The cloud is imperative and APAC’s unmissable economic opportunity

John O’Mahony, Deloitte Access Economics partner

The Asia Pacific region could benefit from a significant US$160 billion future economic boost – and that includes around $A20 billion for Australia – if businesses increase investment in, and take greater advantage of, cloud-based technologies.

A new Deloitte Asia Pacific report – The cloud imperative, and Asia Pacific’s unmissable opportunity – examines the challenges and barriers, explores opportunities and looks at case studies that examine how cloud is driving business success in difficult times.

Partly based on a survey of nearly 600 business leaders across eight focus markets – being Australia, China, Hong Kong (SAR), India, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea.

Key findings of the Deloitte Asia Pacific report

The adoption of cloud services is forecast by Deloitte Access Economics to contribute a further $US160 billion to the Asia Pacific economy from 2020 to 2024.

Public cloud expenditure will grow at 28% per annum, from $US32.1 billion in 2019 to $US116 billion in 2024, delivering significant productivity (and economic) benefits.

Industries that comprise 50% of the Asia Pacific economies are facing the most significant levels of disruption that could benefit from greater cloud adoption.

Only 10% of businesses across the region believe they have a high level of cloud-readiness, while 46% are hesitant, or totally unprepared.

62% expect their level of cloud adoption to grow in three years’ time (although just under 30% expect adoption to remain unchanged).

Comments on the Deloitte Asia Pacific report

Deloitte APAC Cloud Transformation leader, Dan Newman said, “COVID-19 has turned the world on its head in too many ways, but also forced governments and businesses to rapidly respond to changes in demand for their products and services.”

“They have challenged the status quo, tapped into new opportunities to maintain and improve their competitive edge, or reimagined operations to be more agile and resilient.”

“And much of this innovation has been enabled by cloud-based digital technology.”

“Cloud helps unlock digital potential, enables them to address multiple challenges and offers strong foundations to ensure they are prepared to tackle new shocks and future disruption caused by the likes of climate change, increased competition and exposure to cyber risks.”

“Cloud has endless potential to enhance operations, support competitive advantage and drive opportunities for significant business value and growth across the likes of productivity, operational efficiency, new customer segments, market share, revenues and profit.”

“It can also deliver significant economic benefits, making the argument more compelling for individual businesses, industries, nations and the wider APAC region.”

Deloitte Asia Pacific report author’s comments

Deloitte Access Economics partner, and principal report author, John O’Mahony said, “Our research finds that cloud can be vital in making businesses more flexible, agile and prepared to respond to disruption, and that businesses making greater use of cloud-based technologies can deliver significant national and regional economic benefits and improved living standards.”

“Beyond operational efficiencies and lower business costs, cloud services, along with other digital technologies, create significant value throughout the broader economy by helping to drive productivity growth – in terms of efficiency, but also in terms of innovation and the creation of new and improved products and services.”

“Looking across individual markets, the economic contribution of cloud varies with the level of cloud maturity and the size of individual economies.”

“Those that have invested the most have also received the largest productivity benefits, while those with lower public cloud expenditure received a smaller economic benefit.”

“Encouragingly, International Data Corporation(IDC) forecasts that, across the eight focus markets in our study, public cloud expenditure will grow by 28% per annum, from $US32.1 billion in 2019 to $US116 billion in 2024.”

“And based on our forecasts, this rapid growth in investment will deliver significant productivity benefits, and additional Asia Pacific GDP of $US160 billion from 2020 to 2024.”

“The adoption of cloud services, their ever-increasing sophistication, and the take-up of cloud-based applications, suggests that the benefits of cloud will only increase.”

With its uptake accelerated by the pandemic, the cloud will continue to unlock and fuel innovations leading to the formation of new products, services and businesses in the future and benefits in the broader economy, including growth in productivity and job creation.

“How cloud-ready companies are will be important for the next steps they take.”

“On the upside, 46% of companies in the Asia Pacific region being unprepared or hesitant suggests there could be signficant business value available to them.”

“The more organisations are prepared and ready to embark on their cloud journey, the more likely they are to see an impact from their investments in cloud technology,” Newman said.

“The pace of change is unequalled, and organisations cannot afford to ignore the accelerated disruption and transformation. Speed and agility in responding to ongoing challenges are critical and only adaptable businesses will survive and thrive.”

The report also examines a range of factors considered most relevant to assess the disruptive forces, and assesses them for 18 industries across the Asia Pacific region.

The result is a new Deloitte Digital Disruption Map that shows businesses operating in mining, finance, manufacturing, information, media and technology (IMT), wholesale and arts and recreation services are expected to face the most significant level of disruption.

These industries comprise around 50% of the Asia Pacific economy.