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Asia Cloud Report Offers Benchmarks, No Surprises

Survey of 14 Nations Puts Developed Nations at the Top

A new 14-nation survey within Asia, called the Cloud Readiness Index and published by the Hong Kong-based Asia Cloud Computing Association (Asia Cloud), shows the developed nations in the region topping the survey results and the less developed nations at the bottom. It sets a present benchmark, from which all nations in the survey can improve.

Japan finished at the top (with 85 points on a 100-point scale), followed closely by Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore. A middle group included Australia, Taiwan, New Zealand, Malaysia, and China. The lower finishers included India, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

The Index integrates information from seven different sources - including the World Economic Forum, and Business Software Alliance - across 10 areas to produce a ranking based on a 100-point scale. All ten areas, or attributes, are weighted equally. They are: regulatory conditions, international connectivity, data protection policy, broadband quality, government prioritization, power-grid quality, Internet filtering, business efficiency index, global risk, and ICT development.

Tech, The Great Leveler
The report offers no surprises in its overall rankings. The Asian nations known for their aggressive economic and technological development are at the top, resource-rich Australia and New Zealand lag a bit, Malaysia leads ASEAN outside of Singapore, China and India continue to struggle to move toward the top (although China was judged as having top-notch international connectivity equal to Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong), and the developing ASEAN nations trail the rest.

Noting that "technology...has always been a great leveler of opportunity for business, communities, and citizens," the report's authors say the "purpose of the Index is to facilitate an ongoing discussion and to track the progress of a series of critical conditions required for cloud-based services in the region."

In addition to the numerical rankings, the report offers commentary that highlights key developments in each of the 14 countries. It cites, for example, New Zealand's Ultra-Fast Broadband rollout and EU-compliant data-protection laws.

The latter area (data protection) is a key weakness in the Philippines (where I'm based), as well as in Thailand and China, according to the report. On the other hand, Indonesia ranks in the middle tier in this area, along with Malaysia and India. Ratings in this area are based on information from the Business Software Alliance.

The Philippines is also considered among the riskiest group of nations in the group, along with its ASEAN brethren Indonesia and Thailand, as well as India. Ratings in this area are based on information from the Maplecroft Global Risk Atlas and Fault Lines.

A Few Words About the Philippines
No doubt many people in the Philippines will be offended to see their country at the bottom of another comparative ratings index. To be sure, the BPO industry is very strong here, and there are some very good things happening in the world of software development, as I've written.

But the Asia Cloud report is objective, and not to be considered detrimental to the people of any nation. As far as the Philippines goes, the report once again underlines the country's great weakness in its governmental institutions. A couple of years' of steady observation on my part has shown me that politics here is consumed with old-line, oligarchical families making excuses for the past and trying to settle scores with one another, rather than with truly moving the nation forward (a goal that all here proclaim). This political culture creates an aura of instability that applies across the bureaucracy and into the judicial system all the way to the nation's Supreme Court.

There are Members of Congress who back technology, understand its value, and push for new laws and frameworks that will encourage foreign investment and true progress. They're still a small minority; would that reports such as the Cloud Readiness Index slap the rest of them into today's global reality, and get them to take seriously the challenge of moving the country to a more dignified place in all world rankings.

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Roger Strukhoff is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Studies, (@TauDir), with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is also a writer & editor for SYS-CON Media. He writes for Cloud Computing Journal & Computerworld Philippines. He is Conference Chair of WebRTC Summit and Things Expo. He has a BA from Knox College, Certificate in Tech Writing from UC-Berkeley, and MBA studies at CSU-East Bay. He serves on the board of the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies, and has served as Director, U.S. Coast Guard Aux Int'l Affairs.

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