Why some organisations are still reluctant to move to cloud
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Why some organisations are still reluctant to move to cloud

Why some organisations are still reluctant to move to cloud

Bahrain Economic Development Board’s Musab Abdulla shares how disruptive technologies like cloud computing are impacting today’s innovations

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How has the tech landscape evolved in Bahrain post-pandemic?
Bahrain has always been at the forefront of innovation and well-known for its advanced digital infrastructure and quality of ICT talent. One of the big impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic for the country and the globe was to accelerate the adoption of tech by several years across many sectors. As a result, many companies adopted an online presence and took further steps in digitalising, whether through using automated queuing software, online retailing, or enhancing their payments technology. I believe that this response was made possible because of Bahrain’s pre-existing strong digital connectivity and tech infrastructure. For example, the kingdom has been home to the first regional AWS Middle East ‘Region’ and hyper-scale data centre; and is also home to Citi’s global tech hub – a first in the region.

How are disruptive technologies like cloud computing impacting today’s innovation?
We’re witnessing a reduction in the barriers to entry. In the past, when you wanted to start a company, you needed to purchase equipment and licenses, and you needed the environment to innovate. Today, with cloud computing providers, if I wanted to launch something it can be up and running in 10 minutes. It would also be cost-efficient. Cloud computing allows you to pay for what you need. So, if you need high computing power graphics rendering, or additional power to handle higher than average workload, you can be allocated additional processing power as and when needed. Ultimately, this allows me to scale at a much quicker rate.

What are the key trends you are witnessing in cloud computing?
In terms of technology trends, we are seeing innovation in how the cloud is deployed. As you can imagine, as the usage increases, demands on storage and access go up as well, which in turn requires better latency and bandwidth, especially during real-time use cases. What I expect to see in the coming years is more utilisation of edge computing and edge data centres to cater for increasing demands. By bringing active management and data storage closer to the end-user, edge computing relieves the latency issues related to a centralised solution, and also reduces the need for international bandwidth.

There are some organisations that are still reluctant to move to cloud. What is holding them back?
Some companies are concerned about data, whether that’s from a security or privacy perspective. A second concern is the cost and effort it takes to shift to the cloud. Some institutions may see it as a hindrance, and it is up to individual organisations to decide on whether it is worth that investment. Another potential hurdle is the lack of understanding and awareness of how to fully leverage the benefits of moving to the cloud, other than cost saving. In Bahrain’s public sector, we’re witnessing a successful implementation of the country’s cloud-first policy, with more than 70 per cent of IT operations in the government having already migrated to the cloud. So far, it has proved very beneficial to the government as it significantly reduced government expenditure on IT services.

What are the dangers businesses might face if they don’t move to cloud?
These businesses may not be able to capture larger opportunities, and they could face limitations on scalability, where the cost would be too high for them to grow because of traditional IT spending that utilises funds that the business could instead use for growth initiatives or innovation.

What are your key priorities for the year ahead?
We are looking to attract further investment into the creative industry in Bahrain – whether that’s hosting content, generating content (including movies and music), hosting esports and more. We are also very keen to continue developing our excellent talent and positioning it as one of the kingdom’s greatest strengths. It’s not only talent though. It’s other benefits such as, lower costs of operations, high quality of living, proximity to large markets, quick entry into the kingdom and the support of the country in terms of easy access to decision makers. All of these combine to create a powerful competitive advantage for companies setting up in Bahrain. We are looking forward to more successful cases that leverage the country’s strengths as a service centre for the region and the globe. Even beyond the ICT sector, we are seeing establishment and consolidation of other functions in Bahrain, including customer service, back-office functions and programming offices. In short, we aim to have Bahrain be the global hub of choice to work from.

Musab Abdulla is the executive director – Investment Development at Bahrain Economic Development Board

Read: Bahrain’s BBK appoints seven women to boards of group firms

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