile and efficient, moving to a cloud with NFVi capabilities is the logical next step for businesses. While cloud technology is not a new technology by any means, the question here is what approach and design to take. NFVi adoption allows for the ability to virtualize network services over cloud platforms seamlessly delivering agility, flexibility and scalability, key factors in driving digital transformation in the current market. Let’s take a look at the key factors driving business transformation and cloud adoption.

Operational Challenges

Legacy platforms and systems are a huge challenge that businesses struggle with, particularly in light of today’s fast-changing IT environment. In addition to the incredible drain that maintaining IT platforms and systems can have on a business’ capital and operational expenditure, there is also the issue of maintaining skilled IT professionals in-house as well as keeping up with new technology. In 2021 alone, Gartner projects that global IT spend will reach USD3.9 trillion, a 6.2% increase from the USD3.7 trillion spent in 2020. Adding to these challenges is regulation that is evolving at an equally fast pace and traditional IT setups are finding it increasingly difficult to adapt to new requirements. Investment in expensive, dedicated hardware is required which results in a rigid and unscalable network that is not agile enough to adapt to ever-changing business demands.

Accelerated Pace of Digitalisation

A majority of businesses have fully embraced the digital transformation agenda despite the complexities involved. Recent data from McKinsey research shows that 70% to 80% of business decision makers prefer remote interactions or digital self-serve over in-person interactions and this trend will likely become a permanent one. Businesses need to transform, and they need to do it now.

Alongside unprecedented levels of innovation, technology is driven to evolve even faster enabling new business models to emerge and disrupt the market. The market is now seeing a whole new breed of challengers – digital banks, virtual network operators, blockchain, cryptocurrency firms, and the list goes on.

A Matured Cloud Ecosystem

Over the past decade, the technology enabling cloud computing has matured significantly and subsequently, cloud acceptance and adoption has become commonplace. Businesses looking to expand no longer look to “the cloud”, the emergence of multi-cloud and edge computing services has led to the birth of distributed cloud. The argument for this approach is that distributed cloud tackles the issues of geographical reach with reduced latency, data sovereignty, redundancy and over-reliance on any one provider.

IDC forecasts that spending on cloud IT infrastructure will grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 10.4%, reaching US$109.3 billion in 2024 and will account for 63.6% of total IT infrastructure spend.

To the Future and Beyond

Cloud computing will become the baseline technology contributing to the proliferation of the creation and adoption of more advanced technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), API economy and, eventually, quantum computing. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift of traditional businesses to the cloud. A great example of this is Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, a completely digital banking platform launched by the American banking giant back in 2016 that was developed, hosted and operated entirely on Amazon Web Services.

Businesses that have already embarked on their digital transformation journey, especially those who started around the early 2010s, will be able to attest to the difficulties involved in building up their own cloud platform and piecing the different parts of the ecosystem together. Instead of spending the time and resources on starting from scratch, decision makers quickly realised that it made more sense to partner with the right technology partners with comprehensive offerings and shift the focus back to their core competencies.

Having started its own journey into cloud computing a few years back, TIME dotCom (TIME) is able to offer insight into digital transformation with a unique perspective. TIME experienced first-hand the challenges of modernising inflexible legacy infrastructures and subsequently moved into multi-cloud in response to the growth of global hyperscalers and the market’s need to optimise efficiency.

TIME’s cloud services are powered by NFVi technology offering the ability to virtualize network and edge services over the cloud in its entirety. The design spins up virtual machines that are robust, eliminating any need for hardware infrastructure to drive digital transformation and addresses concerns and requirements such as cost, flexibility, scalability and security that are part of a digital transformation journey.

TIME has since matured into a hyperscale services provider with the capability of offering true multi-cloud services. With its recent acquisition of AVM Cloud, TIME has also successfully expanded its portfolio with VMware. Coupled with TIME’s comprehensive suite of data centre and international connectivity services, TIME has built an end-to-end ecosystem with NFVi capabilities that can support the transformation needs of its customers in the current digital revolution.

About TIME dotCom Berhad

 TIME is a telecommunications provider that delivers domestic and global connectivity, data centre, cloud computing and managed services to customers across ASEAN. Powering TIME’s businesses are its fibre optic network assets that span Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia – countries in which it has an established operational presence. TIME’s network extends beyond the region to deliver international connectivity via its stakes in the UNITY, FASTER, Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) and Asia-Africa-Europe-1 (AAE-1) subsea cable systems. TIME is headquartered in Malaysia. Visit http://www.time.com.my for more information.